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It is commonly accepted that enterprises are making use of "freeware" or free software but to what extent is subject to debate.

To try and establish a more accurate picture of the adoption and use of free software, Global Graphics commissioned research to get the views of 400 CIOs spilt across the US and the UK. http://www.globalgraphics.com/gdoc/downloads/Free_software_research_paper.pdf.

The survey questioned 400 CIOs from organizations with more than 1000 employees, across a range of commercial and public sectors. In the US, 300 CIOs were polled, in the UK, 100. Frankly, we were really surprised by the candid responses by the CIOs and the willingness to discuss their use of freeware.

The results of the research provided fascinating insight into how the changing technology landscape, the consumerization of IT and the current business climate has pushed free software up the enterprise IT company agenda.

The research uncovered that free software is currently an established software tool for both public sector organizations and commercial companies in the US and UK. Surprisingly, the majority of CIOs polled are already planning to use free software for corporate-level implementations in 2010 and even more say they plan department-focused projects this year. This increase in usage is an indicator of two trends: CIOs are clearly still dealing with budgetary constraints on their operations and; the choices and robustness of free software offerings have improved dramatically.

The Sudden Trend in Freeware

As CIOs look for creative ways to continue to support their firm's IT needs-despite the lack of funds -- the use of free software has become fundamental to most organizations' desktop and application strategies with multiple products being used. Free software is also achieving wide uptake in specialist areas such as the data centre and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Product standardization and smarter desktop management are also seen as key advantages for using free software. CIOs are seeking new ways for free software to boost productivity, and about half of them polled say it enables them to complement existing desktop applications.

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