Believe the FUD! But It’s Not XP You Need to Worry About

A couple of weeks ago, IDG published a white paper (commissioned by Microsoft) called Migrating Risk: Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea. It’s fair to say Microsoft’s got its stick out. The report gives you a pretty long (and compelling) list of reasons why clinging on to XP beyond the April 2014 support cut off date will be painful. Every year you’ll:
  1. Count eight hours of extra downtime per user
  2. Spend five times more on support for XP than Windows 7
  3. Suffer productivity hits by keeping users on ageing hardware
  4. Fail to benefit from new PC features XP can’t handle
  5. Come under a growing number of security threats
Looking around the media reports, and the ground swell of comments, you’ll find a mix of people who agree, and a good number who take a “they would say that wouldn’t they” view. But one particular standpoint truly stood out for us. Read it. See what you think. “Microsoft has to create urgency through FUD like lost efficiency and wasted money by staying on XP…For the most part, the organisations still on XP…are staying put because they have no choice due to the complicated set of applications they run.”  The comment captures two points that we’d like to explore. Let’s start with the FUD. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt If you’re still running XP (with no plans to migrate) then it’s time to sweat. You might as well take that big red flag you keep for emergencies and hoist it on the HQ roof today. You’ve got problems. Maybe not now, but they are in the post. But it’s not the OS you need to worry about. That’s just a means to an end. Progressive businesses ask a more fundamental question: can we meet the strategic business challenges ahead? These challenges are bigger than XP. They’re about competing for business and talent in an age punctuated by consumerisation, mobility and cloud. It’s time to create a technology infrastructure that allows users to flourish while cutting back on huge costs sucking your organisation dry. The point, you see, is that upgrading Windows helps you adapt. It’s not the cost of migration (or not migrating) that should worry you; it’s the cost of being unprepared for an employer and workforce that will demand true flexibility and agility. True Windows 7 pioneers understand this. It’s the business that’s migrating. And it’s their job to make sure the technology keeps up. Application Chaos The second part of the comment adds more richness to the debate. Some businesses are worried that migration will actually set back their ability to support the organisation. Apps are employee productivity engines. Organisations rely on them but, if they’re honest, don’t know much about them. We coined the phrase Application Chaos because it sums up almost every portfolio we’ve seen. Most application portfolios are bloated and badly optimised and cling on to Windows XP for life. Pull too hard and you might just unravel the string that’s holding them together. But you’re going to have to do it sometime. And the Windows 7 trigger is a great time to get stuck in. As with the XP argument there’s a financial stick to wave around as you spend too much on apps you don’t need. But your apps – even more than your operating system – need to follow your users in their drive for productive freedom. Holding them back will hamper your business. Focus, Unlock and Drive A best way to approach a migration is to focus on your apps. You need to unlock their potential by ending the chaos and drive the business into a place where users can realise the productivity and cost benefits of consumerisation, mobility and cloud. One thing’s for sure: you won’t get that from a bloated application portfolio that continues to be tied to unsupported and unsustainable XP. Want to know more about how to focus, unlock and drive your applications to real business agility? Download our Application Agility ebook today.

The Technology Paradox: Lose Control and Find Relevance

Jon Cook, Sales Manager, Citrix UK Organisations used to set the technology agenda. Most of us got our first experience of technology in an office, university or school. We used the tools that were put in front of us. That’s how it worked. Well, it no longer works like that. Consumers set the pace, and, unless you’re happy to become a low margin, commodity business, then it’s probably time to accept it. It’s not going to be easy. Even progressive organisations are struggling to match the breakneck pace of employees. But it’s essential. All across the world we’re seeing IT teams accept the new order and challenge. They are building a technology environment around their people. Giving them the power to work, innovate and collaborate where and when they want. It’s a bit of a paradox, surrendering control to maintain strategic relevance, but that’s the brief. Why Now? This isn’t a new phenomenon. But there’s no doubt we’ve crossed the chasm from early adoption to the majority. There are four interlinked patterns driving changes to the role, shape and make-up of technology teams.

Innovation

The speed of innovation has transformed. Organisations need to move quicker than ever before. The structure of innovation has changed. Organisations need to involve more people than ever before. Innovation can’t be owned. It can only be facilitated.

Recession

Necessity is the mother of invention. People talk big in the good times and act big in the bad times. Building a technology around users (wherever they may be) drives innovation and reduces major costs like expensive office space.

Culture

King Cnut couldn’t hold back the tide. And organisations can’t stop employees working the way that suits them. Let them work where they want and with the applications and hardware they need. Or they’ll find somewhere that does.

Work

Organisations are trimming their payrolls. Yet more people work for them than ever before. They need to open the door to freelancers, contractors and consultants who come, go and come back again.

