Earlier this year the Internet Explorer team posted a blog telling everyone you need to upgrade or die, especially the enterprise. Within the Blog post was a link to a Microsoft commissioned study by the Forrester Group detailing the return on investment an enterprise could realize by upgrading to IE 11. The study surveyed 150 enterprise IT admins and performed detailed interviews with 4 companies about their experiences upgrading to Internet Explorer 11. The report includes some estimated costs and returns, but I found several points emphasized over and over as very compelling.
- Improved IT Security
- Reduced IT Support Costs Due to Fewer Browsers
- Improved Productivity Due to Application Performance
- Improved External Web Performance
- Improved Web Site Reliability/Reduced Failure Rates
- Reduced Web Application Development Costs
The study focused on the typical Enterprise scenario, the company is standardized on Internet Explorer 8 because legacy line of business applications were written to IE 8 standards. This creates multiple challenges for enterprises to upgrade not only the browser but their client operating systems. Remember legacy Internet Explorer versions will not run on newer Windows versions. The primary obstacles holding companies back from upgrading are compatibility and interoperability. This means their existing applications do not work properly in modern browsers, like Internet Explorer 11. This limits companies to older, less secure operating systems and older, less secure browsers to run their critical line of business applications.
Since legacy Internet Explorer versions do not work in Windows 8 companies have been handcuffed to older operating systems. This is only going to be compounded later this year when Windows 10 is released. However the surveyed companies reported the transition to Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 11 to be much easier than expected. The key to transitioning was leveraging Internet Explorer Enterprise Mode.
“Moving to IE11 is a much easier and smoother experience. With Enterprise Mode, it is like working with a safety net. It is such a relief. You know you can enable URLs even if it wouldn’t work natively in the browser.”~ IT operations manager
I have written several articles on Enterprise Mode at this time. This is a way to run old, line of business application within a safe sandbox, while leveraging Internet Explorer 11.
"Being on a modern browser and providing good user experience is very important in today’s competitive landscape. “IE11 makes us look professional,” said one interviewee. “It helps us to win and retain business. A well-run desktop reflects a well-run company."
By utilizing Internet Explorer 11 the companies were able to achieve positive results:
- Reduced implementation effort
- Reduced application development effort
- Reduced ongoing support and application development testing.
- Increased business user productivity
As a developer companies adopting Internet Explorer 11 adds even more value. Instead of investing expensive development resources making a new applications compatible with 2008 or 2007 web standards we can develop applications to new, modern web standards. This means corporations lower their initial development costs and long term maintenance. In other words the application can live longer and take less effort to create. This provides the business with a higher return on their investment.
Windows 10, Internet Explorer and Enterprise Mode
With Windows 10 releasing later this summer enterprises need to consider upgrading. One thing they should not fear is legacy application support because Internet Explorer 11 will be included, along with Edge. The reason both browsers will be included it to offer support for legacy web applications. This provides the client platform enterprises need to confidently run their legacy line of business applications, and enjoy the many new features Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge offer.
I don't want corporations to rest on their laurels and not plan to upgrade those legacy applications. Instead they should take advantage of modern web standards to build new and update legacy applications. Leveraging the enterprise mode data can provide insight into what applications would be upgraded. While Internet Explorer will live for a few more years, it will retire sometime in the future. Make plans today to upgrade legacy applications to modern standards and architecture.
I encourage everyone, especially corporate executives and business unit owners, read the Forrester Group study. Your takeaways should be that you can confidently upgrade your corporate environment to Windows 8.1 and 10 without risking critical business applications. Internet Explorer Enterprise Mode is the safety net businesses can rely on to give their critical business extended life. However you should not rely on Internet Explorer living forever and should leverage the data provided by enterprise mode to plan upgrading your applications today.