Five reasons businesses need to get Vista --- now

Businesses have shied away from adopting Vista, but Forrester Research has come up with a report offering five reason companies should adopt Vista right away. Agree with it or not, it's necessary reading for any Windows-based enterprise.

The report, titled "Building The Business Case For Windows Vista," notes that many companies are considering skipping Vista, and instead waiting for Windows 7 to upgrade from XP. But report author Benjamin Gray warns:

There are some harsh realities for those considering skipping Windows Vista. As a result, we’re recommending that most clients start the migration to Windows Vista sooner rather than later to avoid potential pitfalls.

He then goes on to outline five reasons businesses need Vista now. Here they are, summarized:

Reason #1: For large businesses, there’s no viable alternative.

The report notes that "Microsoft operating systems are powering 99% of North American and European enterprise PCs and 97% of small to medium-size business (SMB) PCs." In other words, businesses use Windows. In a previous blog, I've detailed why Forrester says the Mac isn't an alternative. The report goes on to say that Service Pack 1 has been spurring companies towards Vista.

Reason #2: Businesses need to stay current with Microsoft and ISV support.

Microsoft has already ended extended support for Windows 2000, and will end it for XP in April of 2009. ISVs (software makers) will certainly follow suit with any applications written for those operating systems. The report notes that it's not safe or practical for an enterprise to stay with an operating system that lacks adequate support.

Reason #3: There’s a lot of uncertainty around Windows XP availability after June.

The report notes that it's not at all clear that big PC makers such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo will make XP available on their PCs after June 30 of this year. That means that enterprises that haven't yet switched to Vista after that date may be forced to buy Vista machines, and then downgrade them to XP. Then, in the future, if they want to upgrade to Vista, they'll have to buy new Vista licenses. Forrester says it's best to avoid the mess and upgrade to Vista.

Reason #4: There’s even more uncertainty around Windows 7.

Windows 7, including its features and release date, is now little more than a promise. And as we all know from past experience, believing promises when it comes to release dates and features is a big mistake. So waiting for Windows 7 is not a good idea.

Reason #5: Windows Vista’s feature/function improvements should make ongoing operations easier.

The report notes that improvements in security, reliability, and the user experience are all good reasons for enterprises to switch to Vista. It claims that under Vista, enterprises have better control over what software users can install, and that IT staffs will see far fewer help desk calls over time with Vista.

The report itself goes into more detail, of course, but these are the high points. You may not agree, but they're points that are well worth considering.

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