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What Mid-Market Firms Need to Know About Microsoft’s Windows 10

If mid-market firms plan to upgrade their operating system to the new Windows 10, there are few things leaders should know before giving their CIO the go-ahead.

Microsoft’s release of its new operating system, Windows 10, as a free upgrade for existing Windows users—and in a subscription form rather than as a discrete purchase—definitely could provide a lift for mid-market and small companies that have stuck with the Windows platform, despite Apple’s continual expansion in the business market.

“If companies are on Windows 8, they should definitely upgrade to Windows 10,” Joe Silverman, CEO of New York Computer Help, a leading IT-services company in New York said.

“The biggest advantage of Windows 10 cited by users and experts is that it is now a service, and updates can be done automatically without any staff involvement on the company’s part.”

The biggest advantage of Windows 10 cited by users and experts is that it is now a service, and updates can be done automatically without any staff involvement on the company’s part.

“Windows 10 will receive … three to four upgrade packs a year that include new features,” JP Gownder, a vice president with Forrester Research, told TechRepublic.com.

Another advantage is that companies will be able to “standardize on one OS across most devices,” Mark Bishof, CEO of Flexera Software said. Until now, many companies have had to support Windows 7 for their desktops and Windows 8.1 for tablets and mobile devices, which drives up personnel time and cost. “The ability to support one OS across all devices helps simplify management and allows them to spend less time on activities that just keep the lights on,” Bishof said.

Windows 8 caused Microsoft to lose popularity due to its clunky “tile” startup scheme. So, “half the reason” to appreciate Windows 10, Silverman asserted, is “not having to navigate the obnoxiously big” boxes with the tile arrangement—although the latter is still available in Windows 10 for users who actually enjoy it.

But IT experts who cater to mid-market firms also express some cautions in plunging ahead with a Windows 10 upgrade. For instance, those who commit need to be ready to keep up with Microsoft’s “continuous innovation,” Bishof said.

Getting a free upgrade requires moving on it in the next 12 months. Companies may have to rethink and reshuffle IT timetables and resources to be ready to integrate upgrades as they come—and when they come.

“OS upgrades, no matter how good, are disruptive,” said Steve Kleynhans, vice president of Gartner, according to TechCrunch. “Don’t roll out Windows 10 right before your busiest selling season,” for example, “or in the middle of implementing a new accounting system.”

The arrival of a new operating system isn’t the major event it once was for mid-market companies, nor does it cause the same amount of disruption. But with Windows 10, vigilance is still required.

About Dale Buss

Dale Buss
Dale Buss is a long-time contributor to Chief Executive, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and other top-flight business publications. He lives in Michigan.