The loss of chief architects by companies migrating to Microsoft Windows 2000 will severely delay the successful completion of projects.
Michael Silver, a Gartner research director, said organisations that put off upgrading to Microsoft's latest operating system will also lose key technical people who are attracted to companies that can give them the challenge of working with a new platform.
Speaking at Gartner's US Spring Symposium this week, Silver said all migration projects require not only project managers, but also chief and deputy chief architects. "A third of chief architects will be poached and you'll need people in deputy positions that can quickly step in their shoes," he said.
He stressed that staffing is crucial, and calculated that projects involving 500 end users will take three months to finish and require six IT staff, but those involving 5000 users will take six months and 30 IT professionals to complete.
"By 2001, companies that understaff the management of Windows 2000 by between 20 and 50 per cent will see their total cost of ownership increase by between 50 and 100 per cent," Silver warned.
He advised companies to negotiate good deals from Microsoft if they want to be early adopters, and said independent service providers should be willing to share the financial risks in return for using the organisations as test beds.
Silver suggested that mainstream customers should first begin to deploy Windows 2000 on the desktop once they have tested the environment. The platform, particularly the Active Directory component, should not be used for mission-critical applications until the first service pack is released in August, he said.
Although those companies that believe that Windows 2000 will give them true value may opt for a forklift upgrade, Silver said most users will introduce the operating system as new hardware is installed, but this could take as long as three years. "There is no rush unless you see there are real benefits, but do pick an end date," he said, adding that companies should set a deadline of 2004.
Silver also advised companies to carry out migration work during a four-day week, using the fifth day to resolve any problems, and to schedule in a week-long break every three months to take stock.
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