Over the past year we have talked to hundreds of IT professionals. Some are enterprise IT project managers heading up large Windows 10 migration or Office 365 roll out projects, while others are CIOs and CTOs concerned about creating an Evergreen IT environment that will enable them to stay nimble and on top of their IT landscape. Either way, their goal is to drive Digital Transformation as effectively and efficiently as possible.
No matter who we spoke to, there was one common thread in all conversations. Today's IT departments are already stretched thin just trying to chip away at the ever-increasing mountain of compounding IT technical debt. But they also must keep pace with the faster cadence of changes (e.g., Windows 10 Branching, Office 365 additions) and lead the charge of the digital transformation efforts their CEO is demanding and the industry is heading toward — regardless of whether or not they are positioned to do so.
This new world simply cannot function using the same manual tools and processes of the past — there simply aren't the resources or budget available. That means, ongoing IT transformation needs to become efficient, repeatable and automated wherever possible. Data analysis and reporting need to be centralized and made easily accessible to more people to facilitate faster and better decisions and actions. Roll out and upgrade events must become less of a headache!
Free The Data: Better Dashboards, Slice & Dice, and Smart Lists
If you are a technical resource dealing with the daily grind of tedious migration tasks or their business counterpart, you know how crucial easy access to the right information, in the right format, at the right time can be.
However, that is easier said than done, even if you are not using any out-of-date spreadsheets or complicated, hand-cranked databases anymore, but a sophisticated data warehouse instead. Data Warehouses can be a little intimidating to most people, but they don't have to be. In 2017, we are making big changes to Dashworks to enable technical as well as business users without special training to gain access to the information they need, and act upon it.
With Dashworks 5.1, expected in March 2017, you will be able to slice and dice data, as well as create smart lists from an intuitive and easy-to-use user interface. For example, if your boss wants to spend some budget on a mini hardware replacement project, and he asks you to find out how many devices in your estate require a refresh due to aging or warranty status, you can do so with a click of a button. This will enable you to generate your own business intelligence data without having to rely on the data/IT/project owner to run a report.
In the beginning of Q3/2017, we are expecting Dashworks 5.2, which will build upon the above discussed improvements by adding multi-dimensional reporting and 5-6 pre-coded dashboards that 95% of our customer base will find incredibly useful for helping to manage Windows 10 branching and to provide a standard reporting framework for executive project reports. These will be delivered as a standard management pack, so no consultancy is needed to create, for example, a dashboard showing project Plan vs. Actual Views.
In the longer-term, we also have exciting news: we are developing a dynamic reporting module for Dashworks with a completely new UI that is already looking sleek and modern! We cannot wait to share with you the multi-dimension filters, drill-downs, lightweight projects and actionable insights that will be part of that. So, stay tuned for more news.
Windows 10 Branching Management Made Easy
As more enterprises adopt Windows 10 across their organizations, IT admins turn their attention to the new servicing options that come with Microsoft's last operating system. Since each new upgrade is basically a mini OS-migration project, anxiety runs high as PMs are trying to understand how to manage each new rollout across several (tens of) thousands of users every 14-16 months. In fact, as we write this, any devices currently running build 1507 will need to be upgraded in the next two months.
(If you are not clear on the Windows 10 Branching Update and Upgrade Timeline, check out our help article on that.)
To roll out new updates as efficiently and with as little business disruption as possible, you will need to run a mini-project. This will involve assessing your estate for capacity to roll the next release (e.g., available disk space), figuring out whether all of your apps and hardware are still compatible and communicating to your user base to provide awareness of the upcoming disruption. You will also probably want to assign your users into deployment waves to create technical, business and process pilots, as well as mass deployment waves that they will stay in for subsequent upgrades as well. What quickly becomes impossible with spreadsheets and cobbled-together databases, turns into an advantage with Dashworks.
With the upcoming version, you can bring the Windows Branching information into your Dashworks console, create smart lists based on which version they are on (and other criteria - e.g., hardware chipset specification) and act upon it. For example, you might want to find all users that are on Windows 10 Version 1507 and in a default group called Pilot 1, and onboard them into the 1511 or 1607 roll out project. The idea is to basically make each upgrade a zero-touch migration (as far as possible) when scheduling and delivering the updates across large volumes of devices and users.
Other Noteworthy Improvements
Last, but not least, I want to point out two other exciting improvements in our mid-term product roadmap:
- Custom Actions take the smart list functionality to the next level by allowing you to assign a predetermined action to a user, device or another asset that meets specific criteria. For example, you can create a smart list as part of an Adobe Reader Upgrade and automatically assign any device that meets your criteria into an application upgrade group.
- Site Champion Views & Direct Edits. Site Champions (designated information gatherers) often have to rely on data extracts and uploads to perform multiple data edits on a large set of site-based data. With this new update, you will be able to provide your site champions with editable and real-time self-service capability to validate hundreds of users, assets, target state configurations and communication options in one go.
The Future Is Evergreen
IT Transformation Management tasks must be delivered at the lowest cost, time and risk profile possible. IT organizations cannot come to a grinding halt in order to do an OS upgrade or hardware refresh every couple of years. Therefore, Juriba's Enterprise IT Migration Management Platform sets you up for long-term success by providing you with a proven and standardized perpetual project framework, including baked-in best practices for faster and easier project setup and process repeatability. This will significantly increase your speed, velocity and adaptability, resulting in significant risk and cost reductions throughout your end-user hardware and software asset lifecycles.