Enterprise Adoption of Open Source Steams Ahead

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 01, 2008

This week brings some interesting new reports on open source adoption in enterprises, providing more evidence that the economic downturn is boosting many open source product categories. BusinessWeek has a big story out on cost-conscious companies turning to open source, ranging from ETrade to the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, new survey results illustrate a trend we've written about before: open source moving up the software stack in enterprises.

BusinessWeek's story includes quite a few open source success stories at well-known companies. Among the citations:

  • Between 2001 and 2002, ETrade was able to cut $13 million a year from its tech spending by switching to open source software.
  • H&R Block, Men's Wearhouse, and Shinsei Bank are all now paying customers of SugarCRM, which posted record revenue in the third quarter.
  • A September Gartner study finds that about 52 percent of enterprises surveyed are using open-source server software and another 23 percent plan to use it within the next 12 months.
  • Office Depot has been steadily moving from IBM and Sun solutions to running Linux on its servers, with about 400 servers running Linux software from Novell.
  • The Los Angeles Times has been steadily aggregating collections of images and video using Alfresco's enterprise content management system.

Of course, these are just snapshots, but all of these are also cases where the  open source offerings are directly competitive with proprietary alternatives. Meanwhile, in conjunction with the Open World Forum, Bull Services is out with survey results from a commissioned study it did with Forrester Consulting.

The survey results show open source being adopted for productivity tools and core business applications. "An increasing percentage of the surveyed companies... adopted open source CRM (31%), BI (33%) and ERP systems (38%)," the survey found. Seventy percent of survey respondents also said that their positive experiences with open source would cause them to increase its use in the future.

The Bull Services survey is a commissioned one, and I always take results from these with a grain of salt, but the results line up well with findings from Gartner, The 451 Group and others. As we head into 2009, look for open source adoption to increase at the enterprise level.