Training and Support: Still Key to Enterprise Open Source Adoption
Sometimes, no matter how polished and perfect something you're working on is, the enabler for whether it will really make a difference to others lies elsewhere. There continues to be strong evidence that no matter how many types of cost savings and efficiencies open source can offer them, enterprises just won't bite if they fear training and support hurdles. Good commercial open source companies understand this acutely, and build their messaging around it. Those who don't face an uphill battle.
Silicon.com recently conducted its latest iteration of its IT Jury, where it gathers 12 CIO-level IT adminstrators and guages their opinions on various topics. In the latest poll, the jury decided that the costs of migration to open source alternatives to their proprietary software were prohibitive, primarily due to retraining and similar support needs.
This isn't the first time this issue has come up. When we covered the Future of Open Source survey several months ago, many respondents cited "lack of familiarity" and "lack of technical skills" as obstacles to enterprise open source adoption.
Of all the commercial open source companies that I can think of that are trying to beat these problems, and there are many, I don't think any have the single-minded focus that Red Hat does. The company regularly wins awards for its training and support, and its business model is built around these concepts. In Ziff Davis' most recent CIO Insight awards, Red Hat won for the fifth year in a row for these types of reasons. It behooves every commercial open source company focused on the enterprise to try to influence how IT managers think about training and support.