Citrix tackle these issues for clients every day. And the traditional ‘one user, one desktop’ model is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Solutions So what are the alternatives? How do IT teams build an open cost effective infrastructure around their users? It’s about uniting users (on their terms) with what makes them productive: applications and other people.
  • Virtualisation – Virtualising desktops and servers makes it easier to serve up what users need, where they need it, while keeping redundant capacity to the lowest possible level.
  • Cloud – Going to the cloud (public or private) enables users to ramp up their technology infrastructure, platform or software to support any project capacity.
  • Mobile – Aligning mobile applications (in terms of optimisation, analysis and performance) is the next major step for uniting people and applications in harmony.
  • Collaboration – Adding social networking or groupware tools to applications ensures innovative projects bring maximum expertise together.
Users – Applications – Collaboration In many ways the technology challenge has never been simpler. Understand users, give them applications and link them together. The problem is legacy. Most organisations have loads of applications and hardly any idea how they work or who is using them. That’s not sustainable in the new order. And your clients don’t want to buy, deploy or support applications that are not ready for a new era. A lean, rationalised application portfolio (across virtual, cloud or mobile) is a key asset of any modern enterprise. That’s what users want. Sorting the apps out is probably the biggest step towards the future you can take today.

Internet Explorer ‘Tax’

A recent report from the BBCs website demonstrated the costs associated with supporting web applications in old browsers. In this case, an Australian online retailer put the compelling business case around supporting IE7 browsers to their website : most development work was focussed on this support even though only 3% traffic came from that browser: and consequently they added a 7% ‘tax’ for anyone purchasing using the older browser. Corporate IT departments face a similar, albeit larger challenge made more compelling with the imminent demise of IE6 when Windows XP goes out of support in April 2014. Here at Camwood we have helped many enterprise IT departments migrate to Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8/9. It is not always an easy task to get the web applications modified to work with the newer browser; they may be third-party web apps (such as Siebel, or Oracle Financials) or written so long ago that the source code or in-house developers are no longer available. Camwood have partnered with Browsium to help radically accelerate the migration to IE8/9 (and Windows 7) using their Ion product – As recently reported, this unique approach can save an enterprise literally millions of pounds in the remediation of older web apps – see the HMRC case study for a graphic example that saved over £30M

Stick to 7 or wait for 8?: Enterprises unsure about Windows 8 migration

With the clock ticking before support for Windows XP is retired in 2014, every IT professional worth their salt is assessing their options and looking to migrate their systems to a newer version of Windows. The question is – Which one is right for your enterprise? During our ‘Accelerating your move to Windows 7’ event we carried out a survey with IT professionals from leading companies and found that 50% of respondents were unsure on the migration route from XP to Windows 8. Windows 8, the new operating system from Microsoft, is set to be released in Autumn so it’s understandable some companies might think it makes sense to wait before moving onto the latest platform. Here at Camwood HQ we encourage companies not to be too hasty. Microsoft still hasn’t released information on whether going straight from Windows XP to Windows 8 will even be possible. It wasn’t possible to upgrade from Windows 95 to XP and the same could happen when trying to upgrade from XP to Windows 8. Another possible issue is that it could be months before updates to Windows 8 make it stable enough for businesses to use efficiently, another concern raised by 50% of IT leaders in our survey. One thing is for sure There is definitely palpable enterprise excitement surrounding Windows 8. The new Metro interface gives users access to a range of new functionalities, including the ability to view and log information at the touch of a button. The benefits in support for ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) strategies are also undeniable. However the demand for clarity in terms of how enterprises should migrate to Windows 8 is what IT professionals need. Our advice? As XP redundancy looms we advise enterprises to focus on getting to Windows 7. It’s a platform that’s well supported by both hardware manufacturers and software application vendors and many enterprises having successfully completed the migration – and that’s good experience to call on. Once this step has been taken then CIO’s may be able to adopt a hybrid Windows 7 and Windows 8 environment if a mobile and tablet strategy environment is called for. It was also interesting to note that 100% of our survey respondents agreed that critical apps were one of their biggest concerns in migrating to Windows 7. That’s why here at Camwood we recommend you leave it in the hands of the professionals. With proven best practice application migration methodologies, including  Enlightened Migration™ , we’re well versed in helping businesses  turn chaotic application portfolios into lean, agile estates that are easier to manage, quicker to migrate and cheaper to run. Helping to improve efficiency and streamline your business.

Application migration design: Senior level buy-in is essential

Designing your migration program may not be the most exciting part of the process but it’s essential to get it right. In this stage, you do all the standard ‘project start’ methodology, getting in place:
  • The people – Who will do what.
  • The processes – How the stages will map out.
  • The technology – What tools will be used to automate what processes.
All of this is fairly routine (and quite fast – we sometimes do it in a single workshop) but using best practice here (such as ITIL methodology) pays big dividends later. But there is one critical success factor in the design stage that often gets overlooked. Ignore it at your peril: Every successful migration needs a clear mandate and a C-level champion. Migrating your entire application estate is far too important and expensive to try to manage from the ground up or from the middle out. There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate and everyone has to agree on the program:
  • The migration team needs to align with the business units
  • The software licensing and procurement managers need to participate in the application rationalisation process
  • The testers, packagers and sequencers need to use (and contribute to) a central source of knowledge
  • The support people need to understand the changes that are coming
  • The data centre strategists need to get on the same page (with VDI or server-based computing, you need new processes to accommodate a desktop in your datacenter)
None of this is likely to happen without a senior executive who makes the entire migration his or her personal business. At Camwood, we don’t start a major migration without senior-level buy-in. It just doesn’t work. To find out more about how to run a successful migration, download our newly updated Application Migration Intelligence eBook now.