Digital platform transformation - from closed source to open source

Choosing the right content management system (CMS) is one of the first decisions that needs to be made to build your website. We spoke to Bhavesh Nayi, Vice President at Django CMS Association who here explains the four main pillars to help you understand the best route to take!

Closed-source content management systems keep the source code closed to the public, whilst open-source content management systems allow the source code to be seen and modified by everyone.


Open-source systems are backed by a community, which generally means information is easy to find and problems can be vetted by a large group of people. Open-source systems have larger social communities, which means it is easier to find information and people with experience who can talk about the product and offer support to the tech team, whether they are developers, engineers or digital marketers.

In comparison, closed source systems usually have a dedicated FAQ, manuals, and options to contact someone. If there is a problem, you can usually submit a 'support ticket' and get a response from the support team.


Because open-source systems are backed by large developer communities, numerous customisation options and plugins are available that can be adjusted to suit your needs. Being backed by such a big community of developers and the like, the options in terms of both functionality and personalisation are virtually endless. It means you can take an open-source product and add the personalisation functionalities that you need for your business. Those personalisations will be unique to you and tailored to your needs, while with a closed-source CMS, you will likely get sent a list of available features with the associated costs and potentially have to wait for a number of months before a new functionality is even looked at, with no guarantee that you will get it in the end.

In short, you can tailor an open-source product to your business, while if you use a closed-source product, you'll have to tailor your business to the product.


The hundreds of thousands of developers collaborating and monitoring open-source systems ensure the strength of the platform is maintained, which means threats are almost transparent and can be detected and fixed quickly. This increased visibility creates a larger security net where issues can be addressed effectively. With open-source systems, the entire community is looking at an issue, not just a single team. Therefore if there are any issues with the technology, they are detected a lot faster and are consequently fixed more quickly, reducing risks.

For closed source systems, fewer people are looking at fixing the underlying code and so in case of a hack, you could potentially have zero-day exploits exposed for a longer period of time, as you have fewer people involved in finding bugs.


Open-source solutions are much less expensive than closed-source systems. The key factor here is the priority lock-in, as closed-source platforms usually have this service, which means part of the framework is directly correlated with the close source framework you are going to use, having been made specifically for that system. This means you may have to learn to use it and train your team, which, of course, has cost implications.

Open-source systems are cheaper. Unlike closed systems, there are no costly recurring licensing fees to simply use the software. However, you may not necessarily get all the features and functionalities that you would get with the closed-source product.

When it comes down to it, you'll have to weigh up your options to decide on which fits your needs best. Open-source routes may require you to invest in the features you want to develop for the product to meet your end users' goals, whereas with closed-source products you pay a premium to have some features and have to come to terms with the idea of being locked in.