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BJSS Expertise: Open Source

Community-developed software platforms and frameworks are increasingly adopted by organisations of all sizes to execute business-critical functions. BJSS has been at the forefront of this evolution, demonstrating across numerous clients through design, delivery and subsequent operation, that Open Source software is a legitimate alternative. 

BJSS has extensive experience of helping to select and developing applications for execution on Open Source platforms. Using an Open Source technology platform doesn’t mean compromising on quality, reliability, resilience, scalability or support. Technical quality is often comparable to or even better than proprietary products. Most Open Source technologies will have one or more commercial companies providing support, but because there’s a competitive marketplace – or at least the possibility of one developing – this motivates the support providers to do the right thing by their customers. As a result, Open Source can lower cost across the lifecycle and eliminate vendor lock-in.

Selecting the right Open Source platform components to work with is still important. The lower cost of entry into the market means that while popular Open Source platforms experience massive growth and great longevity, less successful ones can quickly fall by the wayside, leaving adopters stranded. We can bring our experience to carrying out Agile due diligence processes, ensuring that the technologies work as expected, have robust communities and are supported well by commercial support providers.

On a smaller scale, Open Source components, frameworks and libraries can dramatically speed up application development by enabling large scale re-use. BJSS’s pragmatic, egoless culture means that we don’t suffer from a not-invented-here syndrome. We leverage Open Source frameworks, ranging from small footprint solutions to enterprise-scale, highly available, high volume, low latency implementations, from ubiquitous application and enterprise messaging platforms to Instant Messaging and automated software configuration and deployment technologies.

BJSS Open Source Expertise

Open Source Systems Delivery

  • Architectures based upon Open Source technologies
  • Integration of Open Source components
  • Technology selection expertise
  • Scalable, low-TCO systems
  • Application to Enterprise-Scale, Mission Critical and High Performance scenarios

Open Source Support

  • Support for individual components too small to have their own support providers, via self-support and participation in Open Source Projects
  • Full-system support, backing off to specialised support providers where necessary
  • Support for both development teams and deployed systems

Technology Platform Refresh for Legacy, Vendor-Based Architectures

  • Full system refresh
  • Database migration
  • Open Source messaging and application server / container adoption
  • Operating System transition
  • Reduction in TCO and mitigation of vendor lock-in

The new NHS e-Referral Service will harness some of the new technologies used by the most successful IT companies in the world and, using the latest Agile development techniques, will deliver a service designed and assured by the users, that patients want and the NHS needs to deliver modern and efficient healthcare.

NHS e-Referral Service (eRS) will succeed the existing Choose and Book service and provide an online referral and appointment booking system enabling NHS professionals and patients to select their preferred healthcare provider and appointments. eRS will replace proprietary software with an open flexible platform.

BJSS Delivered

An Open Source-based system that has removed reliance on proprietary software and creates an open flexible platform that is simple to integrate with. Based on seven Open Source tools, the new functionality was delivered using BJSS Enterprise Agile.

Benefits

The new service will easily integrate with other systems and will be hosted on commodity infrastructure. It will improve the quality of the referral experience, creating a more patient-centred, people-powered service. The system will make the NHS much easier to do business with, and will support the drive towards paperless referrals and a paperless NHS.

Thought Leadership: Open Source

Unlocking the Potential of Open Source Software and Agile Development

Organisations in both the public and private sector are discovering that thanks to advances in Open Source Software and agile delivery techniques, enterprise-scale software projects need not be as resource intensive or unpredictable as they used to be. Household names like Facebook, Spotify and Netflix all make extensive use of such technologies, demonstrating confidence in Open Source as a robust foundation for enterprise-scaleOpen Source offers a range of viable alternatives to commercial packages that spans the IT landscape from operating systems to databases and developer tools. Their ready availability makes evaluation straightforward and they offer potential for significant capital and operational cost savings. Other benefits include the opportunity for customisation and better support for open standards, both of which help improve interoperability with other systems. Openness can also lead to better security thanks to more responsive support from active developer communities when new security concerns are discovered.However, Open Source has hidden risks for the unwary:

  • Choose carefully. There are many options with a broad spectrum of quality and varying levels of community support.
  • Open Source can lack the warranties of traditional commercial products. Consider how you will ensure support across the lifetime of the system.
  • Understand the licensing and IPR implications. There are many different Open Source licensing schemes – be aware of the differences and your obligations.
  • Offerings that appeal to the development team might not be right for the job. Ensure strong technical governance to prevent the introduction of unnecessary complexity and inconsistency.

With better documentation, enhanced support options and Cloud deployments bringing greater flexibility and efficiency, Open Source continues to improve. But how do you ensure a predictable and reliable enterprise deployment? Agile techniques are sometimes criticised as unfit for enterprise-scale development. In reality, while not a universal panacea for IT delivery problems, an Agile approach tailored to the project and the organisation can deliver business value, more quickly and at a higher quality. Many organisations are successfully delivering robust enterprise-scale solutions by combining Open Source components with an agile delivery approach. They achieve efficient, predictable delivery by applying some key principles:

  • Encourage collaborative working – engage business experts, decision makers and operations people early and regularly throughout the project.
  • Avoid surprises at the end of the project by evaluating technical and functional risk and proving architecturally and functionally complex areas as early as possible.
  • Test early and continuously using automated tools where possible. Take real data from production for testing as soon as it is available and refresh it regularly.
  • Mission-critical projects require an appropriate project structure and level of formality to support incremental acceptance. Tailor the approach and tools to the project, environment and people.

IT is renowned for failing to live up to its hype, however when carefully undertaken by experienced practitioners implementations based upon Open Source components and delivered using an appropriate set of agile techniques can provide real cost and efficiency benefits.