Migrating Your SMB to Windows 8

    Is your organization looking to make the transition from Windows 8, Microsoft’s newest iteration of the flagship Windows operating system? According to Quest Software, while organizations have unique variables that can affect migrations, a core set of requirements for preparing, planning, organizing and implementing the process remains the same.

    Drawing from its years of experience with migration projects and expertise in application compatibility, Quest sent along a number of tips to help ease the migration between Windows 7 and Windows 8. You can read the full list from them here.

    I highlight three points that I felt are particularly important for smaller businesses, and offer my own perspective as a former administrator and IT manager for SMBs.

    Plan your migration

    Quest recommends that SMBs scope and assess the migration project to get a clear understanding of cost, resources and time required. Given that cost is relatively straightforward to figure out, an adequate estimation of the time required is the really crucial component here for SMBs that are usually strapped for manpower. Moreover, overruns can result in productivity losses as employees may find themselves underequipped to perform their work for the day.

    Rationalize your application list

    Rather than seek to migrate each and every software application, the recommendation is for SMBs to first sieve out incompatible software. This may entail looking for a replacement, or consolidating on fewer apps that deliver the same functionalities. Not only does this free up businesses from having to maintain what they don’t need, but it helps to reduce the overall complexity of the migration.

    Official work tools aside, SMBs must also remember to account for unmanaged applications too, which are unofficial software and utilities that are nevertheless used by employees to aid their productivity.

    Conduct application compatibility assessment early

    Not only should application compatibility assessment be done, but it should be performed as early as possible to allow for accurate results to help ensure that rationalization decisions — mentioned above — are sound.

    “Companies often underestimate the major obstacles caused by application compatibility issues brought on by Windows migrations,” says Quest in an email message to me. The company pointed out that the process can include laborious and time-consuming manual processes, which is why it is even more important to start early.

    Don’t neglect your Web applications

    More mission-critical apps depend on Web applications more than you think, warns Quest. Given that the Internet Explorer (IE) browser is typically installed with the Windows operating system, it hence makes sense to ensure that Web applications will continue to function well on the new browser. This point is doubly valid due to how touch-screen tablet users are likely to settle for the default IE 10 browser from the Start screen.

    It should be evident that proper planning and an early head start can help SMBs clear hurdles in migrating to a new operating system with minimal risks on the corporate level. Finally, it is also important to formerly acquaint users to the various user interface changes in Windows 8, too. For now, you may want to check out why SMBs should consider deploying Windows 8 ultrabooks.

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