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How enterprises use Github may predict whether they disrupt or are disrupted

Steven Max Patterson | Feb. 23, 2016
Success or failure in the disruption and transformation cycle may hinge on participation in Github’s repository and open source communities.

Jim O'Neill, Chief People Officer at inbound marketing platform as a service (PaaS) company Hubspot, confirmed the central role that Github plays in tech companies’ human resources. He says that his team learns much more from a candidate’s Github account than from his or her LinkedIn profile. He developed this innovator’s perspective prior to leading HR, when, as Hubspot’s CIO, he was building out its PaaS using open source software and commodity infrastructure that is very similar to that employed by Alphabet and Facebook. 

As a former CIO taking the HR helm to attract and retain the best digital talent, O’Neill confirms Srivastava’s observations about the maturation of Github’s enterprise customers. Transformation hinges on attracting the best talent with new software development skills.

Enterprises committed to their own transformation can’t lurk about as an observer of the open source community; they have to rise and become community leaders or the most talented developers won’t join them as employees or contribute to the open source projects that are vital to the organization’s future. At this point, Srivastava said that enterprises start to think about building a community specifically designed to achieve its goals.

Github’s collaboration affects the enterprise from inside and out. Talented developers are life-long learners. They invest their personal time to learn to program with new languages and to learn new frameworks and methods. Their personal projects drew them to Github years ago.

Enterprises embracing open innovation need a platform that is both an exclusive repository for proprietary development and inclusive of the open source community. The forces of the developers’ personal Github choice combines with the need for a collaborative enterprise repository that is inclusive of open source communities to influence enterprises to adopt Github.

The walls around the bastions of proprietary software Apple and Microsoft have crumbled from the compelling strategic reasons for open innovation. Keepers pointed out that Apple open sourced its Swift programming language to achieve the dual goals of better understanding what Apple’s independent developers need to build innovative apps and to forge closer ties with them. And Microsoft can’t keep its customers and move them to its Azure cloud without independently developed open source software and open sourcing its own technology, such as .Net and Visual Studio.

Srivastava spoke about Walmart, an enterprise customer that has open sourced OneOps, a cloud management tool it uses internally to run the infrastructure for e-commerce sites so that companies can more easily build cloud apps independent of Amazon’s proprietary cloud. Another enterprise reference point is John Deere’s innovation lab in Germany that both Srivastava mentioned as one Github’s most innovative customers and Dr. Frank Fitzek of the 5G lab at the Technical University in Dresden cited as building industry-leading technology for autonomous farm equipment. Srivastava also referred to similar but confidential developments in the financial industry.


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