In business technology, change is constant, and forward-thinking organizations understand that they must keep up to stay relevant. It’s almost never a question of whether to embrace a significant advancement; it’s when and – crucially – how.
Nothing exemplifies this more than the emergence of Windows® 10 editions for business, an important leap forward in computing technology that offers organizations substantial performance and security improvements, as well as increased manageability and support for cloud-based computing. Migrating to Windows 10 makes good business sense, especially for security-minded market segments such as finance and healthcare. And, because Windows 10 is optimized for the latest generation of Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors, a device refresh is usually required to fully realize the security benefits and features it offers.
However, a Windows 10 migration also presents certain challenges: for example, there’s almost never a "simple" and "standard" one-size-fits-all migration solution. Some users might need new devices, which can be easily introduced to the new Windows 10 environment; other users may not require a hardware refresh, so an in-place migration is the simplest, fastest and most efficient way to upgrade their systems. Some devices might require a hands-on, wipe-and-replace approach, and a few may require offline media such as installation disks. Bottom line, most companies will require a mix of all of these migration options to adequately address every user’s individual business need.
Like every major endeavor, the first step in overcoming these challenges and proceeding on a smooth migration path is to choose a trusted advisor who can help you create a sensible, multi-phased plan. What follows are some general points to consider in pursuing a smooth Windows 10 migration process that delivers optimum value.
Start with a pre-plan. Understand your objectives: are you migrating for security reasons? If so, you’ll want to seriously consider a hardware upgrade at the same time for users who need to derive the full benefits of the new operating system (OS).
Assess your current data center infrastructure to determine whether it will support Windows 10. For example, an upgrade to Microsoft System Center 2016 might be an appropriate first step prior to introducing Windows 10.
Categorize your systems to identify the best migration approach for each end user. Employ tools such as Persona-based Modeling to ensure they have access to the resources to do their jobs while enabling you to control your IT assets.
Identify the needs of each user and determine if devices can be migrated in groups or will need individual, hands-on attention: who gets a hardware refresh, what devices are candidates for in-place migration, which ones are wipe-and-replace or offline upgrades, and so forth.
Audit your business apps to make sure they are Windows 10-compatible. This one is a must-do. Run lab tests to verify that the productivity applications you rely on will work on the new OS. Identify which apps are already Windows 10-compatible, which ones have an upgrade package available, and which will require new software altogether. Virtualize as many remaining apps as you can to save on licensing fees. And if you’ve got no-longer-used apps that are simply taking up space, get rid of them.
Establish a streamlined process with future upgrades in mind. This process encompasses pre-planning, envisioning, proof-of-concept to get up and running, and pilot implementations – followed by a full deployment.
Provide Windows 10 training for staff. For users of Windows XP and Windows 7, Windows 10 will be a familiar face. But, it’s important for people to understand how they can improve their productivity by using important and intuitive new OS features.
Qualities to look for in a trusted advisor. Let’s get back to the step before Step One: choosing a qualified, capable professional who will help you derive optimum value from the technologies that drive the Windows 10 OS.
Look for someone with a proven record of successful deployments. Whoever you select should be able to offer an end-to-end migration strategy that simplifies and accelerates the process. The right advisor will also have resources in place to offer services that encompass:
- Needs analysis, envisioning and planning
- Migration steps, through proof-of-concept, pilot and full deployment
- Ongoing support and endpoint management
OS migration in a complex IT environment can be a long, challenging process that requires careful planning, testing and monitoring. For that reason, it’s highly advisable to have experienced guidance. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on what makes a migration successful.