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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. DarkYendor

    DarkYendor Member

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    Ah, so it's someone elses responsibility to find a way technology can help the business - not the Information Technology department. If Engineering or Supply Chain or Management or even HR see a better way to do business, they implement it. But IT actively resist any change, even if other departments request it. Until someone from the top forces them to make a change, IT won't do a thing.

    As far as those who hold the purse strings - how does it make financial sense to format machines that come with Win 7 and install new copies of XP?

    Where I work now, we could easily move to a new OS. Other than mainsteam applications, everything of ours is web-based. All the new PC's came pre-installed with Windows 7, but IT has formatted them and installed XP. And 32-bit at that, so they can't even use the full 4GB of RAM. At least they're finally installing Office 2007 - sure Office 2010 would have made more sense, but at least it's a step up from Office 2003.

    I've worked in IT. And yeah, half the people you have to do shit for are technological cavemen. But always doing the minimum reqiured, and resisting anything more, doesn't help anyone. You're going to have to move on eventually, and the longer you resist the more time you waste fixing an obsolete system.
     
  2. rainwulf

    rainwulf Member

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    Yea, was about to ask this question too.

    Not saying windows 7 isnt better then xp in other areas, but how does windows 7 increase productivity?

    So was your world hell when all there WAS was XP?
    im curious, how does windows 7 make copying files "better"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2011
  3. Lukenet

    Lukenet Member

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    Gonadman2, maybe you can post, how much more productive Win 7 is vs Win XP? Can you provide an economic business case which outlines the exact productivity increases you would see by switching in raw dollar terms vs cost of implementation.

    If it comes out positive and increases productivity and if there is increased economic benefit for the company, I am sure your argument will get an excellent hearing. If there is just additional cost with no measurable benefit other than "looks better".. Well, I guess you will see what you see today. Win XP still in use.
     
  4. rainwulf

    rainwulf Member

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    Not only that, but there is no such thing as a simple upgrade of your OS.

    There is confirmation that the software you use works with it, the hardware you use works with it, the hardware can actually RUN it, and the licensing fees, the microsoft tax.

    Then, if after that is all tested ok, you actually have to roll it out.

    Then there is teaching all the users how the new OS works, how many things no longer make sense compared to the XP way.

    And thats IF you can even convince the business owner that its even worth it!

    Its obvious that you dont actually work in IT, because then you wouldnt be posting such a silly question.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  5. Speaker4TheDead

    Speaker4TheDead Member

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    What most people don't think of in upgrades of an entire IT ecosystem, is that it is a business decision.

    Others before me have already listed the technical challenges but the most important factor in upgrades is that the business, (senior management) have to WANT to make the change.

    That is driven by the dollar sign, and not on your "productivity" but whether the job can be accomplished without the change. Will the change deliver value? And the question can only be answered by how forward thinking your management team are.

    Yes some IT departments are resistant to change as change to the system will cause things to break. then complaints go up due to why things are not working.

    Management have to not only look at the bottom line but at how much pain they are willing to endure during the transition.

    Most people forget that IT is not flicking a switch... its not a magical fairy land where overnight you get to walk into your office the next morning with brand new computers with new OS and it all works with existing legacy software/hardware.

    Don't forget you will be wanting all your sigs/favourites and shortcuts that you use daily to be left exactly where you want it after the migration.

    Lets not forget the people who after weeks of notice leaves "vital business documents" on the local drive that gets wiped and then blames IT for not telling them.

    Unfortunately being able to install windows on your home pc does seem to qualify most people in dishing out IT policy at enterprise level.... SHUDDER....... now back to our magical fairy land....
     
  6. Soarer GT

    Soarer GT Member

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    How much is a ticket to magical fairy land? Can I subscribe to your newsletter?
     
  7. rainwulf

    rainwulf Member

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    To the OP.
    Im going to post the exact experience i had DOING what you are complaining that no one ever does.

    I moved an entire office from xp, and office 2000/xp/2003 with a 2003 SBS box, to a SBS2008 machine, and 2008R2 terminal services, with office 2010.

    I spent 30 odd hours getting this companies form filling software to work.

    There brochure making software flat out refused to work, so they had to spend 12000 on a new version that was 64bit compatible.

    Their archiving software required an upgrade, their paperwork filing software required an upgrade as well.

    You know what the most common complaints where?

    "Why is my signature different, and why cant i edit it to the way it was?"
    "Why is the start menu different?"
    "Why is outlook so much harder to use?"
    "Where are all my files in explorer?"

    And the number one complaint, which was from the business owner, was that the difference in the gui from windows XP/office XP/2k3 moving to windows 7/office2010 was so much, that its was very difficult to find things.
    The ribbon interface was a huge change, and the users had a lot of issues getting used to it.

    Probably 150 man hours were put in to get the system running with their required software, or alternatives, and get them trained in using the new "efficient you say" explorer and ribbon.
    And.. it was a 12 user business!!
    Their brochure software which they used every day, for hours each day, was last updated in 2001. 32 bit only.

