From the June 2010 Issue
If you haven’t been sleeping, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Microsoft’s latest desktop/laptop operating system, Windows 7. And most accounting professionals are asking, “What’s the big deal?” Like no other profession, tax and accounting practitioners are known for their frugality and, consequently, the analysis will be long and deep regarding a move to Windows 7 for the sake of having the latest and greatest.
If you want to know what may support a BUSINESS DECISION to make the move to Windows 7, then read on.
ROI (return on investment)
Let’s talk numbers, something all accountants seem to understand. Recently, the City of Miami piloted Windows 7 with the following results:
“The city expects an estimated ROI of 151% and IRR of 78% with payback in less than 15 months based on direct IT labor savings alone. Benefits include direct IT cost savings estimated at $89 per PC per year, made possible by automated deployment in addition to security and desktop management tools. When power savings are included, the business case is even more compelling, with an estimated net present value (NPV) of $271 per PC during a 3-year cash-flow period and a payback period of less than 9 months.”
Yes, Windows 7 is ‘less taxing’ on the hardware and ultimately consumes fewer kilowatts. In addition to the direct cost savings, Windows 7 is estimated to save city PC users approximately 18 hours per user per year by helping them access data more quickly and securely from any location, and provide tools that help them solve their own basic issues.
So to summarize, justi-fying the cost of Windows 7 comes from three main areas: IT labor savings, power savings and direct cost (user labor) savings. Simply stated, Windows 7 delivers a smoother setup and end-user experience in addition to drawing fewer physical resources to get the same work done.
Now let’s go through some of the technologies that make this all happen:
IT Labor Savings — System Restore
Let’s face it, we’re not perfect. Sometimes we install things on our machine that look good, but once installed have the exact opposite result. In the computer support business, we refer to this phenomenon as the issue residing between the keyboard and the chair. Windows 7 has improved and enhanced the System Restore functionality such that the entire system can be ‘rolled back’ to a period that was acceptable to the end user, essentially undoing that regretful installation.
IT Labor Savings — Problem Steps Recorder
Typically, the most complicated aspect of troubleshooting is reproducing the conditions that demonstrate a problem, especially if the affected user is working remotely or communicating by telephone. If the support professional can’t reproduce a user’s problem, they can’t easily diagnose and resolve it. Windows 7’s solution to this impasse is the Problem Steps Recorder.
End users simply run the recorder to log the steps taken when a reproducible problem occurs. Click Start Record, reproduce the problem, enter comments where appropriate, click Stop Record, and then send the recording via e-mail to the support professional. Another great use of this tool has nothing to do with troubleshooting; it’s great for capturing screenshots when building graphical steps to accomplishing a task for instructional purposes. As with Vista, you can quickly find just about any utility or file by typing the name in the Start Search field. If you have access to a copy of Windows 7, see if you can find this tool using Start Search. Hint: You’ll have to click the Start button and type the words Problem Steps.