Like moving to a bigger house, migrating to a new version of Exchange, Microsoft’s enterprise collaboration and email package, is a complex and time-consuming activity, requiring significant forward planning, testing and manpower. Since the software is not backwards-compatible with previous versions, a piecemeal implementation is impossible. An Exchange installation tends to be an all-or-nothing venture and, for this reason, many IT leaders need some convincing to make the change.
For any users of Exchange 2003, for example, the push may take the form of Microsoft’s withdrawal of support in less than two years’ time. For others, migration may be scheduled to coincide with their hardware upgrade cycle, or prompted by a change in the structure of the organisation itself, or its business processes.
A change of outlook
The official release date for the next version of Exchange – Exchange 15 – will be announced at the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) in September, although it is widely expected that the milestone will be reached in early 2013.
While it remains to be seen what the new iteration will offer, history suggests that whatever the advances in functionality may be, there will be no rush to adopt by UK enterprise. This was evidenced by Computing research into the uptake of Exchange 2010.
Computing conducted two readership surveys roughly 18 months apart. The first poll, conducted in July 2010, found that a mere eight per cent of the Exchange installed base was Exchange 2010 (released in 2009), with the remainder represented by earlier versions. By February 2012 the share commanded by Exchange 2010 had grown to 42 per cent of those firms using the application (figure 1). This represented a healthy increase and a significant percentage, of course, but still a minority of users.