School IT Departments Evaluate Vista

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At colleges, universities, and K-12 institutions, IT decision makers are increasingly showing concern over performance, patching, and hardware requirements of Microsoft Windows Vista. At the same time, the number of organizations using or evaluating Vista has increased to 29 percent, up 8 percent since October 2006. This according to a new survey conducted by Walker Information and released this week by CDW Corp.

CDW's Second Windows Vista Tracking Poll, conducted in late February and released yesterday, surveyed 753 IT decision makers in schools, colleges, universities, government, and businesses. Broken down by segment, IT leaders in higher education showed a decreasing concern over potential bugs in Vista's initial release but seemed to be increasingly concerned over Vista's hardware requirements and lack of apparent benefits.

In the second study, 42 percent of IT decision makers in higher education said the benefits of Windows Vista were not clear enough. That's up from 33 percent of respondents in the first survey, conducted six months earlier. Likewise, more IT leaders on campuses cited Vista's hardware requirements as being "too extensive." That's up from 32 percent six months earlier.

On the plus side for Microsoft, fewer IT leaders in higher education expect bugs in the first version of Vista, down to 52 percent from 59 percent in the previous survey. The higher ed figures have a margin of error of ±8 percent.

On the K-12 side, respondents were asked what were their primary concerns as they consider implementing or proceed with implementing Windows Vista. The No. 1 concern was money, at 38 percent, compared with 44 percent in the previous survey. Overall, including all segments, money was the No. 6 concern, at 25 percent, down from 30 percent in the previous survey.

IT leaders in K-12 did note an overall increase in the satisfaction level of users of Vista. When asked, "What is you overall impression of Windows Vista based on your experience?" 6 percent said very favorable, and 67 percent said somewhat favorable; 3 percent said very unfavorable, and 14 percent said somewhat unfavorable; 11 percent said neither favorable nor unfavorable. The K-12 figures also have a margin of error of ±8 percent.

Across all segments, the survey found that 29 percent of respondents were using or evaluating Vista n their organizations. Twenty percent said they would be deploying Vista within the next 12 months. And 86 percent indicated they'd get around to it at some point.

In higher ed, 28 percent said they were in the process of evaluating Vista, compared with 18 percent n the previous survey. In K-12, 26 percent said they were in the process of evaluating Vista, compared with 19 percent in the previous survey.

The final category for which higher ed and K-12 were separated out from the general pool of respondents was in the area of hardware and software. In higher ed, 58 percent of respondents said that they would be "buying other hardware or software assets" owing to their organizations' migration to Vista. The figure was 55 percent on the K-12 side.

In terms of responses from all segments, the top concerns IT leaders expressed over implementing Vista remained fairly consistent over the period of the two surveys. There were as follows (increase or decrease from previous poll noted when statistically significant with a margin of error of ±3.5 percent):

  1. Expect bugs in first release (52 percent);
  2. Current OS meets today's needs (40 percent, up from 36 percent);
  3. Lack of IT staff to train and support (33 percent)
  4. Benefits of Vista not clear enough (38 percent, up from 32 percent);
  5. Not enough money to migrate (25 percent, down from 30 percent);
  6. Hardware requirements too excessive (37 percent, up from 28 percent);
  7. Compatibility with current security or AV software (25 percent);
  8. Need to make bigger investment in new licensing (7 percent).
Research for the survey was conducted between Feb. 20 and Feb. 27, 2007. CDW said that this is the second of three polls, with the third to follow "in the coming months." See the link below for more information about the poll. (At press time, the link to the poll was not available.)

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About the author: Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Have any additional questions? Want to share your story? Want to pass along a news tip? Contact Dave Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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