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House of Travel in NZ takes flight from Windows XP in style

Sathya Mithra Ashok | Nov. 20, 2013
The OS update was part of the firm's five-year infrastructure refresh across its divisions.

"Though we do a refresh every five years, we do a consideration of our systems every three-and-a-half years. We knew that Windows 8 was coming out at that point and we made a conscious decision that we would like to have it on our systems when the five years came around," says Veronese.

Veronese says that the main reason for choosing Windows 8 was because the IT team wanted to make sure that the company and its users would be able to take advantage of any apps and advances that came out in the years after the deployment.

"We felt it was the best platform for future apps, especially with its touch facility and integration with Metro. We felt it would be a more secure platform, and I was personally happy with my interactions on that desktop," says Veronese.

Though the IT team was convinced, they had a hard-time getting the management to sign off on Windows 8, primarily because of the bad press surrounding the platform, and some experiences that board members had with other companies.

However, they did sign off on the project, and the IT team was able to implement the transition.

Getting it right
"There were a couple of things that we did with the platform to make it more user-friendly. First, we effectively told everyone that they should hit the window key whenever they got into any trouble. We said — 'just hit that key and it will take you to the start menu'.

"The second thing we did was we customised the home screen for the users and set up groups. There were some key apps that was grouped under support, through which they could get information as well as log jobs. Then there was another group that led to simple computer tools like logging in and shutting down. Things like that.

"The third thing we did was change file associations. We made sure that if anyone clicked on an image, say, it would open in a Windows app and not in the Metro one. Opening files in the Windows version of the apps ensured a certain level of familiarity for our users who had been working on XP all along," says Veronese.

All of this was enabled and communicated to users before and during the upgrade process.

"As part of training we provided single-page cheat sheets that they could quickly read to do simple stuff — a one-pager lifeline. Then we produced videos and manuals for those who preferred to watch or read. We ran Lync sessions and encouraged people to dial-in at specific times. It was all optional for the users, so they could do it in advance or look through it later," says Veronese.


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