April 11, 2012 4 Comments
A common question and concern of CxOs is: “Why do my IT infrastructure people want us to migrate to Windows 7 when Windows 8 is just around the corner?”
IT’s response to the question most of the time is to restate Microsoft’s statement regarding the date Windows XP will cease to be supported by Microsoft. Almost everyone now knows this date which is documented as 08 April, 2014.
The above response would have been rated as satisfactory and perhaps excellent 9 months ago, when the question from CxOs was: “Why do my IT infrastructure people want us to migrate to Windows 7 now?” Now with the potential release of Windows 8 (currently rumoured and unconfirmed as August 2012), and the support of Windows XP not ending until 08 April, 2014, IT needs a different answer to the question being posed by those that sign the cheque.
The purpose of this whitepaper as depicted by the subject “Mitigating the risks of not migrating from Windows XP: Derisking your wait for Windows 8” is to objectively answer the question without any form of bias.
For the ardent and meticulous students of the English grammar, you may have come across the absence of the word “derisk” in most lexicons and you may be wondering about the origins of the word. The word “derisk” exists in the Cambridge lexicon and it is described as: “To make something safer by reducing the possibility that something bad will happen and money will be lost”.
It is now 11 years since Window XP was released and it has indeed been the desktop operating system of choice in most enterprises during those periods. Windows Vista never gained the traction required for enterprise adoption, hence the very few installed seats which was caused by the numerous documented problems. Windows XP will be out of extended support on April 8, 2014 and that alone had been a veritable business case to justify the investment in the migration to Windows 7.
However, the release of Windows 8 for consumer preview on 29 February 2012 has got some CxOs thinking along the lines of: “Why do my IT infrastructure people want us to migrate to Windows 7 when Windows 8 is just around the corner?” The bunch of CxOs falling into this category are the ones who are yet to commence a Windows 7 migration and they think with a consumer preview already out in February 2012, a Release To Manufacturing will be out well before the end of 2012. This is indeed a risky approach especially when there is no clearly defined roadmap from Microsoft indicating when the product will eventually be released. Even in cases where there have been publicly available release dates, some product releases have experienced slippages. CxOs are also keen to ensure their investment in a new operating system can last as long as possible; the end of extended support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020 which implies that extended support for Windows 8 will not expire until sometimes in 2023 thereby giving CxOs another 10 years on the new operating system assuming implementation is completed before the end of 2013.
The CxOs’ position is further complicated by the typical length of time required to migrate to Windows 7 being 18 months and the IT’s reservation about implementing new Windows operating systems without Service Pack 1. The CxOs’ case is further strengthened by the financial and budgetary constraints being imposed at the board level due to the cost-cutting at all levels of the organization imposed by the economic uncertainties.
This whitepaper will explore the risks of waiting for Windows 8 and provide mitigation strategies that can be used to reduce the risks for organisations that intend to wait for the release of Windows 8.
“Can Wait” Attitude
The CXOs’ position of waiting is reflective of the estimated and general consensus of Windows 8 being potentially available before the end of 2012.
The problems with this approach are:
- The vendor is not making any commitments whatsoever to making the product available before the end of 2012. The general consensus is a mere guess and waiting for a product which has no known release date is fraught with danger.
- The industry consensus for a typical Windows 7 migration is 18 months. A release date of December 2012 may not give IT personnel sufficient time to implement and deploy Windows 8, if the assumption of an 18 month migration for a typical Windows 7 migration is extrapolated to a Windows 8 migration.
- IT has a “justifiable” reservation for not implementing new Microsoft operating systems until the release of the first service pack.
Risks & Countermeasures
The identifiable risks and countermeasures are presented in the Table below:
You can download the rest of the whitepaper from here.