Gartner Open Source Software Survey Reveals OSS Adoption Trends And Initiatives

| by Jeevak Kasarkod Follow 3 Followers on Mar 06, 2011. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

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Gartner published a report in early February which revealed that more than half of the organizations surveyed have adopted Open Source Software(OSS) as part of their IT strategy but only one-third of the responding organizations had a formal OSS policy in place. Gartner OSS surveys from the past 5 years reveals that OSS has increased from less than 10 percent of responding organization's portfolio to more than the expected 30 percent within the next 18 months. The perceived value of adopting OSS as part of IT strategy has also changed over the years from purely TCO benefits to benefits accumulated from flexibility, increased innovation, shorter development times and faster procurement processes.
For the 2010 survey, Gartner conducted a survey of 547 leaders of organizations across 11 countries from July 2010 to August 2010.  In the last survey from 2008, 274 end-user organizations were surveyed of which 85 percent had adopted OSS but almost 69 percent did not have any formal policy in place for OSS usage which means huge potential liabilities for intellectual-property violations. Back in 2008, Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner recommended:

Companies must have a policy for procuring OSS, deciding which applications will be supported by OSS, and identifying the intellectual property risk or supportability risk associated with using OSS. Once a policy is in place, then there must be a governance process to enforce it.

From a key initiatives perspective, the 2008 survey stated that:

Customer service continues to be the leading business process for which OSS projects are used, followed closely by enterprise integration, finance and administration, and business analytics. Sales and marketing, customer analytics, field service, ERP and CRM solutions are also moving up the adoption ramp, further increasing the influence of OSS in many enterprises.

while in 2010:

The top corporatewide 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 center modernization and consolidation; and virtualization.

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open source procurement policy? by jonathan rochkind

I'm a bit skeptical of the recommendation to have a 'policy'. Should it also be recommended that:

"Companies must have a policy for procuring proprietary sfotware, deciding which applications will be supported by proprietary software, and identifying the intellectual property risk or supportability risk associated with using proprietary software."

You ought to identify the risk of adopting ANY software, and there should perhaps be policies in place for that. It's not clear to me why open source software needs a special policy. You can have strong open source software supported by a quality proprietary vendor; and you can have weak proprietary software whose vendor may go out of business or become unresponsive to your needs -- how's that for supportability risk? Vendor lock-in is a real risk, which any almost any company with legacy proprietary enterprise software knows full well from having been bitten by it.

"intellectual property risk" might be the only thing that is even arguably special to open source software adoption.

Re: open source procurement policy? by Paul Walsh

I agree with the skepticism. What procurement would ever take place in software that didn't consider how the product was to be supported?

Also, my understanding of the survey sample is that these are companies using OSS for IT applications inside their own company and are not distributing anything. Where's the major IP risk in that?

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