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GCN : February 2014
38 XP End of Life with older XP machines also could drive up expenses. For example, productivity costs per PC each year nearly doubled from $177 in Year 2 to $324 in Year 5, IDC reports. e combination of both IT expenses and user productivity costs is a sobering 73 percent higher for these machines in Year 5 versus Year 2, IDC adds. How does this translate into ROI? IDC found that the payback for new Windows 7 deployments comes within 12 months, with a three-year ROI of 137 percent. 3. Productivity Gains: Having a single Windows platform that spans desktop PCs, notebooks, tablets and smartphones gives users access to the same applications and files using a familiar interface --- no matter the form factor. reinstalling applications," Symantec noted in a Windows 7 migration study it concluded a few years back. ese steps are still necessary, but there's hope. Over the last few years, a set of proven best practices have emerged that can speed migration and avoid implementation pitfalls. Using this nine-step strategy, outlined by Symantec and others, organizations can quickly cash in on the benefits of an OS upgrade. STEP 1: Understand your current Windows environments. A major first requirement is an accurate documentation of all relevant hardware and software currently in use. at data will determine the scope of the migration effort. Help is available from Microsoft's Windows Installer, which generates compatibility reports identifying noncompliant machines. STEP 2: Survey the application landscape. A thorough review of existing software licenses is critical as well, although that might not provide an accurate picture of installed applications. "When some organizations look across their IT environments, it may seem like the Wild West," Desai says. "In Windows XP and other environments, people could install almost any new software, which meant that the list of what the IT department ultimately must support could be huge." Running software asset management (SAM) tools can help. ese resources scour networks to ferret out both IT-approved and rogue applications running on networked machines. Once administrators create an accurate software inventory, it's time for some digital housecleaning. "For many IT managers, it's a case of 'I didn't know we had that software --- we don't need it, so it's gone,' " CDW's Grumke says. STEP 3: Verify application compatibility. After working with stakeholders to determine the essential "Information is synchronized across each of those devices," Paulus says. "And if I get a new notebook, for example, I can be up and running in minutes with all my apps, data, photos and email settings." 4. Virtualization and Cloud Support: With Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology embedded in Windows 8 Pro, organizations have a readily available foundation for internal virtualization efforts and private- cloud initiatives. "If you are expanding your cloud infrastructure, there's so much more in the latest versions of Windows than in XP," Desai says. " is reason alone may be enough for some organizations to justify a move to the newer operating systems." ere's one other important reason to migrate as soon as possible: Running a newer OS shows that an organization is serious about delivering high-quality services to its constituents. "You don't want to be in a position where when you send a file to a client you have to ask, 'Can you convert it to an Office 2003 format?' " Desai says. " ey are likely to say, 'Yes, we can, but why isn't your organization keeping up with the latest software?' " 9 Steps for Migration Success Organizations that are sold on bidding XP farewell face a lengthy list of preparations and a short amount of time to complete them --- a tough, but not impossible, challenge. "In addition to installing the actual OS software, the most time-consuming stages of a Windows 7 migration are planning, inventorying existing machines, running pilot tests and SOURCE: Gartner $200,000 MINIMUM e cost for Microsoft custom support contracts for Windows XP after April 8, 2014