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7/28/2009
09:25 AM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Enterprises Iffy On Windows 7 Migration

Being a big fan of Windows 7, I was surprised to find that there's no mad rush by enterprises to migrate to the new operating system, and that Microsoft's ending of support for XP is the biggest factor in pushing businesses to upgrade. These are the early results of a just-completed InformationWeek Analytics survey on Windows 7, of which I'll offer a partial peek, if you click

Being a big fan of Windows 7, I was surprised to find that there's no mad rush by enterprises to migrate to the new operating system, and that Microsoft's ending of support for XP is the biggest factor in pushing businesses to upgrade. These are the early results of a just-completed InformationWeek Analytics survey on Windows 7, of which I'll offer a partial peek, if you click ahead.The survey, which polled 1,414 business technology professionals, found that more than a third of respondents have no plans to deploy Windows 7 at this time. Of course, this means that the majority of folks actually are planning to migrate, within various timeframes. (Sorry if I can't provide more detailed results. I promised the InformationWeek Analytics people I wouldn't blow the whole survey, because it's not out yet. InformationWeek Analytics managing director Art Wittmann will be writing more about it in an upcoming column.)

The one question I can do a deep dive into, and the one that interested me the most was the question, "Which factors are driving your migration to Windows 7." For this one, the answers for "primary driver" of migration were as follows:

  • End of XP support 42%
  • Better security 34%
  • Decision to skip Vista 33%
  • 64-bit OS 21%
  • New features 18%
  • Desire to run latest Microsoft OS 17%
  • Support for new hardware, like netbooks 14%
  • Better fit with our application virtualization strategy 11%

    The takeaway here is clearly that migration to Windows 7 is more a "must do" than "want to do" decision; that is, it's driven largely by the fact that XP, the OS most people currently use, is going away (or, more correctly, Microsoft support for XP is going away).

    This isn't so shocking when you look at the OS migration decision from a business perspective. I started this blog saying I'm a "big fan" of Windows 7. That's not exactly an ROI-based observation. Enterprises, especially in these economically constrained times, make their decisions based on business imperatives, not the perceived coolness of a new operating system. (I'm being reductionist here. I don't mean to minimize the very real improvements in performance, security, and virtualization performance in Vista. Also the attention to deployment and configuration tools, though full use of the Windows 7 ecosystem requires enterprises to have their back end upgraded to Windows Server 2008 R2.

    The decision to skip Vista, clocking in at 33%, shouldn't be minimized either. The back story here is that there's a lot of pent-up demand for an OS which can exploit today's hardware.

    This whole picture of "we aren't really excited about upgrading but are gonna get around to it" dovetails with the findings of a new Forrester survey. The summary of the report, by Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray, says: "With Windows 7 generally available on October 22, 2009, most IT operations professionals are in a holding pattern. They successfully standardized on Windows XP, couldn't justify an upgrade to Windows Vista in tough economic times - or simply didn't even attempt to given the political hot button that Windows Vista has become - and plan to start their enterprisewide Windows 7 deployments in the late 2010/early 2011 time frame in line with the start of the next anticipated major corporate PC refresh cycle."



    Windows 7 screen shot (Click for larger image and for full photo gallery.)

    For further reading, check out, Wolfe's Den: Windows 7 Deep Dive

    For InformationWeek Analytics, go here.


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    Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.

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