The Top 5 Roadblocks to Successful XP Migrations (and how to Overcome them)

Business Speak

XP infographicAccording to a recent survey sponsored by Quest Software and conducted by Dimensional Research, companies of all sizes are grappling with a host

of migration issues and concerns. A poll of nearly 500 IT professionals with responsibility for corporate desktops and laptops at global organizations revealed that 47 percent still haven’t completed their migrations off Windows XP. As industry averages for the time needed to complete an OS migration range between 12 to 24 months, it’s clear that many in-process migrations won’t be completed before Microsoft’s April 2014 end-of-support deadline for Windows XP.

As you know, XP Migrations have been the focus of several articles we have written as of late on this topic. Click here to see the latest, and what you need to know about this deadline and its repercussions.

When support ends, organizations still running Windows XP will face increasing security risks and management overhead. According to Gartner, Custom Support Standard pricing is based on an annual fee per device, with a floor and ceiling price. Per-device fees have been in the $200 range and Gartner has seen total prices in the range of $600,000 to $5 million for Custom Support Standard for the first year. Even an XP system with custom patches applied poses a higher security risk than an up-to-date Windows 7 or 8 environment. Despite the increased cost and risk, companies have been slow to migrate, which mainly is due to a range of migration headaches, as reinforced by 86 percent of the survey respondents who reported challenges with their migration away from Windows XP.

According to those polled, the top five migration roadblocks are:
1. Application compatibility
2. Available time to perform migration/conflicts with other IT initiatives
3. User training and support
4. Lost user productivity
5. Issues with repackaging, remediating and deploying applications

Dell Software said it is relying on a phased approach and the following five best practices to help customers clear the highest hurdles to migration success:

Best Practice No. 1: Create and Maintain a Complete, Updated Inventory of all Hardware, Applications and Users. While proper planning seems obvious, too often organizations fail to maintain up-to-date inventories of all hardware, peripherals and software, as well as who uses them. An inordinate amount of time often is spent dealing with incompatible peripherals or missing drives not detected during the inventory process. It’s also common to overlook installed applications that no longer are used, or the amount of valid data users store on their desktops or laptops.

Best Practice No. 2: Rationalize Content so Migrations Only Entail What is Actually Used and Necessary. Eliminating unused, outdated or redundant applications can reduce migration time and effort dramatically. Each eliminated application can yield significant savings in administrative time required to test, remediate and repackage it.

Best Practice No. 3: Application Testing, Remediation and Repackaging. The biggest challenge for the participants in the Dimensional Research survey was application compatibility, with 41 percent of those surveyed citing that existing applications didn’t work on their new OS[FN]. As the longest phase of most migration projects, conducting application compatibility testing, remediation and repackaging can be a time-consuming and error-prone process.

By automating application testing and remediation, organizations can slash migration time and costs, while reducing the risk of post-deployment failures with early identification of potential compatibility issues that could disrupt business.

Best Practice No. 4: Automate System and User Content Migration. While the application phase can require the most time during the migration project, the actual migration of end-user systems can be highly disruptive and cause excessive user productivity losses unless it’s automated. Dynamic deployments enable companies to go beyond the automation of manual migration tasks to perform remote deployment and configuration of operating systems, applications, service packs, patches, or virtually any digital asset.

Best Practice No. 5: Ongoing Management: Ease System Lifecycle Management. Supporting the new environment begins as soon as the first user is migrated, so Dell Software recommends embracing best practices for managing the entire system lifecycle with automated tools that track and manage systems. In particular, the ability to track, update, secure, and manage systems easily and effectively ensures that the new environment continues to deliver value, while giving IT the flexibility to optimize its hardware, software and OS investments.

In addition to systems management, having an automated tool in place to help manage ongoing application readiness can streamline the process of getting new applications to users quicker. It also can help the organization stay secure and compliant by speeding up the testing of monthly patches and security updates.