Are large organizations more likely to upgrade?
Today I want to write about all the emails I've been getting in response to my editorial on the value of Vista in the January issue of Windows IT Pro magazine (http://www.windowsitpro.com/Windows/Article/ArticleID/94455/94455.html). and I will do that. But I'm also distracted by and itching to respond to Tony's comment below. I'll start with the Vista letters and think a bit before I respond to Tony about Microsoft docs so that I don't say something I might regret later. (Doug Spindler, if you're reading, you know what I mean.) <g>
So about those Vista responses: Yesterday I was telling someone at Microsoft that of all the readers who've written to tell me about their view of Vista's value for IT, not a single one is planning to deploy Vista widely in their organization. The person's response was polite disbelief, I think, plus a suggestion that maybe only people from small companies were writing to me. The implication is that large organizations are more eager to deploy Vista.
Well, not everyone who's written has told me the size of their company, but here are a few sample comments (including organization size when the writer mentioned it):
Tom, a network admin for "a small college" wrote:
"I can tell you that we're not planning to move to Vista any time soon. ... The big problems: hardware upgrade costs and software incompatibility. For example: we can't easily afford to migrate off of Windows Messenger 5.1, which is incompatible with Vista; moreover, many of the basic 2003 Server admin tools don't run properly on Vista (or on 64-bit systems) -- which is, by the way, a lack of professional polish that I consider absolutely unacceptable. While members of our staff have gotten the adminpak and other tools to run on Vista by manually registering .dlls and copying a few files manually into different system folders, my belief is that Microsoft -- which presumably wants our business -- should be offering Vista-compatible tools right off the bat. After all, IT departments are the early adopters; if we're just going to use remote desktop to connect to another workstation to do our basic administrative tasks (as Microsoft's workarounds suggest), what value is there in Vista to us?Ironically, I see more value in end-user and general-use workstations -- but then the spectre of hardware cost raises its ugly head. Vista is fairly system-intensive, and system-intensive in ways that most cheaper campus machines are specifically weak. We can get most of the polish by moving to Ubuntu; we stick with Windows for Group Policy, but that's about it."
"I don't think we'll be upgrading to Vista until the next round of hardware purchases. This is what we did for XP and it's a bit easier for us as we can gradually introduce the new OS into production. Also, our current machines aren't capable of handling Vista without at least a RAM upgrade."
Scott, an IT manager for a city in Florida, said:
"While jumping from a bridge at night, in total darkness, not knowing if the water is deep enough to cushion my fall sounds like fun, when it comes to mission critical systems I’ll wait for daylight before making that leap. I learned my lesson with XP when I installed it on my PC only to learn I no longer was able to connect network printers. ... Vista will make its way into my organization one PC at a time. By that I mean as I install new or replacement PC’s I will buy them with Vista already installed. No need for a major roll out of upgrades. "
Nate, who is "IT Director for a five person IT Department supporting a five-hundred-user, twenty-location company in NW Oregon," wrote:
"Because our organization replaced 80% of our desktops with Wyse or NTA thin clients there isn't a large base of XP workstations. In fact, half the XP desktops are configured as thin clients with nothing but a virus scanner and a remote desktop shortcut on the desktop. Our largest XP install base is our mobile laptop users, although I am closely watching the developments in thin client laptops with built-in WiFi and GSM network access. Our focus has become and will continue to be the enterprise applications that we use to run the business. We will continue to keep our data in the datacenter and host our applications on the network. We will keep using VPN and Terminal Services to provide internal and external access to applications and data.
"In the past there was a huge need to upgrade Windows at the desktop because it was missing things or it was so buggy that you needed to restart daily to keep it working correctly. I really don't see that now. XP is secure, reliable, and plug and play. After upgrading to Vista, users will still need to purchase third party products for everything they purchased third party before. Like XP, Vista will not provide the tools users are going to need. They'll still need access to enterprise apps, an office suite, and everything else. Vista is just the operating system. I know Microsoft claims that Vista will cost less to maintain, but even they admit that it's a small margin. I expect that savings would disapear if they included end user and IT retraining, not to mention the cost of porting the old apps to the new OS. By the time that margin of cost reduction pays for itself it will be time to move the next OS. We'll only be replacing XP as part of the hardware replacement cycle."
Antti, a system specialist wrote that he's concerned about security and doesn't see much value proposition:
"I’m working at mechanical engineering company, not a high tech ICT firm so I try see things based our engineering needs.Like MS says "Your potential, Our passion." ... \[Y\]ou may get some "Potential" benefits but at this point it seems to be too much to handle. Time will tell how good \[an\] idea \[it\] was to release \[a\] whole MS family and \[whether\] users willing to buy a "family upgrade" instead of single system.
"When Windows 2000 was released it was new way of computing with AD. Then XP came, with multimedia etc. improved features. Now MS is selling a family, and I already have a feeling that there is no need to move Vista if you don’t plan to move Office 2007. To get "potential" value. This is lifetime opportunity for open source software and \[the\] "Google" way of thinking that Office suite / tools are on Internet."
Thanks to everyone who has written. Your comments are really thoughtful, and I hope Microsoft hears you.
One really interesting point that just about all the emails to me mention is that they are all using or planning to use Vista at home, if not in their business. So does that support my idea that Microsoft hasn't done a good job of justifying Vista to IT?
OK, once again I've created a really long post, so I'll stop here and continue tomorrow. I'll eagerly await comments! (And don't hesitate to email me if you prefer: firstname.lastname@example.org.)