CIO Symmetry

Aug 17 2010   1:01PM GMT

Midsized companies migrating to Windows 7 find the payback worthwhile

Ed Scannell Ed Scannell Profile: Ed Scannell

If the sagging economy has forced midsized companies to delay hiring more IT staff, maybe migrating to Windows 7 can move them off that dime.

In a recent report by IDC, an impressive number of midsized companies migrating to Windows 7 say they realized a full return on their investment in just seven months. The migration also helped significantly reduce the time help desks spend dealing with malware downtime and reboots by replacing Windows XP and Windows Vista.

One midsized company says the money saved in migrating to Windows 7 has allowed it to hire some much-needed developers.

“Windows 7 gave us more cash to work with because we could throw it on a couple of hundred older PCs, so we didn’t have to buy new ones. Those savings will let us hire a couple of young developers to work on some internal applications we need pushed out,” said Joe Harmon, an IT purchasing agent with a midsized regional health care provider in western New York state. “I was surprised. Microsoft usually costs me money with some of their licensing plans.”

Costs were down in three important labor categories analyzed in the report: IT labor hours per PC, per year for deployment (down 45%); IT labor hours per PC, per year for service desk support (down 65; and IT labor hours per PC, per year for PC and operating system support (down 55%). In the 14 categories where a set of common end-user activities relating to the operation of Windows 7 was measured, savings resulted in 43 hours of productivity per year, per user.

Like IT professionals at other midmarket companies, Harmon also migrated to Windows 7 because Microsoft’s technical support for Windows XP, which includes regular delivery of security patches, is ending. Harmon said the built-in security in Windows 7 is superior to that of Windows XP, so he won’t be as reliant on security patches.

It’s nice to hear that some financial relief has finally arrived for SMBs, given how the Great Recession has ravaged them.

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