Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

More than half of the organizations that participated
in a recent survey say that open-source software solutions are a part
of their IT strategy, research firm Gartner finds. 

And nearly one-third of respondents say its
flexibility, increased innovation, shorter development times and faster
procurement processes are the reasons behind their interest in
open-source software (OSS). Gartner surveyed 547 IT leaders from
companies in 11 countries between July and August 2010 to assess OSS
adoption and usage.

About one in five organizations — 22 percent — were
utilizing OSS across all departments, but 46 percent had implemented
OSS solutions in specific departments or in specific projects.
Twenty-one percent said they were evaluating OSS options.

Despite
the interest, however, only one-third of the companies that responded
say they have an OSS policy in place, Gartner says.

"Gaining a competitive advantage has emerged as a significant reason
for adopting an OSS solution, suggesting that users are beginning to
look at OSS differently — if they can customize the code to make it
unique to their company, they have created a competitive advantage,"
Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.

"As external service providers emerge to support commercial
offerings, OSS is and will continue to be used in both
non-mission-critical and mission-critical environments," she
said. "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."

Companies surveyed were using OSS solutions for data management and
integration, application development, integration, architecture,
governance and/or overhaul. Business process improvement and
re-engineering and security and risk compliance, data center
consolidation and virtualization were also areas where IT was
leveraging OSS solutions.

Gartner has found that OSS has become more common in organizations,
growing from less than 10 percent adoption five years ago to about 30
percent in the next 18 months. Internally-built software usage has also
increased. Proprietary software usage has decreased in the past five
years at the same rate at which companies are using OSS.