There are many open source products available to the Human Resources community, but I feel as though many HR professionals are unaware of how these free software products can be implemented and beneficial to their organization. As we try to maintain our budgets and businesses in this tumultuous time, it is important to know what free software options are out there for HR professionals and how they can be utilized within their organizations.

Open source tools may be the closest reality to “free” services since, in order to use an Open GL license, the source code must be made available, at no cost, to the general public. That basically means that anyone can download the code and implement the solution without being charged. It also means that users can customize the application to meet their needs without the help of the original providers and developers of the software.

It may seem counter-intuitive for businesses or individuals to publish their work without any protections that a traditional copyright or patent grants, but the idea is simple: allow the public to drive innovation, adopt the standard, and grow the utility of the product. However, even though the source code is published, and the product is free to use with no limitations on feature-sets, it may not be in your interest to implement or customize the product yourself, depending on your resources. If this is case, many Open Source software publishers offer professional services, support, and hosting services.

The real benefit of using an Open Source HRIS software vs. a SaaS or licensed software is your product is constantly evolving with consumer demand. Of course traditional HRIS software spends a lot of time improving their products and working with user groups, but Open Source products are not limited by what one particular company can implement, and instead are constantly worked on and improved through a vast, world-wide community of developers and professionals.

The benefit is that you can have access to modules, features, and services that are specific to your needs vs. having to buy or license a homogenous service that is trying to be everything to everyone.

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