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Why does IT stick with old software/OS's?

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by Gonadman2, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Gonadman2

    Gonadman2 Member

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    As a completely non-IT related business user, I find it incredibly frustrating to be stuck with old and outdated software and operating systems that are extremely prevalent in the industry I work in. We have good hardware where I work, but are still using XP as our main OS. Why is this? It is not hard to move to W7, but we're stuck with an OS lacking basic functionality. We have a 3rd party IT contractor that looks after our IT needs, why aren't they pushing to have W7 rolled out across our small workplace? Its more work for them, and its more productive for us. I also do work for Woodside (we are a woodside contractor) and everything they do is in XP as well, and their remote software fails on everything except IE6(I think, its a very old version). Why can't they code this to work on any browser? What's with the old crappy browsers hanging around?

    It like the IT people can't be bothered (or too hard) upgrading to newer and more productive software. BHP Billiton was the same, still using XP. I have to use explorer everyday and Windows 7 is much better for doing the things I do, than XP. So why is the IT world sticking with frankly outdated software? I read all the time here that the IT industry is becoming less and less of a good place to have a career, is this why?
     
  2. ktmrida

    ktmrida Member

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    For us, its

    - Windows 7 will not work for us with some corporate applications
    - licensing renewal / implications

    We are just starting to move to 7 now, and published apps via RDS, but i can imagine this is why most companies dont jump on the "hey windows 7 is out, lets roll it out"
     
  3. Creekin

    Creekin (Taking a Break)

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    i've been raging about this exact same prob today
    alot of it comes down to old peripheral hw with no win7 support
    and expensive proprietary sw packages ($1000's)

    for eg:
    the dentist office i was at this morning
    i was able to replace the office and reception pcs
    but the dentist refuses to replace the surgery pc and upgrade to win7
    as the xray sw version he OWNS isnt compatible
    the newer version is
    but costs $$$s

    :mad:
     
  4. DavidRa

    DavidRa Member

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    To use one of my most common verbal expressions, "you are not a special flower in the Universe".

    First off, it's not generally IT's "choice" - it's the manager, or the CIO/CTO, or there are incompatible applications, or incompatible systems in use somewhere in the company.

    Supporting multiple OS environments is a pain in the ass for most helpdesk/level 1 staff - because 99% of the time you need to ask someone (who doesn't know or care) questions like "are you using Windows XP or Windows 7" ... usually followed with "does the big button at the bottom left say 'Start' or not". Followed by "bottom". Followed by "the OTHER left". Followed by screams of frustration.

    Cost of deploying a new OS is not just the cost of the software - it's deploying, and reinstalling apps (which can be mitigated somewhat), and training people, and the inevitable thousands of calls to the service desk because some crappy application the user has installed (contrary to policy) is no longer in the 3rd column of desktop icons but the fourth, and it's "ALL THE FAULT OF IT WHO CHANGE EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME".

    As for the outsource company, they'll have quoted $X to support the environment, transforming to Win7 is $Y more and your company won't pay for it (are you suggesting the outsource company should invest $2M to roll out Win7? Does your answer change if your CEO/CIO/CTO doesn't want Win7?)

    The browser question has been asked and answered before - in summary, when you wrote apps 10 years ago, you wrote for IE5/IE6. There was no Chrome, Netscape/Firefox had 10% of the market (and approximately 0% of the business market), Opera sucked just as much as it does today - so what do you write for? IE. How do you predict the future browsers and code/test for them? Alternatively, who is going to pay to retro-fit compliance to newer standards to those web apps? "They work fine on our computers, with our SOE, and we are the only ones using them". Standard canned response.
     
  5. jtir

    jtir Member

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    I'd like to understand for business productivity (web browsing, email, 3rd party apps), what does Windows 7 perform better than Windows XP using the exact same hardware?
     
  6. mr626

    mr626 Member

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    Actually, in many cases it is. There are a multitude of issues involved in moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 in a corporate environment. It isn't anything like Joe Bloggs at home deciding to update his computer.

    For a lot of businesses, could you even honestly say there is a strong business case for moving to Windows 7? Think about what a typical small/medium organisation uses their computers for, and think about what benefits they would see in moving from XP to Windows 7.

