Is time spent supporting open source technology slowing innovation?

New data suggests opportunities gained by offloading IT support

By | 1 minute read | November 12, 2019

Nine out of 10 companies use at least two types of open source technology. Yet 53% are unaware of vendors to support the technologies.

These findings, from an October 2019 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting titled “Unlock Open Source Technology’s Full Value,” suggest that when it comes to bandwidth available to innovate, companies may be getting in their own way.

“A beauty of open source is the flexibility that it brings,” said IBM open source software technical executive Rob Coventry. “A downside, as with any other technology, is once you operationalize it, it takes more people and time to meet today’s enterprise demands.”

Benefits of open source

The Forrester study quantifies the now widespread use of open source technology and paints a picture of the benefits users aspire to gain from it.

Additional findings include:

  • 55% of companies use five or more open source technologies
  • 52% experience interoperability challenges with open source technologies
  • 57% rely on communities for open source support

“Companies are building complex software stacks using community and commercial versions,” Coventry says. “They’re working 27 hours a day to get it all done.”

Higher value activity

Tangled up in all this is the fact that many companies not only are moving the technology into production, but also taking on much of the maintenance themselves — time that otherwise might be invested in higher value activity. “All the tasks related to operational support just increase the pressure for open source developers,” Coventry said. “There’s definitely a need and an opportunity to remove some of the complexity by offloading certain support tasks.”

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