Reading an article in USA Today I’m reminded of the complexity in upgrading to Vista especially in large and organizations. The article discussed how some organizations are refusing to upgrade due to lack of compelling reasons/value. Also, the performance and application compatibility issues strike fear into users and IT.

According to the article users are asking Microsoft if they can bypass the Vista upgrade completely and wait for the next version. Microsoft is telling the public that XP won’t be available shortly unless you buy a new PC with it loaded. They also state that SP1 solved the compatibility and performance problems – did it?

FUD aside, the challenge with any major revision to an OS is user impact (Training and support), operational impacts (tools, trained staff) and compatibility (Applications and utilities). IT’s nightmare is application remediation – how do they test applications and correct/re-write? Depending on the number of applications and complexity it could take 6-12 months to address remediation. This is a huge cost for what some organizations consider a marginal value proposition – offered by Vista.

Another aspect is user impact due to a new interface, mostly focused on Office core applications and the ribbon. We are so accustom to menus and wizards the context sensitive ribbon which is supposed to us actually is a hindrance to users for the first month or so. Sometimes experience and implied knowledge are a problem and not beneficial.

I predict that within the next 12-18 months medium to large organizations will begin their upgrades. Today, many have Vista in the labs and running in test groups as IT learns the new OS and discovers its new features/functions and their impact on their environment.