Smaller budgets, not smaller deployments

My fave tech industry insider, The Reg, today reports on an IDC study that indicates the recession is speeding adoption of Linux. The conclusion mirrors what we’ve been seeing at water&stone as well, that is, while the downturn has lead to a few people deferring projects, many have not, choosing instead to consider lower cost alternatives.

As the study put it: “IDC has found that economic downturns lead to a reduction in spending, but not necessarily an equal-sized reduction in deployments. In fact, past recessions have helped to accelerate platform shifts that were in progress.”

Note, this isn’t a fluffy little single digit shift in trends — a full 72% of the firms evaluated indicated that they “are either actively evaluating or have already decided to increase their adoption of Linux on the server in 2009.” Perhaps more surprising: 68% made the same claim for the desktop!

While the IDC report is focused solely on Linux adoption patterns, I would assert that the conclusions are also relevant in other open source situations, for example in the open source CMS space. The same factors that accelerate Linux adoption are also speeding the shift to open source content management systems.

We’ve seen several enquiries of late that say, basically, “our budget’s been cut so we’d like to explore open source alternatives for completing this project.” From our conversations with other vendors, it appears that they are hearing the same sort of feedback from the market.

None of this should come as a surprise. Smart firms are always exploring options to stretch their budgets and achieve better ROI. This shift to open source is overdue. Solutions like Drupal, eZ Publish, Plone, Alfresco and Magento deliver advanced functionality at very reasonable costs. It just makes good business sense from where I stand.

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