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Open Source Custom-Coding for Competitive Advantage


A recent survey by Gartner has found that more than half of organizations surveyed have adopted open-source software (OSS) solutions as part of their IT strategy. Nearly one-third of respondents noted the benefits of flexibility, increased innovation, shorter development times, and faster procurement processes as reasons for adopting OSS solutions. However, the survey revealed that only one-third of responding organizations had a formal OSS policy in place.

The analyst firm surveyed 547 IT leaders in organizations across 11 countries from July 2010 through August 2010, citing an organization's opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and lower ownership costs.

"This survey suggests that users are beginning to look at OSS differently — if they can customize code to make it unique to their company, they have created a competitive advantage," said Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner. "With greater in-depth understanding and access to the necessary skill sets, end-user organizations will continue to find new deployment of OSS. Although a search for reducing costs by adopting OSS continues to be a major driver, with this survey we see more respondents looking at OSS as having much-greater value than simply getting something for free."

Gartner's survey indicated that just over one in every five responding organizations (22 percent) was adopting OSS consistently in all departments of the company. However, a much-higher number of respondents (46 percent) used OSS in specific departments and projects. In addition, 21 percent of respondents revealed that they were in the process of evaluating the advantages of OSS usage.

The top corporate Gartner-defined key initiatives supported by the use of OSS were: data management and integration; and application development, integration, architecture, governance and/or overhaul. Other key initiatives supported by OSS were business process improvement or re-engineering; security, risk and/or compliance; data center modernization and consolidation; and virtualization.

It is certainly encouraging to see more and more organizations looking to adopt open-source software as part of their overall IT strategy. Open-source is simply a different commercial model and in many cases a lot of the software is of equal, if not better, quality than the traditional proprietary software from the big vendors. Many organizations are now realizing that the community-led approach of open source can lead to faster development times, which can in turn help them become more agile organizations," said James Peel, founder of open-source IT monitoring company, Opsview.


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