Barriers to Mission Critical Open Source Software Adoption


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Mission critical Open Source Software (OSS) adoption by organizations is relatively new and the research field related to the issue is new as well. Professor Placide Poba-Nzaou (UQÀM) and his research team used the Delphi method to investigate barriers to mission-critical OSS adoption as perceived by two panels of experienced providers in France and in Quebec, Canada. The open source adoption literature is therefore complemented by adding new insights to the existing body of knowledge dominated by client perspective alone.

* This presentation is published by courtesy or Pr Placide Pobia-N'zaou.

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Barriers to Mission Critical Open Source Software Adoption

  1. 1. Barriers to Mission-Critical OSSAdoption by Organizations: AProvider PerspectiveDr Placide Poba-NzaouProfessorSchool of Management (ESG)Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)poba-nzaou.placide@uqam.caOpen source EventWednesday, June 5, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM (EDT)Centre Pierre-Péladeau (Salon Orange) 300, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est,Montréal, Québec H2X 3X6 , Canada
  2. 2. SourcePoba-Nzaou, P. & Uwizeyemungu, S. "Barriers toMission-Critical Open Source SoftwareAdoption by Organizations: A ProviderPerspective". 19th Americas Conference onInformation Systems (AMCIS), Chicago, UnitedStates, August 15-17, 2013, 10 pages(forthcoming)
  3. 3. Outline  Introduction  Research Context  Method  Findings and discussion  Conclusion
  4. 4. ICTIndustrySoftwareIndustryOSSIndustryIncreasingrole in the economy of dev. Countries:10% of GDP> 50% of economic growth (UNU-MERIT, 2006)Key element driving ICT sectorCritical for almost every company’ performance(McKinsey, 2013)Global trade in IP licences > 900 billions US $/year= 5% of world trade (Hargreaves, 2011)Potential to strongly affect: structure, competitiveness,and performance of ICT industry (Merrill Lynch, 2001)One of the most important IT trends in the 21st century(Forrester, 2007)Contribution to Europe’s economy: 450 billion Euro /year(Daffara, 2012)Multiple implications: cultural, economic, societal,technological, legal, ethical, moral, and politicalIntroduction
  5. 5.   OSS (  Software that is licensed under an open sourcelicense  The source code is available to everybody and canbe used, modified and redistributed with or withoutcondition  Examples of OSS licenses  Apache License 2.0  BSD (Berkeley software distribution license)  GNU General Public License (GPL)  MIT license  Mozilla Public License, etc.Introduction
  6. 6.   OSS phenomenon has grown beyondinfrastructure software  It has now reached the domain of mission-criticalsoftware  Definition of mission-critical software  “Business applications, excluding email, that wouldbring a company to a stop if they were notrunning” (IDC, 2009, p. 3)Introduction
  7. 7.   Examples of mission-critical OSS  ERP (enterprise resource planning)  E.g.: OpenERP, ERP5, Compiere, OpenBravo, OfBiz  CRM (customer relationship management)  E.g.: SugarCRM, VTiger, CiviCRM  Electronic Medical or Health Record (EMR, EHR)  E.g.: OpenEMR, Oscar, Open Vista, OpenEHR,Cristal-NetIntroduction
  8. 8.   A number of OSS characteristics make OSSparticularly attractive to organizations  The potential for reducing the total cost ofownership (Bradbury, 2006)  No vendor lock-ins (Nagy et al., 2010)  Use of open standards (
  9. 9.   Several governments around the world  Have set up initiatives or even legislate in favor ofOSS adoption (CSIS, 2010)  Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Ghana,Japan, South Africa, The UK, The US, Taiwan, etc.  A survey conducted in the United Sates,France, the UK and Germany  Only 10% of the companies surveyed reported usingOSS for mission-critical applications (IDC, 2009)Introduction
  10. 10.   We maintain that  The apparently slow movement of organizationstoward mission-critical OSS  Has increased both the relevance and importance ofunderstanding the main barriers or constraintspreventing organizations from adopting thesesoftware applications  (Drawing on Paré, Wybo and Delannoy, (2009))Introduction
