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March - 2011 - issue > 10 Most Promising IT Services Companies
CIGNEX Creating value for Enterprises using Open Source
Vimali Swamy
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
United Business Media Information (UBMi), a leading Media and Publishing company, has five different platforms — UBM Live, UBM Built Environment, UBM Connect, UBM Conferences and UBM International Media to deliver integrated media solutions to around 20 international industry sectors. To do this it was using multiple website platforms including Webvision, Contribute, Miramedia, Emojo, ASP and more across the 100 plus brands it serviced. In addition to the lack of a uniform platform, UBMi also found it difficult to provide customer support due to shortage of skilled manpower for tools like Webvision, Contribute, Emojo, which meant everything had to be planned well in advance – with no room for any last minute changes required.

With these challenges proving to be an obstacle for scaling its business, UBMi approached CIGNEX, a provider of Commercial Open Source solutions, to help it overcome the issues by deploying Liferay Portal. Liferay, the leading Open Source Portal solution, provided upfront reduction in license fees, flexibility & freedom to develop on the existing code, highly scalable & reusable across multiple brands and businesses and huge reduction in Total Cost of Ownership - in excess of 76 percent over traditional, proprietary Portal solutions. In the past 20 months, UBMi has rolled out over 70 websites across Expo / Conference, Magazine suites, community Portals, and others using Liferay.

Open Source & CIGNEX
Founded in 2000, Santa Clara, California headquartered CIGNEX provides Open Source solutions across Web Content Management, Portals & Social Collaboration, e-commerce, Digital Asset Management, Documents & Records Management, Business Process Management, Business Intelligence, ERP & CRM, SOA using tools such as Alfresco, Liferay, Magento e-commerce, Pentaho, Compiere, Open ERP, Drupal, Intalio, JBoss, Mulesource, and many more.

“In today’s cost conscious industry, usage of enterprise software solutions tends to take a toll on an organization’s financials. Deploying a cost-effective, yet fully-functional & performance-oriented solution is a dilemma faced by almost every CIO. At CIGNEX, we address this problem by helping enterprises migrate to Open Source tools & technologies through our proven Open Source Adoption Methodology,” says Amit Babaria, President & EVP – Sales & Marketing, Americas for CIGNEX.
CIGNEX achieves this by — a) integrating Open Source solutions with existing Line of Business solutions, and b) managing the contradictory demands of reducing IT spend while rolling out new solutions. The uniqueness in the entire engagement is the fact that the services provided are tailored to suit each client’s specific requirement and integrated to provide end-to-end solutions. In the last decade, CIGNEX has recorded over 200 successful implementations in premier companies across High Tech Manufacturing, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Banking Financial Services & Insurance, Education, Telecom, Media & Entertainment and Government.

Why Open Source?
The traditional, proprietary software model, today, is in the midst of a paradigm shift. Open Source Software (OSS), which until recently was considered only for academia or internal projects, has become the change agent. Enterprise-ready Commercial Open Source products are changing the way enterprises are adopting new solutions with low or no license fees, implementations that take half as long, minimal maintenance fee and more importantly, ownership of source code. Apart from better performance, reliability, scalability, security, support, clearly defined upgrade path and indemnification, Open Source helps 50 – 70 percent reduction in cost - across license procurement, implementation, deployment, maintenance, support, hardware and more - over proprietary technologies.

“Even with regards to standards, OSS is easier to integrate with external systems as against proprietary technologies. At the same time, it provides faster turn-around time in terms of business requirements, easy adoption to business changes, better risk mitigation, freedom from vendor lock-in, licensing and flexibility. Clients are also very happy with the opportunity to test OSS in their environment using the free Community Edition, before making a financial commitment to the Enterprise Edition of Commercial OSS” explains Babaria.

