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Survey: Open source is entering the enterprise mainstream

Esther Schindler | May 15, 2008
The survey, collecting data from 328 respondents, showed that more than half the respondents (53 per cent) are using open-source applications in their organization.

Greatest Barriers to Open-Source Software Adoption at Your Company?

Source: survey of 328 IT and business executives and managers, April 2008. Up to three items selected.

Product support concerns                                            45%
Awareness/knowledge of available solutions                  29%
Security concerns                                                       26%
Lack of support by management                                   22%
Licensing or legal concerns                                          21%
Investment in architecture from other vendor(s)             20%
Software quality issues                                               20%
Customization concerns                                               15%
Not relevant to our product or service                                7%
Pressure on open-source providers by vendors                  5%
Software cost allocation policies                                     2%
Other                                                                          9%

While it's good news (at least to its proponents) that nearly two-thirds of companies are using open source today or plan to use it soon, there are still barriers to adoption. The primary reason is product support concerns (45 percent); enterprises clearly want assurance that someone will answer tech support calls. Secondary issues are the awareness or knowledge of available solutions-that is, the ease of learning that an open-source application is available to scratch that particular IT itch (29 percent), security concerns (26 percent) and lack of support by management (22 percent).

Again, you'll notice that the qualities of the open-source applications themselves aren't as big a deal. Software quality issues are cited as a primary barrier to adoption by 20 percent and customization concerns by 15 percent. So if you're trying to sell the boss on the virtues of open source, spend more time on reassurance about tech support availability and quality than you do on customization opportunities.

Companies that use (or plan to use) open source generally have the same concerns as do companies that stick with proprietary solutions. The main exception is open source's top sticking point. Half the respondents whose companies use open source today (52 percent) cite product support concerns as the greatest barrier to entry. A third (33 percent) of those who don't use open source identified this as a primary problem. Product support is still their top item - just with less urgency. In other words, the folks who are using this stuff know that it's a problem; those who aren't using it simply expect it to be.


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