Microsoft may have released Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) into public beta but IT managers have more fundamental issues to consider than the latest internet browser.
Many businesses are still grappling with compatibility issues in IE7 and IE8 and are far more concerned with the stability of their IT environments.
7-Eleven is one such organisation. In May, the company bought 295 petrol stations from ExxonMobil, which it plans to rebrand under its Quix brand and sell off as franchises. The move is set to increase the number of 7-Eleven outlets to more than 650 across Australia.
7-Eleven infrastructure manager, Joseph Zooeff, and his team far more focused on integrating the two businesses and, with October 4 shaping up as the deadline, it’s not surprising that they have more on their mind than the latest browser.
“We’re aware that IE9 is out there but we have another project going on here at the moment that we are concentrating on,” Zooeff said. “We wouldn’t go that way.”
Like many businesses, 7-Eleven’s office and mobile office environments run on Windows XP, which does not support IE9. The company looked at deploying IE8, but was forced to reconsider because vendors such as SAP do not support the browser in certain IT environments. 7-Eleven uses SAP’s business intelligence platform.
“We run a standard operating environment here and to have pockets of the organisation using lots of different browsers could be a nightmare,” Zooeff said.
“We have done some basic forays into Window 7 but our point of sale is built for XP and it is very tightly integrated. We had to ensure compatibility with Service Pack 2 and Service Pack 3. Businesses are really looking for stability.”
Principal analyst at Ovum, Richard Edwards, said IE9 was “a complete non-event for the IT manager”.
“Most large enterprises are still running Windows XP, and will continue to do so for the next two years at least,” he said. “Microsoft’s decision to drop support for Windows XP with this release of Internet Explorer has therefore rendered it an irrelevancy.”
By the time IE9 is ready for business, many organisations will still be testing their websites and applications for compatibility with IE7 and IE8, he said.
He businesses were more likely to be looking at the mobile Web experience than a desktop browser.
“IE9 may well include a new JScript engine and offer support for HTML5 audio and video, but it’s the capabilities offered by smartphone browsers that will determine the Web’s next course of evolution.”