The acquisition and deployment of open source software is now a strategic imperative for UK business, according to research released today.

The report found that the versatility and adaptability of the open source model is allowing companies to eliminate historic vendor lock-in, reduce database management costs and rapidly develop critical business applications, including business intelligence, data warehousing and CRM.

The Managing 21st Century Business Information survey questioned IT professionals from the UK’s largest public sector and enterprise organisations on a host of open source and information management issues.

The report found that open source is gaining in popularity in enterprises. Over 75% of businesses were either planning to deploy, or had already deployed, open source software in their core business systems, casting doubt on the percieved inappropriateness of such technology in a mission-critical enterprise environment.

The top three issues keeping IT directors awake at night are ‘reducing cost’, ‘adding value to the business’ and ‘keeping the IT lights on’ – while the drive to achieve real business benefit through rapid application delivery and 89 percent of respondents rating the ‘right database’ as having a significant or critical role in addressing these challenges, the increasing demand for new, more flexible information management strategies is clear.

Commenting on the survey results, Brian Mort, senior vice-president, Northern Europe, Ingres, said: “There can be little doubt that open source has now moved out of the basement and into the boardroom. Open source databases, for example, are already delivering real value… All the evidence in the study confirms this, and the enthusiasm for open source promises to continue at pace as the market matures and the reality of achieving real business value explodes many of the long-held and inaccurate myths.”