After the release of Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 10, on July 29, 2015, customers have been wondering about when they should take advantage and upgrade. While most individual users have reported a seamless transition from the Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 they were running previously, it’s a different proposition for business owners thinking about an upgrade. Making a major change to your operating systems can have a significant effect on all aspects of your business.
For a limited period, a period of a year following the July 29th release date, Windows is offering free updates to users currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. While this is certainly an enticing offer for both consumers and businesses, users should still make sure to do their due diligence before upgrading. Let’s take a look at some of the factors business owners should consider before making the switch to Windows 10.
Why should we upgrade to Windows 10?
Windows 10 is designed to combine the best elements of previous versions of the Windows operating system and add increased collaborative functionality across different devices. The personal assistant application Cortana, similar to Apple’s Siri, should make quick searching, appointment-setting, and other day-to-day tasks faster and easier.
Windows 10 also sees the return of the start menu— something that users sorely missed after it was removed for the release of Windows 8. Users who reported finding the interface difficult to deal with on desktop computers, will be happy with its return. With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft is looking to have applications run across devices seamlessly. Transitioning from working on one document on a desktop computer to working on it on a tablet should be easier than ever before. This, clearly, should have significant ramifications in the business environment where documents are shared extensively by allowing for smoother collaboration. These features together should have a positive impact upon your business’s overall productivity.
So when should we upgrade?
It’s advisable that businesses take a “wait-and-see” approach before upgrading to the Windows 10 platform. Though there are clearly useful features that should help significantly with employee productivity and collaboration, running into issues is certainly not out of the question. A lot of issues that have been by IT consultants have already been addressed through updates that Microsoft has released, but, as with any major technology release, it always takes some time for a system’s issues to fully come to the surface and be resolved.
Even issues that crop up on one system running Windows 10 may not appear on another system. Such an inconsistent appearance of problems should have you thinking twice about pushing for an immediate upgrade. Instead, work with your IT provider to come up with a comprehensive strategy for making the upgrade. With any major system upgrade, organizations looking to adopt the new operating system would be well-positioned by initially testing the deployment of Windows 10 on a non-critical system. Perhaps some of your employees have tablets they use to augment their desktop computer. By limiting the upgrade to these secondary devices, any issues your users may experience are limited to those non-critical systems. These systems could also potentially serve as a testing ground where, if any issues should come up, your IT team can learn how to address them there before expanding the upgrade wider.
Ensure you are able to upgrade
Work with your IT company to ensure that the machines and systems you currently have in place are capable of handling the upgrade to Windows 10. While, as a general rule, any computer currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 successfully should be able to run Windows 10 as well, you will definitely need to work with your IT provider to do your due diligence before upgrading. If significant hardware upgrades are needed before switching to Windows 10, this will certainly need to be factored into the overall upgrade strategy.
When you do upgrade, be ready for updates
As with any software release, users and businesses can expect significant updates and patches throughout the months following. These can be frustrating and time consuming if not handled in the right way. Be sure, then, to work with your IT company to come up with ways to make these updates as unobtrusive as possible. With the year-long offer in place for businesses to upgrade, this may be yet another reason to take a “wait-and-see” approach.
It’s always great to have the latest and greatest technology working for you. New collaboration features and productivity tools can feel like a breath of fresh air to you and your employees. Businesses should be wary though about walking blindly into any operating system updates and should understand some of the risks and drawbacks associated with upgrading. Try to get a sense of the net gain your business may experience by upgrading, carefully weighing your need to have new technology with the impact any potential downtime may have on your business. Windows 10 should ultimately be a positive move for your company— by taking a conservative, considerate approach, you let other people act as the “guinea pigs” for the operating system, uncovering and resolving its early issues before adopting in yourself.
Has your business taken the leap to Windows 10? What do you think businesses ought to be considering before upgrading? Let us know in the comments below.
If you would like to learn more about Windows 10 or have any other questions about web applications as part of a comprehensive IT support strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us today to speak with a software expert.