Make The Transition To Windows 10 A Success
Transitioning an enterprise organisation to a new operating system is not easy. But, with the right planning and the right partner it can be painless.
This white paper from Redmond Magazine gives you the information you need to focus on the key elements for a successful migration to Windows 10.
- Application readiness
- Configuration status
- Deployment planning
A smooth move to Microsoft Windows 10 is a priority for most businesses and for the IT leaders charged with accomplishing the task. That’s especially true for those whose enterprises still are running Windows 7, which reaches end of life in 2020. Certainly, it’s not too soon to start planning for that transition, as it can take up to 18 months to test applications for compatibility and more than two years to migrate all staff, depending on the complexity of the organisation. Many companies already are getting started: Seventy-six% of enterprise customers had active Windows 10 pilot programs underway last year, though actual adoption remained limited.
A number of factors, however, should accelerate a full changeover by organisations to Windows 10. In addition to the end of support for Windows 7, Windows 10 represents the last major upgrade of the decades-old operating system. Going forward, new features and improvements, including security patches and bug fixes, will be provided as service updates. Intel’s 7th-generation Kaby Lake desktop processors also only will work with Windows 10 and PC hardware manufacturers largely will be focused on the next-generation OS for their new devices, too.
What end users want of their applications and devices also is changing: It’s more important than ever for them to enjoy greater flexibility with the tools they use and to be able to easily access solutions and customise their experiences to more efficiently accomplish their work. IT is being asked to accommodate that—with all the alterations that brings to their traditional ways of managing, controlling and securing PCs. At the same time, it must live up to business demands to rapidly adopt new technologies as innovative products descend on the market more quickly than at any time in the past.
Windows 10 inherently addresses many of these challenges with its embrace of self-service, self-deployment and self-healing attributes. Microsoft has taken a big step to help IT transition from its time-honoured role of delivering a fully-configured system with pre-loaded applications that is completely under its control to a new position—one where its primary function is to enable users to have secure access to the data, applications and tools they need on whatever device they want to use, wherever they are working.
But even as Windows 10 supports the shift in IT responsibilities, most IT shops will benefit from services that augment this new model of computing, too. IT teams, after all, will experience some issues as they find themselves working their way through application compatibility testing to ensure a smooth upgrade and software vulnerability assessments to reduce susceptibility to cyber-threats. They also will have to determine the right ways to support provisioning to ensure that users don’t violate regulatory, compliance or other requirements and remain aligned with business standards.
With future OS updates being delivered more frequently, these aren’t all one-and-done challenges, either.
Preparing For Your Migration
Given the dramatic changes that go hand-in-hand with Windows 10 deployments, it’s critical that IT approaches the migration with a strong understanding of application readiness and remediation and on choosing appropriate configuration methodologies with respect to images and provisioning.
Application readiness is, in fact, one of the biggest challenges—and opportunities—that the move to Windows 10 presents. While applications that work with Windows 7 are supposed to work with Windows 10, remediation in the way of upgrades or patches may be needed to assure there are no conflicts under the new operating system.
At the same time as IT may need to do some heavy lifting to ensure compatibility, there’s a chance to leverage the application readiness process to—at long last—rationalise the enterprise portfolio. How many applications are out there, how many different versions of those applications are installed, what applications duplicate another solution’s capabilities and what of all this software is actually being used? What to retire, replace or retain?
When it comes to configuration processes, customers may have different ideas about what presents the best way for them to bring Windows 10 to new and existing devices. Many, for example, will want to take a more traditional IT approach but add in some Windows 10 agile components. Perhaps they will want to move to Windows 10 immediately leveraging existing tools and infrastructure for device management while also taking advantage of pre-load provisioning processes. Windows 10 offers a simplified way to apply configuration settings to devices with provisioning packages that can address everything from start menu customisation to advanced security. Later, customers like these might want to add in other Windows 10 agile components, like Mobile Device Management (MDM).
Others may want to go to as much of a modern agile IT approach as possible from the start. Their clean-sheet agenda could encompass managing devices from the cloud; leveraging Azure Active Directory for comprehensive identity management; and moving directly to MDM (especially if the business has a large swath of remote users).
Indeed, as businesses prepare for using Windows 10 on new and existing assets, they will face a host of configuration considerations and deployment options. In-place upgrades, for instance, are designed to reduce complexity because they automatically preserve all data, settings, applications and drivers from the existing OS, but application compatibility issues may arise. Dynamic provisioning is a light-touch process that pulls down pre-loads to hardware to convert them to enterprise-managed devices—but it works best for organisations primarily using cloud-based apps, server-based computing or virtualised apps. Otherwise, questions may surface over issues such as how to deliver traditional applications to users. Wipe-and-load remains a valid solution, too, reducing Windows-as-a-Service issues as all future upgrades will be in-place, but it can be time consuming.
