Microsoft Inspire is now over and with so many announcements we think it is a good time to collect the big news all in one blog post. Many great discussions took place in Washington D.C. in July and with almost 18,000 attendees it was the biggest Microsoft partner event ever! As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in his Vision Keynote address on Day 1, "Attendees at Microsoft Inspire come from 140 different countries, and the joint efforts of all these partners create 17 million jobs worldwide". With so many different technologies and new announcements, let us summarize what we learnt from the show...
Aug 14, 2017 8:31:00 AM / by Barry Angell
Recently, I had two very different conversations that really struck a chord with me.
The first was with an IT guy from a local firm looking to migrate a couple of thousand users to Windows 10. Even though he could have pulled off a successful migration with a set of spreadsheets and some elbow grease, he wasn't going to risk anything. He was eager to implement our migration project management tool, Dashworks, because he wanted a platform that was going to guarantee him a successful project.
A short while later, I spoke to a young, gung-ho enterprise IT project manager who was tasked to migrate over 80,000 users in a well-known enterprise. He was convinced that he would be "just fine" if he just rewrote the system he had previously used for Windows 7 and hand-cranked a bunch of databases, spreadsheets and sharepoint sites.
Having been part of these kinds of projects for more than a decade, I know which of the two guys sleeps well at night.
Aug 7, 2017 8:53:00 AM / by Barry Angell
Traditionally, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is performed at the end of a long software development cycle by the intended audience under real-world conditions. By then, engineering has performed a battery of technical tests to ensure the software works as expected. However, in some cases, engineering's understanding of the business requirements and user needs versus what the user was actually looking for are two very different things. This is where UAT usually comes in.
Jul 24, 2017 8:28:00 AM / by Barry Angell
Now that most enterprises are in the process of migrating to Windows 10, IT project managers are starting to look beyond the initial rollout project and turn their attention on how to maintain the new OS. Since Windows 10 departed from Microsoft's tried and true 3-4 year release schedule in favor of a modern Windows-as-a-Service model, pushing several new versions a year, maintenance will be continuous and iterative. In other words, you had better get ready to manage a lot of change, all of the time!
As you might know, Microsoft has, after much confusion and frustration, recently clarified its version release timelines. Starting in September with the Fall Creators Update (expected version 1709), Microsoft will align its Windows 10 versions with the Office 365 and SCCM support cycles and ship one major upgrade in March and in September. Furthermore, the announcement outlined the new support timelines: Each new OS version will be supported for 18 months. Since Microsoft will support multiple branches at once, you don’t need to move all devices to the same branch at the same time. But beware, this has major consequences for both your Windows 10 release adoption strategy, and your deployment strategy.
While we previously talked at length about how to understand the Windows 10 Branching timeline, we want to focus today on Windows 10 deployment rings.
Getting a new work PC should be a “magical experience for an employee,” as it shows the employee that he or she is valued and that the organization is investing in his or her productivity and user experience — at least according to Microsoft's marketing material. You might think that this refers to working in Windows 10 or Office 365, but the software giant is taking it even one step further: to the unboxing of a brand new PC!
Microsoft recently announced a new zero-touch, self-service deployment service called AutoPilot. It sets out to empower IT to customize the Windows 10 out-of-box-experience. This announcement does not come entirely unexpected as the last Windows 10 updates already included enhancements and improvements to prepare for this step.
Also part of the announcements were exciting Mobile Device Management enhancements as well as the new Device Health features (agent to optimize UX on Windows) in Windows Analytics.
Jul 12, 2017 8:17:00 AM / by Barry Angell
According to the latest Gartner Report, 85% of enterprises are planning to migrate to Windows 10 by the end of 2017. I think this number won't pan out to be that high because realistically, IT Transformation project of this size and complexity take anywhere from 44 to 124 man-weeks to complete and large organizations aren't as far along in their readiness tasks as they think they are,
But regardless of whether 70% of businesses complete their upgrade, or 85% of them are able to tackle the majority of the rollout this year, many organizations are becoming serious about starting as soon as possible! One of the biggest hurdles that project managers face when trying to get out of the gates fast, is that they struggle with understanding what they are getting themselves into. And rightfully so. For example,
- How are you going to put together a project budget if you have to base it on a vague idea or a guesstimate?
- Do you know exactly how many of your PCs are compatible, can be refurbished, or need to be replaced?
- How many, and which resources you need if you don't know how many applications you will need to test, rewrite, or retire?
