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Every organization handles their IT transformation projects differently, depending on their business requirements, applications used, IT team and other available project resources. However, there are some major commonalities when you look at enterprise migration projects larger than 5,000 seats. They are always incredibly complex, costly, and can seemingly take forever if not managed right.

Let's look at a Windows 10 migration as an example. There are different approaches to tackling a project of this scale: You can run it in-house with hand-cranked databases and spreadsheets, you can hire a service provider such as HP Enterprise Services, Atos, Microsoft Consulting Services, Wipro, Fujitsu or HCL to handle the migration on your behalf (they all use Dashworks by the way), or you can deploy Dashworks in-house to enable your team to get organized and stay in control with a central command and control center.

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Irrespective of whether you are opting for keeping the project in-house, or using a service integrator, look out for these tell-tale signs that you should leverage the power of an IT transformation project management tool instead of going it alone.

#1: You Are Upgrading Thousands Of Users

If you are migrating 50 users to Windows 10 over the next few months, you likely won't need a full-blown migration tool. You are probably the only one or one of a few team members who will handle this migration. Your solution may be a single spreadsheet in which you manage the status of your project. Manual processes are fine, and you can muddle through.

Now imagine what a "simple" Windows 10 upgrade would look like for 5,000 or even 50,000 users! Factor in different locations, departments, user roles and other dependencies into the mix and the situation soon becomes unmanageable using spreadsheets — there is too much data and too many interdependencies. Maybe the organization wants to piggyback on a hardware refresh cycle as well. The project cost of going it alone becomes significantly higher at around 5,000 seats compared to leveraging a tool like Dashworks.

#2: You Are Already Passing Around Spreadsheets

There are two problems with managing your larger IT migration projects with spreadsheets:

  1. They are out-of-date the instant they are created. Without a data warehousing solution that gives you a live and accurate representation of your IT environment, you will have to stitch together data feeds to populate those spreadsheets which will take weeks to accomplish. Because spreadsheets have no live connection to your live environment, they are basically out-of-date as soon as they are created.
  2. They are not scalable beyond a very small migration project. Because of the complexity of enterprise migrations, the spreadsheet solution is simply not scalable. If you are dealing with tens of thousands of data rows (often millions when you factor in application mappings) and implementing macros and pivot data, getting the information organized and actionable will take weeks or months instead of minutes or hours.

Ultimately, it becomes impossible to manage a fluid process by passing around dozens of versions of out-of-date spreadsheets. In contrast, by using an IT Project Management Tool, like Dashworks, you can manage almost any IT transformation project from hardware refreshes, Operating System upgrades to email migrations, Active Directory upgrades and much more. The data warehousing tool pulls in all of the necessary data, builds a repository of all assets to be migrated, dependencies, and enables you to manage the migration, the user communication, and self-service capabilities.

#3: You Need Better And More Sophisticated User Engagement

User involvement and engagement throughout a migration or upgrade project is critical. It lets your end users be part of the project in the early stages and often results in higher user satisfaction and faster software adoption. It gives employees a sense of ownership and the feeling this is something that is done WITH them, rather than TO them. If you are managing your IT transformation in a vacuum, it is likely that project failure lies just around the corner.

With Dashworks, you can engage your users early on with targeted and automated email communication. In addition, you can enable them to use the self-service capabilities to validate information and drive the migration forward.

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#4: You Are Looking To Consolidate Software Usage

Many organizations are treating their software lifecycle management not as an ongoing process, but rather look to other IT transformation projects, such as a Windows 10 migration, to consolidate software usage as all the business critical business applications have to be assessed, packaged, and migrated anyway.

By leveraging Dashwork's self-service capabilities, users can verify the existing information, self-assess the need for their currently installed applications and provide context to what they really need. This is important if an employee has changed roles since the last assessment and now has no need for Adobe Photoshop or other applications he has installed on his laptop, for example. On the other hand, the rule might be that any application not used in a certain time period gets eliminated. However, this application could be potentially mission-critical, but is only used quarterly - such as certain financial applications. This way, you can cut down and consolidate a significant percentage of your software licenses.

#5: You Need A Central Command & Control Station

With bigger migration projects, you will have many different teams working on different tasks at the same time. In order to coordinate the efforts and eliminate missing updates and resulting bottlenecks, your team needs a single pane of glass that allows everyone on the team to be up-to-date with the status of all project items in real-time. This is impossible to accomplish by handing around dozens of spreadsheets.

Conclusion

Once you reach 5,000 seats and you are dealing with the complexities that inevitably come with a project of that size, you need to look into a migration platform with a robust data warehousing solution, reporting, self-service and automated email capabilities. Not only can you significantly cut down the overall project time, but also achieve a higher return on investment and position yourself much better for future initiatives.

Click here to download the IT Project Manager Guide to Windows 10 Migrations eBook

Barry Angell

Written by Barry Angell

Barry is a co-founder of Juriba, where he is focused on using his experience in IT migration to help drive product strategy, pre-sales and service delivery. He is an experienced End User Services executive that has helped manage thousands of users, computers, applications and mailboxes to their next IT platform. He has saved millions of dollars for internal departments and customers alike through product, project, process and service delivery efficiency.

Topics: IT Strategy Windows 10/Desktop Migration Server Migration