One of the most common questions I get asked by businesses who are evaluating various options to implement social software into their business is:
"Why should we consider a paid social software platform (like Communifire) when there are readily available options built on open source software for free?"
While most will expect me to reply that open source software is no good, that isn’t going to happen, because I don’t believe open source or free software is bad.
In fact, there are a lot of examples of great open source software and a lot of excellent initiatives come out of open source development.
However, I would consider looking at these two options more objectively and more thoroughly before deciding.
For a simple requirement, like quickly adding a forum section to a personal website, the open source, free option might be a good fit.
On the contrary, if you are considering social software for your business collaboration, social intranet, or your internal social network, I would lean towards a paid option -- and here are some reasons why:
Social software platforms for business can’t really be compared in any way to "bottled water," but there IS an inherent value in paid platforms that have specifically been designed and developed for this particular purpose.
It also offers you peace of mind, knowing that you’re purchasing a product that is meant to help you solve a business need and that there is someone who stands behind it, ready to back what is delivered to you.
All things considered, what does ‘free’ signify for your business -- and then think about:
Is what you are getting really "free?"
Tim is a co-founder and president of Axero and the author of his forthcoming book, Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Break Down the Invisible Barriers to Employee Engagement. He's spilt insightful ink on the pages of Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, CNBC, Today, and other top publications.
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