Many organizations are in the process or assessing if they are going to stay on Windows XP or move to Windows 7. What are the benefits for moving to Windows 7? Should we wait until Windows 7 SP1? Many organizations are having to weigh moving the technology forward, having a more efficient means to manage the technology as well as doing this in a very cost effective manner. It is also a very hard pill to swallow when organizations move forward into a new platform. That is a considerable investment in resources; including application compatibility, physical hardware, updates to current monitoring tools, and do not forget about the training that should be done for the support personnel and the end users.
Ultimately, when it comes down to it there is an eventuality that will need to happen with moving to Windows 7. Microsoft has already stated that Windows XP has moved to “Extended Support” status until the year 2014 (It’s My Windows 7 blog talks about this). This means that any incidents, warranty claims, design changes and feature requests are not available anymore. All non-urgent hotfixes will not be available (unless purchased an agreement with Microsoft witnin 90 of support ending). So many organizations will need to move off of XP or at least start the process of upgrading applications relatively soon.
So why else would an organization want to migrate to Windows 7? Many organizations have some of these types of issues:
- Application Compatibility: With any move there is alot of money that is sunk into making sure applications will work on a new client.
- Productivity Anywhere: The business users would like to connected to their information no matter where they are.
- Security in Mind: Companies are very concerned about proprietary and personal information being lost. Reports out suggest that more than 30,000+ mobile devices have been left behind in New York city taxi cabs (reported in September, 2008). These devices included laptops, cell phones and USB flashdrives.
- Power Management: One area of cost reduction is the use of power by clients.
- Centralized and Streamlining of Client Management: Having to work on individual clients is very time consuming and an issue with many small, medium and large IT shops. This takes away from being more proactive in maintaining the infrastructure. This also increases IT costs.
By utilizing Windows 7 and associated tools, many organizations can find that their ROI will increases.
Application Compatibility: Included in Windows 7 is Application Compatibility troubleshooting tools that can help with setting up some of the security and access features to allow an application to work. Windows 7 XP Mode also gives an organization the ability to temporarily have apps that work in Windows XP to also work in Windows 7.
Productivity Anywhere: Through the use of DirectAccess and BranchCache, Enterprise search individuals within the organization will have immediate access to their data no matter where it resides in the network.
Security in Mind: BitLocker and BitLocker-To-Go, AppLocker and User Account Control allow the IT organization to allow access to pre-approved applications and limit who has access to data.
Power Management: Advanced features within Windows 7 allow organization to create Power Plans that will help reduce power consumption. Potential savings can range from $35-$100 per PC (check out Energy Star site that talks about Power Management what this means). This can also be centrally managed through the use of Group Policies.
Centralized and Streamlining of Client Management: New and improved Group Policies and Group Policy Preferences will help with managing the clients. There are more than 1000 new Group Policies that were added with Windows Vista was introduced and this has continued with Windows 7. Microsoft has also introduced the next version of PowerShell (v2) that includes the ability to remote as well as adding new scripting and automation ability. This will definitely help improvement PC Managability.
When it comes down to it, organizations will eventually move to a new version of their client operating system. The question will be when and to which one. I hope this has helped a little as your organization is trying to make that decision.