Web 2.0 Yes, Open Source, Maybe

Jun 25, 2007

David Needle

A new study says the use of so-called Web 2.0 (define) applications in the enterprise is growing, but those customers are more cautious about adopting open source solutions for collaborative applications.

Nermertes Research said its latest "Collaboration Applications" report is based on five months of in-depth interviews with more than 120 IT executives at large companies (about $10 billion in annual revenue on average).

Among those executives, 18 percent said their company is using blogs, 32 percent are using wikis, and 23 percent are using RSS (define).

The report further tracks collaboration vendor performance and application adoption. In that regard, enterprise customers are investigating both commercial and open source solutions, with 26 percent either considering or already using open source applications.

However, a much greater 55 percent said they planned to select such established companies as Microsoft (Quote) and IBM (Quote) as their strategic collaboration vendor.

Nemertes said its interview results indicate that some IT executives will consider open source, but many do not think it is enterprise ready and also have concerns about support costs. IT executives surveyed said the ongoing maintenance of open-source applications would be higher than for commercial off-the-shelf products.

Others concerns raised by some of the IT execs include scalability, security, reliability and feature sets which they said outweighed potential capital cost savings on open source.

"There's a clash of cultures," Irwin Lazar, principal analyst & program director at Nemertes, told "You have a lot of open source companies saying 'Here's the future of computing, here's the source code, anyone can do whatever they want.' It sounds great to the user, but from a large company perspective, there are real world compliance and security issues. In most cases they need a company or some entity backing the software before they will adopt it."

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