Why enterprises are embracing Windows 10 so fast


In 2015, Gartner predicted that 50 percent of enterprises would by January 2017. A Spiceworks survey of IT pros agreed: 40 of respondents said they would start migrating to Windows 10 by the middle of 2016, and 73 percent said their organizations would roll out Windows 10 by July 2017. found that prediction was fairly accurate: 38 percent of organizations had already adopted Windows 10 by July 2016, most of them larger businesses.

And in October 2016, CCS Insight’s decision maker survey showed “ this year and beyond,” vice president for enterprise research Nick McQuire tells CIO. Forty-seven percent of organizations surveyed planned to upgrade to Windows 10 by the end of 2017, with 86 percent saying they’d migrate within three to four years. He estimates there are already some 24 million Windows 10 enterprise machines in production.

Microsoft isn’t releasing official adoption figures for enterprises, but Craig Dewar, senior director of product marketing for Windows commercial, tells CIO that 96 percent of enterprise customers using Microsoft tools like System Center and Intune to manage their PCs have been piloting Windows 10 “and we’re seeing them beginning to move into active deployments.” Enterprises are adopting Windows 10 150 percent faster than they did Windows 7, he says, which at the time had the fastest adoption rate of any version of Windows.

Of course, that doesn’t mean organizations that adopt Windows 10 will have it in use across the entire organization this year. “Most large companies, where they have in excess of 30,000 devices and some hundreds of thousands of users, this is a multiple-year project for them, but many of them will be more than half deployed by the end of the year,” says Dewar.


What Microsoft expects the schedule for Windows 10 pilots (and upgrades to major new versions) to look like

Gartner research vice president Steve Kleynhans tells CIO that matches what the analyst firm hears from customers. “They are absolutely into their deployments at this point. The companies who were doing their pilots last year — which was most companies — are now starting to roll it out. Between now and June, I think you’ll see a very large percentage, probably almost 50 percent of companies, start doing some form of production rollout. We could easily see 85 percent of organizations have started their deployments before the end of this year.”

“[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.”


The return on investment for upgrading to Windows 10 is now 233 percent says Forrester

In-place upgrades that used to take 60 minutes of IT time take only 5 minutes, he says, which is one of the main reasons in the most recent Total Economic Impact study commissioned by Microsoft. “It was already very good, at 188 percent in the first TEI study, and it’s now improved to 233 percent, which reduces the payback time even further.”

The Forrester study also shows that Windows 10 takes 20 percent less IT time to manage and gives mobile workers a 25 percent improvement in productivity — and it does deliver the security improvements enterprises need, thanks to features like Device Guard and Credential Guard. “They see about a third fewer security related issues that they have to follow up on,” Dewar says.

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