It's the big question, one that will be truly unanswerable for weeks or months following Microsoft's Oct. 22 launch of Windows 7: How fully--and how quickly--will SMBs (small and midsize businesses) and the enterprise embrace Windows 7 as the operating system at the center of their IT infrastructure.
A new study by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) should warm the hearts of all those executives currently biting their fingernails in Redmond: their survey of 145 IT professionals indicated that the majority intended to standardize Windows 7 across multiple products in their enterprise. The numbers broke down as follows:
51 percent "plan to standardize on Windows 7 for laptops and desktops."
38 percent "to do so with netbooks over the next two years."
60 percent "plan to standardize on Windows Server 2008 R2 in the next 24 months."
"Our data shows a remarkably high number of organizations planning to standardize on the new Windows 7 OS in the near-term, especially given that we did this research prior to the actual release," wrote Chris Neal, an analyst with Chadwick Martin Bailey. "Those who are holding back for the time being are commonly staying with XP (rather than Vista)."
Earlier this afternoon, I spoke with Liz Eversoll, vice president of CDW Microsoft Solutions Practice, who told me that her organization recently conducted its own multicompany survey and found that many IT professionals were expressing a fairly substantial interest in jumping to Windows 7. (CDW, it must be mentioned, is a prominent technology reseller, including of products that run Windows.)
The reasons for that interest, Eversoll told me, included Windows 7's compatibility mode, "because in the past, one of the intimidators for an OS upgrade was that not all your applications will run." Those IT pros were apparently positive about Windows 7's data protection, hardware optimization, the ability to search both local devices and networked folders, and the fact that support for XP is rapidly dwindling.
This all seems in line with other data produced by research firms over the past few weeks, indicating that Windows 7 will indeed impel a certain degree of tech refresh through 2010. Most recently, an Oct. 12 analyst report from Jefferies & Co. said that "the Win7 inspired upgrade cycle can start in late 2010 and run through early 2013."
(Just to get the other viewpoint, I'd be interested in hearing from any IT professionals out there who aren't planning on integrating Windows 7 into their infrastructure by the end of 2010--are you planning on jumping to a non-Microsoft OS? Sticking with Windows XP until the bitter end? Taking the plunge with Apple or maybe Linux?)
Microsoft could have a hit on its hands with Windows 7, but the economy is still in somewhat rough seas--IT administrators may embrace the operating system more slowly, engage in a tech refresh on a more halting or limited basis, and that could prevent the operating system from becoming the monster hit that Redmond needs. If I were a Microsoft executive, I'd keep my fingers crossed for the next few months.
On the eve of Microsoft's launch of Windows 7, the gloves are off in the fight for business customers. IBM today unveiled an all-out campaign to persuade U.S. companies, governments and organizations to finally break their Windows habit and make the switch to Linux
The move comes as Chadwick Martin Bailey, a Boston research firm, released results of a survey
of 145 IT professionals indicating 51% of large organizations plan to standardize on Windows 7 for laptops and desktops, while 38% plan to do so with netbooks over the next two years.
“Our data shows a remarkably high number of organizations planning to standardize on the new Windows 7 operating system in the near-term," says Chris Neal, a vice president at Chadwick Martin Bailey. “Those who are holding back for the time being are more commonly staying with XP, rather than Vista.”
That could play right into IBM's wheel house. Big Blue has marshaled a platoon of partners to evangelize a simple message to thousands of organizations that shunned Windows Vista
and stuck with its predecessor, Windows XP. In order to make the jump from XP to Windows 2007, firms that skipped Vista will have to buy new hardware. It would be smarter, IBM argues, to dump Windows.
"This is the chance so many companies have been waiting for to break the proprietary lock Microsoft has on the desktop." said Bob Picciano, general manager of IBM Lotus software. "They can permanently free themselves and their IT budgets with open source computing."
IBM has been making this argument for years. In the spring of 2003, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cut short a skiing trip to race to Germany
to try prevent the city of Munich from excising Windows and Office from 14,000 desktop PCs. Ballmer failed. IBM and German Linux distributor SuSE worked furiously behind the scenes to persuade Munich to make the switch to a Linux system.
