Identifying your unique Windows 8 adoption path

Identifying your unique Windows 8 adoption path

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Over the past year the Windows commercial team has met with hundreds of business customers to discuss their Windows 8 plans. From large to small businesses, customers are telling us that they are planning to adopt Windows 8 for many scenarios that will give them significant benefits. For example, most customers are eager to deploy devices that provide employees the convenience of a tablet with the productivity of a PC, while many are developing apps to help improve specific business processes. Still, others are expecting that their customers will be buying Windows 8. These businesses are creating apps to help build customer relationships and loyalty by providing their customers with great new services and experiences. Many organizations are also interested in taking advantage of the improvements made to the fundamentals, such as better security and faster performance. Others are looking at how Windows 8 can make life easier for their mobile workers. Regardless of why your organization is interested in Windows 8, you can be confident that one of the strong points of Windows 8 is its high compatibility with Windows 7. This will allow businesses to adopt Windows 8 devices in an environment with many Windows 7 PCs.

While IT decision makers are looking at Windows 8 for many different scenarios – from tablets, to apps, to groups of mobile workers – most are also thinking about their operating system migration plans and are asking us for recommendations based on where they are in their deployment processes.

So what’s your operating system adoption path?

This is an important question that organizations should be considering as the growth of end-user mobility, cloud-based technologies, proliferation of devices, and bring your own device (BYOD) scenarios means that each business now has its own unique adoption path to consider. One factor is abundantly clear: current technology trends call for more agile OS adoption approaches than what traditional enterprise deployment practices would historically enable.

Now that Windows 8 is available to enterprise volume licensing customers and will reach broader audiences on October 26, it is a great time for all businesses to identify where Windows 8 deployment can provide the most benefit, and integrate it into overall planning. As many of you are likely at various stages of operating system migration, I’d like to assist by outlining considerations that will help you determine the best Windows deployment path for your organization:

Customers with Windows 7 deployment in progress

Customers that are in the progress of Windows 7 deployments should continue deploying Windows 7 and migrate off of Windows XP as soon as possible due to the operating system’s forthcoming end of support slated for April 8, 2014. Taking advantage of the high compatibility between Windows 8 and Windows 7, we recommend customers identify employees and user groups that can benefit most from Windows 8’s capabilities and deploy Windows 8 for those people, alongside Windows 7. There are a number of key scenarios where we expect a vast majority of customers will get immediate benefits from Windows 8 adoption:

  • Exploring the Windows 8 development platform to develop and pilot Windows 8 apps
  • Using Windows 8 on tablets and other innovative devices to enable mobility and support scenarios where people rely on tablets solutions
  • Preparing to support Windows 8 BYOD scenarios in the workplace

Of course, there are other great Windows 8 capabilities that can provide companies with just the right scenarios to start adopting Windows 8 side-by-side with Windows 7: Windows To Go, DirectAccess, security advancements, VDI improvements, and many more.

Windows 7 customers

Organizations with Windows 7 fully in place are in the best position to start taking immediate advantage of the benefits that Windows 8 can offer. High compatibility between Windows 8 and Windows 7 minimizes the amount of app testing and remediation as most customers’ current Windows 7 apps and hardware will work with Windows 8. As a result, it is easier for organizations to focus on evaluating and choosing Windows 8 scenarios that best fit their business needs. We recommend that customers start evaluating Windows 8 today for a side-by-side adoption with Windows 7 for key business scenarios.

Windows XP customers and early stage Windows 7 migrations

As previously mentioned, if you haven’t already, now is the time to begin XP migrations. Customers still running Windows XP in April 2014 will face the risk of running unsupported software. Further, most new hardware options will likely not support the Windows XP operating system.

Readying a company’s applications for moving from Windows XP can take a substantial amount of time. Therefore, we recommend that customers start the effort immediately, if the process has not already begun. To help accelerate this process, and aid in deciding the most relevant deployment path, it is important that IT organizations first gather an inventory of their existing apps and rationalize their application portfolio so they may focus on testing the subset of apps that are critical for the business, or for the target group of users within the organization.

By focusing on testing only critical apps, customers will be able to reduce the time needed to test their apps with Windows 7 and Windows 8. Additionally, we suggest that customers determine which parts of their organizations and end-user groups will benefit most from specific Windows 8 capabilities, and which will be best suited to deploy Windows 7.

Organizations may need to take different approaches to their operating system migrations due to the specific needs of their environment. For some, moving their full company to Windows 8 will be the best choice, and for others it may be migrating first to Windows 7. Still, for many, it will be deploying Windows 8 side-by-side with Windows7 for key scenarios, such as Windows 8 tablets for mobile users. Enabled by high compatibility between Windows 7 and Windows 8, this deployment option provides the highest level of OS flexibility for each organization’s unique need. The overall approach will depend on each customer’s individual situation taking into account the size of their company, number of existing apps currently in use, and many other factors. Therefore, it is important that customers give themselves agility in their adoption path by streamlining their app testing. And, like with any new technology, companies should plan to educate their employees.

To summarize, we recommend Windows XP customers focus on an accelerated departure from Windows XP, with the goal to move to an environment with Windows 8 deployed side-by-side with Windows 7.

Windows Vista customers

We suggest all Windows Vista customers start developing and piloting new Windows 8 apps today. We also recommend that customers start planning their company’s full migration to Windows 8. While Windows Vista is supported until 2017, Windows 8 will allow these customers to gain significant mobility, security and productivity benefits for their organizations.

I hope these recommendations have been beneficial to help kick-start your Windows 8 planning. Please check back here regularly for additional information about Windows 8. In the meantime, please feel free to read more about Windows deployment tools and guidance, as well as Windows 8 enterprise capabilities and benefits.

