The Windows 10 migration race is on -- are you on pace?

Windows runners

It may seem like a no brainer to migrate your enterprise to the Windows 10 operating system given its many improvements over previous versions. From the enterprise point of view, the new operating system provides increased corporate network and data security, with features such as Device Guard and Windows Hello; enhanced cloud integration capabilities; and improved IT management. Users benefit from easier navigation through the familiar "Start" menu, a better overall user experience, and a unified platform across all the devices.

If you join the migration bandwagon, you’re not alone. According to Gartner Research, by the end of the year, 85 percent of enterprises will have begun the migration process. But procrastinators beware -- the clock is ticking with Windows 7 support set to expire in January 2020.

Take the Time to Plan the Migration as Seamlessly as Possible

With the 2020 deadline in mind, the time to begin the process is underway. It can take up to 18 months or longer to complete the migration process across the enterprise, and with today’s BYOD environment, many employees may already be making the shift, and could be introducing compatibility and security issues into the network.

Unfortunately, because of time-to-market, budgetary and other pressures, many businesses go live with migrations with too many unanswered questions. It’s important that you remove any assumptions and implement your migration journey based on facts and figures reflecting the individual reality and needs of each end-user.

Ensuring a controlled and secure OS deployment is challenging in complex environments, involving a large number of people and disparate devices, and there are many issues that could arise including compatibility with both hardware and software assets, the impact to performance and effective end-user training. Following are the best practices to consider for a successful migration:

  • Plan, plan and plan some more. Since such a migration will impact almost everyone across your enterprise, consider the lost productivity that could result from a poorly executed migration strategy, including unnecessary downtime and frustrated users. Spend as much time as possible upfront to plan and design the migration process to avoid problems and disruptions and ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible.
  • Take the end-user perspective. Leverage real-time monitoring to gain visibility into how end-users consume IT services and to immediately see the link between your plan and how it is being executed. This will enable you to see how well the change is being adopted and how it’s impacting end-users through in-context performance metrics and satisfaction feedback.
  • Create a persona-based migration strategy. This should be based on real behavior and needs from your end-users. You should use analytics to gain a complete view into what apps are being used, and what is not from the end-user perspective. This understanding enables you to segment users and create user personas to minimize disruption and maximize satisfaction during migration.
  • Consider security issues. Several new and enhanced features, such as revamped Cortana, might introduce security issues to the enterprise. Consider the potential security implications they might create and determine whether you want to enable or block them for your enterprise. It will also be helpful to introduce policies that segregate business and personal data.
  • Test it out on early adopters. Upgrade a select group of early adopters and determine if there are any adjustments you need to make as you begin rolling the software out to a larger group of users.
  • Plan for enhanced functionality. Companies can leverage new capabilities for improved functionality. For example, the Cortana personal assistant will now be available across all devices, providing an enhanced way to interact with applications and services. HoloLens, a new augmented reality computing device headset, could replace multiple monitors and enable virtual displays to pop up dynamically. Consider how the work environment might change and how your organization can take advantage of these new capabilities as well as their impact on office planning, application design and hardware procurement.

In the end, migrating to Windows 10, as with any migration, is not about the system, but about the experience. For that we need a mind-shift toward the people using your IT infrastructure. To do this, requires you to predict, preempt and prevent problems before your users even notice them.  And it shouldn’t end there; it also means benchmarking your success and maintaining this level of awareness and quality over time with the same diligence you employed on Day One.

Photo credit: Maridav/Shutterstock

vbieri (002)Vincent Bieri is co-founder and board member of Nexthink. As Chief Evangelist at Nexthink, Vincent is responsible for leading product marketing. He is continuously involved with customers to improve current product and shape next-generation technology.

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