The fact is that a large scale enterprise Windows 7 migration is a huge logistical challenge with thousands of moving parts and dependencies. But it’s not like we haven’t done it before. There was Win 3 to NT and Win NT to XP for most organisations. Yet we are still seemingly struggling to find the best way of managing this particular program of work.
What is apparent however, is that there are ways of making it easier. Better application usage tracking and rationalisation processes, more sophisticated readiness tools (such as our own Dashworks Windows 7 readiness tool), application compatibility tools, and even (although it pains me to say it), spreadsheet tools that can handle millions of rows of data.
But whilst all of the above collaborate to make things simpler, there is one common thread that permeates the thoughts of all project managers … can we get our end users to take more responsibility for their own Windows 7 migration?
More and more these days, we are used to doing things for ourselves with our home computing environment. So can we take this principle into the corporate world? Well, the first thing to decide is what we need them to do? This is driven by where we (as a Windows 7 migration project) get most stuck.
You may be surprised to note that Juriba’s answer to this question is not related to the actual deployment. The reality is that Microsoft have such good tools out there now that the build or logistics hardware swap is the easy piece. The answer is in data validation.
Think about what you know as a user who is to be migrated to Windows 7.
- Which location you work from
- Which department you work within
- Which PC or PCs you use
- Which applications you need
- Whether you have any specific information that would stop you being ready to migrate
Here is what we have also found. Most organisations generally hold some great data centrally. But they don’t know how correct it is. Here’s a typical example: In SCCM, User A is the last logged on user to a machine. However, in the login history, User B has also logged on in the last 30 days. Which of us is the owner, or is it a shared PC? We don’t know. The only way to find out conclusively is to ask us. Manual surveys are intensive and out of date as soon as we have done them, so we need a better mechanism.
It is this very issue that drove us to build self-service data validation into Dashworks – the world leading user migration readiness management toolset. By holding the data centrally, and refreshing it on a schedule, Dashworks has always kept in sync near-time to the live environment. But what if the live environment is wrong? Well, now we have, in release 3.0 of Dashworks, a better way to validate.
Every individual user can now be switched on for self-service information validation. It’s simple enough to understand, easy to control and can further remove some of the heavy data lifting through data override. Each user gets their own tailored page, in which they are asked to validate the information we hold about them; which PCs they use, which apps they need, where and who they are, and any other important questions we need to ask.
Of course, the benefits can be huge:
- Remove manual audits
- Drive application rationalisation
- Identify PC ownership
- Find out critical project related information not available elsewhere
- Clean up your own source system data
Ok – so culturally, it’s a big change from how we have done it in the past. But we know the past was slow, manually intensive and prone to error. So embrace the future. We’re getting the end users involved, maybe so should you?