IT directors not convinced of XP merits

With many users still migrating to Windows 2000, IT directors are not convinced that upgrading to Windows XP is a logical or...

With many users still migrating to Windows 2000, IT directors are not convinced that upgrading to Windows XP is a logical or necessary move.

Across the public and private sector, XP's launch seems to have been mistimed. Several IT managers contacted by are currently installing or getting used to Windows 2000, and have said they are not prepared to cause additional upheaval to their IT infrastructure.

John Handby, from the senior IT executives' forum CIO Connect, said: "I think the big challenge for Microsoft is to convince users that they need to upgrade. Chief information officers have put a lot of effort into switching to Windows 2000, and the launch of Windows XP has made many IT managers feel like they are on a rack."

Handby argued that since Microsoft had resolved the security issues within Windows 2000, it would be difficult for users to justify moving up to Windows XP. "Every time you upgrade you disrupt your desktop continuity and this is very important for IT managers, so Microsoft has to tackle this issue head-on," he said.

The ongoing roll-out of Windows 2000 is the main reason for avoiding XP. Dave Berwick, information services operations manager for Mitsubishi, said his company was not looking at Windows XP at all. Instead, he was concentrating on upgrading to Windows 2000.

"It was a lot of hard work switching from NT to Windows 2000 and we want to remain stable and evaluate 2000," Berwick said. "I think the launch of XP has come too quickly after 2000."

Mike Loveless, head of the IT Standards Unit at Staffordshire Council, said that unless there was a compelling business reason or a way to get early access to essential bug fixes, the council generally did not rush into software upgrades. "We are only just migrating our desktops to Windows 2000 from Windows 95 as workstations are replaced," he said.

But there could be some benefit to moving midway through a Windows 2000 roll-out to Windows XP. Nationwide is one organisation evaluating the new software. Francis Walsh, e-commerce director for the building society, said: "We are just rolling out Windows 2000 and we are currently assessing whether or not to roll out Windows XP at the same time. We are yet to make a firm decision."

Lewisham Council also believes there may be some benefit especially in terms of productivity gains. Jack Hamilton, ICT technical strategy manager for the council, said: "When integrated with Office/XP and its productivity aids I imagine considerable improvements in productivity could be gained from Windows XP."

However, as with many organisations spoke to, Hamilton warned that the upgrade had to be balanced against the cost of the desktop software and any necessary upgrades.

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