Accenture published its 2010 open source software market survey today and wanted to highlight a few points that may be of interest to the ECM community:  Full Report and Supplementary Slides Available Here

First surprise was a pleasant one - of the 600 US, UK and Irish respondents, the top benefits their enterprises have derived from the use of open source were Quality (76%), Improved Reliability (71%) and Better Security/Bug Fixing (70%).  

In other words - while perceived cost savings has been a key driver to consider or test open source software, the realized benefits are far more strategic to continuity of operations and innovation. 

Accenture's chief technology architect, Paul Daugherty is quoted in the piece, "What we are seeing is the coming of age of open source, ...seeing an increase in demand for open source based on quality, reliability and speed, ... This is a significant change from just two years ago when uptake was mainly by cost savings". Accenture sees more and more business critical functions moving to open source platforms as this trend develops. 

Nuxeo agrees with this first observation.  Increasingly customers and partners who adopt Nuxeo Enterprise Platform (or one of our packaged applications) as their ECM application foundation do so NOT because of the zero-license cost (though it is zero-cost...), but because the technology stack is rock solid, built with a strong commitment to standards, and can be extended incredibly quickly with plug-ins, or our Nuxeo Studio design environment.   Cost may be an initial driver for considering an open source ECM alternative vs. the leading vendors of the old guard... but it's not what typically drives the final choice when a technical or information architect is at the table.

The second interesting point in the report is the influence that open source is affecting business culture and IT operations - particularly in government and production companies. 75% of product companies and 67% of public sector organizations believe that the use of open source is changing their business culture for the better.... the first and second benefit named respectively.   The use of open source changing culture? This was indeed a surprise.  

But if you think about it, perhaps this is a natural and logical expression of adopting tools and platforms that DO encourage innovation, collaboration, information sharing and that help keep a focus on core business.  Open source, open standards, open APIs, exchange of information for mutual benefit, ability to design applications based on the needs of the Enterprise... not around the release quirks and closed door agendas of proprietary vendors.   

My own move into the world of open source was directly influenced by a 2-year deep dive into the world of Enterprise 2.0 - collaboration for business, by business, with purpose. The flat and open exchange between vendor, customer and partner. Open Source ECM vendors like Nuxeo walk that talk. Journalist Ron Miller and I chatted about this in 2009... and it's still worth discussion

But of course nothing is ever completely rosy.  The Accenture survey calls out an important area that is near to our hearts:  need for ongoing and persistent education.  For those organizations who cannot adopt or are stalled in adopting open source for essential applications, the main barrier is "lack of senior management support".  Helping communicate to the C-levels, demonstrating stability, quality and value to decision-makers up the food chain is where the Nuxeo management team plans to invest time and energy. This is talk that we also intend to walk this year.

Read the full report here: