For the past two weeks (and for the upcoming month) I am delivering a series of field sessions with teammates from Intel and Microsoft. To date, there have been a series of questions and comments that I would like to share and secure your commentary and feedback.
As always, the content on this blog are mine, and do not represent my employer.
Overall, the feedback on Windows 7 has been positive. Most businesses recognize the business case and are seemingly moving ahead. I tested my belief that this refresh cycle requires a really well documented business plan with quantified details and, for the most part, there was agreement. The following represent 5 of the top questions (with apologies to David Letterman's Top Ten list, by the way we did go to the same high school).
Question #1- Should my business adopt 64 or 32 architecture? My response, is that as long as the cost differential is minimal, 64 is the way to go. The idea behind this is knowing that we do not want to even upgrade a desktop or laptop once deployed, having the higher architecture makes sense. For newer applications, multiple sessions, and futures the 64 architecture will return the investment.
Question #2- Does my business need a new PC to make W7 work, or can I add disk and memory if needed? My opinion differed from others in the sessions to a degree. One of the points about W7 is that W7 is optimized on the new Intel iCore technologies and newer platforms. It seems to me that deploying a new operating system on older technology simply defeats the purpose and sub-optimizes. If the technology is new(er) within an 18 month window, different story, but even then I would encourage a look at a trade in strategy. I joked that the answer from the hardware company was to buy more hardware, the software company solves all ills, and the chip company encourages newer chip for benefits. The point I have made in other blogs still remains true- if you line up six consultants in a room and ask the same questions, you will recieve six different answers and all will be correct. The business plan will be unique for each business.
Question #3- Is your business virtualizing? Not surprisingly, a lot of hands go up when this question is asked. There still seems to be a lag in the timing to go from the pilot and proof of concept phase to production. The hands that go up when I ask if there is scaling are fewer,and when I inquire if the roll out plan is defined, there are clearly concerns. This suggests that this to some degree remains a work in process.
Question #4- I asked the follow on question of whether the virtualization is to be deployed before W7, and the response seemed to be, "we would like to" but unsure if the business case, user segmentation, and other factors could be vetted in time. The application stack is almost always identified as the issue. Having W7 run in XP mode for these may be a viable option to consider.
Question #5- Last question (for this blog), What is the timeframe for W7 adoption? Almost all businesses are looking at this today. The constraint is obviously stated as cash. We discussed leasing, PC as a Service, big bang vs. phased and other topics in this area of interest. In most businesses, the business case is in process of being defined.
After the sessions, I remain of the opinion that 2010 is indeed the year of the refresh. The benefits that are counter measures to the gross acquisition pricing approaches 30% to 40% of the overall total. This makes this refresh cycle unique in terms of the economics.
Let me know your thoughts.