Win XP to Win7 – The continuation

This follows a very useful starter for 10 list of considerations when moving from WinXP to Win7. The link to the article is here and the author is a another BA in a law firm. You can follow him via twitter @LegalBA

Windows 7 and Office 2010 is a good opportunity to think strategically and not just treat it like another project. It could be a good point to think about some of the key points Andrew mentions like security and applications but also the delivery of IT services in general. My top 6 things to think about when discussing going from WinXP to Win7 (Office 2010) project.

1 – Deployment of your Win7 desktop. Think about VDI – It’s hard to ignore it…

Virtualisation of servers and storage is something many firms have done or is on the immediate road map. VDI was a step behind but it is getting harder to argue against the reasons for going VDI
a) One size doesn’t fit all. Expect to virtualize 80% of your users
b) Choose the delivery mechanism well and you will be able to provide your services to mobile devices, tablets, pc and laptops even if they are not owned by the firm (allows the firm to reduce it hardware overhead perhaps by offering an allowance to staff to buy their own kit)~
c) Cheaper to deploy – no big teams gallivanting across the globe for weeks on end
d) Energy savings can be leveraged unlike some/most server virtualisation projects
e) Costs savings. Most firms replace pc’s in line with the standard 3 years warranty levels but delivery of a VDI means you can extend your old kit’s life expectancy
f) Reduce the build maintenance overhead. Have 1 (or minimum) image for all rather than 40 different images for 40 different hardware types

2 – Smarter management of Applications – again think about virtualisation

Again this isn’t a ‘one size fits all rule’ for applications (main limitation) but the ability to virtualise does offer a number of high level benefits. This can be done in conjunction with our without VDI.
a) Allows applications to run in environments that do not suit the native application
b) Maintain a standard O/S config
c) Faster application provision which can be done remotely
d) Help manage license volumes and therefore avoid the use of unlicensed software (it doesn’t happen really)

3 – Existing application optimisation and leveraging what you already pay for..

Obviously things change and some most may not (as you have them) even won’t work in your Win7. Whether you go VDI or not the main benefit of application virtualisation as stated above is the ability to run applications in environments that ‘they shouldn’t be able to’.

Think also about #Sharepoint (most people get it as part of the existing Microsoft enterprise agreement) … What can it do with minimum overheads to replace some of you ageing applications? Again it’s not a one size fits all but it could save you on support and maintenance in the long term.

4 – Train your IT teams, don’t cheat as gaining knowledge “on the job” won’t always work for this project

Sounds simple but too often IT staff are supposed to “pick up” the platforms and applications we deploy but in this case I would argue proper training is key to a delivering an overall better product. Your existing desktop teams should already be dipping their feet in now if they haven’t already done so. The changes are fundamental and as such they will need training otherwise you may re-create your build existing issues and not get the benefit of the potential to improve experience from the user.

5 – Planning planning and a bit more… yes you guessed it

Most firms have a projects list as long as your arm. These will combine [not inclusive] new software development, purchase and deployment of software and infrastructure improvements. The Win7 project dependencies may not even be thought about alone on the projects list yet. Try and secure budget and resource for them early as possible. Things to consider would be like WAN improvements and an overhaul AD especially if thinking about VDI or application virtualisation.

6 – A Change Manager experienced in delivering Change to the business is key..

Too often in these projects the lead BA plays the project communicator. Push for a dedicated and experienced resource. IT’s reliance on bland boring email comms is notorious, to the point most people just hit [shift - delete]. Something new a fresh needs a more visable and high profile approach from the simple announcements to the floor walking and support in the weeks following.

My final thing is a ditty about Office 2010. Don’t underestimate the effort required to move the firm to Word and Excel 2010.. Your house styles, templates, macros, integration points to billing systems and the old docx vs. doc question will take a massive chunk of your BA resource.

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