Of greatest concern is the impact that running Windows 7 will have on existing customer business applications, and especially ERP offerings, often developed for the XP platform. While Ovum expects some teething problems for those with a large portfolio of in-house developed applications, much functionality will be retained. The XP mode, still somewhat an unknown quantity in enterprise environments, has the potential to facilitate XP-only applications. Rigorous testing procedures (be they internal or externally provisioned) will need to be carried out to ensure that critical application downtime and impact is minimised and the line of business offerings fully supported.
Microsoft still retains a consulting and services practice, which is designed to support systems integrators and other services partners in complex or challenging implementations, providing some degree of risk mitigation.
The positives should outweigh the negatives
Overall we are positive about the release of Windows 7, particularly for the enterprise market, where adoption interest is expected to be strong in the next 12 months. However, this is not a green light for upgrading without rigorous costing and planning initiatives. In addition, it provides a substantial opportunity to clean up systems and rationalise the enterprise applications estate.
While there will no doubt be initial issues around both pricing clarity and integration, the overall increased functionality, reliability and efficiency provided should outweigh the negatives. In our eyes the timing couldnt have been better, with the release aligning nicely with enterprise and hardware upgrade cycles, a slight easing of the pressure on IT budgets and increased focus on building foundations for 2010 and beyond.
Critically, Microsoft has involved a wider number of stakeholders and has worked closely with its mission-critical partner ecosystem to give the product more chance of getting to market quickly and in a cleaner state.
Jens Butler and Adam Jura are Ovum analysts.
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