While Microsoft may be eager to sell its “re-imagined” Windows 8 to enterprises, Forrester research reveals that IT leaders are not keen to move onto the operating system any time soon.
The research firm found that in the months leading up to Windows 8’s release, only 33 per cent of firms Forrester surveyed reported that they intend to migrate to Windows 8 versus 66 per cent for Windows 7 at the same point prior to its release.
With support for Windows XP ending on April 8 2014, companies are busy rapidly migrating to Windows 7. Forrester found that 48 per cent of commercial PCs are running Windows 7, and 76 per cent of firms report that new PCs currently being deployed in enterprises are powered by Windows 7.
The main reason why enterprises are not planning to move to Windows 8, according to Forrester, is that they don’t see the management capabilities much of an improvement to Windows 7.
“It doesn’t provide enough additional benefits for IT in terms of managing the platform, and we’re not seeing the same kind of user-driven demand that we generally see,” said John Brand, vice-president, principal analyst serving CIOs at Forrester.
“Windows 8, from the administration perspective, is actually not really very new and it doesn’t provide those features any more easily.
“Certainly the data that we have at the moment suggests that it’s not going to be one of Microsoft’s biggest wins. We just see that the effort required to migrate an operating system platform is extremely difficult and very costly for most organisations, so the choice to avoid it if you possibly can is kind of the default position.”
End user demand for IT to support Windows 8 devices is also not seen to pick up, Brand said. In the Asia-Pacific region, 31 per cent of a sample of 3287 employees choose to use the Apple iPad as their next work tablet, compared to 20 per cent who would use a Windows 8 tablet.
“We’re possibly likely to see less take up of Windows 8 from the end users bringing their own technology into the organisation. Possibly less so than other regions because I think we’ve got a very savvy end user market in comparison to other markets. I don’t expect it’s going to have a particularly strong adoption level,” Brand said.
“I heard it described once by one CIO that the SOE use to mean standard operating environment – that was that you chose your standards and you locked everything down. SOE now means ‘sexy operating experience’ – that’s really what they have got to try and cater for so it’s making it attractive to the end user. Unless there is that strong end user demand, then there really isn’t a compelling reason to move platforms.”
Forrester said that Windows RT is “confusing to customers, and management options are limited” as it will not run legacy Windows applications, cannot join a Windows domain and there can be licensing considerations for business use.
Brand said the end user experience is being driven more so by applications than it is by the operating system, which means IT teams need to think about making their IT environment device agnostic by moving apps to the cloud or embracing open Web standards such as HTML5. This would ease future migration efforts while providing employees with better access and a wider range of devices, he said.