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Press Release

IT Consultants Say Support Will Be the Big Cost of Windows 7 Transition

A survey of 200 small business IT professionals conducted by Citrix Online

Windows 7 has been touted as the easy-to-use upgrade to Vista. But IT professionals say that user “hand-holding” may be the biggest challenge for small businesses making the transition, according a survey of 200 small business IT professionals conducted by Citrix Online, a division of Citrix Systems, Inc., and MarketTools.

More than half (55 percent) of the respondents plan to implement Windows 7 in 2010, with many anticipating more than a small impact on their operations. The biggest hurdle – cited by 65 percent of the IT pros surveyed – is people’s limited understanding of computer operating systems and applications.

“The industry has looked on Windows 7 as the ‘un-Vista’ in terms of usability,” said Justin Madison, VP of Engineering and Operations for Citrix Online. “But especially for companies jumping from XP to Windows 7, the biggest headache may still be user support.”

“If more than half of small business IT professionals plan to migrate to Windows 7 in 2010, that translates to potentially 13-15 million small businesses making the migration in one year alone,” said Gene Marks, noted author and SMB technology expert. “That is ever more reason for remote support technologies like GoToAssist to support these people in the migration.”

The survey found that for many IT pros the Windows 7 transition will add yet another layer to their support duties. About 40 percent of respondents said they already spend from one day a week to half their time supporting software upgrades. Nearly half (46 percent) spend an average of 2 ½ hours a week supporting upgrades on top of their other maintenance duties. Even so, only 13 percent of respondents plan to hire additional IT staff for Windows 7 Support.

Citrix Online recently hosted a virtual roundtable, Migration Nirvana, featuring “Window 7 for Dummies” author Andy Rathbone and small business experts who offered guidance for SMBs on successfully migrating to Windows 7. Their pointers included:

  • Offer training: Not everyone is comfortable with clicking and finding things on his or her own, so it’s important to provide comprehensive user training – in advance – on these new technologies;
  • Back up hard drives before proceeding: This may sound obvious, but horror stories abound of companies neglecting to back up critical data before changing software – and losing everything;
  • Have the right tools available to assist users: The ability to access remote and at-home users to provide tech support improves the end-user experience and reduces loss of productivity;

“When it comes to supporting Windows 7 users, the ability to quickly and systematically sort out everything – from printer drivers to the new look and feel of Windows 7 – is key to survival for the ever-challenging role of the IT support guru,” said Madison. He added that the remote-support solution GoToAssist “makes it fast and easy to address software upgrade and tech support issues – especially for remote workers.”

Citrix Online’s GoToAssist is an affordable, easy-to-use remote support tool that enables individual support professionals to reduce travel time, lower support costs and impress clients by instantly delivering secure online tech support to both PC and Mac users. With permission, an IT consultant can quickly access a client's computer to troubleshoot a problem, run a system diagnostic, install software or patches and provide training. Support extends both on-site and to remote employees, without any security or firewall issues.

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SYS-CON's Virtualization News Desk trawls the news sources of the world for the latest details of virtualization technologies, products, and market trends, and provides breaking news updates from the Virtualization Conference & Expo.