Magazine article Information Today

Windows 95: To Switch or Not to Switch?

Magazine article Information Today

Windows 95: To Switch or Not to Switch?

Article excerpt

Just prior to the August 24 "Launch 95" event, Information Today, Inc.'s Elisa K. Miller informally surveyed library and information professionals about the advent of Windows 95. In Part 2 of "To Switch or Not to Switch?," she reports on her findings.

The hype preceding the introduction of Windows 95, which has been appearing in the media for over two years, has covered everything from the features of the product to the legal ramifications of the built-in online system to when it will finally be available. Now that the operating system is hitting retailers' shelves, home and organizational PC users are having to tackle the question of whether to upgrade their systems. Corporate and institutional users tend to have broad concerns about the effects of a changeover to an entirely new operating system, while home users tend to have fewer overriding concerns preventing them from making such a change.

In an effort to assess the climate for upgrading to Windows 95 in the information community, Information Today posted a query to members of the information community from a number of listservs that cover the information industry, requesting responses on the subject of upgrading to Windows 95.

The Waiting Game

Not surprisingly, many of the respondents indicated that they or their organizations would not be changing any time soon. The primary reasons noted against an immediate upgrade included lack of system resources (the need to upgrade multiple PCs from 8 to 16 megabytes of RAM), the costs of training, the still-entrenched use of DOS-based software and other legacy systems, lack of technical support for such a change, network reliability, and the expense of upgrading to 32-bit versions of existing software packages.

Ernie Dornfeld of the Seattle City Clerk's Office spoke for many of the respondents: "We see no strong business need at this time to upgrade and have decided to take another look in six months.... We have neither the money nor the technical support staff time to move to Windows 95 unless there is some compelling reason."

A lack of any really compelling reason, along with the desire to wait until "all of the bugs have been worked out," seems to be reason enough for postponing the decision for a little while. In one case, where the organization is already committed to a Windows environment, a respondent noted that his organization would probably be acquiring equipment on which Windows 95 would come pre-loaded, offering an opportunity to test the software with the current computer network and legacy systems. If all goes well, they would consider the upgrade during the next budget cycle.

The Learning Game

Training issues are a concern to some. Elizabeth Hewins of Operational Technologies Corp., a fast-growing company in San Antonio, said, "I have been bugging our manager of computer support for well over six months about training issues with respect to installing Windows 95.... [She also mentioned the need to move from WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS to Microsoft Word, a demand generated by their client base.] We have just begun to address the issue of training, which will add to the cost of implementation. Likewise, we are discussing the potential loss of productivity during this learning phase. However, since so few people use Windows now, we can go directly to Windows 95! …

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