What to expect from Windows 10 migrations

Process changes spurred by Windows 10 servicing model will test IT more than tech-related migration issues.

Enterprise adoption of Windows 10 is moving at a faster clip than previous operating-system updates as companies shrink the typical time frame allotted for planning, budgeting, testing and deployment of a new OS.

“We’re running close to a year ahead of what we would have expected, and what we saw with Windows 7 five or six years ago,” says Stephen Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner.

Early pilots are proceeding smoothly, but industry watchers warn that Microsoft’s more frequent release model for upgrades and updates will pose the biggest challenge for enterprise IT departments. A scarcity of experienced Windows 10 talent is another potential issue; enterprises for the most part are relying on in-house IT teams to run pilot projects in preparation for broader deployments. On the applications front, many commercial software makers are moving more slowly to ensure their products support Windows 10 than enterprise are to adopt it, which raises potential compatibility issues for early adopters.

Despite these hurdles, enterprise reaction to Windows 10 has been favorable so far. "It's quite surprising how positively they’ve responded, particularly given that there are so many other things around the PC that aren’t very positive,” Kleynhans says.

Nor have potential hiccups caused enterprises to stall deployment plans. Migrations to Windows 10 are expected to outpace all previous Microsoft OS updates, Gartner reports. The research firm predicts that 50% of enterprises will have started Windows 10 deployments by January 2017, with an eye to completing companywide migrations by 2019.

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