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Laurent Clemot (Australia) - Migrating to Windows 7 Today? It's Already Tomorrow in Australia!

 

Migrating to Windows 7 today? It's already tomorrow in Australia!

I have been observing several Windows 7 migration initiatives across the country recently, and recognise the fact that many Australian organisations have embraced the challenge early, have started their migration project and for some of them have already delivered the OS successfully.

Some projects were triggered early for a PC refresh, others for commercial or internal reasons. However, the projects that went smoothly and that delivered on time were well prepared in advance, and relied on previously well controlled environments and established procedures.   

 

Here are the main approaches observed on these projects:

  • Transition or big bang? A study from Forrester finds that 40% projects choose a transition, compared to 39% that go to a one step for all approach. The one step approach, while putting a lot of pressure during the project, creates a far more manageable situation after the migration for BAU (Business As Usual), where a transition increases helpdesk costs with heterogeneous processes.

 

  • Outsource or not to outsource? Outsourcing is very appealing for such projects as it releases a lot of pressure from internal resources. However, this can be also counterbalanced by difficulties to reacquire the process for BAU. When choosing to outsource it is essential to keep access to the packages generated to be able to revert back when needed.

 

  • Inventory: it is critical to get an accurate view of what is deployed, and more importantly, what is used (and not) by the business. Lacking this quality information might result in wasted efforts in migrating unused or inappropriate applications.

 

  • Rationalisation: the OS upgrade presents a prime opportunity to rationalise the application estate. Missing this step leads to a "garbage in garbage out" approach, migrating all the existing problems (licensing, support costs, poor standards etc.) into the new environment, diminishing the expected benefits of the new OS. There are no successful rationalisations without appropriate inventory data, so, if necessary, a full SAM project should be initiated prior to starting a migration. Many toolsets can perform such analysis in a reasonable amount of time, without requiring deployment of additional software.

 

  • Assess Compatibility with Windows 7: 30 - 50% of applications that run on Windows XP run on Windows 7 without requiring modification. For the rest, it is key to understand what applications won't work and how much effort will be required to fix them before planning the migration. The options for compatibility assessment are:

 

  • Manual: For very small application sets (< 50), manual testing can be a realistic approach. However, needless to say it is time consuming and can prove error prone as application features get deeply used by the business.

 

  • Using a tool: Most "Application Readiness" toolkits nowadays provide compatibility testing as well as remediation capabilities for Windows 7 issues. Compatibility testing for Internet Explorer 8, as well as Application virtualisation, should be required when critical applications are to rely on such technologies.

 

  • Plan Migration Projects: the migration can't be planned before having a view of what applications will migrate and what it will take to fix those that do not. To avoid any surprises down the line it is critical to first assess the compatibility of the applications portfolio before engaging any work/resources and committing to deadlines. At the same time, it is also one of the most time consuming task in the project.

 

  • Fix Compatibility issues: same as with the compatibility assessment: the volume of applications to remediate, the amount of efforts required as well as the criticality of the applications to migrate will justify the cost of a toolkit compared to a manual approach.

 

Then, finally, BAU life with Windows 7... without surprise, life goes on with the same old issues: Requests for new applications, upgrades (by average, 30% of applications portfolio / year), patches unexpected incompatibilities etc..., still requiring repackaging, testing, deployment etc. Without doubts, Windows 7 does not fix all XP issues for IT, unless the right processes and best practices in software deployment are put in place. As some sort of conclusion, if "you want peace, prepare for war", maybe Windows 7 migrations should be taken as an opportunity to end the "Laissez faire" in software installation.

 

Laurent Clemot is currently part of the Enterprise Licensing team at Flexera Software, in Australia.He helps organizations analyze their software needs and improve the software they own. For further information visit here: http://www.flexerasoftware.com/

 

 

 

 

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