Dell predicts quick Vista growth in enterprise

Consumers will fall in love with Vista, then get their employers to upgrade, according to Dell's CTO

Businesses will upgrade to Microsoft's Vista in droves as consumers bring their love of the next-generation operating system from home to work, according to Dell.

Dell chief technology officer Kevin Kettler yesterday told ZDNet UK sister site silicon.com he's "bullish" about Vista uptake in the enterprise. "This will be an important transition for Microsoft as well as for Dell," he said.

Vista will offer major improvements to the current Windows which businesses and consumers will want to take advantage of, according to another Dell executive — and so the company is preparing for a "more aggressive than usual" uptick in hardware sales as people upgrade.

One Vista feature that will win over enterprises is the ability to run different versions of the OS depending on the hardware, said Kettler. For instance, a company could roll out a basic, less resource-intensive version to older hardware and a high-performance version with all features to newer hardware.

This positions Vista for widespread adoption. Kettler said: "It's an easy sell up [because] it's available to everybody in a mixed environment [of legacy and newer hardware]."

Consumers eager to try out the next-gen OS' "sexy" entertainment features will also drive uptake in businesses, according to Dell executives, as those consumers who learn to love Vista at home will then campaign for their IT department to get it at work too.

It's all part of the recent trend of the "consumerisation" of enterprise IT, where products such as Google or Skype become popular first for home use and then move into the enterprise when people use those same tools at work.

Dell's Kettler said he sees technology spreading from consumers into the enterprise but adds innovation moves the other way too — technology originally devised for corporate products moves into the home arena.

He's made this sort of "cross collaboration" a priority at Dell, where he ensures technologists working on different products — servers, desktops, laptops or TVs — meet up regularly to discuss how the technologies they're developing could help each other.

He said: "We're driving technology from the consumer to the enterprise and from the enterprise to the consumer."

This becomes more important as the digital home starts to run into issues once only the territory of businesses, he explained. For instance, the popularity of digital photos means families need a back-up strategy; the need for multiple devices to talk to each other requires sophisticated networking; and each member of the family having their own laptop requires print servers.

Power management is one area where this collaboration between business and consumer arenas will come to fruition at Dell, he said: "We have some cool things coming which will span across all our products."

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