As Vista finally launches this week to business users, the key consideration for IT directors is the timing of any migration to Microsoft's new desktop operating system.
For many IT chiefs, the upgrade from Windows 95/98 to Windows XP and the move to Windows Server 2000/2003, with its new Active Directory system, is still relatively recent, and most IT directors contacted by Computer Weekly said they do not expect to move quickly.
"My view is that we will move in due course, but there is no compelling reason to move quickly," said one IT director.
"It is a huge cost and it is fundamentally disruptive, and it has a direct effect on our users. It is something one only undertakes in a measured and controlled way. But since Microsoft is a de facto standard, the upgrade is practically inevitable," he said.
Another IT director said he expects to move to Vista after Service Pack 1 is released, but not before.
"This will be part of a lifecycle upgrade so it could be 2008 or beyond. There is no real business benefit for us. They are mostly soft benefits which are difficult to quantify. We also have an infrastructure and processes geared towards Windows XP and 2003, which are bedded in. A move would increase operational risk for little gain," he said.
Owen Williams, group head of IT at Knight Frank, said the property group does not expect to migrate to Vista in the near future, and may choose to defer its implementation for some time.
"This plan to defer the implementation of these releases was set when we chose not to take Software Assurance out on these products. The longer we defer, the better that business decision was in hindsight," said Williams.
But Richard Steel, Newham Borough Council's IT director, said the council was likely to be relatively quick off the mark, despite the fact that it is still standardising on one platform - Windows XP - and still upgrading desktops.
Steel said that as Newham is in a long-term partnership with Microsoft, by this time next year the council might start a Vista roll out.
Sven Hallauer, release manager and director of program management at Microsoft, said, "Windows Vista is built to be our most reliable operating system yet. In terms of core quality, we talk about three important factors - reliability, usability and security."
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