When is the Right Time to Move to Vista?

Should I stay or should I go? For most organizations, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

By Ron Miller
Thu, March 29, 2007

CIO — IT executives face a major challenge deciding when and how to migrate the enterprise to a new operating system like Microsoft Vista. While the new OS offers several advantages for enterprise users such as improvements in security, desktop control and image management, it's also a huge change from Windows XP. Windows Vista has an entirely new interface, new device drivers to worry about, and new ways of doing tasks that could cause problems for your user base, at least for the short term.

Any time you move to a new operating system, you expect to face certain obstacles. Deciding when to make the move can be a daunting decision. Some executives will hold back until the first service pack, waiting for Microsoft to work out any early hiccups, while others may want to be on the cutting edge and get in early. As you know, there is truly no perfect time, so you have to assess your organization's needs and budget and make the move when you feel the company is ready.

For guidance on the steps in doing so, see Preparing for a Windows Vista Migration.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
For most organizations, it's not a matter of if you are going to move to Windows Vista, but when, says Jay Lendl, VP of the Microsoft Practice at Fujitsu Consulting in Edison, N.J., a company that works with organizations to make the transition to Vista. "It's not like buying a new gadget." He says, "It's truly more of a question of: Do you wait until you are forced to make the change, or do you take advantage of some [of the new features] by moving sooner?"

Tony Thomas, senior network engineer/product manager at Numara Software in Tampa, Fla., says sometimes the decision is made for you by corporate update policies. "A lot of companies have a mandate that the operating system should be up to date," he says, but in other cases an outside influence may trigger the move. "There is usually some enabler to increase the attach rate of [an operating system like] Vista. A lot of times, that could be a software package [that runs under Vista] and increases productivity," Thomas says. He uses Microsoft Office 2007 as an example. If an IT organization wants to take advantage of features in Office 2007, according to Thomas, it makes sense to move to Vista at the same time. Even though Office 2007 can run on Windows XP, Microsoft has really tuned it to run most efficiently under Vista.

Another possible enabler, says Thomas, may be the release of the next generation of Windows server technology, currently dubbed "Longhorn Server." Thomas believes some people will wait for that transition, so they can move corporate desktops and back-end systems at the same time. He adds that some people will make the move simply because Microsoft will eventually stop supporting Windows XP.

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