Survey suggests users willing to pay for service and support on open source collaboration product
Summary of Findings
A survey evaluating opinions on open source collaboration applications was released February 16, 2005 among a nationwide sample of over 200 respondents. The survey was conducted by Blue Mine Group under the direction of Akiva Corporation.
Industry analysts suggest and the survey confirms that open source collaboration software and solutions are an acceptable alternative to proprietary products. Although the software is free of charge, potential users are willing to invest monetarily in service and support for open collaboration solutions. Further, open source solutions are being considered by employees at all levels in the organizational hierarchy in companies large and small.
It is commonly perceived that the key benefit of open source software is its low cost. While free software is considered a benefit by current and potential open source users, a large majority are, in fact, willing to pay for services and/ or support. When asked if they would consider buying a commercial license version of an open source collaboration software application, 76% answered yes. Seventy percent answered yes to purchasing a support package for an open source collaboration solution. Additionally, 65% answered yes to purchasing both a commercial license and a support package while 83% would be willing to pay for either the license or support.
Would you consider buying a commercial license version of an open source collaboration software application?
Number of Responses/ Response Ratio
Yes 100 76%
No 32 24%
Would you purchase a support package for an open source collaboration solution?
Number of Responses/ ResponseRatio
Yes 93 70%
No 39 30%
Many of the largest driving factors for implementing collaboration software include: improving communication throughout the project or organization (39%)and improving knowledge and information management (31%). However a few respondents would implement the solution because it is specifically open source. These respondents cite that their primary drivers are price and customization factors.
File sharing between members of a project or organization topped the list of most desired features in a collaboration application with 76% of respondents ranking it either very important (45%) or important (31%). Second was email threaded discussions where 75% of respondents ranked this feature either very important (47%) or important (28%). The third most desired feature shared by 73% of the respondents, the ability to conduct online meetings was either very important (40%) or important (33%). The features ranked least important are text messaging (15%) and desktop and application sharing (12%).
Most Desired Features
Very Important/ Important
File Sharing 45% 31%
E-mail Threads 47% 28%
Online Meetings 41% 33%
Stability of an open source product and support were the two primary concerns, each faced by 26% of respondents, when choosing open source solutions over proprietary alternatives. Although many have concerns, open source is gaining credibility and acceptance with 11% of respondents claiming to have no concerns with using open source software.
What is your primary concern with using any open source software?
Number of Responses/ Response Ratio
Stability 34 26%
Quality 28 21%
Support 35 26%
I have no concerns using open source software 14 11%
Other 22 16%
The Akiva open source collaboration survey consisted of 18 questions. The majority of respondents worked in a technical capacity as developers (23%) and IT managers (18%). Other respondents included project managers (19%), CEOs (8%) and "other" positions including consultants, managers and technical positions (22%). Respondents came from organizations varying in size from small corporations with 1-50 employees (64%), medium-sized organizations with 500-1,000 employees (20%) and larger corporations with over 5,000 employees (16%).
Since 1998, Akiva (www.akiva.com) has been an innovator of collaboration software and services that help organizations transform ideas into results. Akivaâs technology and services enable enterprises to organize and implement ideas from employees, customers, partners and suppliers to dramatically improve business performance through rapid innovation and reduced expenses. The company developed the first open source collaboration application and provides professional services and open collaboration enterprise solutions for the financial, health, government and educational marketplaces."