Open source is facing a long climb

CIO Index: Computer Weekly's survey of IT leaders reveals the rise of mobile IT and voice over IP, but open source and service oriented architecture have yet to take off

CIO Index: Computer Weekly's survey of IT leaders reveals the rise of mobile IT and voice over IP, but open source and service oriented architecture have yet to take off

Making use of open source rather than proprietary software is still a low priority for IT directors, with 19% of companies having deployed it in part of the organisation, and a further 4% using it across the business.

The findings come from the Technology Adoption section of the Computer Weekly CIO Index, which tracks UK industry trends through a quarterly survey of top IT management.

The CIO Index reveals that voice over IP technology is gaining widespread acceptance, with 40% of organisations deploying it to some extent and a further 20% undertaking pilot studies. With 27% reviewing the potential of VoIP, only 13% of firms have yet to engage with internet telephony.

The enthusiastic take-up of VoIP among leading UK enterprises suggests that misgivings about the maturity of the technology have largely evaporated in recent months, as service reliability has become more proven and the argument for adopting a cost-effective, distributed and flexible IP telephony network has become more compelling.

However, another widely touted technology, service oriented architecture (SOA), has yet to make significant headway. Among those surveyed, 25% are actively engaging with SOA, with 10% adopting interoperable services in some part of the business, and a further 15% undertaking pilot studies into SOA’s potential. This leaves 47% having taken no action on adoption.

Figures on the use of Windows Server 2003, Microsoft’s integrated server software, and its latest incarnation, Windows Server 2003 R2, suggest that many businesses are prepared to wait for Windows Server Longhorn rather than upgrade to R2. Three times as many businesses are using the first installment of Windows 2003 as are using R2. And with the next version of Windows Server expected in 2007, those upgrading from Windows 2000 or 2003 look increasingly likely to wait for Longhorn.

The CIO Index revealed that mobile technology is now well established in UK business, with 62% of firms having deployed either GPRS or 3G systems. A further 15% of companies are undertaking pilot studies of mobile technology.

Despite this level of general mobile uptake, only 21% of businesses are using tablet PCs.

Instant messaging was found to have a relatively low take-up in business, with only 26% of firms deploying it. Concerns about security have been one factor holding back IT directors from looking at instant messaging. In many cases its adoption has been driven by staff using it informally, and this has led IT chiefs to grasp the nettle and roll out an enterprise instant messaging system that is controllable and fully auditable.

The low take-up of radio frequency identification – only 8% are using the product tracking technology, with a further 11% formally investigating its potential – highlights its status as a niche technology, with its main application in the manufacturing and retail supply chain.


In April, Computer Weekly initiated a confidential online survey of IT directors in the Computer Weekly 500 Club. The research was conducted by our parent company Reed Business Information’s market research department, strictly adhering to the Market Research Society’s code of conduct.

Respondents graded their replies to a statement according to four categories: agree strongly, agree slightly, disagree slightly and disagree strongly.

The survey resulted in 127 completed questionnaires, and an additional 13 partially completed.

Computer Weekly’s CIO Index will be carried out quarterly and will provide analysis of key metrics for IT expenditure, technology adoption and business readiness.


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