Collaborate with Open Source: Your Ideal Product Development Strategy

Bringing new products to market or adding features to existing products is essential for any company looking to differentiate itself.  But finding the best way to turn an idea or concept into the final product is tricky and requires a lot of decision-making. For example, if you work in the product management community, you’ve likely been faced with the decision to

  1. Buy or license components already existing in the market, 
  2. Build the component yourself, or 
  3. Partner with another company with proprietary libraries and products 

Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages.

• Fast to market
• No long-term maintenance is required
• Lack of full ownership
• Recurrent expense with license fees
• Customization is difficult
• Full ownership
• Builds internal expertise to maintain and extend the product
• Major investment of internal resources
• Often requires hiring and onboarding employees with a new skill set
• Slow to market 
• Fast to market
• Ability to tap into external expertise and pool resources
• Access to new markets
• Frees resources to focus on core competencies
• Potential third-party dependencies
• Challenging contract negotiation, to work out details of intellectual property ownership

Good, Better, Best – But What About Ideal?

If you’re looking to go to market quickly, buying or licensing a solution is often very appealing in the short term. But in the long term, you end up missing out on the benefits of full ownership and you may end up paying even more than you anticipated because of recurring licensing fees.

On the other hand, building your own solution gives you a lot of control but requires a major investment, especially if you need to hire employees with a new skill set. And with this option it’s difficult to go to market quickly, so you risk losing a competitive edge.

Partnering with another company to make your product market-ready requires a smaller capital investment than the buy or the build options and fits better with small and medium-sized companies. Also, this strategy makes it easier for companies to take on high-risk projects, without the fear of experiencing a major loss in investment if their goals suddenly pivot. When you partner with a company with the right set of skills, the probability of failure is lowered. While the partner option provides many benefits, it does not come without risks. For example, you could face potential third-party dependencies and challenging contract negotiations if the partnership is built on top of proprietary libraries and patents. 

So while it appears you have “good/better/best” options, the reality is none of these may be the ideal solution for you. What if there was a different solution that allows you to maximize all the benefits with minimal risk? 

Why You Should Collaborate with Open Source 

The option to Collaborate with Open Source has gained traction through the years. It eliminates the risks involved in the standard buy, build, and partner options and provides numerous benefits, including source code ownership, cost-effectiveness, flexibility and agility, and security. The trick to reaping these benefits is to collaborate with the right company and build on the right type of open source software. At Kitware, we believe that customer intimacy plays a crucial role in differentiating  a “good” partner from a true collaborator. We work closely with customers to plan and develop technology, and we apply our domain expertise to create custom commercial solutions that work for you and your team. Kitware builds these custom solutions on top of our open source software, so you not only save time and money, but you own the results.  

Kitware is known for designing, building, and maintaining some of the world’s most widely used open source platforms such as 3D Slicer, VTK, ITK, ParaView, and CMake. We’re proud of our reputation in the research community as well. We regularly perform our own research using these open source platforms, as evidenced by our extensive list of publications. And we have found that this formula works, as we have been collaborating with customers to develop custom software for nearly 25 years. That’s why we are confident that Kitware’s experts, technology, and processes will benefit your project too.

Make Kitware Part of Your Product Development Strategy

As you explore options for your product development strategy, consider how collaborating with Kitware can provide a unique advantage to help you bring your innovative technology to market. Request a meeting with our technical experts for more information.

Leave a Reply