O'Reilly European Open Source Convention - October 17-20, 2005 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
 Convention Coverage


Adoption of Open Source in SMEs: Lessons from the Front Line
Martin King-Turner, Open Source Project Leader, The National Business to Business Centre

Track: Business
Date: Wednesday, 19 October 2005
Time: 11:35 - 12:20
Location: St. John's Room I

The National Business to Business Centre (NB2BC) in conjunction with the UK government backed OpenAdvantage programme, is working with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to promote open source software applications. The NB2BC has engaged with over 60 SMEs in the West Midlands of England on the subject of open source website content management, using applications such as PostNuke, NVu, GIMP and FileZilla. The majority of companies have embraced and adopted these technologies to build and manage their websites, but a significant minority, when presented with the same opportunity, chose not to capitalise on it. This talk examines a number of factors that influenced the companies' behavior such as lack of trust in open source technology, perceived requirements for IT literacy, desire for commercial support, and financial considerations, and determines the significance of each factor on the adoption decision. In order to fully understand the SME's motivations, data was gathered by working directly with the owner/managers of the companies in the study. By correlating each factor against the companies' adoption of open source technologies, Martin analyzes the relative importance of the factors, and ranks them from highly influential through to insignificant. Martin concludes by proposing a model to identify the characteristics of SMEs who are most likely to embrace and adopt open source software in the near future.

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