XP to Win 7/8 – Passive, Active or Proactive Migrations

Recently, I sat in a three-day conference with our Product Advisory Council with people from multiple levels of IT. A few of the customers in that Product Advisory Council are heavily involved in large migration projects from XP to Windows 7/8, so they were very interested in what we are doing with Provisioning and Software License Management for the purpose of migrating to the latest Windows offerings.

What are the options for Windows migrations? You really have three migration options: 1) Do very little or nothing and hope the problem goes away over time, 2) Get someone to help you do a one time migration, so you don’t expose your company to compliance and security risks, or 3) Use the migration to strategically fix multiple issues in IT where you have more than just a new OS at the end of the migration? This begs the question, if you Which direction will you take?could do either the second or the third option in the same amount of time, wouldn’t you opt for the third?

A little more detailed look at each option expose that the first option with tactics likes adoption by attrition, migrating manually over a long time-frame, or not migrating because of budgets constraints are not much of a strategy at all. The second option is worthwhile to help you plan and execute the migration, which would automate how you move all user data and profiles to a fresh image on your user’s machines — LANDESK can do this — but there would still be additional work after the initial migration. However, the third option is a way to look at additional IT concerns and solves them within the scope of your Windows migration project. Here’s what you would have after a LANDESK Windows 7/8 Smart Migration:

  • Enterprise hardware and software asset management toolset
  • Consolidate current server and licensing costs for…
    • Remote Control Tools
    • Software Deployment Tools
    • Imaging Tools
    • Patch Management Tools
    • Power Management Tools
    • Application Blacklisting Tools
  • New automated strategy around PC lifecycle
  • Toolset for Windows vNext migration

I guess it comes down to what you want – a destination or a standard you reach and stay in for a long time; like remaining on XP until beyond its end-of-life, or a way to move forward in IT and make the journey a little easier for the future.

Will Businesses Adopt Windows 8?

Will businesses adopt Windows 8? I absolutely believe it will happen. Maybe not immediately, but it will happen.

Over the last few months our product management and engineering teams have been in the process of evaluating Windows 8 in both the desktop environment and on Windows 8 tablets. I have to say from a marketing managers’ perspective, Windows 8 is pretty nice looking on the tablets and offers some unique capabilities. However, this particular blog is not a review of Windows 8, but to pose the questions around whether businesses will adopt Microsoft’s newest operating system once it is released (Microsoft hasn’t announced a specific launch date, but speculation is it will be sometime between July and October).

Over the last twelve months we have seen the market share of Windows 7 increase significantly from 35 percent (April 2011) to 53 percent in April 2012. This increase isprimarily due to migrations from Windows XP. With so many companies adopting Windows 7 in 2012, will IT organizations make the move to Windows 8 if it is released in the second half of the year? Many reviews of Windows 8 have said that the new “Metro” interface bears no resemblance at all to traditional Windows, and will be unfamiliar to users. I believe this is a short-sighted perspective and think we need to give users a little bit more credit.With over 5 million Kindle Fire tablets sold and over 3 million in Nook Color tablet’s sold and millions of other Android devices in the market, users are figuring out the whole tablet concept whether it is on an iOS, Android, or Windows 8 device.

It appears that one of the biggest issues in the market for Windows 8 might be its identity: Is it a Tablet or Desktop Operating System?  I think this is actually a good thing for Microsoft as it will allow a transition point for Windows desktop users into a tablet environment, and the majority of users are comfortable with Windows based applications in the enterprise environment. Many of the Windows 8 tablets I have seen have docking station capabilities, USB ports, blue tooth, 3/4G SIMs, multiple monitor support and much more. Once users get comfortable using a tablet with a docking station, multiple monitors, and they can sit on the train to and from work while using SaaS based tools over their 4G connection, the tablet becomes the preferred tool for users over laptops. (Even though our VP of Product Management, Steve Workman, jokes that a tablet with a keyboard is really just a laptop. Yes, he has a point).

Will businesses adopt Windows 8? I absolutely believe it will happen. Maybe not immediately, but it will happen. The Windows operating system still holds 83.6% (including mobile operating systems) of all operating systems in the world. That tells me that most users are comfortable with Windows, and statistically have a higher chance of adopting a tablet with an operating system that they are comfortable with for their day-to-day business functions. Don’t get me wrong. I have an iPhone (Although I prefer my wife’s HTC Evo running Android), and enjoying playing games and surfing the web on my iPad. But from a business productivity perspective, I would easily convert to a powerful Windows 8 based tablet that I can dock and use a keyboard and mouse while at my desk, bring it home and dock it in my home office or ride the train to work while finalizing a Powerpoint or checking marketing campaign statistics in an Excel spreadsheet.

Only time will tell what path users will take. Microsoft has been wrong before, but they have been right more times than not! I would love to hear your perspective in the comment below whether or not you see your organization adopting Windows 8.