For most people thinking about Windows 10, their views are focused on features and how these will help make their world more efficient. For End User Technologists, Windows 10 brings new thoughts:
- How does Windows 10 fit into my device strategy?
- How do I manage security?
- How do I manage user experience?
- What breaks when I deploy it (apps and infrastructure)?
- What is new that allows me to do things differently or more efficiently?
In a normal sequential upgrade of operating systems, this would be bread and butter. Sequential upgrades simply stopped after Windows XP and people held onto XP — it worked. The complexity of migrating legacy apps delayed the move to Windows 7, and it was Windows 7 that most enterprises landed on. Then there was Windows Vista and Windows 8, which didn’t offer the case to move; Windows 7 was a happy place to be. IT had burned all favours with the business in app testing and the move to 7. Some have moved to Windows 8.1, but the market is still dominated by Windows 7 with some XP.
While end-user compute has got happy with Windows 7, the business is now impatient. The pain of app testing and migration from XP has been almost forgotten and been replaced by new pains:
- The rapid transformation to digital business with modern client operating systems to support it.
- Exponential increases in expectation levels from users
- Mobility needs driving pressure for the latest devices
Initially the gap between what enterprise IT could do with Windows XP and business expectation was filled by mobile operating systems (iOS and Android). Now those operating systems not enough, and there is a pull for delivery models that enable Windows 10 tablet and hybrid devices alongside iOS, Android and MacOS. IT needs to think about the end-user platform digital business. Windows 7 (and XP) needs to be upgraded, and the business is turning to IT to solve the problem quickly. IT is under pressure to show increased value, and Windows 10 is one lever they are pulling — and, from my observation, pulling now and pulling hard. Reaction time is key but the reaction path or journey is going to have routes we’ve never taken the Windows operating system on in the past.
I will compare the journeys to modes of transport. We have traditional enterprise systems, which are slow to move and sometimes hit restrictions with what they can perform (the truck). They are, however, really powerful vehicles, and their loads can be configured in many ways to meet specific needs. Enterprise cloud systems are also now available, enabling new journeys with flexible configuration modes (the car). Finally there are personal knowledge and collaboration systems (the motorbike), which allow even more flexibility and avoid delays. The challenge is, most enterprise Windows IT systems are trucks. They are slow to move and sometimes have the air-brakes locked on to prevent movement (i.e. image design, app packaging, app compatibility). The expectation is that IT can deliver all these modes and, in fact, deliver a blend of delivery techniques to support each user.
My argument is that you can’t move at one speed. Each business process will have its own adoption speed; each business process will justify its own investment. End User Technologists must put plans in place to enable all scenarios and start deploying architectures in order to accept the first users in 2016. Those plans must include deployment strategies for:
- Windows 10 enables partial management of a container (enterprise mobility management)
- Who gets this experience?
- When do they get this experience?
- Which apps will be enabled with this experience?
- How do you change and automate your IT processes?
- Do you still need to own the image?
- Windows 10 full device management
- What processes can you improve/retire/create?
- What new features should I enable?
- How do I upgrade to secure boot features cost effectively?
- How do I deal with my app estate effectively?
- Windows 10 as part of a full end-user compute strategy
- How do I enable a unified web-store across operating systems and automate processes?
- How do I support collaboration, apps and data across devices?
- Where do virtual desktops and apps sit in my strategy?
- How does your Windows 10 strategy enable your business (digital requirements, contextual computing, smart machines etc.)
I’m working closely with our teams developing Windows 10 Quickstart to help clients on this journey. We consider the approach to be in these necessary phases:
- Advisory – what should I do?
- Assessment – what have I got?
- Migration planning
- Highly automated processes
In summary, Windows 10 offers enterprises an exciting point in time to consider the future of work and how to make people and businesses more productive. Windows 10 gives an opportunity for IT to improve bonds with the business and shed a lot of legacy in order to become more agile. The journeys will not be as simple as previous upgrades, as the number of delivery options increases. But are you ready for a fun ride?
Stu Downes is a solution lead within the CSC MyWorkStyle offering group. Stu’s role working with product management, industry analysts, key clients and partners gives him a unique view of market trends and client needs. Since joining CSC in 1999 Stu has had a number of roles delivering, designing and leading solutions and products. Stu is now shaping workplace products that enable the hyper productive digital workplace.