    You will often find that the larger the organisation, the slower they are to change things like their standard operating environment.

    Disclaimer- I'm in the process of migrating our organisation from Windows XP to 7. Fun times :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  7. kearnsyaus

    kearnsyaus Member

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    I would argue Windows XP does offer basic functionality! Along with the widespread compatibility of XP means for small business not having to upgrade (additional expense) to the latest version of other software they may use to get it working right on a Windows 7 box.
     
  8. Oppressa

    Oppressa Member

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    Compatibility, price (although with Microsoft's cheap Core CALs for education now it doesn't matter) and scale I guess.

    When we moved to Windows 7 it involved a lot of planning:
    compatibility of hardware (scanners, printers, interactive whiteboards, etc)
    compatibility of software. Being in education, we literally had hundreds of small and often ancient pieces of software to check that they worked in Win 7 (and 64bit at that). I still have to run either a virtual machine or Windows 7 virtual mode so I have XP for GE's Forcefield security software and Bosch's security camera client
    deployment process - new imaging process had to be built, coded and documented. Every time a new issue arises in the process, it's more time to find the issue and solve it then TEST it
    User training!!! This can be a huuuuuge hassle depending on your users (in my case some older teachers and younger students so that makes it worse)
    Rebuild of some servers/databases due to incompatibility issues

    Then set it all up on 1500+ machines and over multiple models.

    And fark sooo much more!

    It depends on the size of the IT department. Do they have the funds/time/experience to do all of the above themselves or with contractors? I'm sure they would LIKE to be magically set up with all of the latest software but maybe it seems like a daunting task to them when they look into it.
     
  9. Falcon

    Falcon Member

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    Why do end users think they need the latest and greatest OS?
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Gonadman2

    Gonadman2 Member

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    I don't claim to be a special flower. In my industry, if a new version of something comes out or a better way of doing something that provides productivity benefits - no matter how small - we jump on it. Because more productivity = more $$$. For some reason IT seems to think that the status quo is good enough. From what I've read on here, it seems that its the IT business managers, rather than the people on the ground that make these decisions.

    Excusing my naivete, I really fail to understand how installing W7 is harder in a corporate environment, than it is at home. Surely you just spend a couple of days creating a SOE (I think that's what its called?) and then roll it out. If I can do it at home and have never had any training in IT, then surely the very experienced people that do this stuff day in and out can do it.

    Sorry that's a good point. I didn't want to bog down the OP getting pedantic but I do find that simple things like W7 index search in explorer is awesome, the start menu and all of its awesomeness, the ability to just download newer drivers and stuff so I can actually plug my phone in and don't need to phone IT to actually install a driver for it etc are all very useful. Then we start getting into being able to navigate around 15-20 open windows, multiple CAD programs that are going to be able to load from a file in explorer rather than through the old open dialog etc. I could go on, but it doesn't matter, what matters is that if a single user can see benefits, then surely the rest of the business can?
     
  11. cvidler

    cvidler Member

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    As already said by many of the previous posters,

    It's about cost, compatibility, and risk.

    - it costs a lot of $ to upgrade Windows across 10/100/1000/1000000 desktops. Add in any extra hardware that may be required (memory, CPU, disk upgrades, new desktop entirely), new peripherals.
    - it costs a lot of $ to get a custom coded application updated to support the latest and greatest OS/browser changes. This is the single most common reason why IE6 is still so prevalent in the corporate world, it was the browser of choice at the time, web based apps became popular, so many web based apps were written for IE6, and remain that way.
    - Lots of hardware in use (we're talking custom stuff, like the Dentists' example, or industrial control, or even just hardware that the manufacturer doesn't support any more), no newer drivers = big problems. Do you upgrade all your hardware at great cost, when a) it's not broke, b) your OS isn't broke, c) you don't have money to burn.
    - Risk, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    I see it commonly, users want Win7 and Office2010 because it's the newest, but they couldn't even use all the features of WinXP and Office 2003. There's no gains to be had migrating for the odd power user. Many users hate the new UI of Office2007-2010 anyway, resulting in less productivity, increased training expenses.


