Open Source Software study - status quo and outlook

18 February, 2020

On February 18, 2020 Bitkom e.V. published the "Open Source Monitor", a study report of the questions concerning the attitude, strategy, deployment, participation, advantages and disadvantages as well as compliance in Open Source Software (OSS) in more than 800 companies in Germany in 2019. Marcel Scholze, responsible for Open Source Software Services at PwC Germany, was

involved in the design of the study as well as the evaluation of the results and reports first-hand on the results from the extensive questionnaire, which was discussed in this representative survey across German companies of all industries and company sizes (> 100 employees) by Bitkom Research GmbH.

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Marcel Scholze
Director at PwC Germany
Tel: +49 69 9585-1746

New study by Bitkom e.V. gives a current overview of OSS in German industry

“It took a lot of effort to find suitable people in the companies who could be interviewed on the topic of Open Source Software. It is interesting, is it not, that over 50 % of companies have not defined responsibility for OSS, so the interviews were conducted e.g. with the head of IT, the head of software development, or the head of digital technologies,” reports Marcel Scholze, Director PwC.

“How does the following fit together: A total of 75 % of respondents are open to OSS, almost 70 % use OSS, but direct responsibility for OSS is not explicitly assigned in over half of the companies. And this even though OSS is a central and increasingly important framework for the digitisation of products and industries?”

Marcel Scholze,Director at PwC for Open Source Software Management and Compliance

Need to catch up on strategies, processes and compliance

Furthermore, the study reveals that only 20 % of small enterprises follow a strategy for dealing with OSS. The situation is similar for larger companies with over 2,000 employees: Only 31 % have an explicit OSS strategy - with 86 % of the larger companies stating that they use OSS. "These results are not surprising on the one hand, as they reflect our market view and experience, but on the other hand they are also shocking, as OSS is an important player not only in enterprise IT but especially in digitization and new product development and can only develop its full benefits through proper management". Marcel Scholze, Director at PwC, interprets the data.

In the area of OSS compliance, there is also a lot of catching up to do. The interview partners came to this conclusion themselves. A total of 47 % of respondents said that there is a great need for the introduction of compliance processes. 79 % of companies that actively use OSS by integrating it into products or developing it further stated that they lack written guidelines governing the use of Open Source Software.

OSS is included in over half of new products

“A ray of hope for Open Source Software development can be seen in the fact that about half of the companies surveyed are involved in the development of OSS either directly with their own employees or indirectly, e.g. via service providers or subscriptions.”

Marcel Scholze,Director at PwC for Open Source Software Management and Compliance

Whereby the study also shows that the actual provision of modified source code or an own project in the community has so far been in the single-digit percentage range. This could well change in the coming years on the basis of the stated innovative strength of the companies surveyed, with 48 % of companies stating that they had launched new products on the market in the last two years and 28 % stating that this was done using OSS.

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Marcel Scholze

Marcel Scholze

Director Open Source Software Services & IT Sourcing, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 151 16157049

Thomas  Urband

Thomas Urband

Senior Manager, lawyer, PwC Legal AG, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 160 9627-3689