Free Apps: Enterprise Freebies Get Serious

Like it or not, free software is powering the enterprise. Get comfortable with SaaS, Google Gears, Adobe AIR, application virtualization, and free apps from scores of startups and big-name vendors -- or get left behind.
Why You Should Say 'Yes' To Free Apps

Although a robust infrastructure for application virtualization isn't yet available as a free download, the technology itself enables entry into the wider world of free software. Once your enterprise can establish a computing environment that permits applications to be installed without fear of damaging the operating system or line-of business applications, it's much easier for your IT department to say "yes" to users' requests for software, free and otherwise.

That simple "yes" confers a competitive advantage. Free software powers social media, development trends, and expectations of user experience. Your upstart competitors have no problem pressing "Install" on new technologies despite the potential security risks.

As a result, smaller companies tend to benefit first from the real-time flood of free tools and ideas. As online software becomes safer to install, enterprise IT will benefit from the resulting diffusion of innovation.

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