Microsoft's Windows 10 is finding favour with businesses and large organisations, according to figures from Forrester Research indicating that half of all enterprise firms expect to upgrade to the new operating system by the end of 2016.
Windows 10 was officially released at the end of July, and the company has recently made the first major update available that adds many of the promised features and capabilities intended to make the platform more appealing to business customers.
These capabilities appear to be doing the trick, if Forrester can be believed, as the analyst firm published a report this week claiming that 49 percent of IT decision makers canvassed said that their company plans to upgrade to Windows 10 by the end of next year.
This is a remarkable claim, since enterprise firms tend to be somewhat conservative in adopting new products and technologies, and will typically evaluate a new operating system for an extended period before beginning a migration. This strategy also allows time for any early kinks in the platform to be ironed out.
For comparison, Forrester said that similar results for Windows 8 in 2012 showed that just 26 percent of IT decision makers at the time expected the platform to be the one most frequently installed on new company-issued PCs in the year following its release.
The authors of the Forrester report noted that "such intentions always prove optimistic", but that this difference is still quite significant.
There are three key areas where Windows 10 is ticking the right boxes to drive corporate enthusiasm for the new OS, according to Forrester.
These are security, owing to OS-level encryption and better identity and authentication methods; greater usability after the return of the Start menu and there being no need to switch between the Windows desktop and a separate touch environment; and management, with new enterprise mobility management features and in-place updates that make it easier for IT departments to keep endpoints up to date.
In other words, enterprise enthusiasm for Windows 10 can be attributed to the fact that it should require less effort and thus cost less to operate than earlier versions of Windows, while the familiarity factor of the Start menu will keep employees happy and reduce the requirement for retraining.
Forrester's figures still appear somewhat optimistic in light of the fact that many companies have only recently completed a migration away from Windows XP as that platform approached end of life.
A migration from Windows 7 is likely to be much less challenging than XP proved to be, but many companies are expected to defer the cost of any further migrations for several years, given that the extended support period for Windows 7 does not end until 2020.
However, Forrester's report recommends that organisations start their migration plans for Windows 10 now, if they have not already done so.
"Start the piloting and testing phase for Windows 10 early in 2016, if you haven't already, to allow time to test applications and make plans to update them if necessary. Budgets for 2016 should include line items for the Windows 10 licences and upgrade costs," Forrester said.