Try as Microsoft and its PC manufacturing partners might, they are having a tough time scaring IT organizations to wholesale upgrades to Windows 7. Even with threats of cutting off support, most IT organizations remain largely unmoved.
The reason for this, says Prowess CEO Aaron Suzuki, is twofold. First, many IT organizations are convinced they will either be able to, in the case of large companies, leverage their clout to cut a Windows XP support contract with Microsoft, or in the case of smaller companies, find a third-party organization to support them. The second major issue is that many commercial software vendors have yet to release new applications that take advantage of enough Windows 7 features to warrant an upgrade. As a result, IT organizations are wary of the benefits of Windows 7 when most of the applications that the business relies on run just fine on Windows XP.
Prowess provides SmartDeploy systems management tools for Windows environments. As much as it is in Prowess' interest to see mass migrations to Windows 7, Suzuki says the reality is that Windows XP and Windows 7 will coexist for years to come within most organizations. In fact, most IT organizations are only bringing in Windows 7 in a piecemeal fashion, such as when a mobile computing user requires a new notebook or an engineer needs a new workstation. The end result, says Suzuki, is that IT organizations are looking for systems management tools that do a better job of automating the management of application images across diverse Windows operating system environments.
Interestingly enough, Suzuki adds that when they do opt to buy a new machine, many IT organizations are opting to spend extra on the hardware with an eye towards having platforms that could realistically run Windows 8 and future versions of Internet Explorer. Given that, Suzuki says it's more than likely that the Windows upgrade cycle in the years ahead may prove to be even more extended than it is now.
There are, of course, a lot of good reasons to upgrade to Windows 7. But for many IT organizations, there are just as many good reasons not to upgrade. And with the rise of mobile computing and cloud computing services such as Google Apps, many IT organizations are not as concerned about what Microsoft may do or say about Windows or even Microsoft Office for that matter. And without a big stick looming over them, more IT organizations than ever are approaching Windows on their own terms. In fact, without any great sense of anxiety over Windows 7, Suzuki says it wouldn't surprise him to see the bulk of Windows 7 upgrades in the enterprise taking place until late 2012 and well into 2013 and beyond.