Since then, Linux has steadily gained market share on desktops and servers throughout Europe and Asia, and on the servers powering many data centers of North American companies. Amazon's retail operations, for instance, use Linux servers. But most U.S. companies have stayed loyal to Windows and Office as the operating system and productivity suite of choice for desktops and laptops used by employees.
So IBM and Linux distributor Canonical today rolled out a Linux-based system aimed squarely at the U.S. companies Microsoft is trying to sign up for Windows 7. The IBM-Canonical offering is designed for use on a company's existing fleet of PCs and on low-cost netbooks.
IBM has also equipped a platoon of value added resellers - the tech sales companies that woo IT buyers - with an arsenal of polished pitches, including these:
- Opting out of Windows 7 can save the typical American business with 20 or fewer employees up to $40,000.
- Government agencies crunched by budget shortfalls can save big by avoiding the switch to Windows 7; with 14.7 million state and local government employees and 2.5 million federal workers, saving up to $2,000 per employee would be a huge relief to government spending.
“If a company is a ‘Windows shop,’ at some point it will need to evaluate the significant costs of migrating its base to Microsoft’s next desktop and bolstering its defenses against virus and other attacks,” says Picciano. “Our goal is to help organizations free up desktop expenses to use in more strategic projects.”
In a recent MSO study of repeat callers with resolved issues, almost half reported that the reason for their calls was a technical problem. Of course, we’d call many “customer education” — the customers who don’t read directions or watch On Demand tutorials or realize the modem has a reset button.
But the more interesting part of the study was the response to the question “Are you satisfied with the way your problem was handled?” Almost three-quarters of respondents said “not really.”
In the research world, we recognize this as a univariate vs. multivariate issue. In plain talk, this means that if we over-focus on one thing — repairing the broken service — that is univariate. “Can you get to the Web now? Do you have dial tone?”
If yes, well done, the customer is back online, and we can close the ticket.
There’s a hitch, of course: 75% of our closed tickets are telling us this is a multivariate issue. To the customer, it’s more than whether the service was fixed.
We’d like to suggest that the univariate approach is inadequate, although it has long been a prevalent approach in cable. But in today’s world, operators need a consistent way to also repair the relationship.
A way to frame the issue is to consider two possibilities when a customer calls with a service problem and we resolve it:
To get the second outcome requires a concerted effort on the part of the operator to take a multivariate approach at a time of failure. That is, at the time of the event the fastest possible repair of the service is top priority, but other actions must be identified and taken during and after the event — and deployed consistently — that repair or even improve the relationship. This requires research to determine, for various segments, the actions that will drive the desired relationship outcomes.
Other industries do this routinely — even several of the airlines.
Consider that after a recent flight that was delayed six hours with mechanical and weather issues, US Airways e-mailed us an explanation, apology and a $100 coupon.
The e-mail and a drink coupon might have been adequate, and with 30 years of flying behind us, we’re pretty sure US Airways can at best get us to neutral. But they did manage to avoid having us look at every other conceivable option when planning our next flight to Charlotte, although they may have overpaid.
We all know that the future will be challenging. The telcos will soon complete building in most major markets. Could there be a worse time to have three-quarters of our repeat callers dissatisfied with us even when service is restored?
Let’s get a good handle on relationship-repairing options that are most effective for our customers, deploy them effectively throughout our call centers and tech operations, and do all we can to maintain and grow our customer base moving forward. Relationships do not have to be weakened as a result of service issues.
According to a new study of 145 IT professionals, the operating system of choice for IT netbooks is Windows 7, followed by Windows XP. The three alternatives, Linux, Mac OS X and Google Chrome, each won the allegiance of 10% or fewer respondents.
Microsoft has a lock on the enterprise netbook market.
According to a new study of 145 IT professionals, the operating system of choice for IT netbooks is Windows 7, followed by Windows XP. The three alternatives, Linux, Mac OS X and Google Chrome, each won the allegiance of 10% or fewer respondents.
IT staffers were asked by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a custom market research and consulting firm, which netbook operating systems they had decided to standardize on in the next 24 months (respondents could standardize on more than one). Nearly a third, 29%, said they planned to standardize on Windows XP, which Microsoft repositioned in 2008 and 2009 as it saw netbook sales beginning to soar.