    Even now, nearly 2 years after this conversion was done, they have issues with office 2010 not behaving properly, and i spent a good 6 months trying to find out why outlook 2010 kept crashing when working with calenders, when in fact, it was a known issue with MS, that they were waiting for office 2k10 SP1 to fix.

    SO not only was the conversion to newer modern software an absolute disaster, the NEW MODERN software was actually buggier then the old software!

    Try to explain to a business owner that its microsofts fault that office 2010 crashes in outlook when opening calenders, when they have been convinced that moving to new modern software is a good move.

    In the end, to get one of their software packages working, i had to put in a virtualised 32bit 2003 server, and THAT server has been the most reliable server in the business. Modern eh??

    /end rant

    I run about 6 SBS servers and 20 odd file servers, and the servers i have the least issues with are 2003 based boxes.

    I have endless troubles with windows 7 on SBS2008 domains, office and especially outlook 2010 just flat out ignoring what you tell it to do, requiring profile rebuilds, and on two servers now, a strange error where one out of every 5-6 boots, the exchange database just feels like not loading, and half of all these issues are because the business owners wanted software upgrades ONLY, with no hardware upgrades.
    I have had to put SBS2008 on bloody whitebox builds with 2 gig of ram, and dual core cpus with 80 gig drives, because "the owner just bought this _Server_ and doesnt want to buy another one"

    I could go on and on about this, but you just wont grasp the issues involved until you actually try being on the other side of that 70 dollar network switch that keeps crashing and wondering why no one will allow you to fix it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  8. fredhoon

    fredhoon Member

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    Note the following rant is based on my interpretation (as relevant to the context of the OP) of IT as an infrastructure service provider - desktops/laptops, network/comms, servers and applications. I refer to a black & white simplification of an IT department as a pure cost centre for a company. Reality is of course as many shades of grey as there are different businesses.

    I believe you are attempting to put words into my mouth there.

    IT certainly has a role to identify areas which can be improved, where savings can be made etc. and then proceeds to pursue its feasibility and a business case, just like any other part of the business. The point is, there is a reason why many large enterprises sit a few years / several releases behind the current trend and I would suggest that would come down to cost benefit and risk (ignoring lazy / incompetent IT, management, financial departments).

    Suggesting that "IT actively resist any change" is as poor a generalisation as my preface above. It would be more accurate to suggest that "the cost and lost productivity of frequent IT upgrades causes the business to actively resist change".


    My experience is the polar opposite of end users in this thread (working in an Engineering department, not IT). IT would prefer a shorter 3yr upgrade cycle for CAD and document management software, however the business won't accept it regardless of the long term savings. Our current WinXP to 7 SOE upgrade may be put on hold for the entire organisation of ~5000 people due to incompatibilities of the afore mentioned software that services a small 50 person engineering department. The business case(s) I put forward a few years back to pro-actively address these issues & improve CAD user's productivity were knocked back by the business, not IT, which may now infact be biting them on the arse.

    Due to the game bean counters like to play with buckets of money, $1M spent by an IT department on a project will incur an additional few $100k in senior FTE hours within other departments during feasibility, development and testing (outside UAT). These costs are (for whatever reason) not factored into to IT's project budget and thus department managers do not enjoy wearing such indirect holes in their budgets & productivity, hence their opposition to IT driven change. So again in my experience, the business would prefer to wear a larger chunk of FTE's being unproductive every 5-7yrs vs. 3-5yrs, even if that means the IT component is more difficult to support / costs more and users bang their heads against the wall towards the tail end of the upgrade cycle.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  9. dink

    dink Member

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    My users have enough trouble using a computer and the very simple instructions I give them. I can just imagine their heads exploding when I try to explain the concept of a VM.


    Beside, if you need to use an XP VM for various pieces of software, you aren't really upgrading the 7 are you?


    I bet that 95% of the IT Departments have some kind of WIN7 SOE available. I can roll out WIN7 just as quickly as I can roll out XP. However, when you put together a project plan to implement WIN7 across the organisation, the time and costs involved are normally to large to be approved by management. And for good reason too. What exactly is the benefit?

    It took a day of technician time to upgrade 6 computers at one of my sites to 7. It took the rest of the week to fix the "minor" issues of software and hardware compatibility issues and training users in the new ways of Windows 7 and Office 2010.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  10. Splade

    Splade Member

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    More on compatibility from my workplace. Three bases rely on software coded in MS excel. Again, this is something that has been built up from a single spreadsheet started in Sydney many many years ago. We still use Office2k3 but they want to upgrade to 2k10 which would render this software useless unless big bucks were spent updating it.

    We also use lotus notes as the main email client. This interfaces with a bunch of databases that the business uses. They started a migration over to MS outlook about 3 months ago after a 4 month at least delay. Only the pilot group has been transferred so far and it doesnt quite work 100% yet.

