Windows 10 migration, are you ready?

by Axios Systems’ Stephen Brunsdon…

The mass migration to Windows 10 is already well underway for a lot of organisations, but is yours ready to make the all-important switch?

For IT teams, the thought of migration poses serious concerns, particularly over assets – both software and hardware. For management, the end goal of migration is to ensure minimal impact on the everyday operations of the business and, if possible, a seamless transition.

In much the same way as a PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Cycle, planning for a migration requires full visibility of assets, set end-goals and a cost analysis attached to it.

The 5 key concerns about Windows 10 migration are:

  1. Discovery: knowing what is out there. You have a million and one assets you need to transfer, each one as important as the other. Without a strong Discovery tool in place, the risk of losing valuable data and software is high and could have a profound economic impact on your business. You also need to examine capacity for Windows 10 and this requires extensive planning.
  2. Gathering accurate inventory data. Once you know what devices you have on your network, you need to be able to report on hardware and software inventory of those machines.
  3. Patching and application compatibility. This is perhaps the biggest concern for most organisations in migrating to Windows 10. While previous versions of Windows allowed teams to maintain application availability by simply not installing problem patches when patches broke third party applications, this is not the case with Windows 10. It is an “all-or-nothing cumulative package”, meaning there is less flexibility and decision making for users. Applications will have to meet the minimum specifications to be compatible with the latest version.
  4. Track Orders. The nitty-gritty of IT Operations Management (ITOM), order tracking is a critical aspect of delivering efficiencies to your IT team. Are these orders physical? If so, how many computers need migrating to Windows 10? How are you managing all the Change Requests for updated software and latest specification requirements?
  5. Manage Migration. Does everything need to migrate? Will everything you wish to migrate do so? Identifying and prioritising key assets allows you to see what is there and migrate them confidently over to the new OS.

What to feature in your planning stage?

We’re not going to give a full checklist, and what is below is by no means an exhaustive set of criteria, because each organisation will be different as to how it chooses to approach its own migration to Windows 10.

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Instead, we feature some of the key features which we believe IT teams cannot ignore. If nothing else, it may give your own team pause for thought.

  • Automation

Put yourself in the shoes of a sales rep in the field or in the office. You are told the migration to Windows 10 is happening and there will be a minor impact on your everyday tasks. It should be seamless, but nothing can be taken for granted.

Senior management have for several months resisted requests to bring in more automation to the business on cost grounds, and therefore, the IT team is forced to carry out the migration manually.

The knock-on effect of this is that the sales team is facing days of inactivity while the migration takes place. Each minute the sales reps are without a computer, is a minute without making money (a salesperson’s modus operandi). Management get annoyed, sales get frustrated and a mass exodus is a distinct possibility.

The benefit of automation doing this migration is that it can discover assets which need to be migrated, updated to latest specifications and check for required software installations such as anti-virus programmes in the background. The migration takes place over the weekend and is completed by the time employees are back in the office. The disruption, if any, is kept to a minimum, which allows the salesperson to continue their work without too much hassle.

  • Use the latest available version

A key element of your plan should be to use the latest available version of Windows, as this is likely to save your teams a lot more time down the upgrade timeline. According to CIO Review, another reason organisations should “consider Windows 1703 is the introduction of the MBR2GPT tool, which for the first time enables a device to be converted from legacy BIOS to UEFI.”

Apart from money, time is a major element of efficiency for organisations, so for management, this should be as high up on the planning list as automation to ensure the overall business impact is kept to a minimum.

How can assyst ITOM help

assyst ITOM addresses each of the above concerns for organisations through its robust set of capabilities, ensuring that the migration is as simple as possible and that overall efficiencies are unaffected.

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Taking a look back at the pain-points of Windows 10 migration, here is how an assyst ITOM implementation actually works:

  1. Discovery: knowing what is out there. The Software Asset Management aspect of assyst enables accurate discovery of all assets in your inventory, allowing greater visibility of devices on your network(s). assyst also runs on a schedule and so is always up to date.
  2. Gathering accurate inventory data. Reporting on hardware and software inventory of machines is important as they need to identify any machines which do not run the minimum specifications for Windows 10. That’s where assyst ITOM’s IT Compliance Rules help. Organisations can easily identify the machines which don’t meet the required spec and can then decide if they would like to add more RAM for devices or to procure more hardware that does meet the minimum threshold.
  3. Patching and application compatibility. Using assyst ITOM easily identifies any desktops or laptops not meeting minimum hardware or software specifications for Windows 10. assyst ITOM gives visibility of devices that may need to be upgraded or replaced before you make the move.
  4. Track Orders. Should your organisation need to procure new laptops/desktops, these devices can be checked and tracked via assyst ITOM using its ITSM CMDB. This way, any assets that requires to be moved over can be easily seen by the team and its “order” process tracked all the way, ensuring maximum visibility.
  5. Manage Migration. By raising a ticket in the assyst ITSM, users can also track the progress of migration over to the new OS. The Service Desk and Tech Services are then able to decide which users are migrated using service requests or changes.

Whichever way you look at it, the key to a successful Windows 10 migration is being as prepared as you can be with your assets, making sure they are up to spec, patched correctly and visible to the organisation.

A strong and robust ITOM solution will invariably help your organisation on its way to an optimised migration, making the switch as seamless as it can be and leaving IT to do what it does best: IT.

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