More Users Plan Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade Before SP1 Release

By Steve Wexler  |  Print this article Print

A survey of more than 900 IT professionals shows that nearly half plan to move to Microsoft Windows 7 before the software giant releases Service Pack 1. Almost 90 percent say they plan to eventually deploy the operating system.

New research from recent Dell acquisition Kace finds 87 percent of IT professionals surveyed plan to deploy Windows 7, up dramatically from a similar study done in April 2009.

Of more significance to the channel, almost half of the 900 respondents plan to move to Windows 7 before the anticipated summer release of Service Pack 1. Even better for Microsoft—and perhaps Dell Kace—those considering alternative operating systems to avoid Windows decreased from 50 to 32 percent.

The real eye-opener of the fourth such survey is the number of respondents intending to move to the OS before the release of SP1, says Dell Kace's vice president of marketing, Wynn White.

"That was a big highlight for us, a lot of confidence in the release. Microsoft seems to have got it right," White says.

That's great news for the business unit that targets organizations with 500 to 5,000 PCs with a very quick time to value. Customers can be up and running in as little as one day and the typical ROI is under three months. Margins are also very attractive, Kace tells Channel Insider.

The new study attributes increased confidence in Windows 7's performance, security and stability to an overwhelming change of heart. According to Diane Hagglund, senior research analyst for Dimensional Research and the survey's author, another driver is the fact that Windows XP is reaching its end of life.

"As Windows XP becomes out of date and more expensive to support and with Vista [being] increasingly insignificant, IT leaders are embracing Windows 7," Hagglund says. "Based on previous research, Windows 7 deployments are dramatically ahead of planned Vista deployments at a similar stage in the OS life cycle, with most respondents skipping Vista altogether."

Key survey findings include:

  • 87 percent of survey respondents plan to deploy Windows 7, compared with 47 percent who had plans to deploy Vista at a comparable point after its release;
  • 46 percent of the total surveyed revealed they have plans to migrate even before the release of SP1;
  • 86 percent reported concern about software compatibility when migrating to Windows 7;
  • 25 percent expressed concerns about Windows 7 performance, down from 47 percent reported during the 2009 survey; and
  • 32 percent are considering alternative operating systems to avoid Windows Vista or Windows 7, down from 50 percent in 2009.

The last is a very telling result, says White. "It's the first time we've really seen it take a fall since we started asking that question."

To him that means Microsoft has rebuilt the confidence that was undermined by the Vista release and given new life to the Windows OS.

Kbox did well with the Windows 7 release and, now known as the Dell Kace Appliance, it should do even better under the new conditions, says White. Even better, Kace also manages Apple Macintosh and Linux clients. "The reality is more and more organizations are getting more and more mixed environments today," he says.

The study is also good news for the channel, White says. "A large-shift migration to a new operating system has a cascading effect on the entire IT organization." Most organizations have held off on doing a hardware refresh during the economic downturn, and it now looks like they will be spending a lot in a short time frame.

"From a channel perspective, the migration to Windows 7 is a boon," White says, adding that a number of Kace partners are reporting that this refresh is taking place.

As for life under Dell, White says it's a very good fit. The company was one of Kace's largest resellers prior to the acquisition, and now it has even greater access to both its internal sales teams as well as its much larger channel. "So far, we're seeing tremendous traction and acceleration in our business because of it."