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Open FinTech Forum Offers Tips for Open Source Success

Enterprise open source adoption has its own set of challenges, but it becomes easier if you have a clear plan to follow. At Open FinTech Forum, Ibrahim Haddad provides guidelines based on proven practices.

2018 marks the year that open source disrupts yet another industry, and this time it’s financial services. The first-ever Open FinTech Forum, happening October 10-11 in New York City, focuses on the intersection of financial services and open source. It promises to provide attendees with guidance on building internal open source programs along with an in-depth look at cutting-edge technologies being deployed in the financial sector, such as AI, blockchain/distributed ledger, and Kubernetes.

Several factors make Open FinTech Forum special, but the in-depth sessions on day 1 especially stand out. The first day offers five technical tutorials, as well as four working discussions covering open source in an enterprise environment, setting up an open source program office, ensuring license compliance, and best practices for contributing to open source projects.

Enterprise open source adoption has its own set of challenges, but it becomes easier if you have a clear plan to follow. At Open FinTech, I’ll present a tutorial session called “Using Open Source: An Enterprise Guide,” which provides a detailed discussion on how to use open source. We’ll start by answering the question, “Why Open Source,” then discuss how to build an internal supporting infrastructure and look at some lessons learned from over two decades of enterprise open source experience. This session — run under the Chatham House Rule — offers a workshop-style environment that is a mix of presentation and discussion triggered by audience questions. The workshop is divided into five sections, explored below.

Why Open Source?

This question may seem trivial but it’s a very important consideration that even the most open source mature companies revisit regularly. In this part of the workshop, we’ll examine seven key reasons why enterprises should engage with open source software, regardless of industry and focus, and how they can gain incredible value from such engagements.

The Importance of Open Source Strategy

Going through the exercise of establishing an open source strategy is a great way to figure out your company’s current position and its future goals with respect to open source. These strategy discussions will usually evolve around goals you’d like to achieve, along with why and how you’d like to achieve them. In this part of the tutorial, we discuss the many questions to consider when determining your open source strategy and tie that to your product and services strategy for a path to a better ROI.

Implementing an Open Source infrastructure

Once you have identified your company’s open source strategy, you need to build infrastructure to support your open source efforts and investments. That infrastructure should act as a enabler for your efforts in using open source, complying with license, contributing to projects, and leading initiatives. In the workshop, I’ll present these various elements that together form an incredible enabling environment for your open source efforts.

Recommended Practices (17 of them)

When IBM pledged to spend $1 billion on Linux R&D back in 2000, it was a major milestone. IBM was a pioneer in the enterprise open source world, and the company had to learn a lot about working with open source software and the various communities. Other companies have since followed suit, and many more are now entering open source as it becomes the new normal of software development.  The question is: How can you minimize the enterprise learning curve on your own open source journey? We’ve got you covered. In this talk, we’ll explore 17 lessons learned from nearly two decades of enterprise experience with open source software.


Beyond implementing these best practices, open source adoption requires a cultural shift from traditional software development practices to a more open and collaborative mindset. Internal company dynamics need to be favorable to open source efforts. As an open source leader inside your organization, you will face several challenges in terms of funding resources, justifying ROI, getting upstream focus, etc. These challenges often require a major shift in mindset and a lot of education up the chain. We will explore various considerations relating to culture, processes, tools, continuity, and education to ensure you are on track to open source success in your organization.

We hope to see you at Open FinTech Forum for an informative and high-value event.

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Ibrahim Haddad