New technology products always create buzz and excitement, but when a product is so basic to our systems that it significantly affects the way we compute, not everyone is immediately enthusiastic about embracing it.   Change is scary, and few industries know that better than the eternally risk-averse insurance sector. So, while there is a lot of buzz about Microsoft’s new operating system (OS), Windows 7, the change—and the price tag—may delay its implementation not only in our little corner of the world, but in other industries as well.   According to Microsoft, Windows 7 offers improvements over the current Windows Vista (which has received a lukewarm reception) while providing some of the functionality of Windows XP, which remains popular despite its relatively ancient pedigree. Windows 7 lets you pin any program to the taskbar for easy access, and you can rearrange the icons on the taskbar just by clicking and dragging. The Windows icons are now larger, and just hovering over them yields a thumbnail of every file or window that open in that program.   Handy “jump lists” of files you’ve worked with recently, an enhanced search feature, device management from a single screen, and easier network connection are all part of the new OS version. Microsoft “knows how much you love XP,” and assures us that the improvements are based on its own surveys of users.   While that sounds interesting and useful, however, a recent Windows 7 survey by ScriptLogic reveals that nearly 60% of the 1,100 business respondents have no current plans to implement Windows 7, apparently due to the slow economy and the cost of switching OSs and retraining users. Indeed, nearly 43% of respondents said their most significant barrier to implementing Windows 7 is “time and resources.”     Should that be cause for concern for insurers looking to upgrade? Probably not. The same survey reveals that nearly 40% of those answering will deploy Windows 7 by the end of 2010. The pace of deployment may not be as rapid as Microsoft would like, but it seems there is sufficient interest in the new platform to drive it out to a considerable number of companies, even in a challenged economy.   And let’s not forget, Windows XP really is still very popular. In fact, even today, if you order a computer from Dell, you still have the option of “downgrading” from Windows Vista to XP—an option that still appeals to many buyers. With budgets tight and satisfaction with XP relatively high, it’s no wonder that more enterprises aren’t jumping on board with Windows 7.   It seems clear, however, that Windows 7 will eventually be widely deployed, and a hopefully improving economy should help pave the way for that.  Meanwhile, there is really no hurry for those who still love their XP. This article can also be found at InsuranceNetworking.com.

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