    So if you can convince your IT dept, that there's plenty of $, the old hardware is 100% compatible, regular users won't be scared off by a new UI, and it makes business sense to upgrade, then you can get shiny Win7.

    Upgrading because something is newer, simply isn't a valid business case when there's so much cost and risk involved.

    (there's still environments I see running DOS6.22/Win3.11 networks, so XP is nothing to complain about)
     
  12. gords

    gords Oh deer!

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    There's always more to it than meets the eye. Even seemingly simple things can be a huge amount of work because of one key application, user, server etc. I'd recommend you go and talk to the IT guys and ask them; they'll likely gladly tell you the reasons, because it means that someone knows the truth, rather than assuming they know the reasons and thinking IT sucks/doesn't care/is lazy etc.
     
  13. dink

    dink Member

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    The first question I always ask when presented with this conundrum is; "What exactly does 7 do for you that XP doesn't?" Followed swiftly with; "Vista?"


    I have recently upgraded one of my sites to Win7 and Office 2010 and it was quite the hassle. They have an expensive label printer that we could not get to work with Win7, even with vendor assistance. They can't afford to purchase the newer version. This will happen at every site that we will upgrade to 7. We will find one little piece of software or hardware that we cannot get working on 7. I can see every site that we upgrade have a single computer that still runs XP.

    Then there is the training issue with Win7 and Office 2010. The UI's on both those products has been significantly changed and the workload of the helpdesk will increase just as significantly.

    Will all of this stop me from going to Win7? Probably not. Win7 is a nice product and I expect it to last quite some time. It is a matter of doing it slowly and identifying the training and compatibility issue and just pushing on with it.

    When you look at a large business and how much time and effort they invested in going to XP, they want that investment to last as long as possible. It would be a year long project to upgrade a large company to Win7.
     
  14. Reaper

    Reaper Member

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    Because Harvey/dell/hp/ibm tell them they do when they buy thier new laptops. :D
     
  15. HUMMER

    HUMMER Member

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    because they think it makes then king shit when they speak about their work to other people in their social circle.

    some reasons why IT sticks with old software and OS.

    - its all about the cash. if it can be patched and not replaced. it will be patched.

    - stability. if its stable. why give yourself headaches moving about to newer systems every time a new thing comes out.

    - familiarity. if they are used to it. often many IT people and their managers are reluctant to have to introduce new systems. as this would mean more retraining and lost productivity learning a new system.

    in my current scenario. we cannot use new OS like windows 7 as some of the apps we use wont work with windows 7 or IE 8.
     
  16. Falcon

    Falcon Member

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    It probably makes you feel worse when you realise 3/4 of the IT team are probably already running Windows 7.

    the difference is, they don't ring up the Help desk when something doesn't work.
     
  17. SpudBoy

    SpudBoy Member

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    heard of a VM?

    there really is no reason to hold back off windows 7, however many large organisations still use an eDirectory setup which still doesnt play nicely with windows 7, that is.. without an AD tie in. - which is yet another cost factor.
     
  18. cvidler

    cvidler Member

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    More cost, training, support issues, and what if said software (or more likely hardware) doesn't play in a VM.
     
  19. DJL351

    DJL351 Member

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    And then there is the flip side....

    Why does the IT dept always change shit!!!????
    It worked fine last week. All I want is to get to my e-mails *cries*


    Dude, seriously, its not a simple as giving everyone a Win7 dvd.
    Complex Networks require lost of planing, testing and then more testing.

    Here is one for you. Uprading a Server to 2008 R2 - easy enough yes?
    Yeah, but its 64bit and all the printers in the building are older than 5 years and most wouldn't have a 64bit driver.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    Gonadman2

    Gonadman2 Member

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    Some good answers there, cheer's guys. I'm only relating it back to my situation in my local office, but what you guys are saying makes sense.

    We have a 3rd party IT contractor, so it costs us money if I ring and talk to them. My manager has said that he doesn't want to deal with anything related to IT if he doesn't have to. He is running W7 on his machine FWIW.
     

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