You have a lot of decisions to make when you run a business. Something as simple as getting your business equipped with all the right software isn’t as simple as it sounds. Not only do you have to choose between different kinds of software, you also have to choose between open and closed source software options.

Before you make important software decisions for your business, you have to understand the difference between open and closed source software.

Open source software allows computer codes to be accessed by other users. The programming can be shared, viewed, and modified by any other users, which can make changing the software to fit the needs of your business extremely easy.

Closed source software is protected by a licensing agreement. This kind of software comes with modification, copying, and republishing restrictions. It is the opposite of an open source program.

The question is, what kind of software works best as open source, and which software works best as closed source?

Use Open Source Software with Learning Management Systems

According to eThink, “An LMS allows you to manage content, record and measure learning, store learner data, and communicate with (and enable communication amongst) users.” That is important for businesses that want to ensure their workforce is well-trained, and it’s popular with companies that support continuing education.

Open source software can make it a lot easier. With an open platform, you can build the features of your curriculum how and when you want. It is easy to integrate the software with other systems, and you can easily add classes that have been developed by others.

Use Open Source Software with Content Management Systems

Managing content is a huge job that often requires a team of multiple employees. Having open source software makes it easy for everyone on the team to manage content conveniently.

Just some types of content that can benefit from open source software include:

  • Blog article publishing
  • Social media management
  • Email newsletters

Managing an entire website can be a lot easier with an open source system. For example, WordPress is one of the largest, most well-known open source software platforms in the world. It is even recommended to new businesses and startups by many industry leaders.

Open Source Is Great for Employee Platforms

Getting your employees to speak up is no easy feat. Providing them with the right software can encourage them to communicate with management and each other.

It might include programs like:

  • Intranet software with information that is available to all employees and managers.
  • Private messaging and chat software that can be used for professional and personal use.
  • Internal blogs and videos can encourage employees to interact with each other.
  • Discussion forums are a great place for employees to ask questions quickly and easily.

Chose Closed Source with Important Information Systems

Although open source software has many benefits and it’s recommended with some business systems, it shouldn’t be the software of choice for other types of programs.

For example, keeping business data safe and secure is extremely important. Open source platforms enable anyone to access the code in the program, putting your information at risk. Choose closed source software instead. It prevents anyone without the proper access from modifying, seeing, or copying things like customer information, production processes, and more.

Closed Source Is Best When You Need Service and Support

What works best for one business may not work well for another. Whether it’s maintaining a website or you’re measuring analytics, you may find it easier and more accurate to have someone else help you.

For the most part, you can expect businesses that create software to provide closed source solutions. That gives them control over their product, but it also means they will provide you with service and support when you need it.

There are many full-service software companies out there. In some cases, you may want to choose a close source option, even when an open sourced option is available. For example, most people prefer to pay for and use Microsoft Office products instead of a program like LibreOffice. If managing a website sounds like too much work, you may want to approach a closed source software company instead of doing it yourself.

As is the case with every detail of your business, it is important to weigh your software options carefully. In some cases, open source software might be the best choice for your business, while closed source might be a better choice in other cases.