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Softchoice: Windows 10 adoption elusive among customers

With Windows 10 having celebrated in July its first year on the market, service provider Softchoice has found a scant presence of the OS within its client base.

Softchoice’s recent study of its clients’ IT environments, which looked at more than 400,000 Windows-based devices at 169 North American organizations, revealed only 0.75% of the devices run on Windows 10. The study was the latest of several analyses the company has conducted using data drawn from its client base — the bulk of which is enterprise sized with 500-plus seats. Many of the company’s clients are recurring, allowing the company to obtain insight into clients’ changing environments over time, noted David Brisbois, senior manager of assessment and technology deployment services consulting at Softchoice, based in Toronto.

Brisbois wasn’t surprised by Windows 10’s low adoption rate. “The newest OSes are never widely adopted in the commercial space,” he said. “In most cases, there were a fair number of organizations that had a Windows 10 device or a couple Windows 10 devices, but it was less than a percentage. So it wasn’t really material to the study.”

While he cited upgraded security as one of the major reasons to move to Windows 10, he said the OS’s focus on touch-enabled interfaces hasn’t lured many customers. “I think a lot of the perception today around Windows 10 is that it’s geared toward touch interfaces. It doesn’t take long to walk around any of our clients’ sites to notice a lot of them still have monitors and laptops that are not touch enabled. So the whole idea of Windows 8 or Windows 10, which are both very small deployment numbers, isn’t very overly appealing, because [customers are] not looking at it from a security perspective.”

Another factor Brisbois attributed the lagging Windows 10 adoption is the use of web-based applications. “The OS isn’t as important in [software as a service] scenarios because you get the same functionality.”

Windows 7, meanwhile, dominated Softchoice’s client environments, with 91% of scanned devices running on the operating system, an increase from 18% in 2015.

Most organizations have standardized on Windows 7, Brisbois said, partly due to the phasing out of Windows XP. The study found Windows XP has “pretty much disappeared,” with only 5% of devices on the unsupported OS, down from 20% last year. Computers today that run Windows XP tend to be legacy terminals used for specific functions where “there’s just no need to break what’s working,” he said. Larger clients with over 5,000 seats tended to have the most Windows XP operating systems in use, while organizations between 1,000 and 5,000 seats had less. The smaller, more agile organizations were “the ones that got rid of Windows XP the fastest and [adopted] Windows 7 the quickest.”

The results of the study didn’t impact Softchoice’s current direction as a company, Brisbois said. “Personally, I don’t think there’s this huge need to get people onto [the Windows 10] OS. … I’d say our biggest opportunity that we focus on as an organization is definitely on cloud adoption, Office 365 [and] Azure. That’s where we put our effort,” he explained. “Azure’s been a great opportunity for us, and we’re going to continue to zero in on the Azure piece.”

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I have adopted to Windows 10 and I understand why desktop based companies don't upgrade. Windows 8 and 10 have essentially discarded any consideration for the desktop user and are primarily tablet/touch oriented. Windows 10 has barely improved over Windows 8. Tablet/touch is the hot new sexy thing but people who have been devoted to Windows for years are doing heavy work with the desktop paradigm. They have no reason to change. Microsoft seems to have lost touch with its old customer base and is trying to build a new base.
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FTClark, thanks for posting your thoughts on Windows 10 adoption. Do you think Windows 10's security features will eventually push desktop-based companies to upgrade?
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I don't think, so Spencer Smith. Computers are used to perform tasks. So, for the business POV, they are used to do business tasks.
SOs are the tools needed to enable the hardware to perform those busness tasks (the programs).
There are functional requisites and non-functional requisites. Security is non-functional. Unless the company have an regulation forcing them or they have problems with security far more than the average company, security will never be an push to an upgrade.
Productivity always is, if the SOs provide users provides ways to make users make more in less time that SO will be bought.
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I have encouraged my clients to adopt Windows 10 (customers up to 160 seats) and have about a 95% adoption rate.  I agree that its all well and good to have a touch oriented OS, but realistically business ultimately wants an OS that allows staff to be complete tasks and be productive/efficient while doing it.  Add too that very few applications in the enterprise or SMB space are touch oriented yet, and aren't likely to be any time soon.  If real applications (as opposed to 'apps') dont support game changing features then ther wont be a demand.  If I take the health care and legal sectors supporting about 30 products accross the client base only one is even remotely touch.

Time will tell if the security features provide the comfort for CIO's/It Managers to sleep well at night, otherwise Windows 10 is just another OS.
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By the time these folks are forced to upgrade their Windows 7, etc. deployments, perhaps there'll be a newer (more likable?) version of Windows available to the enterprise.
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Thanks for the comments. Yesterday, Adaptiva announced it updated its partner program, spurred in part by predictions of an upcoming surge of Windows 10 deployments in large enterprises. Do you think these predictions will pan out?
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