It’s an interesting time…
There’s a familiar feeling in the air at many large enterprises. I remember this feeling. I think it’s was somewhere in ’98 or ’99, back in the pre-Y2K times. And for those of you too young to remember those days in the I.T. world, that feeling is the “holy-cow-are-we-doing-enough-to-get-in-front-of-this” feeling.
Back in those days, we had a looming deadline (real or imaginary, it doesn’t matter), full cooperation from the front offices (management, HR, and accounting), and incessant media reminders that planes were going to fall from the sky if you didn’t update all your COBOL, replace all your hardware, upgrade MS Office, and so on. As a result, every single vendor was suddenly releasing new versions of everything, and the money flowed like the champagne on Wall Street.
Now… Well, now, it’s a tad different in a handful of ways. Because now, while we have a massive OS End-Of-Life date (XP EOL – April 8, 2014) and a floundering economy, we also have a replacement OS that — like it or not — is not being widely adopted in the Enterprise (yes, I mean Windows 8 RTM). And, as some of you may not be aware, XP still has a massive… MASSIVE… footprint in the Enterprise, 10 years on and going strong. So stable has XP been, that the largest Enterprises really don’t want to move away from it, and therefore really haven’t. As a result, the development world hasn’t always been so inclined to move their products forward to the Win7/8 development model, either. The chicken and the egg, playing chicken.
But the calm is falling away as the concerns are finally rising up to the executive suites, and dollars in I.T. are starting to have their leashes loosened. The front office folks are finally starting to hear that the desktops are going to fall out of support if something isn’t done. And “no longer supported by Microsoft” is something that executive folks understand.
So here we are. Let’s look at some facts. Less than one year until the XP EOL — and after the Enterprise had pretty much completely skipped Vista — they are *trying* to embrace Win7. They’ve been planning the implementation for years. Heck, it’s practically a cottage industry. Hopefully, there are whole teams devoted to the project; folks whose whole job is focused around design and deployment tasks, and were hired (or contracted) solely for that purpose. They might even be underway migrating/upgrading/implementing. However, it also might be the case that it’s too difficult to get it done in limited time with the limited resources at hand. Which is why even in a time that the large Enterprise is still not hiring *employees*, they are sure bringing on a lot of consultants and contractors in an effort to provide design and implementation experience; and in some cases just to throw bodies at the problem.
But I have a feeling they’ve been counting on a sliding XP EOL deadline all this time. And guess what? Nobody thinks that’ll happen (not publicly anyway). Microsoft needs to get some traction under Win8, so they need movement away from XP asap.
The good news is that the rumors and reports about Win8.1 seem to be exactly what the Enterprise was after (or close enough to it). So we’ll feel good about completing the current migrations to Win7 (with Classic of course, to look like XP). And by the time the Enterprise completes the Win7 roll-out (after the XP EOL date, of course), they’ll already be moving on and doing testing/development for the Win8.1 pre-release. Of course, if Microsoft allows the GPO-controlled removal of much of the Consumer-market stuff in Win8.x (can I get my Classic, anyone?), the Enterprise might just keep the Win7 implementation motor running, and just start pushing out Win8.1 right behind it! Why not!?!
But either way, Win7 implementations are finally happening all around. Win8.1 looks like it might be Enterprise-ready out-of-the-box. The infrastructures are being upgraded to accommodate all this (Can you say, “cloud”?). And Coretek’s customer demand has exploded as folks turns to us for additional help and partnership in these massive projects that — I’m proud to say — we’re pretty good at.
Well guess what? We *are* turning it around, and we will “get-in-front-of-this”… And it looks like the appearance of Win8.1 might just help ease that XP Elimination Post-Y2k-esque drop-off, too.
It’s an interesting time…