While little else was revealed, the 11 am start and the shadowing in the image and teaser video, has prompted many to speculate Microsoft will be launching Windows 11. Speculation is also rife that the much anticipated ‘Sun Valley’ Windows 10 21H2 major update will actually be the new platform.
It’s already been reported that the Sun Valley update will include a major user interface overhaul as well as improvements for the start menu, taskbar, action center and more. New features are said to include:
The move to Windows 11 may come as a surprise to many. When Microsoft introduced Windows 10 in 2015, it positioned it as Windows as a Service (WaaS), moving away from releasing new versions every few years to delivering feature updates semiannually and quality updates every month. With support for Windows versions limited to 30 months IT managers needed to find a way to manage programs more frequently and with reduced timelines.
Whatever Microsoft decides to call this next generation of Windows it’s clear that the change will be significant. Right now, you have a real chance to prepare your enterprise IT environment to reduce your roll out pain further down the line. Think it’s too early? Then think how long it takes to deliver a Windows 10 update to thousands of end users. Think of the number of applications that will need to be tested, the number of users that will need to be scheduled, possible hardware requirements, and the coordination with desktop refresh cycles.
With more significant change, comes greater opportunities for errors, breaking user access, crashing critical applications and halting customer activities. If that doesn’t sound like fun, maybe it really is time to prepare for the announcement now. So, how are you going to do that?
Step 1) Know Your Assets
You need to understand your users, applications, and systems and how they all interact to understand how changes will affect them. You can also begin to identify hardware nearing end of life to define what needs replacing. You’ll be relying on your tools and databases including Systems Management tools, your CMDB, Access Management systems and more. You’ll no doubt have to search out a few spreadsheets and databases around the organization too.
2) Collate and Clean your data
Given the amount of data sources you’re going to use, your teams are likely to end up with duplicate information, as well data conflicts where systems are not updated regularly. That means doing some digging: make phone calls, send emails and coax your data into a useable format.
3) Define your testing strategy
You won’t be able to pre-test every single application ahead of the rollout, but you can find out more about them, including which applications are the most important. We suggest grouping them into three categories: critical, important and low-risk and defining a strategy to reduce testing time when you are ready.
The Microsoft suggested way of prioritizing your apps doesn’t take everything into account – such as who is using the application. If you don’t want to break VIP access it means more digging into your data - and more asking around.
4) Keep your data relevant
It’s too early to plan your rollout but it’s good to have your ducks in a row. But now it becomes tricky. If you’ve collated your data manually you’ve probably taken a few months to get to this stage. How many organization changes have occurred? How many moves? Leavers? New starters? How many new applications and devices? And how many errors do you think are in your data? It’s only natural, done manually, for things to be missed.
If you really want to be prepared for the next generation Windows launch, you need a clear view of your IT environment all the time. That means reworking steps 1-3 until you are ready to plan the rollout. It won’t take as long to do as the first time, but is it really worth the time and effort of your talented team members to do this?
If your answer is no, you’ll be very pleased to know that you don’t have to. So, what’s the alternative?
ReadyWorks believes in automating repetitive manual tasks across every stage of your IT transformation programs. ReadyWorks can help you prepare your enterprise for the next generation Windows platform today by:
Schedule a demo to discover how ReadyWorks can help you cut the time and pain of preparing your enterprise for the roll out of the next generation Windows update.