The Four Components of a Successful Enterprise Migration to Windows 10

 Author(s):  and , Posted on March 1st, 2016

As noted in part 1 of this blog, Windows 10 offers significant new features both to end users and IT. Now, you may be thinking about what a migration to Windows 10 may look like.

As of January 2016, Windows 10 had captured more than 11% of the global Desktop OS market share. Enterprises need to consider their options for migrating to the new OS in order to keep pace with what their employees desire and expect. While the wipe-and-replace options from previous Windows OS migrations may still be valid, Windows 10 introduces some new options not available in the past.

Here are four considerations for any organization looking to make the switch today:

  1. Assessment and Preparation

Before any plans for Windows 10 migration are made, it is important to make sure that your organization is ready – this includes the business, the end-users and your service desk. Preparation for migration begins with a deep understanding of enterprise resources and requirements. Though hardware requirements don’t change if you have already migrated to Windows 7 or 8, it is recommended to make sure all devices (including mobile devices and tablets) are compatible with Windows 10.

A full inventory of the devices and endpoint infrastructure is essential and should include both hardware assets (e.g. system model, CPU, memory, devices, peripherals, etc.) and software assets (e.g. applications, drivers, and system tools). This information will be used to establish a baseline for identifying issues that will need to be addressed during the migration, and it helps to prioritize which system, service, and task deployment activities should be performed first.

  1. Application Compatibility

Key considerations must be given to application compatibility within the new Windows 10 OS. There are numerous application compatibility toolsets available in the market, including the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) from Microsoft, Flexera Admin Studio, AppDNA and more. Using these toolsets, applications can be tested and fixed for various compatibility issues. When evaluating a toolset, keep in mind the features, hardware requirements, and your budgets.

For organizations currently running desktop applications in Windows 7 or Windows 8, users will be happy to know Windows 10 has made no application security model or driver architecture changes. Thus, most applications previously running on Windows 7 or 8 are nearly sure to work on Windows 10.

  1. Deployment Methods

There are three primary options for installing the new Windows 10 OS on a PC:

  1. In-Place Upgrade
  • When you want to keep all (or at least most) of your existing applications
  • When you do not plan to significantly change the device configuration (for example, BIOS to UEFI) or operating system configuration (for example, x86 to x64, language changes, Administrators to non-Administrators or Active Directory domain consolidations)
  • To migrate from Windows 10 to a later Windows 10 release
  1. Traditional wipe-and-load
  • When you upgrade significant numbers of applications along with the new Windows OS
  • When you make significant device or operating system configuration changes
  • When you “start clean”. This includes scenarios where it is not necessary to preserve existing apps or data (for example, call centers) or when you move from unmanaged to well-managed PCs
  • When you migrate from Windows Vista or other previous operating system versions
  1. Provisioning not Reimaging

As mentioned in the previous blog, Microsoft has made it possible to manage your Windows 10 devices using an MDM tool such as VMWare’s AirWatch or Microsoft Intune. This gives you another option for migration – provisioning. For off-the-shelf hardware, provisioning helps with situations where you want to ship a new Windows 10 machine directly from the OEM to a user and then have enterprise software and policies applied to that machine to bring it into compliance. Provisioning should also be considered for BYOD or CYOD enablement.

Provisioning is delivered by a provisioning package (.ppkg) that is executed on the target machine and performs the following operations:

  • Change Windows 10 version from Pro to Enterprise and enable Enterprise features
  • Change updates and language packs
  • Retain drivers and applications
  • Install or remove Modern UI applications
  • Enroll into a domain or management solution
  1. Phase Migration & Monitoring

If your company has a larger number of Windows devices being considered for a migration to Windows 10, it may be easy to overlook critical installation and configuration issues. Thus, it is always recommended to plan deployment phases for a migration allowing for easier monitoring and remediation if any issues may arise. You should also prepare your Service Desk and have a communication plan to inform your users about the upgrade. You can have YouTube videos ready to explain some of the common questions about using Windows 10 in your corporate environment.

In conclusion, Windows 10 provides some excellent new features for end-users while simultaneously providing IT with additional security and new methods of migration.

Please visit Unisys for more information on Unisys Advisory and Migration services for Windows 10.

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About the Author

Rakesh is part of Unisys Architect Practice for Portfolio offerings and has been with Unisys for 10+ years working under various hoods of technology. Read all Posts





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