Open Solutions Alliance Expands Into Europe

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"There's a group of regionally-focused ISVs in Europe who believe in the OSA mission and interoperability," he said. "They expressed concern that our energy was focused more overall on the American market." By opening a European chapter of the organization, the OSA hopes to cultivate a more global community dedicated to open solution awareness and advocacy.

Sartorio said eight companies have verbally stated their intent to join the European chapter. Several of those companies are based in France, which led the OSA to consider incorporating in that country. However, factors like eligibility for public funding, which varies by country, will factor into that decision. Election of the president, treasurer and secretary, which will be handled by the five-member board of the European chapter, will take place later this year.

"Now is the time to declare the global relevance of our mission," he said. "We want the OSA to be executing around the world and be there for these companies." The European chapter is only the first stage of a broader global expansion Sartorio says will spread next to Japan. "Certainly before the year is over there will be a Japanese company in the OSA," he says. "Once you have three companies you can form a chapter."

In the midst of expansion, Sartorio says finding a mix of independence and organizational alignment will be key priorities. "The idea of having separate entities regionally focused seemed the way to go," he says. "You have local governance, local priorities, local budgets." He says baking interoperability and a clear message focus into the organizational structure is essential to any chapter openings. "Business development and community development can happen regionally, but we have to stay aligned on those two points," he says.

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A year from now, Sartorio hopes to have established a Latin American chapter and a greater China chapter, as well as the Japan chapter. "I really feel the industry is at an inflection point where winners are going to be separated from losers," he says. "Those best practices are going to become clear and interoperability is going to be a key to success."

Sartorio hopes the announcement will draw more open source companies into the organization from around the world, creating an active community dedicated to open solutions. "The overall mission is to make the adoption of commercial open source easier and reduce the barriers," he says. "Anything we can do to bring more people into the fold will create that network effect."