New “Collaborative Software Initiative” Partners with HP, IBM and Novell with Investment Backing by OVP Venture Partners
Former Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) CEO Stuart Cohen today launched a new company that will solve shared enterprise IT problems by bringing together companies to develop software at half the cost of outsourcing. The company, Collaborative Software Initiative (CSI), is pioneering a market-changing process that applies open source methodologies to business communities facing similar IT challenges.
Evan Bauer, financial services industry veteran and former chief technology officer at Credit Suisse First Boston, will partner with Cohen to lead the projects and develop the technology architecture as chief technology officer for CSI.
CSI is initially working with industry leaders HP, IBM and Novell to help vertical industries identify and scope projects where collaboration among industry peers can meet requirements quicker and with less expense.
“Business IT managers working in vertical industries have fundamental software challenges that can be effectively addressed by working with a trusted partner and like-minded industry peers. The Collaborative Software Initiative facilitates those partnerships by bringing together customers with similar IT issues to lower costs for essential but non-core software,” said Daniel Frye, vice president, Open Systems Development, IBM. “CSI represents the next round of innovation for open development and will be the catalyst for bringing customers together to tackle shared IT challenges.”
Government and industry standards are driving much of today’s software development, prompting IT managers to outsource fundamental projects that require too much time and money. CSI offers a better way, based on more than 10 years of proven methodologies in open source development. This approach, called Collaborative Software, is software developed or acquired by a variety of like-minded companies at a fraction of internal development or outsourcing costs. For applications that don’t enable competitive advantage or are associated with non-value added activities such as compliance, Collaborative Software allows business managers to maintain individual control and direction over a project while accelerating compliance, reducing costs and consolidating project timelines.
“With the successful adoption of Linux and open source software, we are really on the cusp of a new wave in software development where business managers are looking to cooperatively develop software to meet their industry application needs,” said Stuart Cohen, CEO of the Collaborative Software Initiative. “CSI provides an experienced partner to form communities where today none exist and together build Collaborative Software that can be maintained and updated.”
“Free and open source software principles are carrying the software market forward and putting older, largely proprietary, ways of doing business to the test,” said Eben Moglen, chair of the Software Freedom Law Center and pioneer in the FOSS movement. “By adapting these principles to collaborative computing among industries, the CSI is formalizing an important step in the FOSS evolution.”
The company has received financing from early-stage venture capital firm OVP Venture Partners.
“There is a tremendous demand for community source innovations, and Stuart is the best person around to determine how to commercialize these efforts,” said Gerry Langeler, general partner at OVP Venture Partners and CSI board member. “This is a terrifically exciting endeavor and we are delighted to be working with him.”
CSI will form the project community and provides the central project management function for developing Collaborative Software, including development, testing and support for the code. The CSI will also offer the software to a broader base of customers under the open source licensing or Software as a Service (Saas) models.
“The Collaborative Software Initiative is the next logical step in the evolution of the Open Source industry,” said Brian Behlendorf, founder of CollabNet and co-founder of the Apache Software Foundation. “It will bring the next wave of companies into this proven model for writing software together - with the shared goals of eliminating redundant efforts, saving time and money, and using the best practices of successful Open Source developer communities to ensure quality and longevity.”
“Developing software applications for vertical industries represents a unique challenge for both business managers and IT managers,” said Ron Hovsepian, president and chief executive officer at Novell. “The Collaborative Software Initiative effectively addresses those challenges by using an open source development model to bring together customers with similar IT challenges to jointly develop essential but non-competitive applications. We look forward to many of these applications running on top of our SUSE Linux Enterprise platform.”