Manual XP upgrades 'cost firms thousands'

Companies are being urged to cut the cost of migrating to XP by using automated upgrade procedures

Many companies that migrate their suite of desktop PCs to Windows XP are wasting thousands of pounds because they are conducting the process inefficiently, research published this week has found.

The study conducted by research firm Vanson Bourne found that over 90 percent of companies that have upgraded to XP took longer than three months to complete the process, and that 60 percent of companies that have yet to migrate have calculated the process will take more than six months.

The process is such a lengthy one, the study found, because most organisations can't upgrade their desktop PCs remotely. Sending an IT technician to each computer pushes up costs significantly.

According to ON Technology, the software management firm that commissioned the research, upgrading 100 PCs manually costs £8,500 more than using remote automated technology.

"It is unacceptable in today's business world for migrations to be so time-consuming and expensive, especially when you consider that rollouts and upgrades happen on a regular basis," said Rob Drew, strategic partner and alliances manager at ON Technology.

Earlier research from Vanson Bourne found that just 11 percent of firms have migrated to XP two years after the operating system was launched. According to Microsoft, this is partly because complete deployment could take several years for a large company with a high number of desktop PCs.