How to prepare
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?