It’s happening. According to a recent survey conducted by Gartner, adoption of Microsoft’s latest operating system by enterprise is accelerating, with a predicted 85 percent of enterprises beginning their migration by the end of 2017.
With prior experience coming from high profile difficulties in transitions from Windows® XP to 7 only three years ago in 2014, organizations are seeing the advantages of heading off the inevitability of change and are giving themselves ample time to properly plan and implement Windows 10 migration projects.
The best news is that an upgrade to Windows® 10 is well worth it and can significantly enhance the digital workplace. The changes benefit all ends of the business, including stakeholders in management, IT, users, and even consumers.
Enabling the Digital Workplace
For end users, nothing is more important than getting work done without unnecessary obstacles. If a task can’t be completed without jumping through technology hurdles, a user will resort to any means necessary to get the job done. In the fight against this “Shadow IT”, having the right technology in the workplace is critical, and Windows 10 provides a solid foundation.
Today’s digital workplace demands that multiple devices work effortlessly together. With projections of 6.6 devices per person on the horizon, it is exceedingly important that enterprises have a strategy and the requisite systems in place to meet demands.
To this end, Microsoft has been hard at work on their strategic play of deep integration with cloud services in the operating system, resulting in the ability to seamlessly transition between devices and workspaces. Utilizing services like OneDrive for Business and Office 365, workplace files will be accessed, and work conducted anywhere, on personal and business devices. Tying user accounts to OneDrive for Business also allows personal settings to be synchronized, maintaining a consistent experience wherever enterprise users sign in.
New improvements in Office also allow real time collaboration in Microsoft® Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, potentially ending the age of sending a document back and forth over email and having to manually merge changes. To be kept abreast, users can elect to receive notifications of changes made to documents of interest via their mobile devices. Multi-user collaboration will likely be one of the most exciting and useful features for those still on older Office releases.
In addition, users will be able to send links to documents in OneDrive folders rather than actually attaching a file, ensuring that the recipient will be able to review the latest changes in the document rather than having a point in time version. Users will be delighted instead of frustrated as they are by current workflows, and will be much better positioned to deliver on business goals as a result, even when working remotely.
Greatly Improved ITSM
For staff in charge of making IT work to enable the business, the journey to IT Nirvana is made easier through Microsoft-led programs like FastTrack and AutoPilot, simplifying and automating deployment. For example, where previously organizations would conduct elaborate wipe and load procedures to upgrade or fix a broken OS including the backup and restoration of user data and applications, many can now do in-place upgrades that preserve user data and applications.
So, just how fast can a deployment be? With previous migrations to new major Windows versions taking 4 years on average, from planning to completion, the Australian Department of Human Services achieved a full deployment of Windows 10 in just 4 months in 2016. Even more impressive is that this consisted of an upgrade of 44,000 devices, a great deal carried by remote workers, with the added baggage of 1500 internal line of business applications.
With security cited as the leading reason to upgrade, Windows 10 introduces features like Windows Information Protection (WIP), which automatically segregates and protects business data, and Windows Hello, which simplifies and protects end user authentication. Other, recent changes include the inclusion of next-generation threat protection and mitigation built into the OS, provided by Windows Defender services like Device Guard or Exploit Guard, which greatly reduce business risk due to incident handling and unplanned downtime. New security capabilities have recently even been shown to protect against some types of zero-day exploits, without patching.
Of course, change must always be driven by a business case. Beyond functional needs, a study conducted by Forrester presents a strong financial case for migration, highlighted by a 233% ROI, a 14-month payback period, and a three-year NPV of $515 per user. These numbers are driven by significant ITSM cost savings through easy deployment and a reported 15% administrative time savings. Enhanced security features yield a 33% reduction in security issues and time to resolve, with a possible $710K savings per year in security remediation. Beyond pure savings, improvements in speed and convenience presented an estimated 25% increase in productive time.
Building Unforgettable Experiences
What about the most important workplace, at the frontline, with the customer? Windows 10 also brings innovative technology like Mixed Reality to the table. Imagine your representative and a customer working together to build a new kitchen in real time, allowing the customer to see exactly how their new cabinetry will look. Having had a “wow” experience and useful, engaged customer service, they will return to spend again.
For the end user to the executive: what if you were at the airport or out of office, but needed your own private workspace? Don a mixed reality headset and have an office appear out of thin air, with whatever tools you need to operate as the line of business requires. Multiple displays could be available with no need for purchase or be in a particular place.
How’s that for improving the digital workplace?