Available today, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (version 1607) is the first major update to Windows 10 since its release in July 2015. We talked to Dave Fuller and Troy Martin from 1E’s Windows 10 Now team, about businesses moving to the new OS, how Microsoft can improve adoption rates, and the pros and cons of migrating to Windows 10.
What do you think the biggest success has been for Windows 10 over its first year?
Dave Fuller: It’s not actually happened yet, but I would say that the biggest success is the US Department of Defense (DoD) recognizing that they need to get onto Windows 10 for their secure baseline platform.
Given how important security must be to something like the DoD, that’s a real seal of approval.
Troy Martin: The sheer volume of people upgrading and adapting it. It’s unprecedented. While it’s shown a lot of potential for Windows 10 success, however, a lot of those numbers took place in the first three months of the deployment. Then it started to slow down dramatically. To the point where Microsoft are conceding they’re not going to reach the one billion mark, and they’re going to need another year perhaps to achieve their goal. But for that first three months pretty much every enterprise, every business, was testing it in some capacity.
And what about the biggest shortcoming?
Fuller: It’s a harder question to answer, but I’d suggest the lack of compelling reasons for businesses to migrate to Windows 10, beyond security, is arguably something of a shortcoming.
Besides security, is there really anything solid enough that’s a real driver for businesses to upgrade to Windows 10?
Martin: The reality is that interest has died down quite a bit. However, I wouldn’t wave a white flag if I was Microsoft. I think the reality is still that enterprises are very much going to be going after Windows 10 because it’s a three-year cycle.
The first year was about people dipping their toe in the water, and seeing how it is, they’re doing search and reconnaissance missions with it, sending out their tech teams and their admins to play with it and check out the new security features, everyone’s looking at all these things from an exploratory perspective. I really believe 2017 is going to the year of the enterprise for Windows 10.
Has there been anything that really surprised you about the roll-out?
Fuller: No real surprises. It was expected that we would see the consumer space growing much faster that the enterprise space, so that’s kind of as expected.
I guess one thing is there was a couple of changes to Microsoft’s original plans. So there was the support to the Skylake processors, which was only going to run to July 2017, and then later they revised that to July 2018. Then of course there was the announcement that they would be making two feature upgrades per year. There was originally a lot of talk that these upgrades would be coming out every four months.
Martin: For me it was just the sheer number of adoptions: the sheer adoption of it, the hype, the excitement, the noise, the articles and all the in-depth analysis. That surprised me the most. I thought: it’s just another operating system, at the end of the day. I didn’t think it would be as big a deal as it has been.
What could Microsoft do to encourage greater levels of enterprise migration over the next 12 months?
Fuller: I think that’s going to depend on the features they incorporate. New features such as Windows Information Protection, which was previously the Enterprise Data Protection (EDP) – OK, it’s another security feature, but it’s definitely aimed at enterprise customers.
The security features we’re always talking about – Device Guard, Credential Guard, Secure Boot, and all of those – they’re also enterprise tools, but I think that Windows Information Protection will go some way to making Windows 10 easier to use for the enterprise user, because it’s kind of incorporating user behavior, and that idea that users aren’t exclusively using their work machines for work, they may be using them for social aspects as well.
Martin: For the enterprise, I would say that they need to make features like Device Guard easier to manage. They need to do that better. There’s nothing out there provided that makes it easier. If Device Guard is done incorrectly, or irresponsibly, you could cause a lot of damage in the enterprise, and Microsoft just haven’t provided the tools to manage it at all. They’ve provided a lot of scripts and things like that – there’s a key deployment guide that’s out there, and it’s good, it’s thorough. But it is complex.
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