More and more businesses are reaping competitive benefits from modernising their desktop fleets with Windows 10. In my experience, the rate of adoption is continuing at pace. And for good reason: Windows 10 is revolutionary and is modernising businesses to become more nimble, more efficient and more profitable.
But there are many hold-outs. Companies are delaying what they perceive to be a protracted and painful OS upgrade process. Viewing a Windows 10 migration as “just another upgrade” is, however a mistake.
The sooner your organisation actions a Windows 10 migration, the sooner it will benefit from the opportunities the software delivers. Enhanced flexibility, security and integration translates into a significant competitive advantage. The decision to engage Windows 10 should be seen far more strategically than a simple software upgrade, where the approach is a rudimentary “desktop-by-desktop” process. Windows 10 is designed to work in a digital workspace, across multiple platforms that, when approached correctly, can liberate your workforce, capturing new customers and new opportunities.
This is a key opportunity in the life-cycle of your business. Let me explain why.
LIBERATE YOUR IT DEPARTMENT
Zero Deployment. Maximum Innovation.
After a decade in development, Windows 10 was conceived to be “The Final Windows Version”. It is a dynamic platform where enhancements such as new features, services, apps and security features are delivered into the OS frequently without having to upgrade or migrate to a whole new OS. This always-up-to-date characteristic of the product enables your business to respond to market disruptions, opportunities and customer needs quickly, always confident that your OS has been quietly and continuously updated with the very latest features, apps and security.
Another benefit of this “always-evolving” nature of the software relates to your internal IT resources. In the past, IT departments spent inordinate amounts of time planning for and testing new OS deployments, creating a drain on time and crippling your IT departments’ ability to respond to day-to-day or more strategically necessary IT projects. As I mentioned above, Windows 10 is seen by Microsoft as the ultimate and final version. From here on updates, new features and security enhancements will all be released as a rolled-up package every 6 months. Simply put: this is the end of the traditional major OS upgrade process.
The strategic rethink needed for a successful migration to Windows 10 also offers opportunities to address Shadow IT and its inherent problems. Shadow IT refers to parallel systems of IT that operate outside of the approval or control of the IT department. Employees typically justify this behaviour because of desperation to improve business outcomes and efficiencies in their business area, primarily because of inflexible IT department policies or IT’s ability to respond quickly to new business requirements. By integrating with modern Unified Application Management platforms like Intune, IT departments can win back control of their devices whilst empowering staff to access and obtain new applications, often without needing to involve IT at all.
Seamless Device Management with Windows 10
Traditionally, device management has required cohorts of IT resources feverishly working behind the scenes to maintain Standard Operating Environments (SOEs) across your company’s fleet of devices. The explosion of mobile devices and associated apps has exacerbated an already challenging situation. Managing this universe of devices, across platforms, versions, software and security programmes has for all intents and purposes become a full-time job for certain IT resources. However, the situation will only get more complex; in the modern workplace, employees expect and need to work in multiple places on multiple devices.
Windows 10 integrates with Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S or EMS) suite. This allows your company’s IT department to manage all enrolled devices centrally and equally. With consistency in both the backend as well as the user experience, the device eco-system not only appears seamless across devices but also works seamlessly across the OS infrastructure, where the same tools manage desktops, laptops, hybrids, mobile phones, hubs as well as any other devices that may appear in future. Imagine no longer being limited by a device manufacturer, and instead being able to buy the best device for the job, trusting that your operating system is agile and adaptable enough to include it into the ecosystem with a minimum of fuss. This will change your organisation’s approach to device management and provisioning dramatically.
MOBILITY, FLEXIBILITY, PRODUCTIVITY
Modernising your desktop and workspace for improved mobility means you can select talent from a wider, deeper pool. Millennials arrive in the workforce with the ability and expectation to be able to work flexibly both in terms of location and time and they will often want to bring their own devices (BYOD). There is evidence that many of these new staff will judge a prospective employer by the technology they provide, lensed through the flexibility it promises. Business must enhance their company’s ability to attract and retain skilled professionals by modernising the desktop and workspaces. With Windows 10, flexibility and mobility needn’t come at a high operational cost or downslide in productivity. If anything, you can be assured that in the hands of the right people, both BYOD tech and corporate-owned devices will be maximised for optimum productivity as well as employee satisfaction.
