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Study: IE 9 Upgrades Have Enormous Cost Benefits

Upgrading from Internet Explorer 8 to IE 9 can represent a cost benefit to organizations, according to a June Microsoft-commissioned study.

The study was produced for Microsoft by Forrester Research, which conducted company interviews in April 2011. To compile the data, Forrester talked with representatives from six unidentified organizations that upgraded from IE 8 to IE9 as part of Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program. The companies involved in the study were selected by Microsoft for review by Forrester.

The study's conclusion, based on a total economic impact analysis, was that moving to IE 9 represented a net present value (NPV) of $3.3 million over three years' time, with payback occurring after 15 months.

"The three-year risk-adjusted total NPV of $3,349,000 represents the net costs and benefits attributed to using Internet Explorer 9 versus Internet Explorer 8," the report explained.

The study's author postulated a 60,000-employee "composite organization," based on the six companies, to derive that cost estimate. This IE 9 upgrade effort occurred in conjunction with the PC refresh cycle as the composite organization transitioned from using Windows XP and Vista on PCs to using the Windows 7 operating system.

The time that it would take to deploy IE 9 was estimated by the organizations interviewed to be about 12 to 18 months. That estimate included time for "testing, application remediation, pilot, and distribution," according to the report. The composite organization took an estimated 2,020 hours for the labor associated with this IE 9 move.

Various tools were used to move to IE 9 by the six organizations interviewed. Those tools included the "Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool, Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK), Configuration Manager, System Center Essentials 2010 (Essentials), [System] Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, Application Compatibility Toolkit, and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)."

The prep work to catalog the apps and determine if remediation was needed turned out to be just a mental hurdle, according to the report.

"Interviewed customers reported that one of the biggest hurdles they had to overcome prior to making a decision to upgrade the browser was gaining an inventory of applications in their environment and determining the scope of application remediation," the report states. "Companies frequently saw this as a bigger problem than turned out to be the case."

The report cited a "historical" estimate that 80 percent of apps would not require remediation after a move to IE 9. However, based on the interviews, the experience was more positive that that rule of thumb, according to Forrester's report.

The top benefits of moving to IE 9, beyond the extended cost savings, were described by interviewees as "malware protection and improved security," as well as "some improvement in productivity for power browser users."

The study, "The Total Economic Impact Of Windows Internet Explorer 9," can be downloaded here (PDF) for free. Microsoft also offers a synopsis of the study at this blog.

One participant in Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program was Siemens. During its test phase, Siemens deployed IE 9 to "more than 2,100 global employees participating in a pilot deployment of Windows 7 Enterprise," Microsoft explained in another blog post. Siemens is now planning a broad rollout in the next year or two to all of its employees. The rollout will include a mixture of both Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 2007, plus Windows 7 Enterprise.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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