Financial services industry embraces open source - survey

Financial services industry embraces open source - survey

Around 60% of financial services firms in the US, UK and Ireland say they are fully committed to, and are already using, open source software, according to a survey from Accenture.

The tech firm quizzed 300 public and private sector organisations with annual revenue of over $500 million in the three countries, 60 of them financial services firms.

Nearly two thirds of respondents from the financial services industry are committed to open source while only seven per cent say they have looked at it but decided against. In contrast, only 38% of respondents from the public sector are fully committed and 15% have decided against.

A third of financial services respondents say open source is changing their business culture for the better while 40% think it is changing the way IT is operated.

However, only 13% think that fully exploiting the benefits of it "will generate a true competitive advantage" over those using propriety software and 33% think there are not enough open source alternatives to use it confidently across the entire business.

A major consideration for financial services firms in choosing open source software is cost, with respondents strongly agreeing that the recession has fuelled uptake of the technology. On average, those quizzed think they could see savings of up to 44% over the lifetime of an system.

Across all industries, spending on open source looks set to continue, with almost nine out of ten of those already using it planning to increase their investment in the software in 2010.

Although cost is important, three quarters of respondents in the UK and US cite quality as a key benefit of open source and two thirds overall improved reliability. Unsurprisingly this means that while in 2009 20% of developments were in open source, this is expected to rise to 23% this year and 27% by 2013.

Yet, despite its growing popularity, only 29% of respondents are willing to contribute their own developments back to the community.

Paul Daugherty, chief technology architect, Accenture, says: "What we are seeing is the coming of age of open source. Through both our research and our work with clients, we are seeing an increase in demand for open source based on quality, reliability and speed, not just cost savings."

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