According to IT research firm Gartner, Inc. the corporate demand for Windows 7 will not gain momentum until the end of 2010. "An overdue PC hardware upgrade cycle, and the economic environment, will be as equally important as Windows 7 in determining final demand in 2010," says Charles Smulders, managing vice president at Gartner.
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The five issues that enterprises should examine before Windows 7 migration include:
Plan to be off Windows XP by year-end 2012 — Microsoft will support Windows XP with security fixes into April of 2014, but past experience has shown that independent software vendors (ISVs) will stop testing much earlier. New releases of critical business software will require Windows 7 long before Microsoft support for Windows XP ends.
Start working on Windows 7 migration projects — The typical organization requires 12 to 18 months of waiting, testing and planning. So start much in advance.
Don't wait for Windows 7 SP1 to begin testing and deployment — Gartner analysts suggest starting work now (especially if companies have skipped Windows Vista), but are planning to switch to SP1 before their actual rollout.
Don't skip Windows 7 — Gartner categorizes Windows 7 as a "polishing" release on top of the architectural change that the Windows Vista "plumbing" release delivered and that polishing releases should never be skipped.
Budget carefully — Windows 7 migration costs vary significantly — Gartner's model shows that migration costs could be $1,035 to $1,930 per user to move from Windows XP to Windows 7, and $339 to $510 per user to move from Windows Vista to Windows 7 depending on an organization's approach.