"If your organization has not started the migration to a modern PC, you are late," declared Microsoft yesterday while announcing that the company would not support Windows XP and Office 2003 as of April 8, 2014. It's about time, feel Indian CIOs who are nonchalant to the announcement.

It's true that that bulk on Indian enterprises continue to be largely dependant on Windows XP. But Microsoft's announcement came as no surprise. CIOs inIndiahave been anticipating this move for a long time and are amply prepared with a migration roadmap.

"This announcement does not impact us, because any forward looking company would've anyway already migrated or planned a roadmap for migration to Windows 7," says K.T. Rajan, director-operations, IS and projects, Allergan India.

It is commonly being accepted by Indian CIOs that the failure of Windows Vista was instrumental in extending the lifeline of XP. "Had Vista been good, we would've migrated to it in 24-30 months of XP, but because Vista bombed people over-stayed with XP. By the time Windows 7 was launched, people were eager to migrate and it neatly fell in line with technology refresh cycles," says Rajan.

The Cloud Effect

The growing adoption of cloud computing business models has also reduced the dependence or need for a robust and scalable OS. For example, Muthoot Finance has moved its core banking application to the cloud. "Our core-banking applications are purely web and browser based, and therefore not impacted. For the other applications, we have already started the migration process, even before the announcement," says Nair.

N. Varadarajan, GM- IT, Madras Cements agrees. " Nowadays, key applications like ERP are web based and just requires a decent browser on the clients to run. Thus, XP or Windows 7 does not create any difference for my key applications. " says Varadarajan.

The last few years have seen a huge surge in the adoption of desktop virtualization in the country, which was increasingly used to migrate to Windows 7 by Indian enterprises. "We implemented thin client last year, all of which were on the new Windows 7 platform, reducing our dependence on XP," says Suneel Aradhye, CIO, Essar Steel.

Windows 8 Can Wait, but Open Source is Picking Up

The other key development is the slow but steady acceptance of Open Source by the Indian CIO Community. "I feel that it is time to go for open source , as my main requirement for 90 percent of clients is a decent browser. We have started a pilot project in this direction. We may also experiment with Cloud, " says Varadarajan.

While CIOs are geared to shift to Windows 7, very few are open to using the opportunity to try out Windows 8. "Microsoft has an uncanny knack of throwing up surprises. Windows 7 seems like a reasonable OS. We aren't' in a hurry to experiment with Windows 8, yet" says Rajan.

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