Netbook computers spark corporate interest
That means an operating system with no future is far more attractive than Linux, Mac OS X or the fledgling Chrome operating system. Only 10% of respondents said they would standardize on Linux for netbooks, 8% chose the Mac OS, and 5% chose Chrome. Two-thirds or slightly more were decided firmly against all three. As the report noted, "some of these companies (Google and Apple in particular) have not fully launched in the market, with Google's Chrome only still in its development and testing phase."
That's something of an understatement. The 8% may be expressing just a fervent fan boy wish: rumors of some kind of Apple netbook have been rife for months, despite repeated and firm denials by the company that such a computer is planned.
But 38% picked Windows 7 as a standard selection. As part of its repositioning, Microsoft intervened in the Windows 7 engineering work to ensure the operating system would be well suited for netbooks. Only 21% of respondents indicated they would not be standardizing on the new Windows release for future netbooks.
A substantial group -- 41% -- fell in between the two definite decisions. That may be due more to uncertainty about the role of netbooks in the enterprise than uncertainty over Windows 7.
In a June report based on interviews with members of its Enterprise IT Panel, the consulting firm found that 20% of companies had deployed netbooks, but these tended to be limited to a handful of select employees who are often out of the office. Nearly half of the IT staffers in the survey said that netbooks were used by 5% or less of all employees in their company.
The main attractions of netbooks were their lower price tags, cited by 71% of June respondents, and size and portability, cited by 68%. Generally, IT departments stick with their existing laptop providers when weighing a netbook purchase. Netbook vendors are also offering longer battery life, as in HP's announcement in early 2009, in addition to bigger screens and more powerful CPUs.
Still, 29% said they have no plans to deploy netbooks, and another 50% said they had "some intention" of making use of them. The main obstacles, according the Chadwick Martin Bailey report: perceived lack of processing power to run local applications, and the small size of netbook screens and keyboards.
The most recent survey confirmed June data that shows enterprises see netbooks as tactical decisions -- deployed for a relatively small group of highly mobile workers.
CMB partnered with Embassy Suites to help them guide kids to the best activities on vacation in top markets.
Embassy Suites Hotels knows just what kids think are the hippest, hottest and most happening places-- the best place to get a burger, pizza and ice cream in 34 US cities and 2 international destinations. We've expanded our program to our hotels in Mexico City and Niagara Falls, as well as New Orleans and Waikiki in Hawaii.
Created for kids by kids, the program includes a specially designed green and gold Embassy Suites Kids-Eye View Passport highlighting the cool, "kid approved" attractions in 36 cities. More than 100 Embassy Suites Hotels across the North America are part of the fun-filled program.
With Embassy Suites, you'll not only get a spacious two-room suite, you'll also get a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast each morning and a two-hour *Manager's Reception each evening.
Managing physical servers and applications has always been yeoman's work. Virtualization--the technical sleight of hand that packs more servers and applications onto fewer computers--adds to the load. Where once there were 10 servers, 20 now run. Three copies of Linux have morphed into 15. And the people managing them? That stays the same.
It's the double edge of virtualization: Hardware and software efficiency comes at the system administrator's expense. But IT departments are getting better at managing it all, thanks in part to some new tools.
WellSpan Health offers a lesson in how things get complicated.The Pennsylvania health care provider consolidated 15% of its 350 servers over the past 12 months. Tony DeFelice, manager of end user software, wanted to take the next step and virtualize a key patient-care application. DeFelice started by virtualizing the software needed by clients to interact with the application, and he sent the code over the Internet to thousands of clients. When it came time for caregivers to use the application, however, it wouldn't work.
What went wrong? The software wouldn't load on client machines unless someone with administrative privileges reset PCs to accept them. DeFelice learned the hard way that extending virtualization to more users and applications adds a layer of management complexity.
Tools to help deal with that complexity include Symantec's Live Migration and Altiris' Wise Package Studio. Trigence, a startup, has just rolled out software that watches an application as it runs and figures out dependencies, including any left behind when an application moves to a different version of an operating system at its new virtual machine host. Operating system virtualizers move the operating system and its application together to another server, duplicating the exact same version of the operating system. If you want to upgrade the operating system, Trigence-style application virtualization is better. It helps by searching the operating system files at the new host and discovering missing pieces.
