Businesses small and large that use Windows on their desktop and mobile devices, need to keep a constant vigil to make sure they manage their licensing and upgrades efficiently. Large enterprises especially have a challenge, as they will likely have different machines with different versions of the operating system. This happens due to inevitable evolution: Some divisions like marketing will not be caught with outdated software that cannot produce the glossy stuff. The latest creative software will only run with later versions of Windows. It works the other way too: Employees in roles such as accounting have been working in semi-dark basements with accounting software that only works with the oldest version of Windows. There could be all kinds of permutations that need to be accommodated.
To get or not to get Windows 10
Even if you’re running a small business you have to have some strategy with Windows upgrades, especially nowadays when Windows 10 is being rolled whether you like it or not. Microsoft applies the more flexible Current Branch update for Business (CBB) for businesses that want to delay updates, but still without the option to postpone them indefinitely. It would be beneficial to have your Microsoft re-seller help you understand how this works.
All indications are that Windows 10 is being adopted faster that Windows 8. Peter Tsai of Spiceworks said that if businesses continue installing Windows 10 at the present rate, expectation would be exceeded that 40 percent would adopt version 10 within one year of its launch. Microsoft would probably love to see a better statistic, but especially large enterprises will barely manage this, given their complicated software compatibility scenarios.
What can you do to test the water?
A good approach is to allow a period of “testing”, to enable a go-ahead to be given without causing employees’ workstations to stop functioning. Larger businesses are more likely to have the infrastructure and resources to test software upgrades. Nearly one in four companies with 500 employees or more are suspected to be doing so, compared to just over five percent of organizations with fewer than 50 people.
It’s clear that there are problems with Windows 10 that still need to be solved by Microsoft. If you want to go ahead with some exploring anyway, set aside one or two machines in your small business and install all possible software that you use. Upgrade them to version 10 and see how things go. If there is a problem with one or more applications, you may have to “ring-fence” the machines that run the software until the problem has been solved by the provider of that software. The provider is unlikely to shrug off the problem, as other existing clients and future clients who buy the software will experience it when they move to Windows 10.
You don’t have to jump
Windows 10 is unlikely to give your business a unique boost, so you can give Microsoft some time to mature it before you upgrade. There might be more potential for improvements offered by Office 2016, or recent updates to Office 365. Rather continue focusing on not disrupting employee productivity. Remember: Business process innovation does not always require the latest technology!