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Open Source Software Market Growing: Driven by Quality As Well As Cost-Accenture Study


August 06, 2010

Open Source Software Market Growing: Driven by Quality As Well As Cost-Accenture Study

By Brendan B. Read
Senior Contributing Editor


The open source software market has reached a turning point, reports a new study from Accenture with organizations in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland now committing to clear strategies and policies for open source software development.

Yet the big driver is not such much cost, as one might have expected but higher quality, reliability and security compared with proprietary software.

More than two-thirds of organizations (69 percent) anticipate increased investment in 2010, with more than a third (38 percent) expecting to migrate mission-critical software to open source in the next twelve months.

The survey of 300 large organizations in both the private and public sector found that half of the respondents (50 percent) are fully committed to open source in their business while almost a third (28 percent) say they are experimenting with open source and keeping an open mind to using it. Furthermore, two-thirds of all respondents (65 percent) noted that they have a fully documented strategic approach for using open source in their business, while another third (32 percent) are developing a strategic plan. Of the organizations using open source, almost nine out of ten (88 percent) will increase their investment in the software in 2010 compared to 2009.

“What we are seeing is the coming of age of open source,” explained Paul Daugherty, chief technology architect, Accenture (News - Alert). “Through both our research and our work with clients, we are seeing an increase in demand for open source based on quality, reliability and speed, not just cost savings. This is a significant change from just two years ago when uptake was driven mainly by cost savings. We can expect to see this trend develop as open source continues to evolve and address even more business critical functions.”

When it comes to the benefits of open source, the cost was no longer viewed as the key benefit, with respondents focusing instead on other aspects:

*          76 percent of respondents in the U.K. and U.S. cited quality as a key benefit of open source

*          Two-thirds overall (70 percent) cited improved reliability

*          69 percent across both countries pointed to better security/bug fixing

Although cost savings are not the primary driver for open source adoption, half of the respondents (50 percent) do cite open source as contributing to an overall lower total cost of ownership. When asked about the greatest cost savings in open source, the vast majority of organizations surveyed believe they can be made on software maintenance costs (71 percent), initial software development time (33 percent) and initial development costs (33 percent).

At the same time while open source software development on the rise, companies want to keep it to themselves. The volume of open source software development will climb next three years. In 2009, 20 percent of software developments were in open source. This is expected to rise marginally to 23 percent in 2010 and to 27 percent by 2013. Yet less than a third: (29 percent) of firms are willing to contribute their own solutions back to the community.

Despite a very encouraging picture, some organizations still remain hesitant about going open source, reports Accenture. The biggest challenge, mentioned by 35 percent of all companies, is still around training developers how to use open source. Furthermore, lack of senior management support appears to be a key reason given for not using open source software among organizations that have looked at it but ultimately chosen not to use it. Those yet to make the transition to open source also cite insufficient open source alternatives compared to proprietary software suites that would enable them to use open source confidently across their business.

“We are seeing strong momentum and commitment to move further along with open source,” said Accenture’s Daugherty. “The current wave of companies adopting open source are experiencing strong benefits, however there are still organizations hesitant about the shared community model. As open source software is used in more critical business functions the next step will be for organizations to decide whether to actively contribute back to the community.”

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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