Not only does this approach widen your prospective talent pool, it also allows much more flexibility in recruitment and retainment practices. When experienced staff require more flexibility due to life-style or family changes, there should be no need for a zero-sum result. With Windows 10 across all platforms, you will seamlessly be able to collaborate with your managers and other professionals, despite the fact they may be working off site.
The key to achieving true mobility across your company’s devices and locations is standardised key technologies across both company-owned and privately-owned devices, including home technologies. This is all possible, and achievable, with a Windows 10 migration.
Not only does Windows 10 deliver consistency across its backend, but it also delivers a consistent user experience across multiple devices. By seamlessly integrating with other apps and core services, Windows 10 helps ensure that data, preferences, applications and security settings are seamlessly synchronised between an employee’s devices for uninterrupted productivity across devices and workspaces.
Speaking of the user experience, Windows 10 is also an intuitive operating system. What do I mean by that? Despite having a universal “look and feel”, the OS also adapts beautifully from one device to another. From laptops and desktops to phones and tablets, the system adjusts where required, to allow for enhanced touchscreen use in one instance, to a more traditional layout and usage experience on a desktop or laptop.
Features such as Windows Hello are a great example of how Windows 10 offers an intuitive, easy-to-use experience. Windows Hello simplifies the authentication process whilst maintaining security at appropriate levels. This and many other new user-centric processes embedded within Windows 10, streamline the user experience where previously it was perhaps overwhelming or cumbersome.
Windows 10 Setup Speed
Microsoft is continually creating new features for Windows 10, one of these is called Autopilot. Device manufacturers are already optimising devices with Windows 10, and have written automation into their device software. With Autopilot, companies can ship devices directly to employees, who simply need to log in using their corporate account and the device will enrol itself into the corporate ecosystem and receive the correct policies and applications automatically. This means the device is up and running and ready to work within minutes. This alleviates the burden of device provisioning because it is no longer an IT function. Users can get to work on their new device far quicker than ever before. This is particularly true of e-commuters who may not get to the physical IT department as often, yet still need their devices to work as soon as possible.
Never have the risks and consequences associated with a data breach been so high. Companies will, and are, finding it costly when customers’ personal information is breached either through malice or error. Increasingly, even the smallest of enterprises are placing cyber security near the top of their risk agenda. In addition, the launch of GDPR, and Australia’s own Mandatory Data Breach Reporting (MDBR) regulations this year, make managing personal client information in a transparent and responsible manner imperative. The security capabilities built into Windows 10 are significantly improved from previous versions of the OS. Microsoft has drawn upon its Cloud Security feeds which process more than 450 billion authentications per month, scan 400 billion emails for malware and phishing, and update 1 billion devices to deliver best-in-class security insights. The OS learns from and uses the information to notify customers almost immediately of emergent threats and vulnerabilities within their own OS, or the global information environment. This enhances your company’s ability to quickly respond to cyber-attacks, malware and other malicious attacks.
A new look at Security in Windows 10
Windows 10 includes several of Microsoft’s enhanced security features such as AppLocker, Credential Guard, Device Guard and LAPS that are relatively simple to implement and allow organisations to meet some of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) Essential 8 – key requirements to attain a basic level of security compliance without having to invest in additional software. Windows Defender is also included in Windows 10 and can be integrated with Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection solution available in the EMS suite.
While there are very many carrots dangling from the Windows 10 offering, there is unfortunately also one stick: Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7 in January 2020. Only volume licensing customers will have the option to extend support, but will have to pay a heavy charge for that extension. 2020 is less than 18 months away so the very best advice is to jump now and start reaping the benefits immediately, rather than be forced to change in 2020, and run the risk of hitting the innovation curve far behind your competitors.
In conclusion: Windows 10 is not simply an upgrade, it is an OS revolution that will quite simply change your business. If the migration is managed in a strategic, well-paced manner with a focus on training and change-management there is no doubt that it could be a turning point for you, your management, your staff and ultimately your bottom line.
At Experteq, we have deep expertise in modernising the workplace from a technology perspective. We can help you on the journey of Desktop Modernisation. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and lets discuss how we can add value to your organisation.