Is Gartner Set To Take A Vista View?

David Cappuccio, a managing vice president for Gartner, told some 320 CIOs at the Midsize Enterprise Summit Monday night that Gartner's IT department wants to "standardize on Vista," but he already has leaped ahead to Windows 7.

Cappuccio's response to Gartner's IT department's Vista change of heart: "What are you, nuts? Stay with XP or go to 7, but don't go to Vista It just doesn't make any sense."

"I am a major league fan of Windows 7," Cappuccio said. "I just installed the latest release yesterday before I came down here [to Miami] on my production machine."

Calling Windows 7 simply "the right way to go," Cappuccio said the new operating system, which is slated to be released in October, installed in a "heartbeat and it works like a charm."

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"They have figured out what they did wrong with Vista," said Cappuccio of Microsoft. "It is really slick and it works well."

The Gartner comments come with speculation rampant that Microsoft could ditch Vista in the wake of what appears to already be a groundswell of positive reviews from early users of Windows 7.

The Gartner IT department, for its part, has a standardized desktop image that includes Windows XP, but that doesn't always work with opinionated analysts such as Cappuccio.

Admitting that putting it on a production machine is risky for users, Cappuccio drew guffaws and laughter from the crowd when he said downloading the code makes him somewhat of "an idiot."

Cappuccio said he drives Gartner's IT folks "nuts" because he likes to test the latest and greatest software. "I keep telling them my hard drive crashed so I had to reload my own [system]," he said. "You'd think they'd figure it out."

Gartner's IT department is responsible for overseeing IT standards and practices for some 4,000 employees, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries.

No matter what happens with regard to Gartner's own course, several midmarket CIOs said they are reluctant to move to Windows 7 in the midst of the current economic downturn.

Ed Eskew, the CIO of Bernard Chaus, a women's apparel manufacturer headquartered in New York, said he is shying away from Windows 7. "We are staying the course," he said. "There is nothing in Windows 7 that has been compelling enough to motivate us as an organization, especially in this economic climate and retail landscape, to create any unnecessary -- at least perceived unnecessary -- IT spend. I just can't make it fly."

Eskew said he is focused on driving supply chain improvements that reduce costs. "We are trying to get more of the tasks that once lived in Manhattan and the United States now to live overseas," he said.

"The reality is if it is not broken, don't fix it," said Dawn Dillon, the CIO of Salem Five, a New England banking power, when questioned about the appeal of Windows 7. "It is going to drive my hardware costs up. It is going to drive my support costs up. I will have to train all my people."

Dillon said her focus right now is on customer-facing applications, operational efficiencies and risk management.

Michael Hydanus, a senior vice president and CIO for National Western Life Insurance Company, of Austin, Texas, said Windows 7 is not something that he is looking at to improve his business. "Tell me what I get from it," he said. "Just because it works better doesn't mean we'll move to it."

Hydanus said his focus is on retail sales automation and portalizing the insurance experience for consumers.

At least one midmarket CIO feels differently about Windows 7. Mike Hader, director of IT for Odoms Tennessee Pride Sausage, said he is already planning to move his company to Windows 7. "We didn't do much with Vista," he said. "They've fixed the problems and we're pretty excited about Office 14."