Monday, 08 February 2016 10:10

Windows 10 – now its enterprise’s turn

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Will enterprise adopt Windows 10 (W10) any time soon? Indications are that it may be faster than expected.

Overall the operating system now has 11.85% market share just overtaking the dogged 11.42% of XP users (who can’t access the free upgrade anyway), but the great bulk – 52.47% are still on Windows 7. This figure largely comprises commercial users where new roll outs and OS updates must be well planned, and an ever decreasing number of consumers that wish to remain on that version.

No matter how many people use W10 – and that number is now said to be well north of 200 million – the internet is littered with stories about upgrade issues people have had, resentment in being forced to upgrade (that is patently rubbish – you have to accept the upgrade. Read later for a free tool to stop the nag screen), and some application and program incompatibility (very small but by far the most relevant reason).

The article is about enterprise use so let me just remind W7 and 8.x consumers of three things

  • The upgrade offer remains free until 29 July 2016 – get something free from Microsoft!
  • It is a painless, no-brainer upgrade IF your device is in relatively good shape, built post 2005, and able to access Windows update. The vast majority of upgrade issues have been with computers that had previously stopped upgrading, had out of date drivers, malware or other issues
  • W10 offers a W7 like desktop user interface – it is not like Windows 8.x

On to corporate use.

SpiceWorks is a huge online community of IT professionals – not just Windows professionals – and has been following Windows 10 enterprise adoption since it was released. Its conclusion at the time was that there was stratospheric interest by its community with 60% having used the technical preview before launch.

Fast forward to now and 76% of larger enterprise companies have run pilot trials and are ready to make the jump. Enterprise take up is currently at 18% and expected to at least double by July primarily – oddly not because of the free upgrade offer as most larger enterprises are on volume licensing agreements that are not included.

The trails have been necessary as enterprise needs to ensure that all its legacy software runs and that hardware is able to support it.

On the software side programs written for Windows 7 seem largely fine – it’s the legacy programs written for XP in out of date languages that really don’t do anyone any favours in an ongoing support or security sense.

On the hardware side there have been issues with machines built around from pre-2005 that came with, or were upgraded to XP and have subsequently been upgraded to Windows 7 – hence are eligible for the free W10 upgrade. Some of these have driver issues although not those that use standard Intel kit. The line in the sand for almost all hardware compatibility is now anything built post 2005 but the question is should you still be using a 10-year-old device?

iTWire has reported on legacy issues - and many organisations are using XP based devices which cannot be adequately secured.

Spiceworks reports that North America leads the corporate adoption rate at 19.3% - APAC lags with 14.4%. Adoption in larger enterprises (500 plus employees) is running at 31%, and for companies with less than 50 employees it is about 10% - a result of having less IT professional staff, longer replacement cycles and fewer resources.

Of the top 10 industry classifications ‘software’ had reached a 28.2% penetration and remainder around 20%.

It concludes, “We're still confident we'll see a 40% penetration rate in the business environment by the end of July 2016, because we anticipate that some IT departments will rush to take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade offer for non-enterprise editions of the OS.”

Comment

I am seeing a huge interest by enterprise but the kicker is that most have a four-year hardware, operating system and software replacement cycle and the overall feeling it that those ones will wait as the operating system is a very small part of the overall cost of upgrade.

In addition, enterprise is increasingly looking at cloud based email, security, software, and platforms as a service – this XaaS (X as a service) is perhaps the greatest game changer in enterprise computing and added to the mobile first world, it is not a given that desktops will be replaced by desktops – rather mobile devices.

Many have been critical of Microsoft in ‘forcing’ the upgrade on them. That is simply not correct at all but removal of the ‘nag screen’ has not been easy.

If you want to stay on your existing Windows version and don’t want to be nagged download this free standalone program (no install required) called GWX control panel and that is it.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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