For many CIOs, the first questions prompted by Microsoft’s launch of Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 will revolve around whether any or all of the three will provide tangible business benefits.
At this early stage, analysts have said that the new Vista features – such as better graphics, deeper integration, virtualisation and enhanced security – are likely to bring technical benefits, but not necessarily clear business benefits.
Among the innovations, Vista Enterprise has Virtual PC technology that allows enterprises to run four additional virtual copies of the operating system for free – for example, to run a helpdesk, for training purposes, or to perform software application testing.
The operating system also has long-awaited hardware security support, Windows Bitlocker Drive Encryption, which uses the processor and Active Directory system to encrypt and store confidential data.
However, when it comes to making the business case, many CIOs may be hard pushed to argue for any speedy migration to Vista.
“Yes, Vista comes with a nice user interface and security features and has some useful in-built search features and so on, but by and large Windows XP, with one or two add-ons, still gives you a solid platform for applications,” said Richard Edwards, senior research analyst at Butler Group.
With caution the watchword from analysts, Microsoft is working hard to convince users that the time has come to move off their current operating platforms.
Dave Wascha, director of the Windows Client business group at Microsoft, said that the top concern of users was application compatibility. He said Microsoft was working with third-party integrators to develop problem-solving services.
Wascha added, “While not all customers will migrate to Windows Vista during 2007, a percentage are planning to do so, and the rest will migrate over time as the PCs in their organisation are upgraded and as they understand the benefits provided by Vista.”
Mike Haigh, Windows client marketing manager, said Microsoft expects users to adopt Vista faster than they deployed XP. Within two years, XP was deployed by 10% of users, but Microsoft is projecting that 26% of users will adopt Vista within two years.
“It has been five years since XP. There is pent-up demand for Vista,” he said.
MICROSOFT ON THE BENEFITS OF WINDOWS VISTA
- The operating system is based on search engine technology, so users can find documents by typing in a keyword
- It has mobile and wireless technology integrated into it to help mobile workforces to work securely
- Vista has new security features such as Bitlocker, which can encrypt a notebook’s registry files
- It has a compliance function which allows users to track all the changes in a document
Source: Mike Haigh, Windows client marketing manager
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