This is the advantage that CIGNEX hopes to bring to its clients. Out of more than 200,000 Open Source products, CIGNEX reduces risk as well as time to market by suggesting enterprise-ready Open Source products for client adoption. Clients can save time and money by reusing the code/features created by CIGNEX. With the largest resource pool of Open Source technology consisting of over 400 Open Source experts, CIGNEX supports its clients with a distributed development model with onsite, state-side and offshore centers. CIGNEX is the Global Platinum Partner to both Alfresco & Liferay – the leading ECM & Portal solutions providers. Additionally, it has forged deep partnerships with Magento, Intalio, Compiere, Open ERP and RedHat.

Unique Service offerings
A pure play Open Source services and consulting provider, CIGNEX leverages enterprise-ready Open Source products and provides end to end implementation and support services. Its bouquet of services include Enterprise Content Management solutions, Web Content Management, Document & Records, Management, Digital Asset Management using Alfresco and Drupal, Portals & Social Collaboration using Liferay, e-Commerce through Magento, ERP solutions using Compiere and Open ERP, Business Process Management using Intalio & JBoss and Business Intelligence solutions using Pentaho, Talend & Jasper.

CIGNEX partners with its clients to successfully adopt OSS tools and technologies through a combination of Migration, Implementation & Roll-out, Custom Development and Integration activities. Additionally, it also offers maintenance and support to the enterprise solutions it has rolled out. “We have also invested in developing solution frameworks, termed as Accelerators, to help clients jumpstart the OSS adoption process. Some of the Accelerators developed by CIGNEX include Contract Lifecycle Management, Migration Toolkit from Documentum to Alfresco, etc. The Accelerators help our clients reduce upfront cost of adopting / migrating to Open Source,” says Babaria.

While adopting Open Source provides tremendous benefits to Enterprises, CIGNEX faces the following challenges while approaching potential clients. “Lack of awareness on the maturity of & support extended by Commercial Open Source Software is the biggest challenge hampering adoption. Established proprietary software companies restrict adoption of OSS at clients where they are deeply embedded. Large System Integrators also dissuade clients from adopting OSS due to reduction in lifetime value of revenue potential to them,” Babaria states.

To overcome these, CIGNEX has been taking several initiatives to evangelize the benefits of Commercial Open Source. Education through seminars, webinars, speaking at industry forums & workshops; hosting ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions for Enterprise clients; organizing ‘Blue-sky” days for Enterprises to share the OSS landscape and conducting community workshops to improve support, maintenance and upgrades. CIGNEX has also been at the forefront of providing training on Open Source technologies through a combination of Public & Private training programs. Besides the training programs on all the leading Open Source platforms, CIGNEX also encourages its employees to author books (eight books have been released till date), contribute code to Open Source communities and promote OSS through blogs and other forums.

Looking into Future
Today, a decade since its founding, CIGNEX has executed over 200 solutions using Open Source technologies globally for leading enterprises. At any given point in time, CIGNEX has over 50 ongoing client engagements to implement OSS solutions. Though slow, Open Source Software (OSS) adoption has been experiencing a very robust growth globally — with OSS revenues expected to reach $5.8 billion this year. As per Gartner, by 2016 OSS will be included in mission-critical software portfolios within 99 percent of Global 2000 enterprises, up from 75 percent in 2010, and 50 percent of leading non-IT organizations will use OSS as a business strategy to gain competitive advantage. This holds a strong promise for a company like CIGNEX.

To tap this opportunity CIGNEX is pursuing a three-pronged strategy to benefit from the immense potential in Open Source services and consulting — increased vertical focus, driving community adoption and leveraging Cloud computing. “Through our close relationship with our clients, we have gained tremendous functional expertise across verticals and are in a position to add significant value to our clients. There also exists a huge opportunity to reduce TCO further by lowering cost of software implementation on a cloud platform driven by Open Source technologies,” says Babaria.

CIGNEX looks very well placed to help its clients take advantage of deploying Open Source based business applications by delivering maximum bang for their IT budgets.
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