Recent studies from IDC show that organisations in the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) looking to reduce their operational expenses have begun to see open source software as a viable alternative.
Many Indonesian companies (34.5 per cent) intend to deploy new open source customer relationship management (CRM) applications over the next 18 months.
IDC provides market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. Their recent studies include 'Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) Open Source Software Adoption in 2009', and 'Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) Open Source Software Adoptions: Customer Case Study'.
Increased deployment in the coming months
The first report indicates that CRM applications, database management and virtualisation software are the most popular solutions. IDC said these three categories boast the highest percentage of respondents from each primary market that intend to use open source over the next 18 months.
"Verticals like distribution services (13 per cent), infrastructure services (12.1 per cent) and public sector (11.8 per cent) plan to deploy open source for CRM applications within the next 18 months," said Ridhi Sawhney, market analyst of Asia Pacific enterprise applications research at IDC.
Sawhney added that the public sector has more than one reason to adopt open source. Besides cost reductions, they want to build an ecosystem, lower the entry barrier, and promote open source adoption.
IDC pointed out that vendors position open source as a solution and customise it to the needs of specific verticals. They want to build a partner ecosystem and expand through partners' sales support and services. Many open source vendors such as SugarCRM Ingres and Jaspersoft are also collaborating to create awareness and generate demand.
According to Sawhney, other perceived benefits of adopting open source such as no vendor lock-in and access to the source code can increase the ease of integration with the existing infrastructure of an organisation. Also, it will facilitate compatibility with different platforms.
"This gives the organisation an opportunity to use and test open source without changing their whole IT infrastructure."
Big names such as Red Hat, Sun, and EnterpriseDB have a direct presence in the region but others depend on their partners. Some companies are also using Web training, pilots, and proof of concept via phone but the lack of direct presence, localisation, and support and services offerings pose obstacles in getting the projects started.
End-user organisations are also discouraged by the perceived lack of internal and external skills to support the shift towards adopting an open source strategy. IDC said companies would be more likely to subscribe to hardware or software support services in order to support open source software.