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Your Windows 7 Migration Is Failing…And We Know Why

The Five Most Common Windows 7 Readiness Issues

As we enter into the last quarter of 2012, it is a good time to reflect on the most common issues impacting enterprise Windows 7 migration programmes today. If you can conquer these problems you will be well on your way to successful project delivery.

In order of importance, here are our top 5 which typically halt enterprise Windows 7 readiness:

1. Not Allowing Enough Application Inventory Data Collection & Manipulation Time

Many organisations struggle to identify a solid source (or sources) of application data. The challenge of finding data that the project can a) trust and b) use, has caused many organisations to fall behind the original plan. Further, even when this data is discovered, not enough time is allocated to achieve the go-forward applications list. The problem can be even more exaggerated, depending on your data collection strategy. Whilst some have persevered with SCCM entitlement or add/remove programs data, many have turned to a separate, agent based discovery tool. The reason for this is primarily so that they can collect application usage information. Whilst undoubtedly a significant improvement versus add/remove programs, many projects are not factoring in enough time to collect, analyse and work the data.

2. Underestimating Application Remediation Efforts

It is easy to underestimate exactly how much time will be required to remediate applications that are not compatible with Windows 7 and/or application virtualisation. On average, when looking at an application packaging factory, an engineer can get through 9-18 packages a month. Use this metric to figure out how long your application scripting will take. Now also factor in the business testing required and you probably have a significant number of man-months to work through. Yes, there are automated packaging/sequencing tools out there these days, but they can’t and won’t fix every broken application. Also remember that where an application needs re-developing (especially if it is in-house written), there can be a significant lead time. Finally, applications requiring upgrade may involve a procurement/licensing element – again, this time must be factored into the programme planning effort.

3. Lack of an End to End Project Process

Is ‘process’ a dirty word? This is the question asked in many a stalling project. I once had the opportunity to visit Dell’s factory in Ireland. It was a humbling experience. Every PC built to a different specification, assembled, tested, packed and shipped by the thousands per day. We were introduced to the team that looked after factory efficiency. There was not one person on that team that didn’t know every single step in the process, and what was being done to speed it up. Can you say the same for your desktop migration project?

The answer is probably ‘No’. The result is that the organisation can end up making it up as they go along. There are so many different resources working on different elements of the project that if everyone is not on the same page, reduced efficiency is inevitable. Without an understood and agreed end to end process, it is difficult to automate, improve efficiency and get the team communicating on the same lines.

4. Virtualisation is Proving More Difficult Than Anyone Thought

Regular readers of the blogs at brianmadden.com will know that even this main proponent of virtualisation technology has been speaking recently about how difficult corporate desktop/application virtualisation is to achieve. Whilst management goals on virtualised desktops and applications are common, the reality is that very few enterprises are getting anywhere close to their target numbers. Worse, this drive to virtualisation is actually stalling projects that would be further forward if utilising fat client technology. There is no single reason for this. ROI struggles, skills issues, technology issues and difficult package conversion to virtual are all playing a significant part.

5. Lack of Scheduling Planning Focus

Some projects are simply understaffed for the complex migrations ahead. Others do not have enough resource concentrated on the migration scheduling. The project can only be delivered efficiently if the deployment schedule is realistic as regards to end user, site and department readiness to migrate. Successful projects employ constant planning and change management to enable the most efficient scheduling – ensuring that applications teams are readying the most important applications, and business engagement is ensuring that all other readiness tasks in approving the user migrations are completed in a timely fashion. If you are working with a complex mix of thousands of users and applications, building a realistic migration schedule needs to be a number one priority.

Does another common Windows 7 enterprise migration issue spring to mind? Share your experiences below.