The Battle of Open Source Workflow vs. Proprietary Software
The Battle of Open Source Workflow vs. Proprietary Solutions
Posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2016

The term “workflow” is becoming more and more popular within organizations because in order to stay efficient under mountains of ongoing and legacy digital data, companies must continually assess and adjust the way they look at workflow. Workflow is now considered an essential component to a healthy and productive workplace. The implementation of a successful workflow system will take some effort and resources.


There are many workflow solutions to choose from in the market. Having the correct type of workflow management system is important in order to run a productive business. The core functionalities of any workflow system include: the ingestion and digestion of data, the ability to track your digital assets, and the ability to map, track and monitor your business processes. It’s important to choose the right solution that will be able to scale and grow with your business and evolving workflows.


One of the many reasons that organizations turn to open source software is for the freedom and flexibility that isn’t offered with proprietary applications. With proprietary applications, customers are tightly locked into the requirements and vision of the software that they are paying for. At the very least, customers using proprietary software are locked in until they pay for a change or customization.


Southpaw Technology provides both an open source workflow management system and a proprietary TACTIC | Workflow product, with hosting solutions for both Cloud and On-Premise. At a first glance, it may seem that the open source solution has a few advantages however, they also come at a cost. This article will provide you with a comprehensive review of the main advantages and disadvantages of an open source workflow management system.


Advantages for Using TACTIC Open Source


The Cost

Open source solutions typically have no upfront cost and are accessible to every user without purchasing any license or obligation. It makes financial sense to explore open source options. More and more companies and organizations are investigating these options. As mentioned above, there is in fact a cost; that being some degree of developer time to get it working to the desired level. This can be an advantage for large companies with developer teams already on payroll.


High Quality

TACTIC open source is a mature DAM, Project Management and Workflow solution, designed by skilled and talented programmers to ensure the highest standard. To learn more about organizations that have used TACTIC Open Source as a foundation for their particular DAM, Project Management and workflow needs, please see our TACTIC Success Stories for more information.


It’s important to note here that “free” doesn’t mean substandard. Web, cloud and mobile apps are predominantly built on open source platforms. Architectures of the future will most likely be based off an open source platform – such as mobile solutions on the Android platform for example. Did you know that open source solutions are often used, and sometimes mandated in enterprise environments? These solutions are required to perform at the same if not superior level and functionality as any competing proprietary software application.


Flexibility and Agility

The sky’s the limit when it comes to freedom and flexibility with the TACTIC framework. Connect as many aspects of an enterprise together as desired through TACTIC’s open API. Open source users can mix and match different systems to create the most suitable infrastructure for their particular needs. If a desired function isn’t available out of the box, it can be created without having to wait for the vendor to implement it. Users can get as agile as they want with the technology, giving them the ability solve problems in multiple ways – typically a big selling point to the adventurous developer in your group.  We see customers using TACTIC for a variety of specific uses such as managing: real estate facilities (i.e. malls), human resources departments, construction projects and scientific research.  


Disadvantages of Open Source Systems



While there is an extensive community of users who can help you troubleshoot issues and answer questions, keep in mind that can take significant labour hours. If you decide to build your own solution and need some help along the way, a TACTIC support team can provide you with all the help you need to build your own enterprise solution on top of the TACTIC framework.



In order to execute the open source system you may need a few specialized skill sets in house. Even if you have the workforce, you may not have the labour hours needed for install and set up. You may also want to consider training staff to help use and maintain the software. This consideration applies to any software you use in house. The less technical expertise you have, the more likely you will need professional support for your open source software. The TACTIC team is available onsite and offsite anywhere in the world and is able to handle any TACTIC implementation or customization regardless of complexity or depth of deployment.


Open Source Workflow vs. Proprietary Solution

Make sure your open source workflow solution is a mature product that provides regular updates, enhancements and new features. If you’re in the market for an open source workflow solution, it’s important to weigh the pro’s and con’s. Open source software may be very cost effective in several situations, but it requires more technical skills than buying out of the box (which is actually a myth for large workflow deployments). Companies may end up spending more time and money configuring the right solution and training their users to the level needed to use the software efficiently.  Often that is well planned for in advance, but not always.


TACTIC | Workflow is recommended as the quickest solution for enterprise clients since it contains features that are an important part of every successful business. TACTIC | Workflow is a refined product designed by TACTIC engineers over the past several years to provide a real world solution to the problems brought to us by large enterprise companies with complex workflow needs. We like to say that 80% of the DNA for most industry or requirements is found  in this product and customers find that to be a very good starting point for a deployment. The other 20% does come with an implementation or deployment cost whether that is done by Southpaw or by internal programmers in order to implement and refine how it works for specific business needs. An added benefit is that this solution is built on the TACTIC open source framework; this allows for great long term savings by having unlimited extensibility and adaptation ability down the road. You will never hit a glass ceiling.


Check out our Customer Stories for more insight on how TACTIC can manage your workflow.


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