Once upon a time there was the principle of Pareto and thanks to the roots of open mindedness in companies maybe one day it will be no more.

There is, in fact, untapped potential within companies, all companies, large and small, where ideas can be neglected and technology taken for granted and Jan Wildeboer, open source evangelist Emea of Red Hat

Businesses today tend to suffer from a decrease in returns due to an imbalance between input and output.

This phenomenon is characterized, precisely, by the so-called Principle of Pareto, better known as rule 80/20, which observes that 80% of the work is carried out by 20% of the staff, or even, as 20% of the customers generate 80% of the revenues. But it could also be said that 20% of the functionality is used alone in an application and the

This phenomenon has also crept into the digital strategy, influencing the computer stack of almost all large companies, limited by a situation where only 20% of the functionality of the code is guaranteed to guarantee margin and competitive advantage.

All effort is concentrated on 20% of IT and digital resources, while the remaining 80% of software and legacy equipment is treated as utility.

Wildeboer talks about operating systems, containerized solutions, libraries, storage and networks. An 80% subject to corrections and maintenance, but rarely benefiting from ‘agili’ strategies, investments and updates of ‘next generation’ dedicated to the remaining 20%.

The non-competitive factor and human touch

Companies continue to hide this 80% for fear of giving up trade secrets, but it is useless, because it is the non-competitive portion. By adopting a culture of openness and inclusiveness, companies are able to standardise and optimize essential technologies. This is the true value of the open source.

The path to innovation begins with the complete inventory of digital goods. Turning 80% into collective intellectual property allows companies to share ideas and best practices, ensuring a constant improvement in the satisfaction of business needs thanks to the participation of communities, developers and employees.

The human aspect is often overlooked in large organizations. People are the lifeblood of every company, they are their energy and their ideas that make the business progress. Just like 80%, the workforce is also a source of untapped potential. The two things are inextricably linked and cannot function successfully without each other.

Open source means building from bottom up

Today, in most organisations, individuals, frustrated by the lack of innovation, are likely to have already presented possible solutions. Unfortunately, with so much emphasis on innovation, management tends to pay less attention to these suggestions, losing important advice and feedback on the way.

This problem, for Wildeboer, can be solved almost immediately by adopting rule 80/20 and starting to actively invite non-technical staff to participate in discussions that concern the business in general. Their contribution is priceless. The culture of openness and collaboration on which the open source is based must be extended to the whole organization.

The commercial advantages of the 80/20 model include significant cost savings and a reduction in dependence on proprietary software and supplier solutions. However, the cultural benefits are even wider.

The feeling of forward thrust and optimism that generates helps companies keep people brighter and attract new talents. And it is precisely by cultivating talent and developing internal solutions that companies can reverse the Pareto Principle.

Working on percentages

Finally, for Wildeboer, 20% should not be excluded from this process. Companies will always have to protect top-secret projects and sensitive business data, but the R&D will benefit greatly from a more open and collaborative culture.

Why? Because it leads to a constant flow of observations and ideas to feed software development at every level of the organization. Rather than leaving the decision-making process to a small group of developers and engineers, there will be a real consensus on which systems and applications to focus.

Consent which may be used to decide whether a non-competitive application is necessary for a specific use case, placing it in the category of

Or if something new and innovative is needed to give the business a competitive advantage, by entering it into the 20% category. In both cases, companies no longer have to adhere to strict rules that dictate how to balance existing and innovation, but can focus on the latter at all levels of the organisation.

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