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How to Make Windows 7 a Win-Win for Your Company

Tips and best practices to keep in mind before your company jumps headlong into the much-awaited technology upgrade to Windows 7

  • By Maninder Singh, VP, End User Computing Services, HCL ISD

Analysts and IT experts around the world are advising IT departments that the time to move to Windows 7 is now.

Why this urgency?

The reasons are varied:

  • Microsoft is going to end XP support therefore necessitating a migration
  • Downgrade rights from Windows 7 to XP won't last forever, so buying XP for new PCs could eventually get expensive
  • Applications developed for XP won't be around forever. Eventually, Windows 7 will become the new default Microsoft operating system 

No wonder large and small businesses alike are already in the midst of taking decisions about their Windows desktop roadmap. The result—enterprise optimism on Windows 7 migration is very high.

However, when it comes to implementation, there are several factors to keep in mind while migrating from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7. A typical organization requires 12 to 18 months of waiting, testing, and planning before it can start deploying a new client OS. Despite the above, deployment is a complicated task that involves the migration of a huge number of standard and customized business-critical applications, defining imaging strategies with the advantages of new toolsets, application packaging guidelines, and optimizing deployment strategies.

Here are some enterprise challenges when it comes to Win 7 migration:

  • Application compatibility and migration complexity
  • High onsite requirement of resources
  • Business downtime caused during the deployment process
  • Loss of data during migrations
  • Rate of failure
  • Low visibility into the process

Best Practices

So, before you jump headlong into this much-awaited technology upgrade, here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind.

Best Practices for the Preparations Stage

  • Allocate sufficient time and resources to upfront activities, to lower the costs during Win 7 migration.
  • Outline all applications that are not compatible to Windows 7 and take help from an external expert’s Application Compatibility Factory model.
  • Subscribe to Application Compatibility and Packaging Factory models that offer application compatibility, packaging and re-imaging solutions for accelerated Windows migration.
  • Form a project committee that includes members from each major business unit, as well as operational groups in the IT organization. This committee would oversee the development of a project timeline that features high-level milestones and estimates required resources.
  • Establish a formal, comprehensive and workable testing methodology to ensure that issues are identified and categorized, keeping in mind your environment’s variability.
  • Explore a Windows migration model that ensures low business risk and promises assurance tolerance to loss of data through a robust user state backup and restoration process for user data and settings.

Best Practices for the Deployment Stage

  • Create a platform for visibility into reports on the number of deployments completed, failed deployments, status of opened tickets, time taken for deployments, upcoming schedules for deployments, etc.
  • Use your Windows migration as an opportunity to improve PC manageability.
  • Plan on piloting for a minimum of three months. The shorter the pilot, the more problems will occur during the deployment. 
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