Cost-Conscious Businesses Quicken Adoption of Windows 7, Report Finds

Midmarket businesses pick up the pace with Windows 7 adoption, citing increased speed and an improved user interface, a survey by Spiceworks finds.

A survey from network management specialist Spiceworks found small to medium-size businesses are accelerating plans to migrate to Windows 7 following the operating system's launch in October 2009.

The report, designed to gauge adoption sentiment among midmarket companies, was a global survey of more than 1,500 IT professionals and was fielded during the first two weeks of October and the last two weeks of November 2009 by the Spiceworks Voice of IT market research program. Respondents were among the 850,000 SMB IT professionals from around the world who use Spiceworks to manage their computer networks.

The survey found a 20 percent increase in the number of SMBs planning to speed up their adoption rates of Windows 7 following the official launch. Plans to start upgrades "immediately" and "in the next 90 days" increased by 10 percent post-launch. Over 40 percent plan to start upgrading in the first 90 days post-launch. "This is more than double the rate of organizations with more than 20 employees, and it differs from past behavior among this market segment, which is historically slower to adopt new operating systems," the report noted.

Among those moving faster with their Windows 7 adoption plans post-launch, the top three reasons for doing so were speed (73 percent), user interface (69 percent) and switch from their current OS (57 percent). Nearly 10 percent more IT professionals at SMBs in the North America (NA) and Asia/Pacific (APAC) regions are upgrading at a faster rate than their counterparts in the Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) and Latin America/South America (LA/SA) regions, and 45 percent of Windows 7 installations will be on new machines, while 55 percent will be on existing machines.

SMB IT professionals planning to wait 90 days to one year before starting decreased by 12 percent: Spiceworks said this indicates that the SMB IT professionals who typically wait for Service Pack 1 (SP1) before upgrading to a new Microsoft operating system are not seeing that as a necessary prerequisite before beginning to upgrade. "This increase in intent to adopt before SP1 seems to be a positive indication that Windows 7 adoption will be strong throughout 2010," the report predicted.

The survey of IT professionals had 1,530 respondents from 85 different countries in organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees. The average annual technology budget of survey respondents was $108,000.

Jay Hallberg, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Spiceworks, said smaller organizations around the world seem more confident about upgrading to Windows 7 post-launch. "More SMBs plan to upgrade, and a larger number of them are speeding up their upgrade plans," he said. "This could be a very positive sign for Windows 7 adoption within the SMB market segment, which accounts for the majority of business computers in the world."