By the end of 2017, the client PCs of all 138,000 employees who are part of Dell Technologies companies, plus all the locked and automated PCs that support our business, will be using the latest operating system from Microsoft. We’d like to suggest that all our customers consider making the move sooner rather than later, too.
Our Windows 10 migration is a big move for us, just as it will be for any organization our size and even for much smaller enterprises. But our own digital transformation demanded it. Even more, we owe it to our customers that we migrate ourselves before they are forced to do so when Microsoft ends Windows 7 support in 2020. That’s because we want to be able to share our experience and knowledge to help them migrate as smoothly and effectively as possible.
Windows 10: Three core enhancements
What do you gain by moving your own organization to Windows 10? For starters, you’ll be able to take advantage of three core Windows enhancements: strengthened security, new productivity features, and an update model that can save IT time and effort. More specifically:
- Security: Windows 10 delivers a much stronger security model built on a foundation of 64-bit Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Secure Boot. This model includes advanced security measures, such as Credential Guard and Device Guard, both of which we are implementing. The first will help us protect against pass-the-hash attacks, and the second will help us eliminate exploits, viruses and malware.
- Productivity: Many of your employees may already be using Windows 10 at home, just as ours are, and they are familiar with its many user enhancements, such as the new Start menu, an improved Windows Explorer and Cortana. This familiarity means that workplace adoption will be easier. Additional user-focused enhancements like Continuum and Windows Hello make the new OS more attractive to many more worker profiles across a typical large organization.
- Currency: Windows 10 introduces the Windows-as-a-service (WaaS) delivery model, which provides the latest features and functionality via monthly updates and semi-annual upgrades, enabling IT to plan better. Windows 10 remote and self-install functions make it much faster and more efficient to deploy. This not only improves the user experience, but also can cut IT’s time and expense by reducing or eliminating desk visits and having to physically engage user devices.
Key benefits that can kick your digital transformation into high gear
With these enhancements, Windows 10 can help you accelerate your organization’s digital transformation into one that’s eve faster, more efficient and more responsive. And Windows 10 has three ways to help you and your IT team members in this journey.
First, it’s business-ready, with the WaaS model that enables enterprises to validate and test applications, update security, and add new features and upgrades more often.
Second, Windows 10 is always current. By making updates (i.e., patches) cumulative and an all-or-nothing proposition, Microsoft standardizes the OS base of its customers to a common configuration. This helps ensure business continuity while also support faster innovation in business applications.
Third, Windows 10 provides major upgrades twice a year, so enterprises can count on the number of Current Branch for Business (CBB) configurations at any one time to be just two — current and upcoming. This reduces triage and troubleshooting for IT, while boosting security.
A sensible approach: What worked for us
At Dell EMC, we took a three-phased approach that we suggest other organizations adopt: prepare your infrastructure, application validation and testing, and migrate your users and client base in steps.
Phase 1: Prepare infrastructure. We evaluated our infrastructure as a whole and assessed our group strategies to streamline policy creation and our testing processes. We’re using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit with Windows Server Update Services to create our reference images. Also, we’ve followed Microsoft guidelines for Configuration Manager versions in support of Windows as a service, beginning with System Center Configuration Manager Build 1511. More info.
Phase 2: Application validation and testing. With its cumulative “always current” updates and tight timeline between releases, Dell EMC chose to use Windows 10 Current Branch for Business as the edition for most of our application deployment scenarios. Of course, your situation may be different, so consider the two other Windows 10 editions, Current Branch and Long-Term Servicing Branch, to determine what’s best for you. More info.
Phase 3: Migrate users/clients. In this phase, we’ve taken deployment approach for Windows 10 along three different paths to standardization: new hires and refreshes, wipe and reloads, and upgrades. The first is the easiest. The second involves anyone with technical issues. The third is the most challenging, with the far greatest numbers of users. But using Configuration Manager, we continually review and level-up clients with background updates, so they are ready to upgrade to Windows 10. More info.
If you need help with your organization’s Windows 10 migration, we invite you to learn more about how Dell EMC can provide Windows 10 migration assistance. Also, check out our CIO Scott Pittman’s blog for much greater detail on Dell EMC’s Windows 10 migration than we can provide here.
Lastly, we’ve also have permission to share an extremely valuable Gartner report, Optimize Your Cost to Migrate to Windows 10 Using Gartner’s Cost Model. It explains the key determinants to Windows 10 migration costs that you should be aware of, as well as some recommendations to consider.