Recent surveys have found that small and medium-size businesses are increasingly willing to consider open source tools. Not surprisingly, small businesses and large enterprises are predisposed to different categories of open source software. Survey data suggest that ERP is one category where small businesses are more likely to adopt open source than their large enterprise peers.
Several open source ERP vendors are vying for a share of the action. Small-business owners and/or their IT department heads should consider whether an open source ERP package could meet their business needs as their companies grow.
Growing adoption of open source in small business
Just 15 months ago, Forrester published survey data that suggested small businesses were much more apprehensive about using open source software than large enterprises. In summarizing the Forrester results at the time, I wrote:
The Forrester study also found that more than half of small businesses (57 percent) also expressed concern that open source software would be complex and hard to adopt, but only 32 percent of enterprises expressed a similar sentiment. In addition, 68 percent of small businesses cited the availability of service and support for open-source software as a concern, compared with 47 percent of enterprises.
More recently, however, Jay Layman of the 451 Group reported that a study from CompTIA suggested small businesses were more willing to consider and invest in open source products:
In terms of open source, the study indicates nearly 20 percent of small businesses polled plan to begin using open source software in the next year. We believe that is a significant figure, particularly when we consider all of the open source software -- from OS to middleware to applications -- that small businesses may already be using, but just are not necessarily aware it is open source (via system integrators, resellers, service providers, and others that are increasingly using and incorporating open source).