Vista: What's In It for You?: Page 2

Posted November 29, 2006

Cynthia Harvey

(Page 2 of 2)

“Please Don’t Make Me Upgrade”

Despite all the new features—and the bells and whistles—Microsoft faces several challenges to widespread adoption. Perhaps the most difficult hurdle to overcome is human nature itself.

While a few people in every organization consider themselves technology enthusiasts, the vast majority tend to resist change. Whether they are clerical employees who don’t want the hassle of learning a new interface or IT managers who don’t want to introduce any new bugs to the system, employees are reluctant to embrace a new OS when the old one works just fine.

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In fact, a large number of enterprises still haven’t upgraded to the latest available version of Windows—Windows XP sp2. In an October 2006 survey, a full 38% of companies surveyed by Forrester were using an earlier version of Windows.

The Hardware Hurdle

Vista deployment will also be slowed by its stiff hardware requirements.

Forrester’s Gray notes, “The biggest challenge for enterprises is upgrading the PC hardware to meet the increased requirements of Windows Vista. A Windows Vista Premium Ready PC includes at least a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, support for DirectX 9 graphics, a 40GB hard drive with 1 GB of free space, and access to a DVD drive (it doesn't have to be internal). This is no small task.”

In an October 2006 CDW survey, 51% of respondents said that at least half of their hardware would need to be upgraded in order to run Vista. And 16% said nearly all (91-100%) of their hardware would need to be replaced. This may be good news for retailers like CDW, but it’s definitely bad news for corporate bottom lines.

Not If, But When

So will enterprises upgrade? Probably—but they might not begin soon, and they probably won’t upgrade all of their hardware at once.

A hefty 86% of respondents in the CDW survey said they planned to upgrade to Vista, but only 20% said they would begin the upgrade within the next 12 months.

Forrester’s survey of slightly larger companies found that 40% of enterprise customers planned to upgrade within the year; however, more than half of European enterprises had no plans to upgrade to Vista at all.

For those companies that do upgrade, the transition to Vista will probably take place slowly. Rather than try to install Vista on aging PCs, many companies will likely begin the transition as they replace older machines with boxes that come with Vista pre-installed.

“Enterprises should start to introduce the OS on new hardware rather than rolling existing XP systems over via a large migration project,” advises Gray. “To reduce IT costs and lost end user productivity while their PC is being upgraded, it’s time to abandon OS migration projects and simply begin introducing new operating systems on new machines as they are acquired following a comprehensive testing and evaluation period.”

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