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Why enterprises are upgrading to Windows 10 faster than expected

Mary Branscombe | April 5, 2017
When Windows 10 came out in July 2015, many enterprises said they’d adopt it in 18-24 months. That would be right about now. All indications are that Windows 10 is hitting its stride in business, in many cases ahead of schedule.

“[A rollout] tends to take a year to 18 months, so it will be the end of 2018 before we see Windows 10 tip over to be the biggest piece of the enterprise market,” Kleynhans says. “But we’re moving along pretty much as we expected. We worried that as customers got in to the pilots and moving toward rollouts they might start hitting things they hadn’t expected, but there hasn't been anything that slowed them down.”

In fact, these deployments are often faster than with Windows 7 because Windows 10 takes advantage of the work IT departments did to get ready for Windows 7. “When you went from Windows XP to Windows 7, a lot of things broke so you spent a lot of time in remediation, fixing things and having to do lots and lots of testing. It was not uncommon to find that companies took a year or more before they could roll out their first Windows 7 device. With Windows 10, they start testing and guess what? It works!”

This is not to say that there won't still be issues to deal with. Kleynhans says that almost every customer reports one application that’s problematic, but adds that “it’s nothing like it was with Windows 7.” In fact, most Windows 10 pilots are ahead of schedule. “They're getting through their preparation in four or five or six months. They're getting ready much quicker than they did with previous operating systems, and there's no reason to hold off rolling out Windows 10.”

Some migrations go even faster. The Australian Department of Human Services spent almost three years upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7; it took them just five weeks to upgrade 20,000 devices to Windows 10. “In the first four months, we rolled out Windows 10 to about half of our estate,” Mike Brett, the general manager for ICT Infrastructure at DHS, tells CIO.com. “Then we paused for about nine months while we waited for one major vendor to update its software so we could move all our call centers onto Windows 10.” In fact, some users upgraded themselves, because Windows 10 significantly reduced their logon time (it had been a slow two minutes).

 

Upgrading to Windows 10 for security

One reason the pilots and deployments are going so smoothly is that, in many cases, enterprises are rolling out Windows 10 as if it were Windows 7, says Kleynhans. “It's pretty much as a direct replacement; they're not necessarily making much use of the new features.” Instead they’re using the pilots and early deployments to gain familiarity with the new OS, starting with an experimental pilot in one division (or even one country) that then expands across the organization. “They're turning on maybe one or two new features but they're not really rushing forward with all the new enterprise features,” he says.

 

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