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The Vista upgrade trap: Are you ready?

Lack of planning could cost Vista upgraders

As a general rule, he says IT departments should plan that desktops and notebooks older than 18 to 24 months will not be migrated to Vista. "The normal replacement cycle for a notebook is 36 months, so it's not cost-effective to go back and retrofit that machine," he says.

In the CDW survey, 51 percent of the respondents said that at least half of their organisation's hardware will require upgrading or replacement to become Vista compatible.

Microsoft's Vista page and CDW's Vista page both have tools to test whether PCs are Vista-compliant or Vista-capable. You'll be able to establish baseline requirements in terms of CPU, memory and even graphics cards necessary to optimally run Vista.

3. What is the state of your enterprise at large?

What applications, hardware and peripherals are in use throughout your organisation? Are they Vista-ready? Chances are some aren't, and this is a good time to budget for replacements. "If there is no longer a driver for your user's old multifunction printer, this might be a good time to replace it," Cottingham says.

Organisations should do an inventory check of in-house and remote resources. Part of this can be done automatically using asset management tools that check computers as they come onto the network. IT departments should also send out a survey to users asking them what programs, PCs, printers, fax machines, routers, etc they use at home.

"You want to get a sense of what's out there and what you'll have to support," Cottingham says.

4. How well versed are your users?

A portion of your Vista budget should include training. However, it's impossible to know what your training needs will be without first seeing how users interact with the new operating system. Cottingham recommends creating a pilot group made up of a cross-section of users across all departments. This group should include both experienced and rookie users, as well as in-house, remote and mobile workers. Seeing what obstacles they run into will help you plot out training and help desk budgets.


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