Research reveals risk of unsupported systems for UK companies

CIOs need to have well-developed OS migration plans 

UK companies cannot fully support their IT estate and are reliant on soon-to-be unsupported operating systems (OS) such as Windows XP, according to the latest research from BT Business. 

The independent research, part of the third Technology Index* from BT Engage IT, one of the IT service delivery arms of BT Business, looked at the types of OS and applications that companies are using, and whether chief information officers (CIOs) felt that their teams could support them. 

84 per cent of CIOs believed that their company could not fully support all of their applications, and one in ten admitted they could not fully support more than half of their apps in-house. 

On average, almost a fifth (18 per cent) of apps within UK companies are unsupported by IT departments – with 24 per cent of companies still running legacy in-house applications. 

In terms of OS, almost two thirds (65 per cent) of companies are currently running Windows XP, for which Microsoft will cease support from April 2014, and worryingly, more than a third of companies have it as their most frequently used OS. 

Larger companies (with more than 3,000 employees) are the most likely to be running XP (74 per cent, compared to 56 per cent for those businesses with between 1,001 and 3,000 employees), and are least likely to have migrated to Windows 8 (12 per cent, compared to 20 per cent in smaller companies). 

There is also a split between sectors when it comes to OS. The financial services sector appears to be the most advanced in adopting the latest OS, with more than a quarter (28 per cent) running Windows 8. 

The manufacturing sector has the highest percentage of XP installs (76 per cent), followed by the retail, distribution and transport sector (72 per cent). This maps to those companies where XP is still the most frequently used OS, with 40 per cent of the CIOs questioned in those sectors believing that the OS was the most frequently used in their organization. 

Chris Lindsay, marketing director, BT Engage IT, said: “Talking to customers, we know that a single company may be running a range of operating systems and apps – some of which may have been developed in-house; we also understand that upgrading an entire IT estate can be the costly and complex, which is why many may delay the move. However, certain systems are scheduled to become unsupported in the next 12 months and so it’s essential that they look at these systems with some urgency, and follow an upgrade path as quickly as possible with the minimum of disruption and risk.” 

For more information about how BT Engage IT is working to help customers understand and get the most from the latest technologies, visit www.btengageit.com. 


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Notes to editors 
* The BT Engage IT Technology Index (May 2013) is based on independent research conducted by Vanson Bourne in February 2013, commissioned by BT Engage IT, which interviewed 100 CIOs and senior IT decision makers within UK enterprises (1,000+ employees) split across financial services, manufacturing, retail, distribution and transport, and other commercial sectors.