Resistance to Change

Each time that we want to undertake a new transformation project, it is usual to have among the factors, one too classic: “The Resistance to Change”; and yes, of course it has to be taken into account, but we would like to add some comments about when we are refering to transformation projects such as the migration to an opensource software, for instance, in a public institution.

It is often argued that officials or public servants are used to work with clear closed packages (Operating Systems, Office, etc.) and the resistance of workers to replace these proprietary products for free options, raises the complication of the process of liberation that allows us to move from the nonfree to the free, because we are not migrating the database from one version to another, we are freeing ourselves from the technological and economic units from the use of nonfree software.

And yes, that Resistance has to be considered, but with the idea of exploring the best way to approach it. Let´s see an example. The implementation of a process of technological release (migration to free software) has associated strategic motivations (Independence and Sovereignty Technology) and economic motivations. Regarding to the last ones, just comment that when we spend on purchasing licenses of nonfree products, in most cases we are not spending only the amount of the acquisition of the license, but we are also jeopardizing the budget for the coming years due to the payment of future maintenance. Maintenance certainly will depend on the commercial policy, which will be the one wanted for the owner of the technology.

Now, we look at the economic side. If an employee uses free products, such as operating systems and office products, it will have an associated cost savings in purchasing and maintaining licenses, so, why don´t we share the profits?? That is, for each license of software exclusive not used by the the employee to use a free product, half of the economic benefit could be for the institution and the other half to the public employee in the form of salary supplement, and the same for any another product that we want to release such as an operating system, GIS, etc.

Perhaps, the measure would be hard to implement with the employment law referring to salaries?Maybe, but not being a specialist, there are some alternatives. It just need to be imaginative and study them.

I remember when I started to work with GIS, many drafters carried on working in A0 working tables, and even administrative staff who used electronic typewriters to fill forms (by the way, one day my children asked what was a typewriter and if I had any to show it) .

Drawing tables, typewriters. I don´t remember that the board of directors had in mind the resistance to change in mind for the technological evolution, and I´m sure that the case was bigger than go from nonfree to free software; and the resistance to change can´t be a paralyszing excuse. It has to be addressed and to overcome it, to win over an ideologic inmobility whos is afraid of the progress. The Sovereignty is a question of all of us.


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