November 04, 2010, 2:40 PM — If you are happy with Windows 7 on your personal laptop, but grumble every time Windows XP boots up on your work computer, it may be time to tap your company's IT pro on the shoulder and ask for Windows 7. You might be surprised at the response you get.
As Windows 7 migrations begin at many enterprises, satisfied Windows 7 consumers are pushing the "consumerization of IT" envelope by asking enterprise IT to adapt. This trend has been prevalent with smartphone users and now Windows 7 users are doing the same. Research firm Forrester highlights this trend in a recent Windows 7 adoption report - and recommends that IT give users what they want, for several reasons.
Some enterprises are already getting the message. Part of the Forrester report, entitled "Updated 2010: Windows 7 Commercial Adoption Outlook", is a survey of 687 PC decision-makers at North American and European enterprises and SMBs. Forty-seven percent of survey respondents said they will allow users to be early adopters of Windows 7, even outside of specific upgrade campaigns.
There is more than just self-interest at stake for users. Yes, you will have a more modern OS and probably be more productive, but at notoriously slow-moving enterprises, user demand for Windows 7 could "go a long way toward speeding up your companywide deployments and will minimize the time needed to support dual operating systems," writes report authors and Forrester analysts Benjamin Gray and Christian Kane.
[ For complete coverage on Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system -- including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts -- see CIO.com's Windows 7 Bible. ]
On top of the 47 percent who said they would upgrade users to Windows 7 upon request, 10 percent said they "don't know" if they would. So you have roughly a coin-flip chance of getting a Windows 7 upgrade if you ask - probably a better chance if you nag.
Naturally, Microsoft encourages users to demand Windows 7 at work. When giving Windows 7 guidance to customers, Microsoft lists the "blurring lines between work and home computing" as a top industry trend, just as important to Windows 7 migrations as the cloud computing movement and desktop virtualization tools.
Windows 7 consumer satisfaction, according to Microsoft, is a top reason why the OS has had a strong push in the enterprise. IT departments, in return, are giving less lip service and acting on user needs, says Gavriella Schuster, general manager of Windows Product Management Group.
"Workers are pushing IT to adopt," Schuster says. "When IT says, 'Hey, we're going to start piloting Windows 7,' you have that line out the door of users who want in."