First anniversary of Windows 7 and mobility is front and center

Here we are – just passed the first anniversary of the release of Windows 7. Most consumers who have bought new PCs in the past year have embraced the new desktop OS and never looked back, and Enterprise IT is starting to pick up steam on Windows 7 migration plans. Meanwhile, over the course of past 12 months, organizations have been flooded with devices of shapes and forms that most people didn’t even imagine a year ago. It all started with the iPad. At the recent Synergy conference held in Berlin, I saw 1000 attendees (out of a total of 3000 at the event) walking around with an iPad. An impressive number given that iPad was released only 2 months ago in Europe. What’s even more amazing is that almost all of them were either employee owned or “expensed.”. It doesn’t stop there – contractors, temps and even employees bringing their own favorite models of PCs and Macs has only gained more steam in the past 12 months. And guess what? This is just the beginning – 2011 will mean a flood of new smartphone and tablet offerings from Dell, Cisco, Blackberry and others. One year for Windows 7 and a lot has changed in terms of devices and options for users.

So what do these two trends have to do with each other?

The two items, Windows 7 migration and mobility, are highly related. When you are designing the next generation computing platform, both of them need to be designed in.

Windows 7 is the platform for next generation computing

Every time there is one year anniversary of a new Microsoft operating system, pundits will line up to describe the success or failure based on rates of adoption. Interestingly, in the case of Windows XP, and Windows 7, enterprise adoption rates have been somewhere around 10% in the first year. So clearly, 12 month adoption rates can only tell you so much. Windows XP became the defacto standard reigning as the desktop of choice for a decade. It does seem clear that Windows 7 will become that next defacto standard platform to replace Windows XP. In fact, last week was the last you could buy a PC with Windows XP pre-installed (While corporate customers can continue to deploy XP with downgrade rights, they just won’t have it pre-installed from the OEM.)

A recent survey performed by analyst firm Directions in Microsoft with 187 of their enterprise clients shows that:

  1. 11% have completed Windows 7 migrations
  2. 50% plan to migrate over the next 6 to 12 months
  3. Another 27% plan migrations over the next 1-2 years

Migrations plans may have been slowed by tight IT budgets and fear of disrupting operations before the first service pack is released, (SP1 is currently in beta) but it is clear that there is a great deal of pent-up demand as PC fleets have been aging and ISVs will soon be giving up supporting Windows XP for their apps.

Question that you have to ask is how will you enable the delivery of your work to all these rich set of devices. It needs to be a fundamental design factor in your plans for next gen computing.

Since Windows 7 shipped a year ago today, Citrix has been showing customers how desktop virtualization plays an important role in controlling the costs and accelerating the migration to Windows 7.(Highlight Link) In fact, in a recent Citrix survey, 86% of XenDesktop customers responded that the migration to Windows 7 (and any future OS updates), along with the subsequent PC refresh costs, was one of the top three factors for purchasing and deploying XenDesktop.

Mobility needs to be designed into the next generation computing

The same technology that helps adopt Windows 7 faster also allows IT to deliver any Windows, web, or SaaS applications to run on any mobile device allowing IT to empower users to improve the way they work.

In fact, looking at the XenDesktop customer survey, we find that 73% of XenDesktop customers surveyed chose mobility and remote access, better user productivity, and support for new devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.) as one of the top 3 factors for purchase. Clearly, many of our customers already understand the benefits of using their Windows 7 migration projects to do much more than merely change platforms. They are leveraging desktop virtualization to deliver an even higher return on their investment through productivity and competitive advantage by attracting top employees and enabling them to work anywhere from any device. The IT staff is now talking to users about flexibility and choice instead of lockdown and control.

So, the question is, do you deploy desktop virtualization as a way to control costs and accelerate your Windows 7 deployment, Or, is Windows 7 migration actually the change agent that enables an any desktop, anywhere, any device workforce? Either way, our customers are winning as they build one roadmap towards next generation computing – virtual computing with Windows 7 available on any device, anywhere.

And, with one full year of Windows 7 behind us – now is the time to plan your ‘Windows 7 desktop and apps to go’