Five Issues Enterprises Should Examine With Windows 7

Last October 22, 2009 Microsoft officially launched Windows 7. Aside from its features, the next big issue is whether it’s worth the upgrade especially to the enterprise market.

According to Gartner Inc., it is nearly inevitable for enterprises to move to Windows 7, but this does not mean that the PC industry will see a significant boost in PC sales immediately. Gartner added that Windows 7 release will generate renewed interest in hardware upgrades in consumers and small businesses following its release, but corporate demand is not expected to gain momentum until the end of 2010.

Gartner, Inc. has highlighted five key issues enterprises should examine as Windows 7 hits the market:

1. Plan to be Off Windows XP by Year-End 2012 — Microsoft will support Windows XP with security fixes into April of 2014, but past experience has shown that independent software vendors (ISVs) will stop testing much earlier. “New releases of critical business software will require Windows 7 long before Microsoft support for Windows XP ends,” said Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner. “Organizations that get all of their users off Windows XP by the end of 2012 will avoid significant potential problems.”

2. Start Working on Migration Projects Now — The typical organization requires 12 to 18 months waiting, testing, and planning before it can start deploying a new client OS. There is a lot of work to be done in preparation, and delays in getting started will only result in added costs later.

3. Don’t Wait for Windows 7 SP1 to Begin Testing and Deployment — Many organizations say they plan to wait until SP1 ships to begin testing and deploying a new client OS. Gartner analysts suggest starting work now (especially if companies have skipped Windows Vista), but are planning to switch to SP1 before their actual rollout.

4. Don’t Skip Windows 7 — Gartner categorizes Windows 7 as a “polishing” release on top of the architectural change that the Windows Vista “plumbing” release delivered. Gartner analysts said polishing releases should never be skipped. “While organizations that skipped Windows 2000 and waited for XP had some problems spanning the gap, organizations that adopted Windows 2000 and tried to skip Windows XP, waiting for Vista, had a much harder time,” said Michael Silver, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

5. Budget Carefully — Migration Costs to Vary Significantly Gartner’s model shows that migration costs could be $1,035 to $1,930 per user to move from Windows XP to Windows 7, and $339 to $510 per user to move from Windows Vista to Windows 7 depending on an organization’s approach.

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