Open source gains business credibility

The use of open source is on the rise in the corporate IT environment as organizations look to cut the cost of developing and using software, according to a jury of CIOs.

Three-quarters of's 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said they are using more open source technology in all parts of their infrastructure ranging from small-scale systems to desktops and mission critical applications.

Nic Bellenberg, IT director for publisher Hachette Filipacchi UK, said as his company does more with the web then open source tools running on Linux are an "incredibly logical choice".

He said: "There's no point spending gazillions on a complex proprietary content management system to run a website that may have to be completely changed in only a year of two after go-live."

He added: "There are some good back-office tools available too that integrate well in the corporate infrastructure. You can get jobs done easily and without committing a lot of cash to systems that may only be experimental. Also Open Office and Neo Office are well worth looking at as alternatives to Microsoft Office." Investment bank Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International uses open source in a small part of the organization.

The bank's director of technology, Graham Yellowley, said: "The principal applications are vendor supplied packages connected by industry standard messageware for which professional support and maintenance cover is required. Otherwise Open Source software is likely to increase within the firm."

Nic Evans, European IT director for Key Equipment Finance, said his company uses Linux operating systems for critical applications and for some intranet applications such as wikis.

Electronic payment body Vocalink is primarily a Java shop for in-house applications and IT director Nick Masterson-Jones said the organization makes selective use of open source code.

He said: "We make use of technologies such as Spring, Hibernate and Fabric 3 where we can see that the code is of a high quality and can make a real impact in reducing the cost of building software."

But some organizations still favor the proprietary Microsoft route because of the support costs associated with enterprise open source.

Peter Birley, IT director at law firm Browne Jacobson, said: "We need reliable supported software and therefore stick to the Microsoft platform. There are more people and products available with those skills and we don't have to worry about the underlying technology. Open source may be cheaper per product but it would be more expensive to support.

Today's CIO Jury was…

Bill Ashworth, IT director, Countrywide Surveyors
Mark Beattie, head of IT, LondonWaste
Nic Bellenberg, IT director, Hachette Filipacchi UK
Peter Birley, IT director, Browne Jacobson
Chris Clements, IS director, RM
Nic Evans, European IT director, Key Equipment Finance
Ric Francis, executive director of operations, The Post Office
Paul Haley, IT director, University of Aberdeen
Jane Kimberlin, IT director, Domino's Pizza Group
Nick Masterson-Jones, IT director, Vocalink
John Shepherd, head of IS, Gloucestershire Constabulary
Graham Yellowley, director of technology, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International