Whenever a desktop (or server) operating system upgrade starts making headlines, the questions start flooding into our outsourced IT firm before we can blink: “Should we upgrade?”
Upgrade projects are no small feat, so a question like this is not one that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” response. In fact, there are a number of factors that you should carefully and deliberately assess before you essentially uproot your staff’s entire computing experience.
To help you decide whether or not you should take the plunge, we’ll walk through the most important factors that you need to consider before you upgrade your company’s operating system.
Key elements to consider before upgrading your operating system
Before you move forward with any new operating system, evaluate the product on the following elements:
- Your Current Platform. What operating system are you using currently? Is it out of support? Are there blatant deficiencies in its capabilities? Or is it working seamlessly and effectively for you and your staff?
- Usability. An operating system won’t do you much good if your people can’t use it well. Is there going to be a substantial learning curve that will end up costing you in lost productivity? Or is the interface intuitive to the point where it actually saves you time?
- Compatibility. Will your critical line-of-business applications work seamlessly on the system? What about your printers?
- Vendor Support. Are your third-party vendors going to support the new operating system? Upon its release, or will there be a delay? Will they offer any kind of transition services? Will there be an associated cost?
- Security. To what lengths has the manufacturer gone to secure the operating system? How extensively have they tested it?
- Upgrade Time & Cost. How long will it take to upgrade your organization? Do you have to go computer by computer? Can you build a mater image and clone it? Or are you safer to upgrade in conjunction with new hardware?
- Features. Are there features specific to this upgrade that will be relevant to your needs? Or are they just hokey “tools” with no real applicable value?
Depending upon how you answer these questions (the one about your current system being out of support especially), it may just be more practical for your organization to stick with your current platform.
Across the board, we recommend against early adoption, no matter how incredible the operating system may seem; there will always be bugs and compatibility issues to work through, so we suggest waiting until at least the first system-wide update before you make any strides toward implementation.
You will also need to work through a testing phase that places the OS on your specific hardware and behind your specific applications—get your IT team involved, and make absolutely sure that you’ll be able to function as necessary once the change is made.
Beyond that, we hope that this article helps give you a clearer sense of whether or not an upgrade would make sense for your organization.
And, if you have more specific questions about whether or not the most current upgrade—we’re talking Windows 10, of course—would be a good fit for you, take a look at this other article we’ve published that takes a closer look at the Microsoft OS within the context of these key elements.