Enterprise Initiatives

This blog focuses on Enterprise IT topics such as Enterprise Architecture, Portfolio Management, Change Management, Business Process Management, and recaps various technology events and news.

I was on Microsoft's website trying to understand the business benefits of upgrading to Vista. I found this article called Key reasons to upgrade to Windows Vista. To sum it up, here are the four reasons from Microsoft that justify this expensive upgrade:

  1. Empowering users to find and use information
  2. Enabling mobile workers to stay connected and productive in and out of office
  3. Helping companies to make corporate systems and information more secure
  4. Making it easier to deploy and manage company PCs
That's it. I would think that corporations would like more business value to justify the cost of hardware upgrades and PC purchases that will be required to run Vista. I can only think of two reasons to upgrade to Vista.
  1. XP will eventually not be supported by Microsoft (currently targeted for 2014).
  2. As other businesses upgrade, your company will not be able to open Office 2007 documents unless you install the Office Compatibility Pack.
Now let's discuss Microsoft's four reasons to upgrade. First, the improvements in searching for data. I use Google Desktop which gives me Google's world class search functionality across all my files and emails. The cost...Zero! It runs great on XP. No need to upgrade for this.

Second, enable mobile workforce. A lot of nice to have's here. Most companies already have tools that address the security and the collaboration. These features do not justify upgrading all of the hardware in your enterprise, especially when most of your hardware is not mobile.

Third, security. Wasn't this one of the selling points for going to XP. I feel like Bill Murray in Ground Hog's Day. Security is one of the main reasons why people are looking at alternative operating systems. Yes we need better security. Do I think that Vista is the answer? The jury is still out.

And finally, easier desktop management. These are commendable features. Many companies already have enterprise tools for managing their desktops and others are already moving to a desktop server approach that centrally manages desktop images and automatically updates client PCs when they connect to the network. I think the advancements in desktop management in Vista are great, but it does not justify the upgrade by itself.

So of the four reasons to upgrade to Vista giving to us by Microsoft, only security is compelling enough for me to even consider it. The shelf life of XP is the real business driver. We can argue all day long whether Vista is more secure then XP or any other OS for that matter, but other then a few reports from Microsoft's own Jeff Jones, I haven't seen any compelling facts to make me want to start an upgrade tomorrow.

I did stumble across a good article from Kelly Martin from SecurityFocus called The New Vista Waiting Game. He predicts that XP will be the corporate standard for years to come. Here is a quote from the article:
“ Despite all the coming advertising and sales pitches about early Vista installations, most businesses would be foolish to upgrade to Vista in the coming year. Businesses want stable, reliable environments. They want to see service packs that address problems even before they encounter them. They want secure environments as well, but to senior executives and other decision makers, this is still a function of Security Risk Management that can be mitigated in various different ways. ”
The good news is that XP will be supported for several more years. That gives corporations time to wait for Vista to become more stable and mature. It also gives corporations time to test different distributions of Linux and have an alternative to Vista once XP gets put out to pasture.


  1. David Carr  

    I struggle with Microsoft's reasons for upgrading to Vista and also the two you give. (XP unsupported - who actually ever requests XP support from Microsoft and the Office 2007 issue hits us now but we all either upgrade to Office 2007 on XP or install the convertor; no problem at all).

    Worse for me is not that Vista doesn't give you much extra but that it takes some things away. As Microsoft seems to be trying to make everything easy for the basic user, they are forgetting the advanced user completely. A classic example is the in-built backup system. I used this in XP at home because it did everything I needed it to do. In Vista, I can't choose what I want to back up. This means that every time one of my ten test Virtual PCs changes (every day), Vista's backup want to back it up again. Under XP I would exclude these files which total over 100GB. Grr.

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