Enterprise interest in Windows 10, getting onto it and off Windows 7, is at an unprecedented level, research firm Gartner said today.
Although in virtually all cases tha interest has not yet translated into actual deployments, it signals a faster move to the new OS than for past editions, including Windows 7, Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans contended in an interview.
"The level of interest expressed by our customer base, the type of questions they asking, indicates a much more rapid shift to Windows 10 than any previous operating system," said Kleynhans.
In past migrations, Gartner's clients went through a consistent set of steps in the queries to the firm's analysts, added Kleynhans: From 'What is it?' to 'Why should we care?' to 'How do we do it?'
"Those stretched out over a year-to-year-and-a-half," said Kleynhans, talking about past migrations, including the one starting in late 2009 for Windows 7. "Here we have seen that compressed, to about nine months. [Enterprises] are already asking 'How should we do it?' and 'How are others' pilots doing?'"
Many of those questions have come only recently, Kleynhans acknowledged, which he argued made the shift even more impressive. "From an enterprise standpoint, Windows 10 wasn't complete or stable until about eight weeks ago. So from their perspective, the OS is only a couple of months old."
Kleynhans was referring to the Nov. 12 upgrade, tagged as 1511, that was Windows 10's first refresh since the July launch. Among the new features of interest to enterprises in 1511: Update, upgrade and security patch management under the "Windows Update for Business" (WUB) umbrella; and a Windows app store specifically for businesses.
Microsoft has been boasting of Windows 10's adoption pace for months, asserting three weeks ago that 200 million "active devices" running the OS -- the metric, typically touted by service-based firms, was new for Microsoft -- and claimed that it "continues to be on the fastest growth trajectory of any version of Windows -- ever."
Twenty-two million of the 200 million, or 11%, were in enterprise and education customers, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's lead marketing executive for the Windows and devices group, said in a Jan. 4 post to a company blog.
Mehdi also trumpeted other enterprise-specific statistics, saying that three-fourths of Microsoft's enterprise customers were in "active pilots" of Windows 10. He did not detail the size of those pilots, or the trajectory of mainstream enterprise migrations.
For his part, Kleynhans reiterated Gartner's previous forecasts of corporate adoption. "Most of 2016 for most [enterprises] will be about piloting and early deployment," Kleynhans predicted. "The big fleet deployments will mostly start in 2017. Realistically, they won't do that in a year, so most will finish them off in 2018."
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