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Migrating off Windows XP -- the elephant in the room

Terry Chapman | Nov. 6, 2013
Microsoft's Terry Chapman writes this week on the tricky aspects of user requirements and application readiness when making the move off XP

There are some practical levers that you can move to increase the velocity of your application remediation. Firstly, work with the business to identify and prioritise all critical applications and the business owners of those applications. This effort can be politically challenging but is critical to the success of the migration. These applications should 'just work' on your new Windows desktop and will require more focus for testing and remediation. They are also the applications which inspire the 'please explain' meeting with your CEO if they don't work following your roll out!

Secondly, reduce the application count. Consolidate different versions of the same product and then work with the individual business units to consolidate different software products that do the same function. Do you really need ten graphics editors in your environment?

Thirdly, look for quick wins where you have personas or business units that have similar application needs. The migration project can continue with these staff while you continue to work through your other applications. Crucially, doing this also means that the project isn't burning through its budget without having delivered any direct value to the business.

Lastly, try not to get wrapped around the wheels of full spectrum testing across every last application in your environment — great is the enemy of good. Deal with business critical and high usage applications, but look to more lightly test less important applications. Many of these commodity applications will 'just work' and those that don't (and won't cause business disruption) can be reactively remediated. Microsoft guru Chris Jackson's blog is a great source of information on structuring your application remediation approach.

If you need to accelerate application remediation and have 'spare' project budget then this is a good activity to partially (or fully) outsource to an 'application factory'. Most major system integrators and vendors (including Microsoft) are able to provide this service.

If your organisation has not yet started application remediation then you should establish some simple principles, a list of prioritised critical business applications and then kick off this stream immediately... or sooner.


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