Everyone loves progress, but no one likes change. Just as a user becomes comfortable with an application or system they are told that another new and improved one will be replacing it. The changes are frustrating for users who face the nuisance of familiarising themselves with another new system.
However this scenario is likely to be repeated within businesses across the UK over the next 12-18 months as Microsoft has predicted that uptake of Windows Vista will swell during the middle of 2008. The close relationships resellers have with their customers puts them in an ideal position to advise IT departments on the smooth migration from start to finish.
To begin with, the reseller and IT team should work together to determine the migration costs, setting expectations for both parties. It's vital to find out which machines need new hardware as this may need to be upgraded or changed to meet new specifications. If hardware lease end dates on PCs are coming up for renewal, then rolling out new operating systems to these will be simple as the new hardware will arrive Vista-ready.
An assessment of the hardware and software is crucial - 70 per cent of a migration project is about preparation and planning while 10 per cent should be spent on user interaction and 20 per cent performing the migration.
Once it's been established which machines can support the operating system, attention must be paid to the machine's personality. This includes all users' customisations to their set-up, such as internet bookmarks and auto-correct entries within Office. Testing Vista in a laboratory environment is also an important factor, as it will iron out any conflicts or problems before it goes live.
Resellers can improve their bottom line by encouraging companies to install Vista software with a desktop migration tool, which negates physically visiting each PC, in turn saving the IT team valuable deployment time. Desktop migration tools will automate the process, lower labour costs and reduce post-migration support calls. Once installed, it's vital that businesses are not interrupted, and additional training and familiarisation for the users should be kept to a minimum.
Finally, companies shouldn't expect users to care whether they are upgrading.
The last migration may be fresh in their minds and for many people this will not
have been a memorable experience. By retaining user settings and redistributing
software applications user frustration will be kept to a minimum.
Some IT managers may want to 'get on with it' but this is where resellers should step in to help execute a well-planned, automated approach. Resellers are well placed to help with concerns but also need to emphasise that, if managed correctly, migrating users can be simple.
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