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Windows 2000 Release Aggravates Skills Gap

Tom Bittman, VP and research director for GartnerGroup: At least 70 percent of the NT Server installed base will skip Windows 2000 release 1.

San Francisco -- At least 70 percent of the NT Server installed base will skip Windows 2000 release 1. That's the prophecy offered by Tom Bittman, VP and research director for GartnerGroup, during a keynote at the company's fourth annual Windows NT and Windows 2000 conference in San Francisco. Microsoft will ship a service pack by mid-year as well as the first version of Datacenter Server, Bittman said, and a follow-on release will ship by the second half of 2001. Bittman called this latter version a "fix and finish" release--"mainly a testing effort on fixes since release 1, and additional tools/functionality for major features like Active Directory."

The skills gap--encompassing high demand and a shortage of experienced staff--is a key challenge companies must face to succeed with their Windows installations. Bittman advised clients in attendance to "put a tremendous amount of focus on internal training and retaining" of IT staff. The introduction of Win2K will soon begin to exacerbate the skills shortage. In some cases, he said, companies have begun their move to Win2K simply because their IT people wanted it. Anecdotal feedback, he said, suggests that compensation increases in the range of 15 to 25 percent will persist; Windows server labor costs will be five to 15 percent higher than that for other NOS platforms through 2003. Those companies without a comprehensive retention program should expect turnover among Windows-skilled employees to be "at least 10 percent higher than their IS department's average, and at least 20 percent higher for those employees who obtain Windows certification."
--Dian Schaffhauser, Executive Editor

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