Now that the end of support for Windows XP and Office 2003 is approaching (April 2014), companies should accelerate their plans to migrate to a new version of Windows (7 or 8) and Office (2010 or 2013). Even if it looks that there is still time, an enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months for a full migration. A planned migration consists of key steps that organizations should follow.
Planning. For a successful migration, IT administrators must formulate a plan. They should set goals, stay focused and not get distracted by other upgrade, such as network upgrades, that may raise costs and derail the migration. Another important step during this step is assessing hardware and software in the environment - both should be evaluated in order to find out if ready for new versions and what needs to be replaced or upgraded.
Creating the standard image. During this stage administrators build the standard image, test the applications and automate the migration process. The software catalog gets created, which contains a list of all applications in the environment together with application owners, application importance (critical, important, useful) and if it’s compatible with the new operating system. If a specific software is not compatible and depending on its importance, administrators will have to decide whether to upgrade, patch, replace or retire.
Testing and roll-out. At this point the administrator should have the standard image created and should focus on testing the roll-out. The first step is to identify a small group of users/machines that will be migrated (typically people from the IT department) and who will provide feedback to the project team. Once this step is complete and administrators verify that the settings are as expected, they can go forward and expand the pilot group to the entire IT department or a specific office. If this step is successful, the pilot phase ends and the full migration roll-out can begin.
During the actual migration, effective reporting can help IT administrators analyze different aspects of the project such as, what clients are running the new OS/office application and therefore provide information on what users will need to be trained. Using these tools and following the migration best practices will help ensure a successful migration that would definitely benefit the organization.