Survey Reveals What IT Really Thinks about Windows 10

Aug 2, 2016
Mark Margevicius

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Mark is director of end-user computing strategy for VMware.

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Windows 10 survey ITIt is amazing what a difference one year can make. As the industry celebrates the first anniversary of Windows 10, I thought it would be good to gauge customer sentiment, understandings and priorities associated with a migration to Windows 10.

VMware surveyed nearly 600 existing VMware customers and partners across its entire customer base, with global participation from our enterprise, commercial and SMB customers and partners. The June survey highlights insightful end-user computing (EUC) perspectives regarding Windows 10 and ultimately how customers will approach the migration.

Here are the top five findings from the VMware Windows 10 survey:

  1. Windows 10 migration is the top priority among EUC projects, but customers may need more education about the full breadth of its capabilities.
  2. Within two years, IT expects to migrate and support Windows 10 for 75% of users.
  3. Windows 10 migrations take a similar amount of time as previous Windows operating system (OS) migrations.
  4. More partners than customers believe Windows 10 exceeds expectations.
  5. IT professionals are generally optimistic about migrating to Windows 10.

1. Windows 10 Migration Is a Top Priority, But More Customer Education May Be Needed

While Windows 10 migration is a focus for EUC projects, motivation for migration shows that there may be a need for more customer education on the full breadth of Windows 10 capabilities.

  • Windows 10 migration is the top priority (64%), followed by maintaining/supporting existing Windows 7/8 PCs (56%) and PC hardware refresh (51%).
  • Almost 3-out-of-4 respondents (74%) identified the eventual obsolescence of Windows 7 and 8 as the top motivation to migrate to Windows 10. Some migrations are because it’s included in their license agreement (49%) or Windows 10 offers better support for new hardware (43%).
  • Few are migrating due to better management (25%), new EMM capabilities (15%) or support for new application types (11%).
  • When asked if Windows 10 will change Windows Management, more than half of respondents stated it will not change (58%) or simply don’t know (16%).
  • Few recognized Windows 10 will enable the embrace of enterprise mobility management (EMM) techniques (17%) or cloud-based management and management services (14%).

With Windows 10, Microsoft has done a great job bringing to market an operating system that can dramatically improve IT management for devices running Windows 10. Specifically, EMM windows 10 airwatch demo videosfunctionality is now available in Windows 10, which means that customers can dramatically improve the management of Windows, while lowering the operational costs. Features such as out-of-box enrollment, off-domain joined management and a new update management release cycle provide customers with new options and choices as to how best manage their Windows environments.

Despite these new capabilities, most customers were not motivated by these features or preferred to stay with traditional Windows management techniques (i.e. imaging, relying on patching/updating or PCLM tools). We believe that customers who rely on traditional management are ready for a better way. Focusing on EMM can dramatically improve Windows management, while dropping operational costs.

2. Within Two Years, IT Expects to Migrate & Support Windows 10 for 75% of Users

According to the survey, enterprise, commercial and SMB respondents said they expect to migrate and support Windows 10 in 75% of its install base.

  • SMBs (38%) are further ahead with Windows 10 migrations than commercial (21%) or enterprise (17%) customers.

We believe most customers will begin actively working on their Windows 10 migration project in the second half of this year, requiring anywhere between 12-24 months to complete. These projects will require application testing, image creation, device testing and other common migration activities.

Customers embracing EMM in Windows 10 will also discover new capabilities, such as out-of-box enrollment, that can dramatically streamline deployments by eliminating staging areas that are common today. Further, when customers use an EMM product like VMware AirWatch, they will discover that one solution can now manage all their devices, such as phones, tablets and PCs.

3. Windows 10 Migrations Take a Similar Amount of Time as Previous Migrations

The majority of respondents found that the process of migrating to Windows 10 took a similar amount of time as past Windows OS migrations—and top potential roadblocks are familiar to IT.

  • The majority found migrating to Windows 10 took about the same amount of time as previous migrations (54%).

The skills for Windows migrations and management are very mature. Many customers have been managing their environments for over 20 years! So, it is not surprising to see that customers have similar experiences with migrating and managing Windows 10. For many customers, using known approaches and best practices is the most logical and least disruptive approach.

Windows 10 Management Whitepaper from VMwareThe top three potential roadblocks that would inhibit a company’s migration to Windows 10 sooner are also common:

  • Application compatibility (61%)
  • Staffing (41%)
  • End-user perceptions (37%)

We believe that Microsoft has done a great job with application compatibility for Windows 10, with most customers finding only minor issues that need to be resolved. This doesn’t obviate the need for testing, which is still a best practice that needs to be followed.

For many IT teams that are already stretched beyond capacity, the prospect of beginning another major project can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many providers and partners can help fulfill the shortfall of staff to complete these projects.

It’s also safe to say that people often resist change, and in the case of Windows, users are really no different. The amount of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) associated with Windows migrations—no matter how real the issues may be—can be a major inhibitor for IT organizations attempting to move forward.

4. By a 2-to-1 Margin, More Partners than Customers Believe Windows 10 Will Exceed/Has Exceeded Expectations

  • Windows 10 will exceed/has exceeded my expectations: Customers (11%) vs. Partners (24%).

Plain and simple, Windows is getting better. Whether it be the new EMM features, integration to app stores, enhanced security, use of cloud services or improved user interface, there seems to be plenty of compelling reasons why customers like Windows 10. We encourage customers to start their Windows 10 migrations sooner versus later. You and your users will appreciate it!

5. IT Professionals Are Generally Optimistic About Migrating to Windows 10

Survey respondents stated that they would prefer performing a Windows 10 migration over cleaning the garage, helping a friend move, a root canal or sitting in commute traffic

  • 1-in-2 (50%) respondents would rather spend their time working on a Windows 10 project at work.

Traffic jam, root canal or Windows 10—is there really an option? All kidding aside, working on a Rethink Windows Management Video CTAWindows 10 migration project is a step forward for organizations, IT staff and users. Windows 10 offers benefits across the organization, whether it be for operational efficiencies, increased service levels or better customer experiences.

In summary, Windows 10 presents customers with an opportunity to apply better management to a broader set of use cases and devices that involves tablets, smartphones and PCs. This holistic EUC approach gives customers the ability to unify both desktop and mobile management under one model. This model will be easier to support, take less effort, improve reliability and be more secure. For IT teams searching for solutions to help with their efforts, VMware offers a variety of solutions to assist in the migration, along with the ongoing management of Windows 10.

Learn more in VMware’s complimentary whitepaper, A Definitive Guide to Windows 10 Management.

When does your organization plan to upgrade to Windows 10? What do you think about the new OS? Let us know in the comment section below.

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