How is open source used in the large enterprise environment? A recent study from WIPRO and Oxford Economics titled “The Open Source Era” provided insights into that question. The report revealed that 21 percent of enterprises use open source software and 25 percent have deployed it in a business unit. However, 54 percent are in the planning phase of open source adoption.

These results point to the fact that, while open source is on the rise and has many benefits to offer, it still has barriers to overcome in the enterprise environment before it achieves full-scale adoption.

Resistance to Change: Many enterprises are firmly embedded in maintaining the status quo and also don’t move quickly to adopt new systems or processes. This is highlighted by the fact that, while 61 percent of survey respondents think open source will give them a competitive advantage and 75 percent find that the greatest barrier to open source adoption is the complexity of integration with existing systems. Even though open source has great benefits to offer enterprises, they have extensive, complex and expensive proprietary systems already in place. In many cases, it will require a complete shift on the part of an enterprise to make integrating open source software into the business model a reality. Particularly when it comes time to renew licensing fees, upgrade, or scale, the open source model may become more attractive because it represents such cost savings.

Even so, integration is likely to remain a problem for enterprises for some time moving forward. Open source communities vary, and some open options integrate with on-premise systems better than others. However, as more big-name companies and developers turn to the open source model for innovating and producing new software, these concerns will likely decrease.

Open Source Perceptions: Companies at the enterprise level may perceive that the low cost of open source software means it is not as reliable or that it won’t perform as well. Also, most enterprises have large IT structures and strict corporate standards that may not mesh with the community-based nature and accessibility of open source code. It’s up to enterprises to make open source standards part of their corporate cultures and use them to create a more agile, responsive and innovative IT environment. The open source model proves that technology doesn’t have to be expensive to work well.

Security Concerns: The fact that open source code is available for anyone to access and modify may raise security concerns for enterprises. Rather than trusting that their software and systems are locked down, they may fear that the nature of open source will increase their risk of a security breach. However, because open source is able to be modified in order to suit the needs of a particular business, it can also be flexible and easily changed to respond to the latest threats.