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Is anybody taking enterprise Windows 7 deployment seriously?

The likelihood is that you are reading this as a veteran of complicated enterprise desktop migrations. You may be a program manager, project manager or involved in the technical side of the rollout. You will no doubt remember the pain of previous mass PC deployments. The decision by Microsoft to end support on Windows XP in April 2014 either fills you with dread or excitement. Maybe even both.

Windows 7 was released on Oct 22, 2009. Roughly speaking, that gave you just over four years to get your Windows 7 enterprise deployment done. You know that the last average large scale enterprise desktop migration project took three years. Medium sized businesses an average of two. In the summer of 2011, with less than three years to go, Microsoft announced that over 300 million business desktops had yet to convert from Windows XP. Many organisations have not even started.

Ask any CIO, and desktop transformation will be on their agenda. They know they are running on a 10-year-old operating system and the time has come for change. But are they underestimating the effort and cost of Windows 7 deployment in the enterprise? Are they in danger of believing the hype? Use tools to do your discovery. Use tools to do your compatibility analysis. Use tools to automate deployment. It’s all so easy. Isn’t it?

Well, no. At the risk of alienating the technical among you, I’m afraid this is about much more than just technology. If you are a program or project manager, you will know exactly what I am talking about. You see this is about people. Thousands of them. Impacted by your rollout. Impacting the way they work. Impacting their daily lives. In many cases, impacting their ability to generate revenue for your business. The success of your enterprise Windows 7 deployment probably does not get a mention in their yearly objectives. Impact? Mass apathy towards your Windows 7 migration project.

But how can we change this? Those dreaded end users. They are holding you up. They are not testing the applications quick enough. They are not remediating their applications. They are not understanding the impact they are having on the migration project. But why? If yours is like many migrations, it’s because they’re not bought in. So much focus has been placed on the technology that the people that make it happen have been lost in the process.

You need to fix this, and you need to fix it now. We’re 10 years on from the Windows XP rollout. That’s a whole new generation of end users. That’s 10 years more PC experience for the rest of us. Why do they need this disruption? What are the benefits for them? Why should they care?

Answer these questions and you’ll be half way there – creating demand for your rollout. Provide them the tools to get involved – what is their readiness status for migration? Can they help you accelerate readiness? Generate demand for self-service Windows 7 deployment.

Try not to fight human nature – we push back on things that are pushed onto us, and we work with the things we buy into, even if they are not perfect. Apply this thinking to your Windows 7 enterprise deployment and I guarantee a better result.

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Barry Angell

Written by Barry Angell

Barry is a co-founder of Juriba, where he works as CEO to drive the company strategy. 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 Migration