2007: The year of Vista?

Published: January 19th, 2007

Will this year be the year of Vista?
Well, as Microsoft prepares its worldwide release I think it will be the most talked-about thing in 2007.

Last year two topics made a lot of buzz: service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Software as a Service (SaaS), with Vista preparation coming in third. The reason for that is product. No product just means a lot of hype. Microsoft is very good at creating hype. I don’t knock them on that, but if they had product ready it would be a much different story.

From the analyst point of view, Vista will be a big seller in the second half of 2007. I would tend to lean that way as well.

As much as Microsoft and other vendors say good enough computing is not good enough, the reality is it is good enough because companies are not making IT their top priority. A company’s No. 1 priority will always be sales. Sure IT can improve sales, but with so many small businesses in Canada using IT as a strategic sales enhancer that may not have crossed their minds yet.

Remember that SoftChoice, CDN’s top solution provider in last year’s top 100 rankings, put out a report citing Canadian companies are neither ready nor interested in deploying Windows Vista.

SoftChoice, one of Microsoft’s largest Canadian partners that also has a major U.S. operation, conducted a survey of more than 100,000 desktops in 472 North American companies to assess their readiness to install Windows Vista. Roughly half of those users are unable to meet the basic system requirements for the operating system, while 94 per cent would be unable to meet the requirements for Vista’s premium features.

Meanwhile, IDC released a study that said Vista will be a boon for partners. From their research they found that for every dollar spent on Vista a partner will earn $18 from hardware upgrades, other software additions and services. That is a great ratio, no matter how you slice it.

But the question will be of timing more than anything else. Because of its early release, system requirement concerns and overall good-enough computing factor, Vista will find success in the later part of the year.

Solution providers should prep customers with Vista readiness plans. I would even invest some marketing funds on direct mail pieces in your local area. Microsoft will create the buzz. Customers will be aware of it, believe me. Creating an upgrade path now for customers will make the transition a lot smoother in the later stages of 2007, and this way we can all have a great year-end.