As with many large corporate entities, pharma companies rely on their IT infrastructure to keep them in business and it can be a mammoth task to plan an upgrade route for hardware (desktops, laptops, servers etc) as well as software. With this in mind, I expect that if you work in a pharma company, you will be working on a computer that runs Windows XP (or variant), using Microsoft Office 2003, and it is also likely that you are browsing the web with Internet Explorer (IE) 6, or at a stretch, IE7.
Naming no names, at least two of the clients I work with are stuck on IE6, a browser that was launched in 2001. That’s 10 years old! These companies contribute the 11.4% of people globally who are currently still using the browser. There are many reasons to upgrade from IE6, not least the added speed, addition of tabbed browsing and privacy features, but the single most important reason for upgrading is to fend against the security flaws that are present in that browser.
When working on web applications that are for internal use with our clients, we always have to ensure backwards compatibility with IE6, which is becoming increasingly challenging in terms of the amount of coding and testing we need to do. In fact, a number of high-profile websites no longer support IE6, including some Google services. The latest web service to drop support for IE6 is wordpress.com, where this blog is hosted. This is an issue for me at the moment, as it means I am losing readers, but I think anything that encourages companies to speed up their upgrade procedures is a good thing.
To those who no longer are forced to use IE6, welcome to teenhood from the noughties!