Large-scale migration to an open source office suite: An innovation adoption study in Finland

22.9.2010
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Karjalainen Martti: Large-scale migration to an open source office suite: An innovation adoption study in Finland

Date: 2010-10-15   
Year: 2010   
Publisher: Tampereen yliopisto   
Series: Tietojenkäsittelytieteiden laitoksen -sarja A-2010-4   
ISBN: 978-951-44-8197-0

This study investigates the largest transition in Finland to an open source office suite and to an open standard for office documents. The IT environment of the open source OpenOffice.org migration involves more than 10 000 workstations in the Finnish Ministry of Justice and its administrative sector.

Methodologically, the research is a longitudinal innovation adoption study covering the 7-year time span from 2003 to 2010. The study applies and tests the organizational innovation adoption process model originally developed by Everett Rogers. In addition to the theory-testing approach, the study includes artifact-building and artifact-evaluation activities of design research. The research view of the study introduces a participatory researcher’s implementation perspective where the researcher as a staff member of the organization has been in charge of the adoption of the innovation in the organization.

The findings of the study provide contributions both to IS research and practice. The events of the study give reason to suggest that the characteristics of the open source software with low-cost licenses call for improvements in the organizational innovation adoption stage model. The findings suggest that the predefined order of stages in the innovation process and sharp distinctions between stages should not be expected in organizational innovation adoption. As a new model and method, the study provides a complementary framework for the instrumentation and documentation of the open source innovation process in the organizational context. The study confirms several results from previous research and practice, especially the importance of top management support, systematic open source skill building and the presence of innovation champions in the adoption of open source solutions.

For IS practice, the study shows that the transition to an open source office suite is feasible in a large-scale context and that substantial benefits can be achieved as the result of the transition. For the user organizations of open source software, lower cost has been the most commonly cited benefit and one of the main reasons for adopting open source. Other often cited considerations include strategic goals like the facilitation of more sovereign IT governance and the reduction of vendor dependence through open source solutions and open standards. The study addresses several practically important issues involved in the adoption of open source, e.g., the analysis of software functionality and interoperability, cost evaluations, installation and configuration issues, local language support issues, additional tools to support the migration, user training and support, technical support, and software usage measurements. The evaluation of costs in the study indicates that the migration to the open source office suite platform will benefit the target organization of the study with impressive cost savings when compared to the deployment of a comparative proprietary office suite platform. The study applies numerous best practice approaches which together with the rich insight provided by the research should benefit other organizations considering open source office suite adoptions both from the perspectives of management and implementation.

More information: http://acta.uta.fi/english/teos.php?id=11357

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