Corporate IT eager to deploy Windows 7, survey shows

Close to half of IT professionals polled won't wait for Service Pack 1 before deploying Windows 7.

Dimensional Research surveyed 923 IT professionals in January 2010 to learn more about their plans to migrate to Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system.

IT professionals say they are willing to forego the first service pack for Windows 7 if that means they can get the operating system in their environments faster.

Essential guide to Windows 7 management

Survey data released Wednesday by Dimensional Research shows that 46% of 923 IT professionals polled in January do not plan to wait for the release of Service Pack 1 to deploy Windows 7. The survey is the fourth in a series commissioned by Dell Kace and tracks interest in Windows operating systems. With 87% of those polled planning to migrate to Windows 7, Microsoft seems to be winning over customers.

"There has been a real change in the mindset of IT administrators if we look at the trends in our surveys," says Wynn White, Dell Kace's vice president of marketing. "In April 2009, there was a lot of skepticism toward Windows 7, but now there is such a level of confidence in the operating systems at this point they are prepared to skip Service Pack 1, which is standard operating procedure for many."

According to the survey, three months following the release of Windows 7 nearly 90% of respondents are planning to migrate. Compare that data with the 47% of IT professionals polled that said they would move to Windows Vista nine months following that operating system release. More than 40% plan to roll out Windows 7 this year, with 16% having already deployed the operating system. Another 21% say they have an implementation slated for 2011 and 4% plan to deploy it in 2012. Two percent expect they will adopt Windows 7 in more than two years and 15% have no deployment plans.

While IT professionals are not without concerns, many indicated that some worries are lessening now that they have seen the operating system in action. For instance, in April 2009 47% of those polled worried about performance with the new operating system. This more recent poll shows that 25% are concerned over performance. Other areas in which worry dropped included stability, down from 62% to 41%. Concerns decreased less when it came to security and software compatibility. More than 30% are still worried about security, down from the 37% of IT professionals that noted that as a concern in April 2009. And only 2% of the 88% that indicated software compatibility was a problem changed their mind since April, with 86% of those surveyed in January still voicing concern with Windows 7.

"Some of the biggest concerns with running the operating system are falling by the wayside, compared to a little less than a year ago. Stability was a bit gotcha but it seems Microsoft has done a good job addressing that," White explains. "Only 33% have any concerns about Windows 7."

IT professionals are not only driven by their opinion of Windows 7. Many are dealing with outdated systems and hardware, according to Bob Kelly, Dell Kace's senior product manager.

"Administrators have missed an entire release cycle of the Windows operating system and they are on XP, which is nearing its end of life and is close to 7 years old," Kelly says. "A lot of people just skipped Vista and with the economy not doing well, a lot of people tied their operating system upgrades to hardware."

The survey results also showed that while 60% of those polled said the cost and overhead of migrating to Windows 7 was a concern, 40% were worried about the cost and overhead of maintaining Windows XP as it gets older and more out-of-date. Those numbers changed from the former being 72% and the latter 28% in April 2009. That means the concerns there are also diminishing, according to White.

"Microsoft took a black eye with Vista, but that black eye is fading quickly with Windows 7," White says.

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