- Open Source becomes the hidden backbone of the software industry
- Beyond cost reduction, the Open Source paradigm embraces an even more important long-term benefit: a more innovative and flexible IT shop that can rapidly seize new opportunities
- The spirit of Open Source emerges inside large Corporations
At the opening of the Open World Forum, a major event on Open Source worldwide, Bull announces today the results of a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Bull in October 2008 to evaluate the upcoming paradigm change of Open Source software enterprise adoption. In conducting in-depth interviews with 132 senior business and IT executives from large companies in Europe that are already using Open Source products, Forrester found out that these companies are embracing a fundamentally different understanding of software.
“As Architect of an Open World™, Bull is a pathfinder” said Jean-Pierre Barbéris, General Manager of Bull Services and Solutions worldwide. “The survey published today is a reflection of our vision. For years, we were among the pioneers to contribute to communities and leverage Open Source software in our solutions, from supercomputers to our latest mobile security platform, globull™. Today, with Open Energy and Virtual Shore™, we are again a pioneer in Open Source services. As the only European-based company that masters all the key elements of the IT value chain, we intend to be at the forefront to help enterprises benefit from the power of Open Source to build the Next Generation of Enterprise IT.”
Open Source becomes the hidden backbone of the software industry
Beyond many already existing white papers and surveys, Bull wanted to investigate in depth the total impact of the Open Source idea to larger IT organizations. Therefore, the analysis was focused on enterprises already using Open Source, at least at a minimal level, which represent around 15% to 24% of enterprises in Europe and North America today. Survey shows that Open source components are now ubiquitous. Users are well aware that commercial vendors are massively bringing Open Source into all enterprises, without even asking their customers, changing significantly from a complete commercial build to a mixed orchestration of Open Source and commercially licensed software. 22% of the surveyed enterprises even prefer a pure Open Source environment.
While, in the early days of Open Source software, it was mainly used for experimental software projects or prototyping, survey shows that already 45% of all companies that are leveraging Open Source use it for mission-critical applications, services, and products today.
Moreover, the survey shows that Open source is rapidly moving up the technology stack. While the usage of Open Source in the middleware software category is widely spread, the adoption of Open Source office productivity tools and business applications is constantly growing. An increasing percentage of the surveyed companies even adopted Open Source CRM (31%), BI (33%) and ERP systems (38%). Given the significantly increased availability of Open Source business applications, the adoption is high but still behind today’s opportunity.
Organizations that have adopted Open Source are pleased with their results. 92% of Open Source adopters gained their confidence from met or exceeded expectations around software quality. An overwhelming number of 70% of all customers that once experienced Open Source will increase its use in the future.
Beyond cost reduction, the Open Source paradigm embraces an even more important long-term benefit: a more innovative IT shop that can rapidly adapt to changing technologies and seize new opportunities
Survey also shows that OSS has a significant impact on competitiveness and innovation. In times of economic downturn, the still-dominant motivation to adopt Open Source is cost savings (56%). However, this is by far not the only motivation. The independence from a single vendor is rated by already 45% of enterprises as a very important motivation. Other factors are important, too: flexibility, and innovation.
Regardless of which approach IT and business decision-makers take, as their adoption of Open Source software matures, they are likely to find more value beyond saving money on software license costs, low barriers to entry, and rapid evolution of successful Open Source projects. The Open Source paradigm embraces an even more important long-term benefit — a more innovative IT shop that can rapidly adapt to changing technologies and seize new opportunities as higher-level Open Source infrastructure projects mature. This combination of upfront cost savings and improved time-to-market will become a powerful weapon for those shops that can wield it strategically as a way to maximize the effectiveness of their software investments.
This is especially shown with the adoption by industry vertical, which is not uniform, and demonstrates different speeds and focuses. Interestingly, the sector that communicates the most on Open Source — government and public sector — is still relatively slow in Europe. Nevertheless, this sector has the most ambitious plans for the future. The manufacturing sector is already more mature in leveraging all levels of the technology stack. The industrial usage of Open Source software embedded in products like electronic devices, cars, trains, or planes created significant confidence for Open Source in general in this industry. The services sector (media, transportation, trading, etc.) also has a strong adoption rate, linked to its massive investment in Web infrastructures for services and eCommerce, which heavily rely on Open Source components. Not surprisingly, telecom is a very advanced sector for OSS use, given its need to distribute services to millions of users at low cost. While it has the reputation of being a more conservative sector, finance is not the last one to use Open Source, especially for development environments, but also business applications.
The Spirit of Open Source emerges inside large Corporations
Very interestingly, the survey also shows that the principles of Open Source are transferred to corporate best practices. The free sharing of source code (46%) or the way of forming communities of contributors and consumers (42%), which are typical to public Open Source projects, is now transferred to the corporate microcosm. The creation of corporate software frameworks and reusable business services as well as new business logic moves to a kind of corporate Open Source community.
Looking forward, software decision-makers will find that ignoring Open Source software will be an increasingly untenable position. Whether it’s brought in by developers or packaged up in commercial software, IT decision-makers will need to decide whether they are content to sit back and allow tactical adoption of Open Source to run its course or take a more proactive strategy toward adopting Open Source software.
Tactical Use Of Open Source Software Is Practically Inevitable
Enterprises which have no Open Source policy are regularly surprised when Open Source turns up within their deployed applications. This passive approach to Open Source adoption is typically characterized by a predictable set of responses: Denial that Open Source is already in use, anger over a surprised loss of control, bargaining to re-establish existing processes, finally, acceptance of Open Source software.
The Alternative: 10 Strategic OSS Adoption Best Practices
The survey shows enterprises should consider an intentional, strategic approach toward Open Source adoption based on the following set of best practices, as recommended by software professionals at firms that are already further along the path of Open Source use:
1. Choose the right component at the right level of IT infrastructure.
2. Fully calculate the TCO.
3. Define your preferred OSS support strategy.
4. Improve application life-cycle management (ALM) capabilities.
5. Scan projects to identify licensing risks.
6. Evaluate Open Source before selecting commercial options.
7. Integrate and industrialize management of Open Source deployments.
8. Adopt agile development practices in tandem with Open Source.
9. Define a consistent companywide Open Source policy.
10. Participate in key Open Source communities.
For that, strict IT governance is required. For example, 60% of surveyed companies realized this already and installed central repositories to distribute approved versions of Open Source inside the corporations.
Security is the N°1 challenge that Forrester identified not only in this survey around open software. It is followed by the concern about the availability of services and support around the product and the availability of skills. A full new branch of service providers and competence centers inside established systems integrators will address these issues.
As a result, customers will increasingly adopt OSS in the same professional way they have dealt with commercial software. What matters is total cost of ownership (TCO) features, and already 48% of all surveyed enterprises rate customer references as very important. These strongly indicate that the Open Source adoption is moving to mainstream.
The detailed study can be downloaded free of charge on http://www.bull.com
The survey focused on companies that consciously adopted Open Source on some level already. At the end of 2007, Forrester’s Enterprise And SMB Software Survey, North America And Europe, Q3 2007, revealed that such Open Source usage accounts for 24% in France, 21% in Germany, 17% in the US, 17% in Canada and 15% in UK. This means that if we state, for example, an adoption of Open Source ERP of 38% above, this would still cover an impressive number of approximately 38%*24% = 9,1% of all enterprises in France.