Open Source Business Apps Enjoy Strong ROI

September, 2008

(IRVINE, Calif.) Businesses that implement open source ERP, CRM, and other business applications generally achieve strongly positive return on investment (ROI), according to a newly released Computer Economics study.

Sixty-five percent of the early adopters achieved positive ROI within two years and another 30% broke even on their investments, according to the research firm’s annual survey of about 200 IT organizations. Only 5% reported negative ROI.

“These results look very promising,” said John Longwell, director of research for Computer Economics in Irvine, Calif. “It shows that the chance of success with open source applications is high and that risk is relatively low.”

However, companies considering open source alternatives need to be aware that many IT organizations are underestimating the total cost of ownership for these applications. Computer Economics advises that IT managers should carefully assess the ecosystems surrounding any applications under consideration because adoption is still at an early stage.

According to the survey, 6% of organizations have deployed open source applications but have no further plans to expand them. Another 7% are expanding their use of open source applications, while almost 10% are deploying open source applications for the first time. About 21% are researching or piloting such projects, while 56% have no activity underway whatsoever.

“While the adoption of open source business applications remains low, the number of first-time implementers compared to the small base of early adopters indicates that the growth rate is relatively high,” Longwell said. “Open source advocates can also take some comfort in the fact that 44% of organizations are at least researching or piloting open source applications.”

The executive summary of the study, Open Source Shows Promise for Business Apps, is available at