Earlier this year I flew to Iceland for an intensive week of swimming. I wanted to perfect my crawl stroke and spent five days getting expert tuition and insight in to how I could correct it from Steven Shaw who, through the Shaw Method and the Art of Swimming, applies the principles of Alexander Technique to swimming. Steven, a former competitive swimmer, has taught hundreds of people how to improve their swimming technique.
For years I had been ‘windmilling’ my hands through the water and probably been rather splashy, and not very graceful or efficient in completing my lengths. Over the course of five days my stroke was broken down by the minutest of steps and then built back up again so that I became reasonably efficient through water. From the dry land sessions I discovered new patterns of movement and how to really flow through the water.
Today I swim a kilometre in three minutes less than I did before, and have come to realize that it is never too late to learn to adapt to a new style having benefited from expert guidance and insight. I would never have been able to do that just by myself. Now, I can easily swim a mile, and it’s because I’m efficient with my stroke and glide properly that it’s no biggie to swim greater distances as I don’t tire by wasting energy.
However my mind does begin to wander over longer distances and this morning deep in automaton mode I was thinking about a conversation I had with a 1E consultant the other day. I started to draw parallels in the lessons learned from masters – and how using his expertise, he has guided many companies through their Windows XP migrations. Our team of consultants have now spent thousands of hours in dozens of companies over a number of years, imparting their knowledge to expedite OS migrations on hundreds of thousands of desktops.
They have found that there’s no “one solution fits all” approach for Operating Systems (OS) deployments as the provision of OS and the delivery of business applications needs to be scalable and efficient as well as adapt to the changing ways in which people work. Many large companies have to operate across a complex infrastructure that covers multiple locations and work environments to deliver an IT platform that serves differing user needs and requirements.
1E consultants help overcome the many challenges of a Windows XP migration (all the while meeting business and technical requirements) by using a structured approach to manage the life-cycle of the migration. This can be achieved using defined project phases with checks and balances to ensure that the migration project delivers what it set out to do.
Jeff Wyrich, former technical director at JP Morgan responsible for global desktop configuration management says, “The idea that you take the time to analyze the current configuration of your environment will ensure that only relevant products and services are migration improving the efficiency of the project.” An OS migration project is the ideal time to leave behind legacy and unused software, and create best practice going forward to keep the environment clean, efficient and running as it should.
The challenge with moving to Windows 7 is that few administrators have ever experienced such a complex migration, and as a result come across myriad issues – from application mapping to gotchas around device drivers – which they have never encountered before. They may think they are close to completion, but there will be many ‘unknowns’ they haven’t anticipated which will impact timescales. They think they know what to do but they struggle against unexpected elements that impede progress. It’s the inside knowledge from those experienced with Windows XP Migrations who’ll know what to look out for which enables progress to be monitored against planned timescales, quality to be maintained, and the early resolution of issues.
Typically our consultants find organizations already have basic Operating System build processes in place that can handle provisioning of bare metal computers with the corporate image. But during an Operating System migration (particularly XP to Window 7) the process is vastly more complex, issues like User Data Migration, Application Compatibility, language packs compatibility and refreshing of hardware are often overlooked until issues are found during the pilot phase of the project.
Therefore it’s the inside knowledge from those experienced with Windows Migrations who know what to look out for which enables progress to be monitored against planned timescales, quality to be maintained and the early resolution of issues. 1E consulting engagements adhere to a project framework are targeted to reduce costs where possible. This is primarily achieved by increasing automation of the migration process to the maximum number of endpoints, thus, reducing the operational and administrative burden so that fewer manual tasks are required.
1E consultants use their technical knowledge and experience to obtain requirements and identify areas where infrastructure, planned migration tasks and expected disruption can be reduced. Solutions are then designed and engineered using best practice tools and techniques i.e. ConfigMgr and MDT but also using 1E solutions to add further value.
I thought I knew how to swim crawl, but I didn’t really. There was a lot to finesse and change, and without the expert knowledge and insight I’d have kept doing the same thing – the usual floundering. This really resonates for Jeff, “You need to abandon ‘this is the way it’s always been done’ mentality and be open to new standards, new processes and new tools.”
Now, you can throw me in the deep end and I’ll do more than just stay afloat. Similarly you, with expert guidance from those who have had years of experience in Windows Migrations you can approach an OS deployment without feeling like you’re drowning. Instead, with the right insight and experienced guidance, you’ll have an upgrade that goes swimmingly well.