Successful Windows 7 and Windows 8 rollouts

The Windows operating systems

Windows 7 and Windows 8 are the operating systems currently used by Microsoft. As Microsoft support for Windows XP ended on 8th April 2014, installing a new operating system or migrating to Windows 7 or 8 is inevitable for most companies. Whereas Windows 7, which was launched in 2009, looks similar to its predecessors, Windows 8 has a completely new look and feel.

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Why not opt straight for a Windows 8 rollout?

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have been available to consumers and companies since 26th October 2012 and 18th October2013 respectively. Many companies are currently still in the process of migrating from the XP operating system to Windows 7 or have recently finished rolling out Windows 7. Implementing a new operating system is a time-consuming and expensive process, which needs to be well-planned and, for cost reasons, should not need to be repeated for quite some time.

The shift in theway in which Windows 8 works may be one reason why companies are not opting for the more up-to-date version. Windows 8 has a completely new user interface, which takes a little getting used to: Tiles instead of the traditional icons with which all users are familiar from operating their computers. The modern tile interface consistsof apps, popular applications on smartphones or tablet PCs. Using the mouse is more complex with Windows 8 as features are "hidden". For example, the sidebars containing the various menu items don't open until your cursor reaches the corners of the screen. Those of you who are familiar with using apps will soon get used to this.

How does a Windows 7 or Windows 8 rollout work?

Planning is everything

Careful planning and preparation is key to a smooth Windows 7 rollout. This includes setting up a planning team. This team is responsible, among other things, for checking whether Windows 7 is compatible with the existing client computers or whether more powerful computers may need to be rolled out at the same time. You also need to consider how the migration to the new system is going to take place: by installing Window 7 on new or on older computers. If installing it on old computers, you would also have to consider operating both systems in parallel until all applications are running smoothly. The same also applies to a Windows 8 rollout.

What is the general technical migration process?

Once the initial decisions have been made, the technical rollout starts by replacing the hardware and software. This involves several thousand computers, depending on the size of the company. This process affects all workstationswith the same sequence of (virtually) identical steps. Install new hardware and software and dismantle and dispose of old equipment. Data transfer or user training may also be part of the migration process. This is followed by functional testing and acceptance as part of the quality assurance process.

Success depends on choosing the right rollout tool

Specialized software requires and assists preparation

Companies that opt for a specialized software tool for rollout planning and implementation for a Windows rollout from the outset are clearly at an advantage. Extensive migrations involve a high degree of detailed preparation, which a rollout software tool requires and supports from the word go. It ensures that the actual rollout runs smoothly within the scheduled time frame and budget.

Important: Keep an overview!

One software tool that is geared to meeting the diverse and exacting requirements of a rollout is the SiteTracker rollout management tool. The software is unique in its ability to present a rollout of any size in a transparent and clear manner. It does this by recording all branches selected for the Windows 7 rollout with the related workstations together with the site data. The project participants document the current status of their activities by accessing the web-based rollout tool. SiteTracker summarizes the data and creates status reports at the touch of a button.

Communication is essential

You often hear reports about projects that fail due to a lack of communication. Missing information has a negative impact on satisfaction and motivation levels. SiteTracker counteracts this from the outset: with a clear delegation of tasks with to-the-minute to-do lists and customizable status reports.

Companies with rollout projects that opt for SiteTracker from the start are one step ahead.