    As rainwulf said, users are mostly scared of change and it only takes one person in this workplace to start bitching about something and the next thing you know the 10 others around him are whining about it.
     
  11. ra66it

    ra66it Member

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    I've been upgrading staff from Office 2003 to 2007 and/or 2010 and have had quite a few ask for 2003 back.

    There may well be new fantastic features in 2007 and 2010, but the users just want to be able to sort their columns the same way they did yesterday.

    I've been slowly deploying windows 7 for a while now and the only productivity gain I've seen with end users is the built in snipping tool.
     
  12. PsychoSmiley

    PsychoSmiley Member

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    I work in IT at a university. Every department uses their own software, some which gel well with updates, others which do not. When we try to change anything, there will be somebody somewhere who's shit doesn't work as a result. You'd think that testing would alleviate this but simply the amount of software configurations present throughout the university are staggering and makes thorough testing completely unfeasible as we would waste so many man hours.

    Having said that we thinking about going from WinXp SP3/Office 2007 to Win7/Office 2010 and forsee major issues already with software compatibility.
     
  13. meremortal

    meremortal Member

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    Money and time.
     
  14. Mongolian

    Mongolian Member

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    Just because hardware refreshes come with what's likely OEM Win7 doesn't mean they're properly configured or appropriately licensed.
     
  15. millsy

    millsy Member

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    I like the whole, 'if it works don't touch it' thing.

    I'm all for improvement, but it's so rarely worth the time and effort .

    My workplace personally is rolling out mostly win7/vista to some older clients now and that's going fine, however these are very small businesses, <30pc's generally so that works out okay.

    And we still have our share of incompatibilities, which cost the client money
     
  16. Nikoy

    Nikoy Member

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    This is a problem. This is why in our IT department we use a continuly evoloving environment where if something is new and better we implement it. It comes down to being flexible and the cost are relitivly the same It evolves as the technology and business demands we dont use old software when a new version does the same job better.

    If you remain stagnent and leave your technology in a frozen snapshot of the past the longer you leave it at that level the more it costs to push it up to the latest version.

    So instead you continuly evolve always pushing for the latest version office 2k3 to 2k7 move forces you to address this incompatable application before it becomes a bigger issue when you move to 2k10 it keeps you ahead of the curve come the point when you cannot buy office 2k3 anymore or its support runs out you arnt left in the dark with a heap of projects to upgrade legacy incompatable apps.

    Instead of moving apps from 16bit to 64 bit you have moved them from 16bit to 32bit to 64bit. Which is more steps but the costs will be relativly the same.
     
  17. GreenBeret

    GreenBeret Member

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    Welcome to the world of pain that is proprietary software with vendor lockins!

    We have a similar upgrade pain with XP->W7 here, although within my area that's largely solved, just waiting for the rest of the organisation to follow.

    Meanwhile, our Linux fleet have been happily upgraded every time a new version comes out, since the days of Ubuntu Hoary (5.10).

    Smart SMB owners should look into this and cut proprietary software out of their business as much as possible.
     
  18. millsy

    millsy Member

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    Smart SMB owners should use whatever keeps them as productive as possible, if a FOSS piece of software does this then excellent :thumbup:

    I'm all for the adoption of FOSS software, but to imply that 'smart' SMB owner should do this is silly, they need to do whatever fits their situation best
     
  19. rainwulf

    rainwulf Member

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    Dreamland buddy.

    With small/medium businesses, upgrading now to prevent future issues is both an expensive and silly option, primarily when there IS no step in between.
    My customers 32bit software worked perfectly. There IS/WAS no reason to change, it was the drive to move up in the modernisation of their IT infrastructure that caused the issue.

    You seem to mis understand, with businesses, if something is currently working, why upgrade?
    I am in small business IT, and i would LOVE, i mean ORGASM if every business i worked for had 20-30 grand laying around for the complete refit of an office to nice new machines, new servers, new software, and for the man hours to get everything working, and everyone happy.

    My biggest customer has an IT budget of 1 grand a month, and part of that goes to my support plan.
    With SMB, uptime NOW is always the highest priority. There is no lets upgrade now, causing downtime, to prevent possible future downtime, when future downtime will always exist anyway, and current uptime is vital to maintain business.

    I may not like it, but thats the way the world works.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  20. hamishbindrinki

    hamishbindrinki Member

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    it all comes down to cost. In so many workplaces if it barely works the people at the top aren't going to pay for it.
    Upgrade windows > Cost
    software compatability > cost
    hardware incompatability > cost
    staff retraining > cost
    more helpdesk > cost

    at the place I work, most new laptops will come with windows 7 bundled but they immediately downgrade to xp because for whatever particular reasons its just easier to have xp on all 30,000+ pcs.

    IT people largely love toying around with new shinny stuff but unless they get the necessary support and funds what can they do. They can only make best use of what they've got in front of them.
     

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