Windows 10: The technology gap between work and home just widened again

Grandma

It’s just over a month since the consumer launch of Windows 10 and in that time over 75 million Windows 10 upgrades have taken place – the majority of which have been on consumer machines.

What does that have to do with your business? Let me put it this way: that’s 75 million people who went to work the morning after they upgraded to Windows 10 and felt cheated that at work they were still using Windows 7. Or Windows 8.1. Or, heaven forfend, Windows XP. Yet again, the gap between the technology people access at home and the technology they use at work has widened, right under the feet of businesses, some of whom claim that they are “truly digital.” And this time, it’s worse than before.

“My grandmother has Windows 10. Why don’t we?”

There was a time when employees were fairly accepting of the fact that the technology they used at home was whizzier than what they had in the office. That while they had a Mac at home their work cube housed a beige PC. That it wasn’t running the latest version of Office. That their work cell was chunkier than the one in their handbag. These days, they’re more demanding. They don’t want to make client calls on 2012’s cell phone. They don’t want to use a PC if they prefer a Mac, a desktop when they move around a lot and need a laptop. And they certainly don’t want to be using Windows 7 if they have Windows 10 at home. As of July 29th, businesses are playing catch-up – and those without even a migration plan in place aren’t even on the running track yet.

Not just a case of history repeating

Of course, employees have it easy. At home, as consumers, they probably have a handful of devices to upgrade. At most, completing the job will take a few hours. They might make a trip to see their mother, or their uncle, and help them upgrade, too. But for the most part, when they think about an OS upgrade, they’re thinking of a short, painless process. For an enterprise-level employer, things are very different. They will have thousands of devices. Hundreds of thousands, in fact. All in different locations, subject to different network speeds. At best, migrating them could take months. Worst-case scenario, years. And that’s before you factor in all the potential complications: the disruptions, the network impact, the work hours lost, the user questions, the failed migrations. With the launch of Windows 10, enterprises are looking back at their last migration. They’re remember the cost, the pain, and the horror. It’s not at all surprising that it’s putting them off.

It’s not surprising at all. But they’re still wrong.

The reason employees are suddenly so much more demanding about OS upgrades is that they’ve spent the last few years getting used to new ways of accessing technology. They don’t go to their local big-box PC store and buy a CD-ROM. They visit an app store via their device, hit download, tick a few relevant boxes and let the installer Wizard do its magic.

The reason enterprises are still so wary of OS upgrades is that since their last attempt, their methods haven’t changed. They’re still thinking of hiring a few extra guys to go from PC to PC asking users to save their data and step aside for a couple of hours while they upgrade them. They’re still thinking of sending those same guys out to remote sites. They’re still thinking about how many hours that will take and how many dollars it will cost. And that’s why they’re not sure they want to migrate and are still psyching themselves up, while the consumers are sprinting ahead. But what about the companies who are in the race? What sets them apart?

One word, pure and simple: automation and end user empowerment. The only way to make a smooth transition to Windows 10 is to automate. Automation removes the hours. It removes the manual labour. It removes the user frustrations. It can even remove the network issues. Above all, it removes the fear.

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