While all the focus of the moment seems to be on the potential benefits of Windows 7, once Microsoft officially releases Windows 7 it's going to fall to the IT help desk to start cleaning up after the party. And most help desks are unprepared to support anything approaching a major operating system migration.
It's been seven years or more since most IT organizations had to undertake anything close to a Windows 7 upgrade. Since them, end users have deployed any number of custom applications or tweaked their configurations in ways that are unique to almost every end user. And every one of them is going to put a call into the help desk to ask how a certain capability they had on Windows XP can be replicated on Windows 7.
Of course, most IT organizations won't upgrade all at once. But by the middle of next year, just about every IT organization is going to be supporting at least one or more instances of Windows 7. Given the fact that most help desks have been downsized in this tough economy, this may be a good time to think about incorporating some sort of remote login capability from companies such as Citrix, Cisco Webex or LogMeIn. Or perhaps better yet, IT organizations should develop their own remote login capabilities by deploying help desk software from companies such as Bomgar that allow IT organizations to remotely take over an end user's machine.
Not only will there be more calls to the help desk, but the types of desktop scenarios that IT organizations are being asked to support are also changing radically with the advent of multiple types of desktop virtualization that could just as easily be used to run Apple Macintosh or Linux environments as they could be used to support legacy Windows XP applications. In fact, the entire way we think about operating systems on the desktop could be about to radically change.
However IT organizations choose to get there, one thing is certain. Supporting Windows XP has been a comparatively stable experience compared to what IT organizations will see with Windows 7 during the course of 2010 and beyond.