Digital Leaders Week: 3 takeaways about open source software

On June 23, Insoft’s representatives took part in Digital Leaders Week, an international conference in London. Bringing a wide spectrum of ideas and projects to one place, it's where leaders meet, share their experiences and get inspired for future projects. Our CEO Mindaugas Mikulėnas also took an active role in the event, inviting industry leaders to discuss the use of open source software in the public sector.

The panellists focused on large scale projects, noting the pros and cons of the open source approach and sharing real experiences with it. According to M. Mikulėnas, creating open source software requires much more time and effort, but it doesn't guarantee extended project support and software updates. On the other hand, open source software is easy to scale since it doesn't involve licensing and serves an unlimited amount of users by default. In this regard, open source code strongly differs from proprietary (closed source) software. Although proprietary software partially solves the challenge of institutional digitalization, it's much harder to scale. And with it come other dilemmas, such as functional flexibility, license pricing and distribution.

Leaders who participated in this discussion panel deal with a variety of projects, ranging from startups to ruling bodies and national registers. Addressing this spectrum, M. Mikulėnas recommended the open source approach to projects that have significant growth potential but don't have the budget for such expansion. On the other hand, he wouldn't recommend it to those who want to establish standardised user journeys and processes (in CRM or client service systems, for example). "It's in such cases that licencing allows smooth product integration and guarantees long-term stability", he said.

Addressing his role at Insoft, M. Mikulėnas highlighted his experience with open source solutions for state level institutions and registers. "In most cases, it's impossible to estimate the number of potential users. For example, when we launched E-Government Gateway in Lithuania, it had a few thousand users, but that number grew to a few million users in a very short time span. Had we taken the closed source route, the cost for such expansion would be very high. We try not to take a very strict position when it comes to the open/closed source dilemma, but if our client goes for an open source solution, we have a solid base to rely on. Besides, as more and more businesses invest in digital solutions, there is a lot of potential in this field - and a lot more challenges to tackle, I'm sure", noted Insoft's CEO.

Taking part in Digital Leaders Week gave us an invaluable opportunity to meet ambitious digital leaders and learn about new, exciting projects they’re working on. To highlight the progress of digitalization in the healthcare industry, Insoft also granted a Health Tech nomination