It’s already 6 months since Windows 10 was released – long enough that IT departments have started to unpick Microsoft’s latest OS – and long enough for technical staff to start offering advice on how to approach deployment and migration.

But what are the strategic areas that you should address in planning the move to Windows 10? Here are 5 areas that you’ll want to consider...

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1. Use LIVE METRICS to inform and manage rollout

Obviously, before you begin, you’ll need to identify the scope of the project: How many clients will be migrated? Are all of those clients compatible? Is it more cost effective to migrate or replace? These should be simple questions for any IT department, but if you think your asset tool or Active Directory will tell you how many clients you have - you may
be disappointed.

Directories of large organisations are full of stale computer objects and most data in asset systems starts to age from the moment it is updated. You may have details of an asset but how do you know if it’s still in use and by whom?

Reliance on static data leads IT departments to overestimate the scale of the migration task and makes identifying devices and their users both difficult and time consuming.

Once deployment is underway, how do you track progress and ensure that clients are still able to access all of your services? Next generation tools like Nexthink provide live data on the distribution and performance of all clients, and make it easy to track the progress and success of Windows migration.

2. Challenge migration dependencies

Technical staff often frame OS deployment in terms of user migration, with a focus on identifying methods to copy: data, settings and applications from one platform to the next. If you haven’t already separated applications, user settings and storage from your desktop deployment then there’s no better time to do so!

  • Application virtualization eliminates the need to repackage for different Windows versions; with one app store you can deliver 100% of apps to any Windows client, on dmenad.
  • Most universities are embracing cloud providers for both Office apps and storage, but synchronization isn't suitable for shared devices. iamCloud's Drive Mapper allows you to connect to cloud storage directly, without the need for sync clients.

Strategic-thinking IT departments see OS deployment for what it is – the platform – and instead focus their efforts on the migration and evolution of services.

3. Pass on performance benefits to students and staff

One of the most noticeable improvements with Windows 10 is its speed. On personal laptops and home computers Windows 10 lives up to its name with boot times of under 10 seconds, and about the same for login to the desktop. Yet Windows deployments in large organisations are often slowed to a halt by years of group policy and layers of configuration settings, applied unnecessarily across huge swathes of machines.

Instead of the usual layering approach – challenge your IT department to strip back your Windows 10 deployment – adding only those settings that are absolutely necessary for security or functionality. The benefit will be the faster start up and login times that your end users now expect.

If users expect configuration settings to be migrated, consider using live profiles and user virtualisation to reduce the impact on desktop performance and make migration easy.

4. Embrace self-service as a methodology

As services become separate from the operating system you can reduce user dependency on specific machines, and empower end users to move to a BYOD style model across all devices.

Here’s a quick checklist to make sure that your services are not tied to the desktop platform. If you answer no to any of these, then the technology links in this article can help:

  • Can users install your desktop publishing suite themselves?
  • Can users launch all software apps on demand?
  • Have you removed most software from your build images?
  • Can you work with cloud storage easily and without the need to sync?
  • Are user settings and device configuration as lightweight as possible?
  • Can you migrate software and app settings automatically?

5. User training and communications

All too often, user training and communications is left until the end of the project; but engaging with your users early around your Windows 10 migration will help to ensure you're on the right track.

  1. Set up a co-production team and while your technical staff work on implementation, look to these users to gain continuous feedback on whether your services actually work inn practise.
  2. Task the co-production team with managing user comms. They will more readily identify the challenges that new users will face and the information they'll need.

Finally, when it comes to user training and support there’s no need to reproduce help guides on site. Be sure to make use of existing Microsoft resources for general familiarisation (the built-in help and search functionality is easy to use) and instead: focus new content creation on the information your users will need to access your IT services from Windows 10.

If your IT department can do all of this – you’re destined for a successful rollout.