Backcountry.com is a small player in the outdoor sporting goods market. But thanks in part to an unconventional approach to IT, it's experiencing eye-popping growth, nearly doubling its revenues in 2005. How? By using a variety of open source software, including Linux and MySQL. At Backcountry.com, nearly every system runs on open source, from its supply chain to knowledge management.
It's a compelling strategy, but not without risks. To realize the promise of open source, share source code freely and improve or customize software as needed at a fraction of the cost of proprietary software, Backcountry had to hire a massive IT staff that's responsible for writing all its own code. That's not something every small company can—or should—undertake.
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