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Open Source Usage in Large Enterprises


It is obvious that open source is much used today and plays an important role in many organizations, but how used is it in large enterprises? This question has been addressed in a recent study called The Open Source Era, conducted by Oxford Economics, a venture with Oxford University dedicated to forecasting and quantitative analysis, and WIPRO, an IT, consulting and outsourcing company.

This study surveyed 100 C-level executives or persons directly reporting to an executive working in the financial services, retail, consumer products, healthcare, life sciences and government sectors from US, Europe, and Asia Pacific. The respective companies had a revenue of minimum $1B in the last fiscal year, and 5% of them had a revenue greater than $20B.

When it comes to the actual usage of open source software (OSS) in large enterprises, only 21% of them use it across the enterprise and 25% have deployed it in a business unit. The other 54% are either at the planning phase (21%), or use it for Internet-related programs (13%) or are running a pilot program to evaluate it (20%), as depicted in the next chart (click to enlarge):


Regarding the perceived impact of open source software on their respective industries, 55% consider that OSS is critical to future competitive advantage but only 11% consider OSS as having a positive impact for their industry at this time. But the numbers change dramatically when evaluating the role of OSS three years from now: 61% think OSS will provide a competitive advantage and 62% consider OSS will have a positive impact on their industry, as shown in the following graphic:


Most enterprises use OSS today for Big Data or Analytics programs (41%) while only 10% use it for cloud computing. But they consider things will change three years from now: 64% expect to use OSS for Big Data/Analytics and 76% forecast using it for cloud related activities:


The numbers presented above show that OSS is still not pervasive in large enterprises, but it is expected to grow in the years to come. One of the main reasons why enterprises find it hard to use OSS is complexity of integration with existing systems (75%). Other reasons are: lack of skills for managing OSS (56%), time needed for implementing a solution using OSS (35%), and concerns over its quality (43%):


When it comes to the challenges faced developing OSS, the respondents considered that OSS requires rethinking the entire process (63%), employees need to take on new roles (61%), they need to hire new people (47%), new skills need to be acquired (44%), and there has to be a change in the development culture (44%):


For more results, such as “IT and business goals achieved with OSS”, “Biggest benefits from using OSS”, “How are companies purchasing or implementing OSS”, and others, we recommend going through the charts  or downloading a copy of the report.

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