As open source software moves further into the mainstream, more individuals and businesses are beginning to take note of the potential benefits this approach offers. Companies increasingly realize that open source can deliver superior performance at lower cost, regardless of the organization's size or industry.
For those businesses that continue to ignore open source, the consequences may be significant. As IT Pro Portal reported, a recent survey found that IT professionals widely believed organizations that disregard open source will likely miss out on many opportunities, hurting their ability to compete against more technologically savvy rivals.
Open source opportunities
The survey, conducted by CWJobs, included insight from 300 IT professionals. Among these respondents, 62 percent argued that firms not using open source tools right now are already missing out on business opportunities.
In terms of the specific benefits offered by open source software, 45 percent of these IT experts pointed to the technology's superior flexibility, making this the most popular advantage. Cost savings were next, cited by one-third of participants, the news source reported.
"Businesses must wake up to the benefits of open source and ensure they have the right expertise in place to help realize its full potential," explained Mike Black, sales director at CWJobs, IT Pro Portal reported.
The future of open source
Furthermore, the importance of embracing open source software is growing. The survey found that more than 70 percent of participating IT professionals believe open source will see greater use in the future, the news source noted.
"Open source is being used everywhere; it underpins the Internet, and is arguably the most important enabler of the use of big data in businesses," said Mark Taylor, U.K. director at the Open Source Software Institute, IT Pro Portal reported. "Its importance will continue to grow."
Further highlighting this trend, the source reported that nearly half of the IT professionals who participated in this survey believed there are more open source-specific jobs available today than there were just one year ago. Black noted that a similar percentage of respondents indicated they would take a job with an organization specifically because that company has a strong reputation in regard to open source or demonstrates a willingness to train staff to better use open source.
This suggests that open source's benefits extend beyond the obvious. By embracing open source, firms can also position themselves to attract the most desired, up-and-coming IT talent available. Considering how important IT talent is for achieving success in just about any industry, this makes a willingness to embrace open source an invaluable tool for gaining a competitive edge. On the flip side, failing to deploy and support open source tools may be seen as a deal-breaker for otherwise ideal job candidates.
Making open source work
The growing need to integrate open source solutions into a given business's operations emphasizes the importance of the right set of open source support tools. Without critical supplemental solutions, open source software strategies are unlikely to yield optimal results.
This is perhaps most important in regard to security. As the CWJobs survey found, security concerns were seen by participating IT professionals as the single biggest obstacle to open source adoption, cited by 40 percent of respondents. Businesses require safe open source solutions in order to confidently embrace these tools.
Fortunately, open source security solutions exist that can significantly improve the reliability of a company's code. Automated scanning solutions, for example, can sift through in-use open source code to find potential vulnerabilities before they lead to any complications.