Understanding the Business Impact of Windows XP Migration Plans

For the last several months, we’ve been talking about the importance of migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7. Much of the discussion has focused on the two year countdown for end of support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014, however, we have also pointed out that Windows XP is over a decade old – two generations behind Microsoft’s current product technology and will soon be three generations behind. These two aspects are valid points for demonstrating the risks for customers who stay on Windows XP, and we recommend customers also take a look at the compelling business incentives to develop and implement a migration strategy to Windows 7.

This week, we sponsored a whitepaper issued by analyst firm IDC that analyzes the risks, user productivity costs and IT labor costs associated with businesses running Windows XP versus Windows 7. The study interviewed nine large organizations that have deployed both Windows XP and Windows 7, and used the content of those interviews to quantify both the IT and end user costs of not migrating to Windows 7. The “productivity costs” were measured for end users on metrics of lost time due to virus or malware attacks, reimaging, rebooting, downtime, and help desk requests/needs. Cost components for IT included upgrading PCs, security-related activities, deploying apps, patch management, help desk service, and several other metrics. IDC’s conclusion: “Organizations that continue to retain a Windows XP environment not only are leaving themselves exposed to security risks and support challenges, but also are waiting budget dollars that would be better used in modernizing their IT investments.”

Many of the companies still running Windows XP contend that it’s a solution that still “works” in their environment. “Works” however, could mean these customers are missing out on the benefits of a more modern operating system including dramatic savings, higher user productivity and a more valued IT department.

Staying on Windows XP is an expensive investment when Windows 7 provides dramatic savings.

IDC found that the base IT and end user labor costs of continuing to support Windows XP is now approximately five times as much as the cost of running Windows 7. That’s a significant amount of money IT shops could put towards modernizing their departments and adding value to the businesses.

In addition, IDC found the longer you wait, the pricier supporting Windows XP gets: IT labor costs go up 25 percent in the fourth year of continuing to run Windows XP past deadline, and user productivity suffers as well, with an increased cost of 23 percent. In the fifth year, IT labor increases by an additional 29 percent, and user productivity costs jump up a staggering 40 percent.

A modern workspace means more productive users and a more valued IT department.

Organizations realized amazing productivity gains over the status quo when they first implemented Windows XP, but technology has advanced and Windows 7 can support much more, including integrated WiFi and Bluetooth, faster and better performing hardware and new improved UI. Additionally, IDC found that the single largest component in loss of productivity in downtime-related activities is the help desk operation, accounting for more than half of downtime-related time support. Not far behind is resolving downtime issues, which account for a little of a third of the total time spent by IT in supporting Windows XP. Those metrics can be reduced by up to 84 percent through a move to Windows 7.

An IT department that can stay ahead of modern technology developments immediately proves its value to business decision-makers and end users, as IDC notes: “By proactively encouraging the use of modern technology, the IT department is seen as being interested in improving the productivity of users. End users feel empowered to accomplish their jobs with modern tools that improve their productivity and eliminate wasted time resulting from poorly-performing old technology, unnecessary application crashes and operating system reboots.”

Windows 7 provides clear ROI and prepares businesses for the future.

The bottom line: IDC’s research finds businesses that migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 will see significant return on investment over 130 percent over a three-year period. Moreover, Windows 7 gives businesses back hours of user productivity. Additionally, migrating now to Windows 7 will set businesses up well to embrace Windows 8 in the future, as IDC found that all indications at this time are that the move from Windows 7 to Windows 8 will be seamless for applications and non-impactful to existing hardware.

I hope that you found this information helpful and I invite you to take a look at full IDC White Paper results and methodology, so that you can use the findings to help make the business case to your organization to move to Windows 7. And when you are ready to move, remember that we offer you many tools and resources to help with a smooth migrate to Windows 7.

Tools and Resources to Help with Migration

  • The Springboard Series on Technet includes a lot of great in-depth advice to help you with your deployments.
  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) can be used to help accelerate your deployments.
  • The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) products include Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) to simplify BitLocker Drive Encryption provisioning and provide compliance reporting that can help you quickly determine the status of the entire organization.
  • Also consider Windows Intune, which offers PC management and security via the cloud, plus upgrade rights to the latest version of Windows – a great solution for companies that have groups of lightly managed or non-managed PCs.
  • You can also make the move to Office 365 and get familiar Microsoft Office collaboration and productivity tools delivered through the cloud. Everyone can work together easily with anywhere access to email, web conferencing, documents and calendars.

Please continue to check back for the latest Windows news as well as deployment guidance.