There has been much written lately about corporate users and their reluctance to abandon XP and adopt the new Windows operating systems. Most authors have expressed a sense of surprise over this apparent phenomenon and been quick to blame Vista for the abysmal upgrade numbers. In my opinion the reasons have very little to do with Vista.
In order to gain a sense of the corporate sector's thinking one must view the situation purely from their point of view, especially bearing in mind that almost all corporate decisions are driven by the almighty dollar.
Introduced in 2001 and spanning 6 years (until 2007), Windows XP is the longest serving operating system ever produced by Microsoft, outstripping all others by many years. This has had the effect of ensconcing corporate users (and many home users too) deep into a zone of comfort and familiarity. Unlike most home users, however, corporations generally rely heavily on specialist 3rd party software for controlling; inventory, accounting, memberships, production, etc. This software is very expensive to replace or upgrade, not only the initial cost but in terms of down time too...and that is all provided their particular software actually supports the new operating system.
I suspect that most corporations dread the advent of any new operating system and view it as a right pain in the back account, XP's longevity and subsequent reliability has engendered even more reluctance to make the transition.
Will the situation change with the release of Windows7? It's difficult to predict the outcome but, in my opinion, the majority will favour the new operating system. Not necessarily because W7 will be a more palatable option but because by the time the final version of W7 is released, XP and much of the supported (specialist) software will be almost 9 years old and I believe many in the corporate sector will view the timing to be right for a complete overhaul.
August 11, 2011
Good points. The dollar dictates all too often what a company's IT department can and can't do.
Here's the perspective from my company:
In 2005, we undertook a massive project to update every computer to Windows XP (from Win95!!!). Those computers from 2005 are still in use and in production today. As machines die and/or new employees are brought on we buy the same model from Dell. This will continue to happen until Dell discontinues whatever model they keep buying (no date set yet). With every new workstation purchase, we purchase the right (the right, the license? whatever) to downgrade to Windows XP, all of our images are built in XP.
No one on the IT staff here has pushed for Vista, so a concentrated move has not been considered.
Now enter Windows 7.
I'm excited for it, though I haven't touched it. Most of the staff here is excited by it, and a lot of them are running it as their primary OS (despite it's Beta moniker). There will be a push for Win7 from our IT staff.
From the management perspective, however, they look at the fact that we went 10 years on Windows 95, why can't we go 10 years on Windows XP? Of course, management is still 10 years behind the curve and it's amazing we have a website (although, those did exist in 1999, so we're not too far off), let alone consider being on anything modern (our Mainframe still won't except data in anything other than a flat file).
So for us - we're fighting dollars (it will not be cheap to transition), ignorance (what's wrong with what we have?), and availability (it's not released, there is no finalized software to demonstrate). I have a feeling we won't win this battle anytime soon.
Hey Zig - A terrific post and great example of corporate attitude. One can't really blame them for approaching the dilemma from a dollar point of view, after all they are running a business. While they know that upgrading operating systems and software is going to cost them a lot of money there is generally no offsetting financial gains (return) involved. The cost should not be capitalised as these items are considered intangible and as such would normally be written off as a direct expense against profits. The only possible advantage could be a more efficient working environment and even that is arguable, particularly the degree.
Bottom line, they view all outgoing $$$ as an investment....what are we going to get out of it. The answer here would be....nothing. I don't think they generally regard the happiness and contentedness of their employees as contributing any value.
August 11, 2011
[quote="ozbloke":3s05xc89] I don't think they generally regard the happiness and contentedness of their employees as contributing any value.
No, if there's one thing that management believes, it's that employees are their biggest expense. that's been made clear in several meetings.
December 7, 2008
Replacing ancillary software is always a difficult decision for business; perhaps more so when times are rough. Even a small business, with 100 employees or less, faces tough choices. I have a small consulting operation, part-time, really, with four machines including a server. XP will stay on all those boxes until Windows 7 has been out for a while. Even then, it'll be a slow roll out: two primaries at first that will have to be new machines. I build my own computers, but that's still a substantial investment in the hardware alone.
Everyone who suffers and delights in being "the IT guy", no matter what size the operation, will have to decide how and when to make their case. Those who count beans will be mystified and not appreciate the benefit unless it is explained in terms they understand. When people see the bottom line effect of technology, it's hard to deny the worth.
Of course, here in California, the DMV was still using Win 98SE until about three years ago!
August 11, 2011
It's just frustrating...
Our technology and implementations have marched forward with technology, and we're operating with less and less staff working harder and harder, and yet....our workstations are 5+ years old!!
We just don't have the horsepower to keep up with the requirements of our work load now.
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