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Windows 7 offers significant benefits from increased performance, productivity, reliability, and security, however a large scale software upgrade of this kind requires significant planning in order to ensure a smooth migration. Windows 7 migration offers an excellent opportunity to establish an IT asset management program, to leverage and augment the data compilation investments that will be required to assess the software and hardware migration requirements.
Many organizations chose to forgo Windows Vista deployment and wait for Windows 7, there has been a significant time lag from the launch of Windows XP. With Mainstream Support for XP Professional already ended and Extended Support to end in 2014, you will want to prepare for your migration Windows 7 migration if you have not already done so.
Keeping your workforce productive by ensuring application compatibility and ensuring applications will install and operate predictably on Windows 7 is significantly more difficult if you are working with outdated IT asset and software information.
Application compatibility can be the root of much of the Windows 7 migration issue, driven by the new changes in features and functions, and the complexity of the diverse set of legacy applications and their architecture (16, 32 or 64-bit). You will need to understand which users are using which applications, whether they are Windows 7 compliant, along with any changes that may be required. Microsoft’s Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) can allow you to operate non-compliant applications in a virtual XP Mode, however you will require a Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) subscription that will also require Software Assurance.
You will want to assess your Software Assurance coverage, which can include Microsoft’s Desktop Deployment Planning Services (DDPS) that will offer significant assistance for your Windows 7 migrations if you are on a Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement with an Open Value, Select/Select Plus with SAM, or Enterprise Agreement, providing varying degrees of assistance. Locating software media, licensing information and usage rights will be required for efficient reinstallation in order to ensure compliance. Compiling all of the licensing details and purchase records will create a strong base for an ongoing Software Asset Management program.
Windows 7 migration will also require analysis of your hardware for suitability, to make sure that it is capable of running Windows 7, including the CPU, memory and the amount of available disc space. Outside of the discovery data, you will want to understand your current contractual positions and timeline until expiration for hardware that may need to be refreshed, which will likely ship which Windows 7 preinstalled, allowing you to demote these devices accordingly.
Windows 7 migration will require significant data gathering that can provide a strong base for an IT asset management program.
Gartner found that Clients who successfully execute ITAM programs typically achieved 30% cost savings in the first year, and at least 5% cost savings in each of the following five years(1). An IT asset management program will help to simplify the migration, cut ongoing risk and and allow your organization to further benefit from Windows 7 project investment. Migrating to Windows 7 can be challenging, however there is no better time for your IT Asset Management program to shine.
(1) Alex Bona. "IT Asset Management Key Initiative Overview". Gartner. ID Number: G00212090. Apr. 18, 2011