Moving up to a new version of Windows can be a real drag. Compatibility conundrums. Potential data loss. There are numerous migration challenges that may come into play. For the consumer, these barriers are mere annoyances. They can be disastrous in the enterprise environment.
With applications, user groups, hardware and other components to account for, the slightest hiccup can result in interruptions, a loss of productivity, and utter chaos for the end-users in an organization. The madness thickens when both IT and support staff find themselves overwhelmed by the influx of support tickets, calls, and complaints from unruly customers. This sort of transition is particularly challenging for organizations that lack the resources needed to ensure that the move is properly planned and executed.
Small to medium sized business can eliminate the challenges of upgrading to a new Windows OS with the aid of an IT managed service provider. MSPs take the hassle out of migration by helping with critical aspects such as:
System evaluation. Organizations must conduct a thorough evaluation of their existing IT assets before moving forward with a system upgrade. It’s necessary to identify which computers should be included in the upgrade, what needs to be done to get them prepared, and how a migration may impact existing business applications. By accessing your current situation, an MSP can provide a clear picture of your current hardware and software mix, thus allowing you to plan more effectively.
System objectives. Some companies, like those still running Windows XP, upgrade because their current system is nearing its end of life cycle. Others migrate with specific goals in mind. Whether it’s improving security or running a new set of applications, an MSP can help you establish milestones for those goals and in the process, make them easier to achieve.
Migration strategy. With a comprehensive assessment hammered out and an objective defined, MSPs have all the details they need to help you draw up a strategy that works to your advantage. A good strategy may consist of fine-tuning your hardware for the best possible performance, prepping your applications for a successful deployment, and gathering existing data from old machines. Ideally, your MSP partner will execute this plan in a manner that makes optimal use of resources and enables a smooth transition.
What to Look for in an MSP
It’s a comforting to know that you don’t have to be alone in your Windows migration efforts. However, not all managed service providers are created equal. Remember, this area is more like a niche specialty that not all vendors possess, so you’ll need to keep these factors in mind when shopping for an MSP.
Windows competence. If you’re going to pay for help with your migration needs, might as well make sure you get your money’s worth, right? Look for an MSP with a competent, qualified IT staff that has expert knowledge of the designated system and supported Microsoft technologies.
Smart tools. The right people for the job are not only knowledgeable of the essential technologies – they’re armed with the right tools as well. Microsoft, Dell and other companies offer tools that bring capabilities such as planning, compatibility testing, and process automation to the table. The tools are out there. What’s important is finding a provider that can deliver the tool set that accommodates the size and specific requirements of your business.
Strategic Flexibility. When entering an agreement with a managed service provider, you enter a relationship with a partner who (hopefully) has your best IT interests at heart. The ideal MSP will work with you and take the time to understand your IT environment and what needs to happen to have a seamless transition.
Migrating to a new Windows system can be so daunting that you’re tempted to remain static and ride the mantra of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. But it doesn’t have to be. Partner up with a good MSP, and that inevitable stroll up the Windows ladder will be a lot easier to hack.
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