Windows 10 migration may be the fork in the road where you reevaluate your entire IT strategy
You've put it off long enough. If you've been dragging your feet on Windows 10 migration, time is simply running out. While most home users have been on Windows 10 for years, a recent report from Gartner predicts that only 75 percent of professional PCs will be running Windows 10 by 2021 – despite Microsoft ending support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. "By moving the Windows 10 migration to 2020, organizations increase the risk of remaining on an unsupported operating system," said Gartner's Ranjit Atwal.
What if I stay on Windows 7?
Procrastination, it seems, is common. IDC predicts a "sizable" number of Windows 10 migration projects this year – especially among smaller companies still hanging on to aging PCs. Why? Windows 7 has been a stable and reliable platform, and many IT managers have the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality – especially with reports of bugs in Windows 10 updates. Still, Microsoft is staying firm on its January 2020 deadline and reminding users still running Windows 7 with popup alerts warning them support is about to end. You do have the choice of ignoring them and staying on the old operating system, but that could prove costly. You won't get any security updates, and out-of-date operating systems and apps are a frequent path for hackers to gain access to networks and critical data. Continuing with an unsupported operating system also puts you at risk of being out of compliance, meaning fines and potentially lost business if it becomes public knowledge. Microsoft offers extended support for Windows 7, but the monthly cost is out of range for all but organizations with very deep pockets.
What are my options if I'm still running Windows 7?
Assuming you're not going to bury your head in the sand and ignore the deadline, your options are to switch to Mac or Linux, update your existing devices, or replace them. There is a compelling argument for the last alternative. Intel says new machines running Windows 10 perform 80 percent better than a 4-year-old device running the same operating system. They also achieve 40 percent faster data analysis and are two times better at multitasking. So, upgrading your operating system is an opportunity for a healthy productivity bump at the same time.
Have a solid Windows 10 migration strategy
After deciding if you're going to update your current devices or replace them, the next step is to plan carefully. Your strategy should answer these questions:
- What version of Windows 10?
- Are my current applications compatible with Windows 10?
- What user training is required?
As Windows 10 has been out for years, Microsoft has already put out multiple updates to the system. Version 1809 began going out to regular users in October 2018, and a new one is expected in May. The company has enterprise-ready pro versions as well, and given Microsoft's history of bugs, it makes more sense for you to pick an older one for your migration project. ComputerWorld has a handy guide of the pros and cons of each. Proactive IT managers will want to keep abreast of the news around each update before deciding when to update and install patches.
Next, you need to ensure that your existing software applications are compatible with Windows 10. Microsoft has a special website where you can check, but if you have proprietary software, you’ll want to conduct your own testing before rolling out the upgrade across your organization.
Lastly, while Windows 7 and Windows 10 are very similar, there are differences, so you're going to need to evaluate what changes may require user training – especially for end users who are less tech savvy. You don't want critical business operations derailed by your migration.
Windows 10 migration is an opportunity to evaluate your overall device approach
With digital transformation being a priority for just about every organization, Windows 10 migration may be a fork in the road where you reevaluate your entire IT strategy and decide if you want your in-house team to continue with device management at all when they could be focusing on more strategic needs.
A managed workplace services provider like CompuCom can help you evaluate your current devices, help you decide if updating them or replacing them makes the most sense, and do it all for you for a predictable monthly cost that includes full device lifecycle support from deployment to retirement.
The clock is ticking on Windows 7, and 8 for that matter. Don't get caught out.