When a Forrester Research representative emailed with the following survey highlights, I was more than a little surprised:

“Forrester released data today analyzing trend lines in enterprise open source usage in 2007. Among the key findings:

  • Seventy percent of decision-makers responded that they don’t have interest or have no plans to adopt open source software;
  • Only 23 percent of respondents said expanding their use of open source software was a priority;
  • Security is the main concern around adopting open source software. Eighty-eight percent of respondents said it was an important or very important concern.”

The data is from 1,017 decision makers in North America & Europe. The survey was conducted in Q3 2007.

But here are two data points that puts the 70% “not using or don’t have plans to use” in perspective:

The pie chart on the left was asked to decision makers who had already stated their company is using open source frameworks such as Spring or Hibernate. The pie chart on the right was asked of decision makers who had already stated that their company is using PHP, Ruby, Python or Perl.

As the Report’s author, Jeffrey Hammond, writes,

“Open source frameworks such as Spring and languages such as PHP are better known by name than license model.”

OSS vendors face an uphill battle to sell anything (support, as is the case today, or a product as I suggest) if the top decision maker doesn’t believe that his/her company is using OSS. It’s not an insurmountable battle, but it is uphill. The following finding from Forrester is promising for OSS vendors:

“Among those using open source, security, availability of service and support, and TCO are the primary concerns.”

Once the decision maker becomes aware of their company’s use of OSS, they want to ensure that the product is secure, supportable and has low TCO.

It would have been great to ask respondents “do you plan to acquire support?” if they were in fact using an OSS product and had responded that they were not using OSS. Tough to administer this question in a survey as you’d have to convince the respondent that they were in fact using an OSS product. But that would have been great data.

Contact Forrester to get a copy of the results and/or speak with Jeffrey Hammond.