Microsoft Says Windows 7 Eases IT Management, Saves Money
Forrester Research report into the costs and
challenges of supporting IT workers has become the basis for Redmond's newest
push to support Windows 7, its upcoming operating system. Using the report's
data, which suggests that SMBs (small and midsize businesses) and the
enterprise are under assault by bloated corporate PC images, decentralization
problems and an overwhelming flood of help-desk calls, Microsoft is holding up
case studies it says show that Windows 7 can help mitigate many of these
With Labor Day in the rearview mirror and the new operating
system's release date of Oct. 22 ever closer, the push for Windows 7 has entered
high gear. On Sept. 1, Microsoft
announced the availability of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 through
Microsoft Volume License Resellers. To help speed the adoption of the
operating system, Redmond is also offering a six-month deal in which purchasers
of Windows 7 Professional upgrade will be entitled to a 15-percent price cut.
The Microsoft-commissioned Forrester report, which surveyed
318 IT professionals and conducted in-depth follow-up interviews with 10 of
them, had six key findings with regard to the challenges and costs facing IT
administrators in the enterprise:
Decentralization and Mobility
"Today's information works are highly decentralized and mobile, which necessitates significant annual spending on connectivity and WAN optimization services," the report read. "We learned that more than 3 out [of] 5 employees work outside of their organization's headquarters." Furthermore, the enterprises surveyed had an average of 174 branch offices worldwide - all of which, of course, needed to be supported.
Bloated Corporate PC Images and Siloed
The surveyed organizations supported an average of 215 different applications worldwide - not including legacy applications never scrubbed from the company's IT infrastructure. "We also discovered that the average user has 16 applications installed on their work PC, but this doesn't take into account the proliferation of applications that some users install on their own."
Help Desk Calls
Around one out of 7 monthly help-desk calls, Forrester found, were due to users corrupting their PCs by installing unauthorized software. Some 23 percent of monthly help-desk calls were users requiring software installations.
Roughly 10 percent of help desk calls were due to VPN-related issues, a problem that stems from the increase in mobile and network connectivity and the need for mobile workers to access data while on the road.
Lack of Ability to Trace USB Thumb Drive Usage and
The surveyed firms lost an average of 55 PCs, with each PC storing an average of 53 GB of corporate data. Around five percent of removable storage devices were also lost or stolen every year.
Hard Drives with Lack of Optimization
The need to search hard-drives for data and documents wastes time that could otherwise be utilized productively.
Furthermore, Forrester found that companies considered the following to be a "critically or very important business priority":
- Controlling Costs (87 percent)
- Security (86 percent)
- Improving Employee Productivity (84 percent)
- Improving Employee Mobility (54 percent)
Microsoft has now used that data as a basis to tout how
Windows 7 will allegedly solve many long-standing IT issues within the
enterprise, while also saving IT dollars. In a round of briefings between
Microsoft executives and the media, Redmond has been pushing three case studies
- U.K.-based Baker Tilly, the City of Miami, and
Getronics - as examples of early Windows 7 adopters who saw substantial benefits
from integrating the new operating system into their IT
With regard to the City of Miami, Microsoft has been claiming that the adoption of Windows 7 saved the government $54 per PC per year in power savings. Redmond also said, in both briefings and a press release circulated to media, that Windows 7 capabilities such as Remote Desktop have saved labor costs on the part of city IT staff, reducing the need to dispatch technicians to user locations by as much as 90 percent.
Redmond also cites the experience of Baker Tilly, claiming that the company saved 18 percent of PC management costs due to the deployment of Windows 7. Microsoft estimates that the direct cost savings of IT labor dedicated to PC management will be in the range of $89 to $160 annually, a figure that can also be expressed as IT pros saving up to two hours of labor per desktop annually.
Windows 7 has become Microsoft's perhaps most-vital pillar in its quest to reverse a trend in declining revenues. For the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, Redmond reported a decline of 17 percent in year-over-year revenue, earning $13.10 billion for the quarter - roughly $1 billion below Wall Street estimates.
In the face of this decline, Microsoft has revised its
corporate strategy to focus on a number of key upcoming products, including
Windows 7 and Office 2010. Historically, roughly a third of Microsoft's annual
income has come from operating-system sales. Companies within its ecosystem have
joined in the push, with Intel
suggesting publicly throughout the summer that the rollout of Windows 7 will
prompt a massive corporate tech refresh.
In order to further compel SMBs the enterprise to upgrade, Microsoft has taken steps such as offering a 90-day free trial edition of Windows 7 Enterprise to IT administrators and other professionals. That trial edition, which is available in both 32- and 64-bit versions and a variety of languages, can be downloaded here.