Most project managers don't have any means to get this kind of information at the start of the project. This creates a classic catch-22 situation: To kick off the project, you need budget and resources, but to get budget and resources, you need to know what you are dealing with. That's why we have partnered with HP, HPE, DXC and BDNA to build a low cost, fast value technology service to provide our clients with a full, simple to understand Windows 10 Assessment. Today, we want to share some of the real-world findings from these assessments, to help inform your decisions and hopefully ease the planning process.
Jul 10, 2017 8:56:00 AM / by Barry Angell
Did you know that most organizations run on devices that are between two to four years old — making them a prime candidate for a complete (or partial) hardware refresh initiative on the back of their Windows 10 rollout?
In fact, 31% of all enterprises asked as part of a recent 1E study are planning to rely on swapping out old hardware to migrate to Windows 10. Another 36% of companies plan to combine in-place upgrades and hardware refreshes, while the remaining 33% will do an in-place upgrade. In the large enterprise space, many are looking at a combination of hardware refresh and wipe and load to achieve their rollout plans.
Many big companies are combining their Windows 10 migration (migrating from Windows 7 or earlier to the new operating system) with a hardware refresh (buying new laptops or PCs that come with your image or are imaged on-site). But is it easier to migrate to Microsoft's latest operating system through your Business as Usual (BAU) hardware refresh plans than to manage a big bang rollout? Many IT project managers are asking themselves the same question.
This method is certainly a valid one, but what are the underlying implications? Will it really be easier because you won't need a project? What are the consequences of this approach? Today, we will explore the answers to these questions in more detail as we go through the most common upgrade scenarios and point out some important "gotchas" that go with managing migration as BAU.
Jun 29, 2017 8:02:00 AM / by Barry Angell
You probably heard about the malware attack WannaCry 2 just a few weeks ago that held 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, including devices at the Britain’s National Health Service, at ransom. The thing is, this attack was entirely preventable — and I am not speaking about the NSA or WikiLeaks. Microsoft issued a fix for this vulnerability days before it spread like wildfire.
Unfortunately, cybercrime and data breaches are becoming the norm. According to the Global Economic Crime Survey, 32% of companies said they were the victims of cybercrime in 2016. Because we are relying more on data and connectivity, the consequences of cybercrime are severe — costing us up to $2 trillion by 2019. These increased security threats have affected Windows 10 in two ways:
- First, Microsoft significantly improved the security of Windows 10 and designed the new OS as a Windows-as-a-Service (WaaS) — forcing enterprises as well as other customers to update frequently and often. As we have seen from the WannaCry attack, a safe OS version isn't doing you any good unless you have it installed.
- Secondly, the improved security measures and the continuous commitment to fixing vulnerabilities are significant drivers for enterprise adoption — making it the fastest adopted operating system yet.
To maintain Windows-as-a-Service, Microsoft releases new feature releases twice a year and monthly quality updates which are managed by branches. Most businesses will adopt the Current Branch for Business which receives updates four months after the Current Branch updates are published. (To learn more about Windows Branching check out our always up-to-date guide.)
Jun 27, 2017 3:00:00 PM / by Clio Ionni
Alliance Extends Ability to Deliver Integrated Solutions that Accelerate IT Migrations and Optimize Time and Budget.
LONDON – June 27, 2017 – World Wide Technology (WWT), a market-leading technology solution provider, announced today that it has formed a strategic partnership with Juriba, the company that has redefined Enterprise IT Migrations.
“Forging a strategic alliance with Juriba extends our ability to deliver truly innovative, integrated solutions to help our customers manage their IT Migrations, with Juriba Dashworks, WWT CPMigrator® and supporting tools like Tanium giving us a unique stack of technologies and services” said Bob Olwig, WWT’s vice president of business development and innovation.
Jun 19, 2017 12:00:00 PM / by Barry Angell
According to Gartner, 85% of enterprises are planning to get their Windows 10 migration under way before the year is out — making the newest version of Microsoft's operating system the fastest adopted release yet. While most of this velocity is driven by increasing security concerns, Jason Leznek, Director of Windows Commercial Product Marketing, believes it is more than that:
"We designed Windows 10 to be the most secure Windows ever, ease management efforts and create more personal and productive computing experiences across devices. Customer satisfaction is at an all-time high because of the security and productivity features, which are behind the strong adoption and overall satisfaction."
And to fuel the enthusiasm about Windows 10, Microsoft commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on the subject which we want to take a closer look at today.