Accenture recently published an article: Investment in Open Source Software Set to Rise.
The document summarises the findings from interviews held with 300 large corporations, across the public and private sectors. A highlight of some of the findings include:
Open source has very successfully climbed from a technical interest into a business imperative. It is encouraging to see that so many companies have dedicated time, resources and therefore cost to formally document their strategy on open source - often the phase of review, research or bureaucracy is the one that kills innovation or transformational change.
It was also good to see that the cost benefit from open source is now one of ongoing operational value rather than initial licensing costs - as the initial costs in software development and installation are similar across open source and package software, the real benefit needs to be seen beyond this phase. And in this area I think open source really does offer some compelling arguments.
Open source software offers an attractive entry point for developers, even prior to formal involvement in large corporate development environments. This creates a long tail of developers who are familiar with the software and the value of the community - as this is the community that often forms their basic support structure as they learn to develop.
The more involved corporations become in providing feedback and code back to the community, the more they will 'win' as well, as their voice (under the right circumstances) can influence the direction a product might take as well as raise their own appeal to early stage developers, attracting the best in the emerging developer community. Beyond this 'selfish' benefit, it is also the 'right thing' to do given the very nature of open source software.
Read the full article by Accenture here.