Investment in Open Source Software Set to Rise, Accenture Survey Finds

Quality overtakes cost as primary adoption driver

NEW YORK--()--The open source software market has reached a turning point, with organizations in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland now committing to clear strategies and policies for open source software development. According to the findings of a survey released today by Accenture (NYSE:ACN), more than two-thirds of organizations (69 percent) anticipate increased investment in 2010, with more than a third (38 percent) expecting to migrate mission-critical software to open source in the next twelve months.

The survey of 300 large organizations in both the private and public sector found that half of the respondents (50 percent) are fully committed to open source in their business while almost a third (28 percent) say they are experimenting with open source and keeping an open mind to using it. Furthermore, two-thirds of all respondents (65 percent) noted that they have a fully documented strategic approach for using open source in their business, while another third (32 percent) are developing a strategic plan. Of the organizations using open source, almost nine out of ten (88 percent) will increase their investment in the software in 2010 compared to 2009.

“What we are seeing is the coming of age of open source,” said Paul Daugherty, chief technology architect, Accenture. “Through both our research and our work with clients, we are seeing an increase in demand for open source based on quality, reliability and speed, not just cost savings. This is a significant change from just two years ago when uptake was driven mainly by cost savings. We can expect to see this trend develop as open source continues to evolve and address even more business critical functions.”

Quality and improved reliability cited as key benefits

When it comes to the benefits of open source, the cost was no longer viewed as the key benefit, with respondents focusing instead on other aspects:

  • 76 percent of respondents in the UK and US cited quality as a key benefit of open source
  • Two-thirds overall (70 percent) cited improved reliability
  • Better security/bug fixing was cited by nearly as many (69 percent) across both countries.

Cost control with open source

Although cost savings are not the primary driver for open source adoption, half of the respondents (50 percent) do cite open source as contributing to an overall lower total cost of ownership. When asked about the greatest cost savings in open source, the vast majority of organizations surveyed believe they can be made on software maintenance costs (71 percent), initial software development time (33 percent) and initial development costs (33 percent).

Open source software development on the rise but companies still not so open to sharing

The volume of open source software development is set to rise over the next three years. In 2009, 20 percent of software developments were in open source. This is expected to rise marginally to 23 percent in 2010 and to 27 percent by 2013.

One notable finding, however, is that less than a third (29 percent) are willing to contribute their own solutions back to the community.

Lack of senior management support, training and insufficient open source alternatives hindering further adoption

Despite a very encouraging picture, some organizations still remain hesitant. The biggest challenge, mentioned by 35 percent of all companies, is still around training developers how to use open source. Furthermore, lack of senior management support appears to be a key reason given for not using open source software among organizations that have looked at it but ultimately chosen not to use it. Those yet to make the transition to open source also cite insufficient open source alternatives compared to proprietary software suites that would enable them to use open source confidently across their business.

“We are seeing strong momentum and commitment to move further along with open source. The current wave of companies adopting open source are experiencing strong benefits, however there are still organizations hesitant about the shared community model. As open source software is used in more critical business functions the next step will be for organizations to decide whether to actively contribute back to the community,” said Daugherty.

About the research

The research was based on telephone interviews with 300 executives at 300 private sector and public sectors organizations in the United States (150) and United Kingdom and Ireland (150) with annual revenue in excess of US$500 million. Participants included directors and key decision makers across a wide range of industries as well as business functions, including sales and marketing, customer relationship management, human resources and finance. Interviews were conducted in March and April 2010. For information about Accenture’s open source software capabilities click www.accenture.com/opensource.

Geographic findings

The survey also revealed some marked differences between US and UK organizations including:

  • UK firms say they are more positive about the benefits of open source than those in the US.
  • 40 percent of UK respondents cite training and learning how to use open source as a major disadvantage compared to 0 percent in the US. Meanwhile, a lack of true standards with OS was a bigger concern among US than UK respondents (42 percent to 29 percent).
  • Nearly twice as many, 85 percent of American companies expect their level of investment in open source to increase in 2010, compared to 56 percent of UK companies – although more UK companies expect their investment to increase greatly (21 percent to 11 percent).
  • More than twice as many UK companies (38 percent to 15 percent) agree with the statement, Those who exploit the full benefits of open source will generate a true competitive advantage compared with others who remain focused on proprietary software, although 74 percent of US companies compared to 51 percent of those based in the UK say, open source is changing the way this business operates its IT.
  • With respect to OS licenses, 71 percent of US companies believe their policies are clear, well defined and well communicated, compared to 49 percent of UK businesses.
  • 89 percent of US companies say the CIO owns governance and controls use of OS at the business strategy level, compared to 69 percent of UK companies.

Industry findings

  • 60 percent of respondents in the Financial Sector say they are fully committed and already using OS compared to 38 percent in the Public Sector. Yet, 10 percent of those in the Financial Sector that are using OS say they have no strategic approach in place.
  • 92 percent of those in the Public Sector say they see both better quality software and faster time to development as key benefits for using OS.
  • In Communications & Hi Tech, Financial Services and Resources all respondents report investments in 2009 of over $140,000 in OS software compared to just under $94,000 for those in the Public Sector.
  • 73 percent in the Products and Public Sector categories say Open Source is changing the way this business operates its IT, compared to 40 percent in Financial Services.
  • 72 percent in Financial Services say their policies are clear, well defined and well communicated with respect to OS licenses, compared to 43 percent of Public Sector companies.
  • Respondents in the Resources and Financial Services categories are far more likely that those in other industries to agree with the statement the recession has fuelled the adoption of Open Source due to cost savings.
  • The Public Sector is the most sceptical about potential savings, citing an average of only 9.9 percent over the lifetime of an OS development compared to a proprietary one, vs. companies in the Financial Sector which believe the average cost savings could be as high as 43.5 percent
  • Over the next two years, 40 percent of Public Sector and 34 percent of respondents in Products say there will be an increase of 2 percent or more in their use of OS, compared to just 4 percent among those organizations in Financial Services.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 190,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$21.58 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2009. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

Contacts

Accenture
Ed Trapasso, +1-917-452-3555
ed.trapasso@accenture.com
or
Accenture
Aleks Vujanic, +44 207 844 3476
aleks.vujanic@accenture.com

Release Summary

The open source software market has reached a turning point, with organizations in the US, UK and Ireland now committing to clear strategies for open source software development.

Contacts

Accenture
Ed Trapasso, +1-917-452-3555
ed.trapasso@accenture.com
or
Accenture
Aleks Vujanic, +44 207 844 3476
aleks.vujanic@accenture.com