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One of the most long-awaited developments on the IT scene came late last year with the release of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista operating system. But, anticipation aside, it seems unlikely that businesses will rush to adopt Vista in 2007.
As part of what Microsoft is calling the most significant product launch in its history, Microsoft released its Windows Vista Business operating system, the accompanying Office Professional 2007 software suite and other business-related products at the end of November.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software developer has predicted that Vista would sell faster than any of its Microsoft predecessors. Still, the company acknowledges that because of the scale of many corporations' existing hardware and software systems, individual consumers are likely to move to the new OS before many businesses.
Microsoft says Vista Business will benefit businesses of all size by offering infrastructure improvements that will allow companies' information technology staffs to spend less time on daily system maintenance and support and more time focused on activities that can provide strategic value to the organization.
Microsoft also promises the new system will offer increased efficiency through improvements in companies' ability to organize, find and share information, and touts the benefits of the system's new user interface. The software developer is also citing security features it says offer protection against malware plus data protection features that including warnings of impending hardware failures and various backup mechanisms.
In addition, built-in mobility and connectivity features will facilitate information sharing and collaboration, Microsoft says.
Despite those potential advantages, a rush to Vista by business this year seems unlikely. First, many companies seem happyor at least satisfiedwith the way existing systems are running on Windows XP or Windows 2000. The switch to a new OS is an investment, and many companies will need to be convinced there's value to be gained before making the financial commitment.
Also, many businesses are wary of being an early adopter of any technology, preferring to let others work out any bugs.
But businesses' move to Vista does appear inevitable. Technology consultant Gartner Inc. has said that while most of its clients think their existing operating systems are "good enough," they recognize the need to move to Vista. Their motivation to make the change, though, has less to do with the new features than keeping their systems within Microsoft's support cycle, the consultant said.
Gartner has previously suggested that while companies' adoption of the new OS might still be some time off, those considering the change should prepare for the move now.
The consultant has written that most organizations looking to move to Vista will need 18 months to make the changefirst testing and piloting the system and ensuring that their independent software vendors will support the new operating system.
With that in mind, many businesses would probably make a good IT start by beginning to lay the groundwork in 2007 for their migration to the Vista OS and pave the way to ring in the new system sometime in 2008.