17 Comments
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  • I have tried three times via the tech desk at microsoft,to upgrade,which I have paid for,all of these attemps,have failed, and I am unable to get a refund ?.

  • xpclient
    50 Posts

    @tcprescott, See you are completely missing the point. It's not about inconvenience. It's about integrity. Removing such little choices = cheating and being dishonest and not fixing them even after bringing them to Microsoft's attention is arrogance. Windows XP won't expire after support ends and people smart enough to know how to keep XP secure will always find a way to do so. Why should I reduce my productivity and get less value in an "upgrade"? I see no reason to do so. It's your "MUST move forward" mentality that is the problem that makes dishonest companies like Microsoft rich. You are no one to declare to anyone it's "time to move on". They will decide what's best for them, not Microsoft. If you don't have the ability to understand that you are being forced to adapt to whatever non-sensical changes Microsoft makes that even reduce value (good example is Vista or Windows 8), then I pity you.

  • @xpclient

    I'm no Microsoft fanboy, but there is a difference little "conveniences" that are missing in Windows Vista/7 and business critical features.

    Windows XP is a dying operating system, it was great for the last 12 years, but its really time to move on.  If you don't have the ability cope with being unable to sort things the exact way you want, then we really should call you Sheldon Cooper.

  • xpclient
    50 Posts

    I was talking to Microsoft in the first place and attacked by the clueless MVP adacosta to "stop it". @nullifi, I miss several features, but in particular I miss the inability of Explorer to disable a sorting order. I wrote those articles, so I know Windows far better than you do, I don't need to explain what features from that huge list that I need unless they're getting fixed in which case I can co-operate with Microsoft to test a hotfix.

  • nullifi
    2 Posts

    @xpclient so, that's a no then. There is no feature you need. You just know that some features were removed, so you claim "a feature" is missing but you can't name it.

    That was an interesting read, though. Thanks for the links.

  • @xpclient

    I still cannot see what feature your business absolutly NEED that could be in both lists. Don't get me wrong, XP was a good OS...12 years ago.

    By the way with a nickname like xpclient and an urge to keep XP, you are not in a position to call anyone a fanboy.

  • xpclient
    50 Posts

    Shill and fanboy warning alert!!! Well since the fanboys asked and the shills snapped:

    en.wikipedia.org/.../List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7

    en.wikipedia.org/.../List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista

  • adacosta
    91 Posts

    xpclient - stop it, just stop it right now. Those two 2001 Dell boxes running Windows XP Home Edition do not count. Now stop it, just stop it. You can't even tell us what it is you are talking about, so stop it, just stop it!

  • nullifi
    2 Posts

    Come on, xpclient! Tell us what feature you're missing! I'm not the only one that's extremely curious as to what feature you're referring to.

  • @xpclient

    I miss those BSOD and ActiveX exploits too.

    But seriously, name a single OS feature you wont have in Windows 7?

    Also, I wounldn't put my company's security at stake for OS features.

    That would be a bad IT decision.

  • xpclient
    50 Posts

    I am talking about operating system features I need, not any application incompatibility. If you don't miss those, it means you don't need those. Doesn't mean no one needs them.

  • Mark
    11 Posts

    Thanks Stella. We're 30% on Windows 7. Trying a Surface when it's available, interested in the mobility/touch options of Windows 8. mostly stay on windows 7 I expect, until we develop windows 8 touch applications for the production lines maybe...

  • abm
    268 Posts

    @xpclient., considering your application is strictly requiring Windows XP, but you need the system update while having the ability to run WinXP app with WinXP look and feel without running the instance of XP itself. There you need MED-V. Take a look at the video on www.microsoft.com/.../default.aspx (skip to 3:40). Make sure you have Silverlight installed microsoft.com/getsilverlight.

    Learn more about MED-V technology www.microsoft.com/.../med-v.aspx

    Pity that your application is "locked" to Windows XP, which ain't easy to digest... But, as your nametag suggests, it seems more like you are obsessed with Windows XP and you are not here to accept the truth that people have moved on to the next versions more reliable and snappier than XP.

  • @xpclient I'm curious to know what you're doing exactly that can't be done on Windows 7, Windows 8, iOS, Linux or Android, for that matter. I've seen a lot of pretty complicated and amazing things done with those OSes. Typically in cases like these, it seems like the problem with migrating OSes has more to do with inertia than anything else. I have serious doubt when I hear "it can't be done."

  • @xpclient Yea, I can't think of anything major that was in XP that was removed in Windows 7, although I can think of plenty of Windows 7 features that aren't available in XP. What feature are you refering to?

  • Jarret
    4 Posts

    @xpclient what is so vital in XP that is missing from newer versions of Windows?

  • xpclient
    50 Posts

    My business depends on features present only in Windows XP which are missing on all later versions of Windows. Unless Microsoft creates a hotfix to restore lost functionality, I have no plans to leave Windows XP. Given eventual forced obsolescence of XP due to lack of drivers, I will virtualize it. Security updates do not bother me more than missing functionality. I am smart enough to know how to keep my physical or virtual XP machine secure. Pity, Microsoft continues to remove functionality I need, otherwise I would have definitely upgraded to newer versions which also bring some improvements, as I don't like staying on older OSes unless it's a forced requirement. If the Windows Sustained Engineering team is interested in helping me with a hotfix...I will provide more details. I have filed Design Change Requests in the past but all have been reject. The issue I face is also faced by hundreds of other customers so I am sure developing a hotfix might actually be worth the cost if all those XP customers migrate to Windows 7.