Saturday, 17 October 2009

Don't be Gartner Sheep!

Okay I'm confused. But since when was it written in law that people or businesses absolutely had to refresh their hardware? Surely it's good business sense to only buy what you need? Right?

Apparently not. Gartner has decided it's time we all bought new PCs. Why exactly? Well obviously because Microsoft are bring out Windows 7. Since nobody bought Windows Vista it's time we upgraded right?

Wrong! The time to upgrade or refresh is when you can predict your current IT investment is no longer going to meet your needs. How close you can wait until that time comes depends on how large your organisation is and how efficently it can move through the refresh cycle. A single person working self employed can make the transition in as little as a few hours. Larger business will take days to weeks. While other will take months or even as much as a year or more for full deployment of a new operating system.

So given that this guilt trip induced refresh can be so costly in terms of money, lost man hours and man hours expended on the refresh, what is the single most crucial question to ask? What's in it for me? What will Windows 7 deliver that other operating systems can't? Is it security? Better resource management? Cloud connectivity and integration?

Do you really want to trust a Microsoft cloud solution after the Sidekick debacle?

One of the most recently touted selling points for Windows 7 has been it's ability to run Windows XP software. This might come as a shock to some. Windows XP runs Windows XP software! But if you're running a business and you're gullable enough to follow the fasion trends the like of Gartner demand then at least look around before commiting all your money to Microsoft.

There are alternative options out there. Some other operating systems also run Windows XP software. Intall WINE on an Ubuntu desktop or laptop and it'll run most XP software just fine. It might struggle with MS Office. However OpenOffice.org comes pre-bundled with Ubuntu. For free!

So please do consider refreshing your hardware and software. But when you do. Ask yourself what your business really needs. Do you need Windows 7? Would a cloud solution be better? Could you ditch the Microsoft lock-in cycle all together and use something completly different? What software do you use? What do you use it for? Is it unique? Could you migrate? Would migration save you money? How much money? Will Windows 7 be good value for money? Windows needs licences, Ubuntu doesn't. Can you reuse your old hardware?

Can you save money on an IT refresh during a recession?

Consider your options people! Don't be sheep!