The Migration Situation: Easing Your Windows 10 Migration

VMware recently surveyed nearly 600 customers worldwide concerning plans to migrate to Windows 10. While the survey showed that a Windows 10 migration is an IT priority, with a full 64 percent saying it was their top end-user project, resistance to the migration remains across the enterprise.

According to the survey, there are three primary reasons that organizations are not migrating to Windows 10 sooner: concerns with application compatibility (61 percent), internal resource constraints (41 percent), and resistance from end users (37 percent).

Mark Margevicius, director of enterprise solutions, End-User Computing (EUC) at VMware, offers his perspective on best practices for migration and how IT professionals might overcome some common roadblocks.

Application Compatibility

Application compatibility was cited as the top reason for delaying a migration to Windows 10. Any time a business installs a new version of the Windows operating system (OS), existing applications may not work properly. Depending on the number and type of applications a particular business uses, this may present a tremendous amount of work for the IT staff.

“In the past, this was an area where Microsoft received some criticism. When businesses migrated from Windows 98 to XP or 2000, up to 20 percent of legacy apps were rendered unusable. Organizations can’t afford to have that happen,” says Margevicius. “The good news is that with Windows 10, Microsoft made app compatibility a high-priority, and most companies that have migrated to Windows 10 have been pleasantly surprised.”

Internal Resource Constraints

“Migration is like changing the oil in your car,” explains Margevicius. “You know you should do it, and it’s a good thing to do, but it’s not easy to see performance gains.”

IT staffs are responsible for keeping systems functional and stable, and migrations are, necessarily, disruptive. While it’s possible to migrate quickly, doing so increases the odds of creating unanticipated issues.

“Doing this work is not easy. It takes time and effort, which need to be accounted for. And given that a Windows migration doesn’t necessarily result in new productivity gains for end users, many companies have difficulty investing in a Windows migration and balancing opportunity costs with competing projects,” says Margevicius.

He stresses the importance of being organized, comprehensive, and deliberate.

“Companies that are most successful approach migrations as a process, not an event,” he says. “Many companies do a great job on the engineering side, but once the migration is complete there’s little effort in maintaining it. Companies that manage PCs on an ongoing basis have an easier time migrating down the line.”

End-User Resistance

People don’t like change. In a nutshell, that’s what it’s all about.

Mark Margevicius

Many users perceive a Windows migration as an obstacle, a pain, or change that will force them to learn new skills.

“Communicating proactively with end users makes migration easier,” says Margevicius. “Communication should be informative and educational, not product-focused. Today’s employees are more technically savvy and don’t require significant technical training.”

Margevicius suggests including a communication plan as part of the project plan. Communicate early and often. For companies planning a migration in 2017, he advises starting the communication now.

“The only thing people hate more than change is not knowing about change and being blindsided,” he says. “Let people know what you’re planning and solicit feedback. Use migrations as an opportunity to communicate to end users.”

VMware Can Help

Margevicius notes that VMware offers a variety of tools to help with Windows 10 migration, including VMware Mirage, VMware TrustPoint and a SysTrack Desktop Assessment Service. This service simplifies the first steps in a migration to Windows 10 by providing a comprehensive analysis of an organization’s EUC environment. The assessment captures data on a number of factors, including readiness, end-user behavior, device inventory, software dependency and usage, and network usage patterns.

There are also solutions that can help with Windows 10 device and application management, including VMware AirWatch UEM, VMware Horizon and VMware TrustPoint.

In order to meet the 2020 migration deadline, when Microsoft will stop support for Windows 7, enterprises will need to begin the steps of migrating in 2017. Now is the perfect time to begin building that migration plan and communicating it to the wider organization.