Vista aligned with good IT practice

Has Microsoft really hit the mark with forward thinkers?

MS Windows Vista logo

Comment A recent management-level survey on IT service delivery threw up the question, "when do you think you are likely to roll out Windows Vista in your organisation?"

At a summary level, the responses to this question were not particularly interesting. Just under a quarter of organisations said they would adopt within the next year, with the remainder spread out over a three to four year period - pretty much in line with other forecasts we have seen and not hugely different to the timeline for adoption we saw previously with Windows XP in the business sector.

However, in another part of the same survey, we had a line of questioning about the way in which IT is managed and delivered within the respondent's organisation, and while playing with the data, one of the research team spotted some interesting patterns.

This led us to dig a bit deeper and before long we had uncovered a number of very striking correlations between the way in which IT is managed and intended adoption timeline for Vista.

To take an example, the more formally you monitor how well the IT department is delivering, the more aggressive your Vista adoption plans are likely to be - by quite a significant margin. More than 40 per cent of those who formally monitor IT performance across the full scope of IT delivery, a typical indicator of IT departments that have their act together, say they are intending to deploy Vista in the next 12 months. This compares to less than three per cent for those at the other extreme with no formal monitoring processes in place.

There is a similarly strong correlation between Vista adoption and other behaviours that are commonly considered to be indicators of good or best practice. We can sum this up by saying that an organisation is significantly more likely to be adopting Vista in the short term if the following are true:

  • A service oriented approach to IT service delivery exists
  • Overall performance of the IT function is monitored formally
  • The IT function is considered to be well tuned into the business
  • There is a clear focus on the quality and efficiency of IT delivery

One of the things that makes these results particularly interesting is the fact that the survey was never designed to investigate this kind of alignment, yet there were the correlations leaping out at us (it doesn't take much to excite us number crunching types).

More to the point though, it suggests that those organisations that are more culturally switched on to good IT management practice seem to be saying that Vista has a positive contribution to make. We can't tell from this data what that contribution actually is, but we can hazard a guess that it will have something to do with improved security, better manageability, and the general streamlining of the systems management process, which are the main areas Vista was designed to address in an IT management context. There's probably an element of end-user pressure in there as well given that service orientation and better IT–business alignment generally go hand in hand with an increased dialgue between IT and its user base.

Of course, the alternative explanation is that more organised IT departments are better able move quickly and figure they might as well get the inevitable over with, but that seems like a far less plausible explanation.

Feel free to contact us, though, or coment below if you have any theories of your own.

In the meantime, if you are interested in checking out the findings in more detail, you can view the short research note we have put together here (pdf).

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