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The hidden cost of open source scheduling software

July 31, 2015

For some business purposes open source software makes a lot of sense, but open source scheduling software does not and will cost your business money instead of saving you money. We've got a lot of experience with open source software here at Zuus Workforce. As a CEO, I can give you a pretty clear line in the sand for when to consider open source software and when not to. If the users of the software have a three year computer science/software development degree or similar, then for their workflows using open source software makes a lot of sense. There are many open source development tools that are incredibly effective - in fact some of them are best of breed and by utilising them you can keep the costs of your end product down. Our customers have realised considerable software cost savings from our use of open source development tools.

However, if the users in your business have non-technical responsibilities, like office admin, payroll, sales, frontline managers, customer service staff - then open source is not the right way to go and will end up costing your business dearly. Hence, open source staff scheduling is not a good idea.

Open source staff scheduling is not recommended for following 4 reasons.

1. The time, cost & frustration spent configuring open source software

For a company planning on deploying an open source scheduling solution, to have any chance it must already have experienced system administrators on the books. It will then take some time for those administrators to get up to speed with the new system being deployed. Often the cost of the system administrator will far exceed the cost of a commercial solution. A good software as a service (SaaS) scheduling solution will have easy ways for a layperson to administer the system, which saves you lots on hardware and IT professionals. IT professionals will still be needed for certain size organisations but they can spend their time on more important tasks than administering your operational software.

2. Excess training and ‘work around’ costs

Open source scheduling software is often put together by a team of volunteers, and thus if it becomes less popular is at risk of becoming abandoned over time. This leaves existing users without any support and the solution itself becomes stagnant. The available features will often not suit your full requirement set and you might deploy time consuming ‘work arounds’ that do not even end up giving you the exact solution to the problem you are trying to solve which costs you money. On the other hand, commercial systems are forced to respond to technology change and market demand or they risk being overtaken by a competitor.

3. User acceptance of commercial vs open source scheduling software

Open source software is generally purpose-built to fulfil a need by developers, with developers in mind. The way these developers use software is often vastly different from ordinary users. There isn't any reason for the developers to refine the user experience (UX) - if it works for them, they are justifiably happy. Commercial systems have to go that extra mile to ensure that ordinary users aren't ostracised. Lack of your staff user enjoyment leads to reduced staff morale, which has a significant impact on quality of service, and in turn customer satisfaction will suffer and the end result is likely reduced revenue.

4. Commercial scheduling solutions are driven to deliver a tangible return on your investment

For you to continue paying for a staff scheduling solution the software must deliver a tangible return on investment with savings in time, dollars, improved efficiencies and transparencies across your organisation. Thus the development of commercial solutions is focused on providing ROI and proving this ROI to you. Paid scheduling software will help you scale and grow which adds extra returns on your investment. A good scheduling solution will make you money, where as an open source scheduling software system gobble it up.

It's for these 4 reasons and their associated hidden costs that we don't recommend using open source scheduling software. Over 3 years the total cost of ownership of open source scheduling software will be higher than paid alternatives, and most likely jeopardise your opportunity to grow and improve your profit margins.

Zuus continuously delivers more than $500 savings per staff per year, helps you achieve your growth plans, and is easy to administer and use.[blox_row][blox_column width="1/1"][blox_button text="Request a demo now" link="/enquire-now/" target="1" style="3d" color="#27ae60" icon="icon-hand-o-up" size="xlarge" align="center" animation="bottom-to-top"/][/blox_column][/blox_row]

About the Author: Rachael Skinner

Rachael Skinner

Rachael Skinner is CEO and founder of ZUUS Workforce Inc.Rachael has 18 years experience in managing teams, owning and managing businesses. Rachael has helped thousands of retail, hospitality, manufacturing and health care businesses improve their labor efficiency.