All technology is proprietary. It is TCO that you need to be concerned about.

Updated: Nov 15, 2018

When IBM made the biggest technology business acquisition in history, buying RedHat for a record $USD 34 billion, somewhere, an angel died.


Not to be a frowny face on what I know many pundits have billed as good for both IBM and RedHat. Customers will see this as the removal of what was an opportunity to choose between two majorly different organisations. Beyond technology, two different delivery and cost models.

Despite the massive investment, the temptation, and let alone the real need to leverage this acquisition, time may prove that IBM allows ‘choice’ to continue. As asserted by RedHat on their first major post-acquisition press follow-up, “[RedHat will] remain Switzerland in terms of how we interact with our partners.”

And in a perverse way, some customers may see that their technology suddenly got simpler. If you use both RedHat and IBM you can now claim to have simplified and standardised your technology stack. You are now an “IBM shop”.

From a procurement and negotiation point of view, if this is true, then it is a step towards the realisation of the fear I describe.

Regardless, from a technology point of view, this is nonsense.

If that was to be true, then overnight your software stack has also become more ‘proprietary’.

Proprietary is about ownership, and, arguably, open source is the only software not owned. Funny, however, how something not owned can still create $USD 34 billion in value for someone.

Open source is as proprietary as any software. Moreover, from a business perspective, to be interested in the ‘proprietary’ debate, is to be concerned about the total cost of ownership (TCO).

TCO is the real issue behind this ‘proprietary’ debate. When you understand this, you are better able to solve this problem without being suckered by any semantic, or in some cases emotional, argument.

Supply and demand is the economic model which helps us understand TCO. The more supply, the cheaper the resource. Conversely the more demand and the fewer people with the skills and experience, the more expensive. And yes, I am focusing on people.

Hardware has become very commoditised. Cloud computing means for many, server hardware is a thing of the past. And user devices are also consistently dropping in price.

A similar story is true for software. There is much reusable software in cloud IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and millions of lines of open source. With so much software doing the heavy lifting, the real challenge and costs are in finding people to fulfil the specialist needs that sit atop these platforms.

So while hardware and software are likely to enter your TCO calculations, people are either the next if not the single most significant IT cost and opportunity.


When framed this way, software is better understood as part of your investment portfolio. And, in the fast-paced world we now live in, if you are not thinking beyond the current investment, then you are already behind.

Time will tell how well IBM and RedHat play together and whether choice indeed remains. Regardless, when you are looking at your software portfolio, existing and new, think about your investments in terms of your organisational strategy. Not only relating to technology but people too. And ask yourself:

  • What value will they grow to contain?

  • How will you leverage them?

  • When the time is right, how will you pivot or possibly transform to take advantage of that value? And

  • How does this fit into your overall strategy?

RedHat and IBM is at the moment a transaction. I recommend you react by creating a strategy.

About TipoTapp & Your Strategy

TipoTapp Leverages Your People’s Skills & Experience

TipoTapp aims, first, to use the people in your organisation that understand and can describe your business. Business analysts and other business experts. These people can configure much of what you do in TipoTapp.

When customisation is required, we have chosen the worlds most popular software language, JavaScript. Your Java, Oracle, Microsoft, database, web and open source developers are all familiar with JavaScript. According to research, 65% of the worlds software effort goes into JavaScript. So leveraging your skills or acquiring them from somewhere else is made easy and affordable.

Contrast to cloud platforms which may have invented a language of their own. Small in its capability, not widely known, and expensive to learn. Furthermore, gaining certification often becomes an ambition for those that work with such languages. Which further increases the cost including out of town and offshore conference expectations.

TipoTapp Is Open To Be Leveraged

All code and data is stored in well-known, understood, and accessible formats.

With TipoTapp you choose to

  • Have us host your data in AWS;

  • Host your data in your AWS account; or

  • Host all of TipoTapp in you AWS account.

TipoTapp is architected for integration. With well understood and easy to use RESTful interfaces. TipoTapp also utilises AWS function service Lambda. Meaning, you can build in your choice of 5 different languages, functions to perform off platform activities; synchronously or asynchronously. Giving it power through ease of integration. And flexibility in what it can integrate with.

TipoTapp’s configuration is stored in meta-data. What this means is, not only is the data you create and maintain in TipoTapp open and available, but also all of the screens, events, and IP in and around TipoTapp is also accessible.

In this way, you get maximum control and access to TipoTapp. Now and in the future.

TipoTapp Has an Excellent TCO

  • Use your existing business skills to configure TipoTapp;

  • Use your existing software skills to customise TipoTapp;

  • Acquire software skills easily;

  • Leverage TipoTapp’s data and IP through its openness; and

  • Has unlimited users for a fixed price.

What this means is, with TipoTapp

  • You can get to market faster;

  • Change and pivot what you are doing with you own people (without length change request cycles);

  • Have as many users using the platform; and

  • The overall TCO is lower.

Because of this TipoTapp is an excellent fit to many organisational strategies.