If you haven’t started on an XP migration project yet, here’s advice on what to do:
–Decide what platform you’re moving to: Few organizations are standardizing on Windows 8, says David Johnson of Forrester Research, in part because the new interface is so different from what staff are used to;
–Do a hardware and application assessment. Can existing PCs run the new platform? Are your apps compatible with it? Once that’s done, decide if apps need to be migrated. Develop an application readiness schedule for each mission-critical app.
–Do you have the resources to do the migration yourself? If so, Microsoft and other suppliers have some automated tools. If the work is too much, it may have to be outsourced. Delay other outsourcing decisions until you have a clear migration plan, says Forrester.
–Build a Win7/8 reference image to test remediated applications against;
–Develop a project plan and a communications plan. Departments have to know what’s coming – you don’t want to delay a product launch because there’s a PC migration. Every staff member getting a new PC has to know when to expect it. Do they need to avoid travelling at a particular time? Will the company have to give some people PCs temporarily?
–Perform the migration on test groups to catch problems. If everything’s okay, do it.
Confronting a desktop migration is also the time to think about alternatives, like virtual desktop infrastructure, thin clients and allowing some staff to use Macs or tablets. In fact, it’s an opportunity to think about implementing a bring-your-own device (BYOD) policy, although that comes with other IT implications – BYOD means having security software that checks the configuration of anything that connects to the network.
Johnson notes that some companies are using unorthodox solutions rather than convert older XP-compatible apps, such as running them on Windows Server 2003 – largely binary compatible with XP — in a virtualized XenApp server environment and giving staff desktop access through Citrix.