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Windows 10: Pros and cons for enterprise - why your business should move to Windows 10

Matthew Finnegan | July 29, 2015
Windows 10 launches this week - but can Microsoft learn from the mistakes of Windows 8?

The average cost for upgrading from XP was $1,000, according to Forrester. While it is likely to be less to move to Windows 10, this could still be a significant investment for any large business.

"What we learned in the Windows XP to 7 migration process was that the application compatibility process and actually doing the application migrations and updates was the most expensive part," says Forrester's David Johnson.

"I expect it will be significantly less costly than Windows XP and 7 migration. But it will still be costly."

Costs for training staff should also be factored in, particularly for those moving from Windows 8.

"There is still going to be some confusion from the end-user community in some scenarios, even though the Windows desktop mode is similar to what they are familiar with, there still will be enough differences to throw some users off," says Johnson. "So there will be a training cycle involved in most cases with companies."

Of course, organisations shouldn't wait too long before upgrading, at least not without other firm plans in place. The deadline for Windows 7 support is 14 January 2020. This might seem far off, but the migration process can often take 18 months, meaning that the cut-off point is closer than many might imagine.

"An OS migration is a huge undertaking. Organisations often underestimate the planning phases for major IT initiatives," says Heat Software senior product manager, Mareike Fondufe.

"The largest concern is the legacy infrastructure, which can cause critical compatibility issues due to its age and resulting complexity and results in the need for automatic methods to migrate and manage an operating system.

Moving legacy applications can also be troublesome for many organisations. "Microsoft is promising very high compatibility with Windows 7, but organisations must still plan and budget for a substantial effort involved with compatibility of key applications and potentially costly remediation or upgrades that may be required, especially for Internet Explorer specific applications."

Windows 10: New options and alternatives

Another question for businesses is whether they want to upgrade to Windows 10 at all.

In the years since the release of Windows 7 it has become clear that Microsoft is no longer the only game in town. Apple is continuing to gain a foothold in the enterprise at the top-end, while Chromebooks have offered a cost-effective alternative to Windows, with growing adoption, particularly in verticals such as education. Adoption of cloud services such as Google Apps has spurred sales of five million devices in the US.

Forrester's David Johnson says: "It will have an impact, particularly in cash-strapped organisations where we see Chrome OS and Chromebooks gaining ground - education, healthcare - where they just don't want to spend the money to manage a full Windows instance and the other costs that go with it."


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