I had an interesting discussion with someone recently about the changes in software development. We’re fast approaching the end of Windows XP, and as a technology company, keeping abreast of the newest software is important. We run a mixture of operating systems in testing scenarios so that we always have something available that our customers are using, but we all use Windows 7 and Office 2010. (And we even have a tablet with Windows 8 on it).
The fact that Windows XP is older than my children really makes me think about where we were in terms of technology at the point that XP was released.
Here’s some history for you…
On 25th October 2001 XP was released by Microsoft, replacing Windows 2000 (although many of us were still on Windows 95 and Windows 98 at this point). It was one of Microsoft’s best-selling products.
For some of us 2001 really doesn’t seem like it could be that long ago but then when you actually say that it was 11 years ago, it’s a different story. We were making calls on phones like the one below, and this was one of the first ‘Smart Phones’. Imagine trying to manage your email on this now…
Our broadband speeds were just starting to reach 512k (and that’s only if you were lucky).
No one knew anything about Facebook, Google Maps, Skype, Twitter, iPhones or Netbooks.
And, just think of the first big fat clunky iPod that was heralded as such an amazing design (released in 2001). Yet, if you still have one today, you wouldn’t dare get it out in public.
In terms of technology, 11 years is massive. I think you’d struggle to find a business using the phone above, and a business just wouldn’t be able to function on 512k broadband speeds, and yet how many are still using Windows XP?
Microsoft support for XP ends in less than 2 years (and that’s going to come round in a flash). The most important issue for your business if you’re still using XP, is that it means no more security updates, leaving your business vunerable. Migrating to a new operating system isn’t the most difficult thing to do, but the key is in the planning. You can’t afford downtime of any great length, and you can’t afford to start migrating and find half way through that some of your PCs just can’t cope with an upgrade.
The best thing you can do for your business, is to start planning now. You don’t have to migrate to Windows 7 next week, or next month, or even within the next 12 months, but if you know now that half your PCs will need upgrading, or that your printers won’t run on Windows 7, or that your legacy software might have issues, you can manage the process so that it fits in with your cashflow, and your annual IT budget, and your workload, and make migrating away from XP hassle-free.