Seventy-nine percent of companies with 500 employees or more have adopted server virtualization or will within a year, according to a survey of data center managers by Sage Research. Intel and Virtual Iron last week laid out the economics of virtualization in a Webcast, making the case that virtual servers are a way to contain the escalating electricity costs associated with expanding data centers. Virtual Iron last month demonstrated an advanced management platform, Virtual Manager, which allows for automated management of a variety of virtual machines based on predetermined policies.
Tear Down, Set Up
As service-oriented architectures break up applications into thousands of services, virtualization plays a role by putting them in digital packages and telling a virtual machine what it is the applications need. Applications as virtualized services will be easier to set up, tear down, scale up, or relocate to more powerful servers as traffic mounts, a chief requirement of services on the Web.
Virtualization isn't just for operating systems. Users can virtualize applications and create containers of virtual operating systems.
Operating system virtualization takes a particular instance of the operating system, packages it as a set of digital files, and assigns it limited machine resources, such as memory and CPU cycles. Each virtual machine has its own copy of the system.
Application virtualization takes a particular instance of an application; understands the software drivers, files, and data it needs; packages them as a set of digital files; and notifies the prospective host system of those needs.
Both Linux with VServer and Unix in the form of Sun's Solaris 10 can run multiple virtual machines using just one copy of the operating system. This approach reduces complexity without giving up the separation and data security of virtual machines.
"Virtualization promises to ease all of these onerous chores," says Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata. But virtualization requires more than just virtual machines. "It requires their effective management," he says.
EMC's VMware division has upgraded two products, the Virtual Machine Importer and the P2V Assistant, which moves software running on physical machines to virtual machines, and combined them into VMware Converter 3. VMware also is automating the upgrade of its hypervisor system, ESX Server, so that users of an application running in an ESX Server 2.0 virtual machine won't notice more than a brief pause as the application gets upgraded to the present release, ESX Server 3.0.1. A high-performance form of virtualization, a hypervisor is a kernel operating system, communicating directly with the hardware and bypassing regular operating systems to handle application needs.
Downtime can be avoided because VMware's Virtual Center management tools generate a duplicate of a running system on the upgrade host, interrupt the application at the old location, and transfer operations to the new one. The application renews its operation at the interruption point. At most, the process takes a few seconds, says Karthik Rau, senior director of VMware's infrastructure products.
Cross-vendor virtual machine management is another level of complexity awaiting new automation tools. SWsoft, a supplier of virtualization software, said in August that it's extending its Virtuozzo virtual machine management product to manage virtual machines from other vendors. Tools to manage VMware will be added later this year, and XenSource's Xen, an open source virtual machine generator, will be next. SWsoft is backed by investments from Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Insight Venture Partners.
With data taking center stage in every organization, the ability to make sense and take action on that data is vital. Technology like Many Eyes will make that process more inviting.
IBM acquired application virtualization technology in June with its purchase of privately held Meiosys. The company's MetaCluster 3.0 has been used to demonstrate the transfer of an Oracle database from one server to another without an apparent disruption in service. IBM is expected to add MetaCluster technology to its Tivoli system management software later this year.
Newcomer OpenCountry offers a systems management console that includes tools to generate virtual machines under Linux. It can produce VMs running different distributions, including RedFlag Linux from China, Red Hat's Fedora, and the Debian Project's Debian Linux. In September, OpenCountry became part of the Open Management Consortium, started earlier year to set standards for systems management for open source software, including the operation of virtual machines.
Even with new tools, it isn't easy to master all the moving parts. Ty Schwab, information services analyst for Lane County IT in Eugene, Ore., found that moving to application virtualization presents high hurdles. He recently tested Softricity's ZeroTouch and Altiris' Wise Package Studio. "You practically have to be a Ph.D. to use Softricity," he says.
Softricity, acquired by Microsoft in July, is noted for its ability to virtualize Microsoft applications. Microsoft plans to produce its own version of the product but hasn't provided a timetable.
Schwab is now streaming an application into one county department, using Altiris to virtualize it and AppStream to convert it into an online service. But he's far from convinced that virtualization will sweep through all county applications.