Deployment issues extend well beyond those technical issues, too, encompassing matters of image and asset recovery and extending to the arena of stakeholder communications and preparation, for example.
Steps to Success
To make the right choices on such counts, IT may need help beyond what the Microsoft model itself enables. Lenovo Services is there to provide it. It embraces the capabilities of Windows 10 and the new functionalities of agile infrastructure components, but also enhances the Microsoft processes and addresses some of the gaps that exist there that could stall users from efficiently attaining a full Windows 10 deployment.
It’s critical to ensure that customers be up to speed in terms of application readiness, configuration and deployment—not necessarily a given, as some of these activities do not occur on a regular basis within organisations and so IT staff generally won’t have deep expertise in them. Lenovo helps set the stage with whiteboard sessions to map out where the business is and where it wants to be as a Windows 10 organisation, what puzzles it needs to address on that roadmap and how it can enable a successful migration.
Consider, for example, that trimming down the application portfolio via thorough discovery and analysis should just be the first of many content decisions the business needs to make. There are so many more issues to consider beyond the specific rationalisation process: If an app will stay in the portfolio, should it be packaged differently for delivery? Should an on-premise app be replaced by a cloud version? What is the security mindset around discovering existing software vulnerabilities and mitigating threats? Are there other application management considerations to explore? How are licenses managed? Does IT need a centralised process and automated workflows not just for delivering applications but letting users simply and efficiently request them, too? Lenovo can help walk your organisation through these questions and develop the right solutions to answer them.
When it comes to options for configuring and deploying Windows 10, Lenovo focuses on how to offer additional key capabilities for wipe-and-loads, in-place upgrades and dynamic provisioning. Its services give IT leaders the opportunity, for example, to opt for wipe-and-load as a factory-integrated service incorporating image creation, maintenance and deployment automation. Everything, in essence, shifts to the supply chain. Lenovo’s help for in-place upgrades builds off Microsoft’s ability to provide cutting-edge productivity to existing hardware investments and does so while minimising the cost and disruption of the upgrade. This includes, for instance, speedily and efficiently performing 32-bit to 64-bit application migration functions.
Lenovo’s expertise can further customise the dynamic provisioning experience in Windows 10, helping organisations decide what pre-loaded custom images should look like, testing and building the right dynamic provisioning package for the business to reflect policy and core application needs and simplifying the task to make it a true out-of-the-box experience.
Further Help Is On The Way
Among Lenovo’s sophisticated Windows 10 service functions that IT leaders will find useful is Cloud Deploy, a set of integrated cloud services for providing provisioning features directly to customers. It offers the capability to house customers’ preload-plus-provisioning images or custom images as part of a global, virtualised deployment infrastructure. The solution serves the purpose of helping customers to reimage and redeploy Windows 10 machines, providing recovery to their latest preload-plus-provisioning processes or custom images, even from bare metal scenarios. All that’s required is internet access.
Further enhancements planned for Cloud Deploy include Lenovo’s own in-place migration, an automated provisioning and migration process delivered securely from the Cloud Deploy portal. It’s a user-driven, self-service alternative to in-place upgrades when such upgrades are not supported or desired.
Whether enterprises plan to use custom images or rely on provisioning models, with Lenovo Advanced Deployment they’ll gain a complete remote deployment capability. It features a customisable self-install wizard that enables final configuration steps to be easily taken by the user once the Windows 10 PC is received, whether it’s joining a domain, connecting to the network, or another experience.
Lifecycle Services are part of the Lenovo Windows 10 service offerings, too and these incorporate important but sometimes overlooked issues. One critical service offering relates to setting and measuring Windows 10 migration expectations, for instance, is helping IT to develop a transition communications plan for the business that outlines the stakeholders to address, the milestones to be met and how they’ll be accomplished. Asset recovery requires attention, too, to close the loop on devices that have reached end-of-life as Windows 10 moves in, with all security and environmental compliance issues addressed.
Lenovo also is moving the Windows 10 ball forward by offering organisations the opportunity to bring the new OS experience to users via a PC-as-a-Service model. Organisations using the PCaaS offering as a monthly subscription service will have automatic procurement, configuration, deployment, support and retirement functions. This provides end users with the latest OS technology in an OpEx model. Organisations gain a predictable cost model and streamlined asset planning and IT teams’ management burdens are removed so that they can focus on higher-stack activities.
Using Lenovo as a Windows 10 migration partner, IT leaders will receive guidance on determining the deployment approach that’s best for them based on their needs and environments. They will be able to devise a strong PC upgrade strategy that considers issues such as what security scenarios may require the purchase of new devices with the OS already onboard. IT management also will be able to get help building a robust in-place upgrade process that can handle at least a couple of significant OS updates annually thanks to agile application compatibility testing.
With the help of Lenovo and its insight into Windows 10 deployment best practices, your Windows 10 migration and ongoing activities will be on the high road to success.