Windows XP still has a significant following, even after all of these years. The operating system may have its flaws, but after the less-than-ideal response to Windows Vista, many IT leaders decided to stick with XP, even after Windows 7 released with much more positive results. Windows 8 is now on the market, but it's mobile-centric interface is not necessarily ideal for IT departments trying to support a variety of users. This has left many organizations still running Windows XP, an issue that creates numerous problems now that Microsoft has announced that it will no longer support the legacy operating system.
IT teams trying to deal with the demise of Windows XP face significant challenges, and strategic IT service desk investments can help organizations ensure a smooth transition to new operating systems, particularly Windows 7. Here are four ways to survive this migration period:
1. Invest in desktop virtualization
You may find yourself in a situation in which some legacy applications and services will not translate into a new operating system environment. Finding a way to support these solutions is critical as most legacy systems still in place are used because they are so important to meeting different business requirements. Establishing virtual desktop infrastructure can enable IT teams to build virtual instances of XP and segregate them from the rest of the configuration to overcome any security or regulatory concerns that may come with an older operating system that is no longer being updated and patched.
2. Get ready for an increased volume of incidents
While most applications will likely be able to move to a new operating system environment without major incompatibility issues, you will likely see many more minor glitches and issues. Complete incompatibility is unlikely, but some data sharing functions or lines of programming code may not interact well with the new operating system. This can lead to a major increase in the number of incidents that support teams will need to handle. Strategic incident management investments can help service desk leaders deal with the transition to the new operating system environment with minimal disruption.
3. Be prepared for major changes
Installing new operating systems requires large scale change operations that businesses need to handle with care. In many cases, the most efficient way to put new operating systems into action is to make a hardware refresh at end-user workstations. This can lead to major changes in the hardware configuration and a new influx of configuration items within the setup. The processes involved in making all of these changes can be incredibly complex and require precision in how they are carried out. A change management platform plays an integral role in scheduling, coordinating and even automating various change operations to ease the support burden and eliminate risk.
4. Make sure you can deal with problems
Problem management can help support teams go from dealing with incidents to solving the underlying issues that cause them to emerge. Actually solving IT problems hinges on being able to figure out what is causing issues and making necessary changes to resolve them.
A recent InfoWorld report explained that there is plenty of reason to be concerned about moving to Windows 8, and Linux is far from an ideal desktop OS solution for business settings. This results in an environment in which moving to Windows 7 is most likely the best option for most businesses.
IT leaders trying to support this difficult transition need to make sure their service desk systems are prepared to handle the unique challenges brought on through migration.