Enterprise Software Open Source Alternatives – A Decision Makers Guide

The Open Source vs. Proprietary competitive landscape is constantly changing and current information is hard to come by. We decided to create this matrix for those looking for an open source alternative to proprietary solutions.

So to try and help, we have looked at search data from Google which produced some surprising results.

Our Methodology to Determine Popularity

We used a number of tools from Google to determine popularity of the products around the world. For instance, the search volume methodology uses a scale and is based on the average worldwide traffic of the product in the last 12 months. It is also relative to the comparison product.

Regarding country popularity, if a high proportion of the searches in a country are for the product term, then this indicates the search term has a high degree of popularity in this country relative to the other countries.

The Proprietary Versus Open Source Matrix

Enterprise Solution



Open Source competitor 1

Open Source competitor 2

Automated Lifecycle Management Microsoft’s Visual
Studio Team System
Enterprise Resource Planning (Medium company) Microsoft Dynamics Open Bravo Compiere
ERP (Small Company) Intuit Quickbooks Postbooks/xTuple ERP OpenERP/Odoo
Content Management System OpenText DotNetNuke Drupal/Acquia
Master Data Integration (MDM) Tibco Talend
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Salesforce.com SugarCRM
Enterprise Database Oracle EnterpriseDB/Postgres Ingres
Business Intelligence SAP Business Objects Jaspersoft
Business Intelligence Cognos Pentaho
Enterprise email Management Microsoft Exchange Zimbra
Business Application Platform SharePoint 2010 MindTouch
Document Management SharePoint 2007 Alfresco
IT Monitoring and Network Management IBM Tivoli Groundwork Hyperic

A reminder that when we say “popular” here, we mean how popular the search term is.

Also remember the results are normalized, so the size of each region is not a factor. Everything is in proportion to the size of the region. So larger regions are not favored over small, as would be the case otherwise.

Automated Lifecycle Management

Both Collabnet and Visual Studio Team rank high in India and the United States. Visual Studio Team has almost 4 times the global search traffic of Collabnet, but Collabnet is catching up.

Open Source vs. proprietary -ALM - Collabnet

Enterprise Resource Planning (Medium company)

Microsoft Dynamics has almost twice the traffic of Compiere, but has stabilized. Surprisingly, South Africa heads up the Dynamics search traffic (relatively speaking).

Open Source vs. proprietary -ERP - Compiere

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ERP/Accounting (Small Company)

In this category, we are looking at small companies under $10 million in revenue. Quickbooks has far more search volume than its open source competitors but Open ERP has recently made some moves towards closing the gap. I was surprised to see Kenya top the country search list for Quickbooks.

Open Source vs. proprietary -Small co ERP - Xtuple

<Click to enlarge>

Content Management System

Drupal rules the search area here with nearly 4 times that of DotNetNuke. Still, both open source companies have much stronger search volume than their OpenText competitor.

Open Source vs. proprietary -CMS Drupal

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Master Data Integration (MDM)

While Tibco has higher search volume, Talend has been steadily closing the gap since 2007.

Open Source vs. proprietary - MDI Talend

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM is hot! But most surprisingly, SugarCRM search volume is slightly greater than Salesforce.com.

Open Source vs. proprietary -CRM

Enterprise Database

The big surprise here is that PostgreSQL has higher global search volume than Oracle Database (almost a 3 to 1):

Open Source vs. proprietary - Enterprise Database

Business Intelligence

Considering all the recent press around Jaspersoft, I was surprise Business Objects has much greater search volume than Jaspersoft. Business Objects and Cognos have almost equal global search volume.

Open Source vs. proprietary - Business Intelligence - JS and BO

Pentaho and Jaspersoft have almost equal search volume. Both appear to be gaining on their proprietary rivals.

Open Source vs. proprietary -BI Pentaho and Cognos

Enterprise eMail Management

Another surprise Zimbra has higher search volume than Microsoft Exchange. Zimbra’s search volume is understandable considering it is open source, but it doesn’t explain it’s commanding lead over Exchange.

Open Source vs. proprietary -Email Zimbra

Business Application Platform

While Sharepoint 2010 is an unreleased product, plenty of buzz has been generated around this forthcoming product.

Open Source vs. proprietary -Business App MindTouch

Document Management Solution (DMS)

Apparently India and Singapore are the big search winners in DMS.

Open Source vs. proprietary -DMS - Alfresco

IT Monitoring and Network Management

Groundwork has IBM Tivoli beat slightly by search volume. All of the companies are fairly close though. Regarding IBM, Denmark is proportionally stronger than any other country?

Open Source vs. proprietary -it monitoring - groundwork


  1. Firstly, great list. If I could add some additional open source alternatives:

    For unified communications: Unison
    For business process management (bpm): Intalio or ProcessMaker
    For survey management: LimeSurvey

    And two thumbs up for choosing Groundwork for IT & Network Monitoring.

  2. This is very helpful. Thanks, Brand

  3. How do you not include Joomla! in the CMS category? Look at this search trend from Google: http://www.google.com/trends?q=Drupal%2C+Acquia%2C+Joomla%2C+OpenText%2C+DotnetNuke

    And I would add vtiger to the CRM category. (FWIW, Sugar is not really Open Source anymore. Most of the decent functionality is not available in the Community Edition): http://www.google.com/trends?q=sugarcrm%2C+vtiger%2C+salesforce.com&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

    Document Management should probably have Nuxeo in the 2nd box. http://www.nuxeo.com

  4. Great post – very informative.

    I agree with The Open Sourcerer that Joomla would be the expected open source CMS alongside Drupal.

    It would also have been useful to include Enterprise Search as a category – Autonomy in the proprietrary slot and Lucene and Xapian as open source #1 and #2.

    See http://siteanalytics.compete.com/autonomy.com+lucene.apache.org+xapian.org/ for traffic stats.

  5. Paul and Open Sorcerer, these are all great suggestions. Keep them coming. We’ll do an update post soon.

  6. Superb overview of alternatives. What makes me feel especially happy, is that I could find my company talend in here. I’m kind of surprised that Tibco is that much searched for, where as I find more Informatica competition in the field.
    Hopefully, JasperSoft searches will increase, too.

    Thanks for that (good looking) overview.

  7. Thanks Thomas, we’ll update this list next quarter.

  8. Dude, thank you so much for sharing this

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