  11. 11.   We conducted a Delphi survey to answer thefollowing research question : What are thebarriers that prevent organization fromadopting mission-critical open sourcesoftware applications ?  The study was carried out in two differentcountries namely France and Canada  To lessen socio-economic context bias (Pudelko,2006)Introduction
  12. 12. France CanadaGeneral ContextGDPcapita (US$) 42,377 50,345International Telecommunication Union’s Digital Access Index (ITU-DAI) 0.72 0.78ICT Development Index (IDI) 18 22OSS Specific ContextOpen source Index Ranks (out of 75 countries)Activity Rank 1 28Government Activity Rank 1 34Industry Activity Rank 25 17Community Education Activity Rank 3 16Environment Rank 15 10Government Environment Rank 18 11Industry Environment Rank 18 15Research ContextSources: UN (2012); ITU (2012); Open Source Index Ranks (2009); HDI (2011); Center for Strategic and International Studies (2010)
  13. 13. Method: Delphi SurveyPhase 1:Brainstorming(n=29)• A brainstorming round was conducted to elicit as manybarriers as possible from the two panels of experts.Panelists were asked to provide short descriptions of thebarriers in order to aid the researchers consolidate theresponses into a single listPhase 2:Narrowing down(n=29)• The initial list of barriers was validated by panelists•  Each expert selected 10 barriers he/she considers mostimportant•  Only barriers considered by at least 25% of the expertswere selected for the following phasePhase 3:Ranking(round 1: n=26)(round 2: n=23)•  Each panelist rank ordered the final list of barriers• A mean rank was calculated for each item•  Degree of consensus was assessed using Kendall’s W•  Ideally, the process continued until an acceptable levelof agreement was reached
  14. 14. France(n=18)Canada(n=11)Gender Male 16 (89%) 10 (91%)Female 2 (11%) 1 (9%)Age (years) 30-39 2 (11%) -40-49 6 (33%) 6 (55%)50-59 3 (17%) 2 (18%)> 59 1 (5%) 3(27%)OSS expertise ERP 7 (39%) 6 (55%)CRM 6 (33%) 8 (73%)Database software 6 (33%) 5 (45%)Communication 6 (33%) 10 (91%)Operating systems 5 (28%) 7 (63%)Software development 5 (28%) 5 (45%)Business intelligence 3 (17%) 4 (36%)Network management 2 (11%) 2 (18%)Other 6 (33%) -Average (median) Average (median)Experience in the IT industry (year) 13 (16) 15 (15)Experience with OSS (year) 8 (12.5) 9 (9)Method: Panel Demographics
  15. 15. Findings and discussion
  16. 16. BARRIERS TO MISSION-CRITICAL OSS ADOTION FR QCENVIRONMENTALExternal political pressureLack of guidelines from public authoritiesDisadvantageous tender/procurement processes vis-à-vis OSS Mission-criticalsolutionLack of reliable information about mission-critical OSS productsLack of homologation by government bodiesORGANIZATIONALConservative nature of CIOs and CEOs attitudes and practicesLack of internal IT resources and expertiseInternal political pressureFear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) with regard to Mission-Critical OSS serviceproviders reliabilityFear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) with regard to Mission-Critical OSS productreliabilityMisunderstanding of OSS products and business modelsOSSSPECIFICMission-critical open source software product stereotype and prejudiceLack of responsible third-party engagementOSS industry and business model stereotype and prejudiceInsufficient market visibility and lack of marketing actionsComplexity of open source ecosystem5123486957101234678910
  17. 17. Conclusions  Our overall goal  to contribute to the effort of identifying barriers that preventorganization for adopting mission-critical OSS  In total, 7 out of the 16 most important barriers that wefound were not reported in the literature  We complement the OSS literature by adding new insightsto the existing body of knowledge dominated by clientperspective alone
  18. 18. Conclusions  The present study provides managers, consultants andpolicy makers with an exhaustive, yet validated set ofmission-critical OSS barriers  Identifying the barriers is the first, necessary step to overcomingthem  It demonstrates the influence of socio-economic contextand the maturity of the field on the relative importance ofthese barriers  To conclude, we must recognize the main limitations of ourfindings  Additional Delphi studies must be conducted with OSS experts fromother parts of the world to allow more generalizability of the findings
  19. 19. THANK YOU !THANK YOU !Dr Placide Poba-NzaouProfessorSchool of Management (ESG)Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)