Spiceworks, the professional network for IT, announced the results of a new report analysing IT professionals’ perceptions and adoption plans for Windows 10. The study “Windows 10: Will it Soar?” found that 96 per cent of IT decision-makers are interested in Windows 10, and 60 per cent of IT departments have tested or are actively testing the new operating system. The survey also found that 40 per cent of companies plan to begin rolling out Windows 10 within the first year and an additional 33 per cent expect to begin deploying Windows 10 within two years.
“Our IT department has been testing preview editions of Windows 10 over the last few months and feel comfortable rolling it out to users soon after launch,” said Joe Kinne, IT manager at Prime Electric, an electrical contractor in Bellevue, Washington. “We’ll likely start with existing Microsoft Surface tablets we’ve deployed in the field and then offer it to some of our first-adopter employees across the company. Additionally, all new laptops, desktops, and Surface tablets will come pre-loaded with Windows 10 soon after launch.”
Current environment sets the stage for Windows 10
Windows 7 is the dominant operating system within business environments. Ninety-four per cent of respondents’ companies are running Windows 7 today, and on average, Windows 7 is running on 77 per cent of organisations’ laptops and desktops. Windows 8/8.1, Windows XP, and Mac OS trail Windows 7 by significant margins – 64 per cent of respondents’ companies are running Windows 8/8.1 today, 44 per cent are running XP, and 29 per cent are running Mac OS on laptops and desktops.
According to Spiceworks’ historical data, 60 per cent of organisations had at least one instance of Windows 7 running in their network two years after launch. With 73 per cent of IT professionals planning to adopt Windows 10 during the same period, the potential for adoption is significant.
In mobile, the survey found Apple iOS and Google Android are overwhelming favourites in the smartphone and tablet markets. Eighty-one and 77 per cent of IT professionals said iOS and Android-based mobile devices are running in their organisation respectively, while Windows/Windows Mobile is used in one-third of organisations. However, 48 per cent of IT professionals said new Windows 10 features made them slightly or much more likely to consider Windows on tablets and smartphones.
“We’ve adopted a BYOD policy for most of our organization but have also chosen to deploy Apple iPhones to employees in our Sales department,” said Matt McRae, systems administrator at Heritage Integrated. “While Apple and Google phones are clearly the preferred devices in our organization, we’re open to evaluating Windows Phone if it’s easy to use, integrates seamlessly with a Windows 10 environment, and provides obvious productivity benefits our users love.”
IT professionals value simplicity over new features
While new Windows 10 features such as Cortana, the Edge browser, and Continuum interface draw consumer attention, IT professionals were most interested in the functionality that promised stability and would simplify their day.
Sixty-four per cent of IT professionals said they were most interested in the return of the Start button, 55 per cent cited the free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8/8.1, and 51 per cent referenced enhanced security.
Only eight per cent of respondents said they were interested in the touch-optimised interface, six per cent cited Cortana, and five per cent were interested in Hello.
When IT professionals were asked to disclose their general impressions of Microsoft’s new browser Edge, previously known as Spartan, 25 per cent said they were somewhat to very positive, 23 per cent said they were neutral, and nearly half said they didn’t know enough about the new browser to have formed an opinion. Four per cent of respondents were somewhat to very negative.
IT professionals’ emphasis on stability was clear when asked about any concerns they may have as they adopt Windows 10. Seventy-nine per cent cited hardware/software compatibility as their biggest concern followed by early release bugs, user training, lack of third party support, and the time it would take to complete the upgrade process.
“Over 100 million new PCs, about half of which will be purchased by commercial organizations, will hit the global market over the remainder of 2015,” said Sanjay Castelino, VP of Marketing at Spiceworks. “Microsoft’s stated goal of 1 billion Windows 10 devices in 2-3 years is achievable, and strong interest from IT buyers bodes well for the entire Windows 10 ecosystem. However, it’s important for technology brands to understand the issues that matter most to IT buyers in a business context do not align with those of consumers, and brands should prepare to educate IT professionals accordingly.”
The survey was conducted in April and May of 2015 and included more than 500 respondents from North America and EMEA. Respondents represent a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail, education, government, finance, and IT service providers.