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Gartner survey: OSS allows competitive advantage

Posted: 10 Feb 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:open source software  OSS adoption and usage habits  OSS deployments 

An open-source software (OSS) survey conducted by Gartner involved 547 IT leaders in organisations in 11 countries from July to August 2010 to determine current and future OSS adoption and usage habits.

The survey shows that more than half of the surveyed companies are using OSS solutions as directed by their respective IT roadmaps. According to about one-third of the respondents, OSS solutions offer clear advantages of flexibility, increased innovation, shorter development times and faster procurement processes. However, only one-third of the survey participants claim to have formulated a formal OSS policy.

"Gaining a competitive advantage has emerged as a significant reason for adopting an OSS solution, suggesting that users are beginning to look at OSS differently, if they can customise the code to make it unique to their company, they have created a competitive advantage," said Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner.

"As external service providers emerge to support commercial offerings, OSS is and will continue to be used in both non-mission-critical and mission-critical environments," Wurster said. "With greater in-depth understanding of and access to the necessary skill sets, end-user organisations will continue to find new deployment of OSS. Although a search for reducing costs by adopting OSS continues to be a major driver, with this survey we see more respondents looking at OSS as having much-greater value than simply getting something for free."

Gartner's survey indicated that just over one in every five responding organisations (22 per cent) was adopting OSS consistently in all departments of the company. However, a much-higher number of respondents (46 per cent) used OSS in specific departments and projects. In addition, 21 per cent of respondents revealed that they were in the process of evaluating the advantages of OSS usage.

The top corporate-wide Gartner-defined key initiatives supported by the use of OSS were: data management and integration; and application development, integration, architecture, governance and/or overhaul. Other key initiatives supported by OSS were: business process improvement or re-engineering; security, risk and/or compliance; data centre modernisation and consolidation; and virtualisation.

"Based on these results, we see that OSS components and building blocks are utilised together with internally developed software to augment and enhance existing systems through integration and automation, as well as to improve business efficiencies and security," said Bob Igou, research director at Gartner.

With each Gartner OSS survey taken in the past five years, the amount of OSS that makes up responding organisations' portfolio has increased, from less than 10 per cent five years ago to more than an expected 30 per cent within the next 18 months. In that same period, the rate of proprietary software has decreased at about the same rate as OSS usage has increased. However, internally developed software has also increased, suggesting that OSS is used most often in conjunction with internally built software rather than as a complete replacement for proprietary software.

Julien Happich
EE Times

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