Want Freedom from Vendor Lock-in? Survey Says: Choose Open Source

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It's no secret that open source software is playing an increasingly prominent role in businesses around the globe, but a recent survey has uncovered a few surprising findings about adopters' motivations for choosing it.

open source
Specifically, freedom from vendor lock-in is now users' top reason for choosing open source software, according to the 451 Group.

“While we had seen vendor lock-in fade as a factor and cost as paramount two or three years ago, today vendor lock-in has become much more of a factor for customers,” explains 451 Group analyst Jay Lyman in a Tuesday blog post announcing the results.

“We believe this has to do with cloud computing and customers’ desire to maintain flexibility as they figure out how to best leverage cloud resources,” Lyman added.

Leading the Pack

451 Group participated on the “Future of Open Source Survey 2012” with North Bridge Venture Partners and Black Duck Software, garnering 740 responses from a variety of vendors and non-vendors in the industry.

Among the key results of that study was the finding that more than 50 percent of software acquired in the next five years will be open source software. Last year, in fact, was already a record year for open source investment, which increased by 49 percent to $675 million, the study found.

Survey respondents also said that open source is leading rather than following the pack when it comes to the cloud, big data, mobile apps, and enterprise mobility, in particular.

'Always a Strong Factor'

Perhaps most interesting of all, though, is that, when asked what are the top factors that make open source software attractive, a full 60 percent of respondents identified freedom from vendor lock-in as the top motivating factor.

Lower acquisition and maintenance costs (51 percent), better quality (43 percent), and access to source code (42 percent) were also among the top motivators mentioned.

“The survey also showed that cost, which we also equate to time and efficiency, is always a strong factor, with 62 percent of respondents identifying reduced cost of development and maintenance as the main reason they use open source or initiate projects,” Lyman added.

Bottom line? There are numerous reasons open source software is good for business, but these days, it looks like freedom from vendor lock-in may be most compelling of all. If you ever feel restricted by your software vendors, this should be food for thought.

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