by Shane O'Neill

Can IE9 Save Enterprises Money?

Jul 29, 20113 mins
BrowsersEnterprise ApplicationsIT Leadership

A Forrester study concludes that a migration to Internet Explorer 9 will save an enterprise a few million bucks over three years due to better malware protection and security features and increased user productivity. Let's look at the numbers.

Internet Explorer 9 certainly has some benefits over its predecessors: speed, a clutter-free interface, HTML5 support, the ability to pin individual Web sites to the Windows 7 taskbar, to name a few.

But can IE9 save an enterprise real money? And if so, how much and how long will it take?

IE9: Five Changes CIOs Should Care About

Research firm Forrester, in conjunction with Microsoft, set out to answer these questions by researching six companies (provided by Microsoft, mind you) in sectors such as government, financial services and engineering to evaluate the potential financial impact of migrating to and supporting IE9.

The data that Forrester culled was used to create a hypothetical composite enterprise-size company with 60,000 employees total and 50,000 PC and browser users migrating to IE9 across 40 locations.

IE9 savings.png

The bottom line of Forrester’s study is that IE9 can provide great ROI over time. Forrester’s composite company will see potential risk-adjusted savings of $3.3 million within three years, and will break even after 15 months.

So where does that $3.3 million come from?

Well, first come the costs. Obviously an enterprise migration to IE9 is not as simple as telling all your employees to download IE9 and start using it.

Forrester discovered that there are four types of IE9 migration costs: Implementation labor costs (application inventory, assessment and testing), internal training, an increase in initial help desk calls, and potential software upgrades.

The total of all the risk-adjusted costs after three years for Forrester’s composite company is $1,680,960 with a large majority coming from “helpdesk calls associated with users’ inexperience.”

Implementation labor costs ran the composite company $131,300 and internal training for IE9 racked up $19,500 in costs. As for software upgrades, some business applications will be incompatible with IE9 and will need to be upgraded to a newer version, but Forrester did not calculate a cost for this because none of the interviewed organizations reported such a situation.

After 15 months the costs stop and the company breaks even on its IE9 investment. And that’s when the benefits of IE9 start to kick in.

Forrester calculates, after extensive interviews with the six enterprises, that malware protection and improved security are the savings game changers with IE9, writes Forrester.

“Most of the participants believe that Internet Explorer 9 will reduce the number of malware assaults that their organizations must actively address,” writes Forrester VP and study author Bob Cormier.

“Malicious elements remain a problem when they come in via other vectors such as email, instant messaging, and from user self-installed applications. The interviewed organizations believed that the IT staff, help desk staff, and users will be impacted by fewer cases of malware with Internet Explorer 9 deployed versus IE8 or previous versions.”

Forrester’s estimates its composite company will save $5,029,959 (risk-adjusted) over the three-year period in malware cost avoidance and reduced IT, help desk and user costs.

Subtract the $1,680,960 in costs from $5,029,959 and you get your net value of $3.3 million in savings over three years.

Some additional IE9 benefits that were not factored into ultimate savings, but still reported as beneficial by customers are increased user productivity through faster page rendering, response time, and screen refresh. Also, the ability to pin sites to the taskbar also makes it easier and quicker to access business applications.

HTML5 support was also reported as an advantage for developers who can use the language to write the same markup, reducing the costs of creating new applications.

Are you anticipating that IE9 will save your company money over the long haul? Does your experience with IE9 match up with the Forrester/Microsoft study.