More and more companies are now turning to open source software solutions due to their high quality, their ability to meet specific needs and their record of continuous improvement. However, this calls for technical skills which not all companies have in-house.
The Open Source software (OSS) market is thriving, according to the results of the sixth annual Future of Open Source survey, recently announced by North Bridge Venture Partners and Black Duck Software. The survey shows that 2011 was a record year for investment by companies in open source software, with a 49% increase versus 2010. Survey respondents indicated that the main reasons were the quality of OSS and its facility for continuous improvement. Moreover, according to the report, more than 50% of software acquired over the next five years by the companies polled will be open source software. However, Mathieu Poujol, Principal Consultant at Pierre Audoin Consultants, and author of a study on open source software in France, feels these findings may be too bullish. Looking at the figures, he explained to L'Atelier: "It’s true that the global market is showing strong growth, but I don’t think that the sample used for the survey was very representative." Nevertheless, this market is set to remain highly dynamic in 2012, with some slowdown in growth taking hold by 2015.
What about France? "Our country is well ahead when it comes to integration of open source software in companies, as we enjoy high levels of technical skills needed for development of specificapplications," claims Mathieu Poujol. However, while France may have an advantage here, a lack of such expertise might well prove to be an obstacle in some other countries. Eventhough the results show respondents now less deterred by the cost of OSS and more interested in how open source can innovate and help create industries, there is no getting away from the fact that OSS solutions are more complicated for the user than proprietary software. "In terms of costs, it’s an attractive alternative (to proprietary software solutions), but a company needs to have the technical skills in-house in order to take full advantage of its virtues," comments Mathieu Poujol.
Wider adoption likely
Some time ago, L'Atelier drew attention to the need to harness such cutting-edge knowhow as an integral part of a well thought-out company software strategy. Taking this kind of approach to OSS can trigger changes right across the organisation. Emerging countries such as Brazil and China are showing particularly strong demand for this type of solution. Indications are that between now and 2015 open source is likely to be adopted by many sectors, even non-technical sectors such as automotive,telecoms, finance, healthcare and government.