Lane County is adopting virtualization, like other organizations, to save money, Schwab says. But "application virtualization is not mature enough yet." He will extend it to the county applications that have the fewest concurrent users and lowest risk. "The Sheriff's Department has mission-critical applications. If they go down because of virtualization, it does more harm than good."
That's how businesses feel about most of their applications, and they'll be slow to adopt new techniques and technologies that can't guarantee uptime. Virtualization of servers has proved its worth in many data centers. It will be some time before the same can be said about virtualized applications.
Only one-fourth of companies believe they are managing their marketing efforts effectively, according to the results of a landmark survey of more than 400 companies by strategic marketing consultancy CMG Partners and market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey. But the study also found that those companies that actively use marketing effectiveness best practices are reaping positive results in areas such as share gains or revenue growth.
The study, entitled The Marketing Performance Advantage, surveyed more than 400 companies across a variety of industries and company sizes to determine the key attributes of successful marketing organizations and to understand what marketing practices they employ.
“We found a high degree of interest in marketing measurement, but surprisingly very few executives reported success with translating that interest into improved marketing effectiveness or bottom line results,” observed Rich Schreuer, senior vice president of Chadwick Martin Bailey.
For example, the study found 75% of participants expressed interest in measuring the performance of their marketing initiatives yet....
• only 27% of companies are fully integrating their marketing measurement insights into marketing planning,
• only 20% believe they excel at measuring the performance of marketing initiatives, and
• only 24% believe they are improving business results based on this information
“Marketing leaders and their organizations are under increasing pressure to demonstrate the value they deliver to their businesses, especially in today’s tough economic environment,” said Mark Carr, a partner at CMG Partners. “The study clearly shows that if done right, marketing performance management -- the practice of measuring, learning from, and improving upon marketing strategies and tactics over time -- can deliver bottom line results and prove a key differentiator in highly competitive markets. For example, of those companies that excel at marketing performance management practices, 98% are gaining or maintaining market share.”
The study found that many of the companies surveyed appear to be stuck in the basic tracking and measuring stage of improving marketing effectiveness. An almost equal number are working at breaking down barriers to improved performance in areas such as correlation of data and measurements with results or incorporating insights into decision-making. Those organizations that are reaping the rewards of marketing improvements are doing so at least in part by taking a more holistic view of how to continually improve the marketing enterprise.
In addition to providing an in-depth look at the state of marketing performance management, the study highlights the best practices of those companies who reported the greatest impact from marketing improvement efforts.
Despite increased measurement systems and practices, only one-fourth of marketers believe they're managing marketing effectively, according to a new survey by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and marketing consultancy CMG Partners.
"There's been a lot of interest in marketing measurement in recent years, but not a lot of companies have figured out how to turn that into increased business results," Mark Carr, a partner with CMG Partners tells Marketing Daily. "It's a process that's easier said than done, and although there have been great advances in recent years in the science of marketing and measurement, it's still a tricky and sustained process that takes the full buy-in of the entire organization, not just the marketing department."
According to the survey of more than 400 companies across a variety of industries and of varying sizes, while 75% of marketers are interested in measuring the performance of their marketing initiatives, only 24% believe they are improving business results based on marketing measurement insights. Even fewer believe they excel at measuring the performance of their marketing initiatives.
According to the survey, some of the most common barriers within companies are a lack of buy-in to marketing measurement on a senior level and a failure to align marketing metrics and improvement with a company's strategic objectives.
"The goal is to have an increased return on marketing investment whether that's increased revenue or increased bottom line, or it could translate into savings," Carr says. "There is sometimes a bit of a downward spiral that organizations can get into, where senior management doesn't buy into the marketing performance management."
However, there were some best practices among companies that have been employing better marketing performance management, Carr says. Among them: developing senior-level acceptance and desire for it, aligning marketing performance with overall corporate objectives, integrating insights gleaned from measurement into broader business processes and utilizing the marketing metrics for greater alignment with other departments.
"Improving marketing efforts means going beyond measurements to the overall management philosophy," Carr says. "You have to translate better insights into better decisions going forward, and that's the trickier task."