The National Observatory for Open Source Software (ONSFA) is the centre of excellence for the analysis and monitoring of free open source software in Spain. The Observatory is also a meeting point and a place for dialogue, where the most important agents in open source software can share knowledge and ideas.
In 2011, the ONSFA has launched a Survey on Open Source Software in the Spanish Computer and Related Activities Sector. 1.932 companies have completed the questionnaire and the margin of error is ±2.2% with a 95% confidence interval.The aim of this research is to gain information about the characteristics of companies in the Spanish Computer and Related Activities Sector related to Open Source Software: number of companies providing OSS services, OSS business model, OSS turnover, OSS products and services, OSS customers, OSS employment, training and certification, as well as subjective information: benefits and perceived barriers, technological trends and future forecasts.
1. Of the group of companies that have collaborated in this study, representing the Computer and related activities sector as a whole, 40% report having marketed at least one product under an open source software license or having provided services related to this technology in 2011.
2. The activity in which these companies engaged the most is technology consulting services related to open source software (84%), followed by systems consulting (67%). It should be pointed out that over half of the companies (57%) that have marketed open source technologies report having developed or maintained a product with their own software, which they distribute with an open source software license and based on which they provide services
3. 21% of the companies that market open source software have partnership agreements with another open source software company, having specialised in providing services and support for a particular open source product.
4. One out of five companies that have developed or maintain their own open source software product has a network of partners who act as suppliers and/or retailers of professional services for the product they own. The same proportion of these companies maintains a support community for this product.
5. The most common services offered in relation to open source software are IT consulting (82%), computer programming (79%), web portal services (73%) and other IT and computing services (67%).
6. 15% of the companies surveyed as part of this study reported that their commercial offering includes at least one solution released by a Public Administration.
7. 12% of the Computer and related activities sector companies exclusively sold products based on open source technologies in 2010.
8. An analysis of the turnover derived from the sale of open source services by sales volume reveals that in 2010, 21% of microenterprises invoiced between €50,000 and €99,000 for open source product sales, 19% had a turnover of between €10,000 and €24,999, 16% sold between €25,000 and €49,999 and 11% had figures in the range of €100,000 to €199,000. The same percentage of companies (11%) invoiced less than €5,000, 10% had sales in the range of €5,000 to €9,999 and finally, 9% of microenterprises invoiced between €200,000 and €999,000.
9. For companies with more than 10 employees, in 2010, nearly 48% invoiced between €200,000 and €999,000 for the sale of OSS products, 18% of the companies invoiced more than €1,000,000, 14% had sales in the range of €100,000 and €199,000 and 9% had figures between €50,000 and €99,000.
10. The public sector is the main client of these companies, generating 20% of the turnover derived from the sale of open source solution services. This is followed by the service, tourism and transport sector, which generates 16% of the sector turnover; the industry and construction sector (15%) and the commercial sector (14.6%).
11. Among the 10 open source software technologies that were most marketed by Computer and related activities sector companies in 2010 were database management systems, server operating systems and web servers, which were marketed by 4 out of every 10 companies; and portal servers, application servers, e-commerce applications, web browsers, file servers, CRM systems and email servers, which were marketed by 3 of every 10 companies.
12. In terms of human resources, companies marketing open source software products and/or services had an average of 23 employees on their staff in 2010, of whom 8 were women and 15 were men.
13. Of the total staff at these companies, an average of 69% of the human resources were involved in the development and provision of services based on open source software in 2010.
14. 44% of the employees participating in OSS projects were programmers, 33% had administrative and management functions within the OSS services provided and 29% worked as analysts.
15. Approximately half of the companies (52%) provided training in open source software for their employees. Among companies with training activities, these were available to, on average, half of all staff members.
16. Of all the companies analysed, in 2010, only 17% had certified personnel in any type of open source software. The most common certification was that issued by Linux Professional Institute.
17. The demand for certified personnel is low, given that in 2010, only 7% of companies reported that one of their clients requested some type of certification for their employees.
18. The technology trends considered most relevant and important for companies today - cloud computing, mobility, virtualisation and social software - are clearly the areas of greatest interest. The companies that marketed or provided services related to open source solutions in 2010 are clearly those most interested in cloud computing and social software.
19. Companies that have marketed open source technologies value open source software first of all for the lower cost associated with it in order to access technology, knowledge and innovation. Secondly, they are of the opinion that open source software today is a real, mature, competitive and reliable technological alternative. Thirdly, they state that there is a wide variety of open source solutions available to offer to clients.
20. Among companies that do not market OSS, there is also a high level of agreement concerning the low cost of access to technology involved with OSS; however, the opinion with the second greatest consensus is the fact that in the sector developing customised products for clients, open source models have promoted a reduction in costs through unique concepts, such as reuse. The third most highly rated opinion is that today it represents a real, mature, competitive and reliable technological alternative.
21. With regard to factors that make it more difficult for clients to adopt open source software, both types of companies (those that market open source software, and those that do not) agree that the main barrier to the adoption of open source technologies is the lack of awareness of solutions and the lack of references for open source software products. The factor with the second greatest consensus among companies that have marketed OSS is precisely the lack of knowledge on the part of potential clients regarding the existence of companies providing technical support for open source products. This fact is the third most important factor for companies that do not market open source software, which identify the second most important barrier as being the problems that might accompany migration from proprietary programs; this same factor occupies third place for companies that have marketed OSS.
22. Finally, with regard to forecasts, 86% of the companies that currently market products or services based on open source software state that in the medium term (the next five years), they will continue to work with this type of software.
23. Meanwhile, 20% of the companies that currently do not market open source solutions plan to start working with this software in order to be able to offer it to their clients.