A Windows migration is like taking out the trash–you can always delay it, but you’ll have to do it at some point (and you’ll be so happy once it’s done).
Unlike taking out the trash, however, the risk of failure throughout the entire migration process is extremely high, especially when you consider all the moving parts.
For that reason, EUC teams need to spend a significant amount of time and resources to manually evaluate their device landscape’s pre-migration readiness to effectively reduce risk.
The real problem is that this takes time, which quickly becomes very costly for the business.
This is where contextual visibility and targeted automation are key, allowing IT to rapidly detect and remediate non-compliance, as well as reduce the risk of future failures.
Let’s take a real-life example.
Careful Planning & Readiness Assessment
A large German manufacturing organization planned for a 6-month Windows upgrade migration to version 20H2 across 300,000 devices.
The problem was that many of those devices were not considered ready to migrate, requiring IT to conduct endless manual compatibility and compliance checks to try and avoid failures during the process. In fact, this is exactly what happened for their previous Windows version 1909 update, which ended up giving the entire IT department a massive headache from weeks of constant firefighting with upgrade failures. To avoid recreating this situation, they did things a bit differently the second time around.
Leveraging Nexthink, they remotely identified and fixed every hardware and software element that could potentially prevent successful upgrades before migrating using contextual visibility, automation and employee engagement. All in a matter of days.
Not only were they able to reduce previously-thought incompatible devices by 21%, but they also evaluated this process to have saved them over 32,000 hours of IT support’s time, which they estimated was worth $1.6 million*.
What’s more, this migration done using Nexthink resulted in a 0.5% upgrade failure – the lowest they had ever seen in their transformation projects!
Below are some examples of how they were able to achieve this using a unique combination of employee comprehensive visibility, automated remediation and targeted employee engagement.
Ensure Disk Space
Problem: Many devices could not be upgraded due to a simple lack of disk space.
Solution: Identify every device with low disk space and deploy targeted employee engagement campaigns asking employees if they wanted an instant, automatic disk clean-up with one click.
Outcome: 4,140 devices were cleaned, saving 2,800h of IT support human hours (2000h for evaluation + 800 for remediation)
Verify Device Model Compatibility
Problem: Some specific device models simply couldn’t be upgraded, but they were not able to filter their landscape by device model to effectively engage with the right users.
Solution: Search and filter results of all incompatible devices and engage with employees to automatically trigger tickets and schedule a device replacement or hardware upgrade.
Outcome: Over 5,000 devices automatically scheduled for upgrade with use consent, saving 1,300 IT support human hours from potentially failed upgrades.
Identify BIOS non-compliance
Problem: The Windows upgrade required a specific BIOS setting, but they did not know which devices had it enabled or not.
Solution: Identify devices that did not have the required BIOS and were listed and scheduled for the necessary upgrade.
Outcome: Over 4,000 devices were scheduled for upgrade, saving over 940 IT support hours from potentially failed upgrades.
Update OS Build
Problem: All devices with an OS build older than 17763.1158.0.9 were incompatible, but they had no way to specifically find, filter and target these devices all at once.
Solution: Instant visibility into OS versioning non-compliance allowed the operations team to target and upgrade all devices remotely.
Outcome: Device incompatibility due to OS non-compliance was reduced by 72% in a single action.
Detect Pending Reboot
Problem: Devices could not be properly upgraded without a full reboot and were at risk of migration failure.
Solution: Identify every device with a pending reboot and deploy targeted engagement with every concerned employee to reboot their devices.
Outcome: 120,000 devices identified for reboot.
Driver & BIOS registry
Problem: Devices without specific Driver or BIOS registry setting are not upgradable.
Solution: Investigate the registry setting of Driver and BIOS to identify devices that need a registry update before they can be upgraded
Outcome: 50 man hours saved on failed upgrade from incompatible Driver Registry settings and 6000 devices were identified with the wring BIOS registry settings.
VMware & VirtualBox
Problem: IT knew that devices with VMWare Workstations or VirtualBox could not be successfully upgraded, but many users would have installed those applications offline, so IT had no real visibility of their inventory.
Solution: Instantly investigate every device with VMWare and/or VirtualBox installed across the entire landscape.
Outcome: 200 IT support hours saved from failed upgrades due to the presence of these applications.
Problem: IT noticed that devices with an SCCM version older than 5.00.9040.1044 would result in a failed upgrade.
Solution: Investigate SCCM versioning across the device landscape and send targeted, automated remediation to update devices with an outdated version.
Outcome: 1,400 IT Support hours saved from failed upgrades with a 77% decrease in non-compliant devices
Enable Crowdstrike Agent
Problem: A Crowdstrike agent must be present on a device for a successful upgrade, but those are often uninstalled, broken or disabled.
Solution: Identify devices with a non-compliant Crowdstrike agent and remotely update them.
Outcome: 1,000 IT support hours saved from upgrade failure with a 93% reduction in non-compliant devices
Ensure Windows Defender Compliance
Problem: Windows Defender RTP status and updated status must be enabled for a successful upgrade, but manually checking for these statuses’ was a tedious and manual process.
Solution: Immediately identify devices with a non-compliant Windows Defender and deploy an automated configuration upgrade across all of them at once.
Outcome: 5,400 IT Support hours from upgrade failure with a 72% reduction in non-compliant devices.
Remove Blacklisted Applications
Problem: The company put together a list of blacklisted applications that, although might not prevent a successful upgrade, could represent future security risks and must be uninstalled. But IT had no visibility in shadow IT activity or how to prevent it at scale.
Solution: Investigate and list every device with any blacklisted applications. IT could then deploy engage with users and trigger automated uninstallations across all concerned devices.
Outcome: 8,000 IT support hours saved with 80% reduction in devices representing security risks.
This is just one of the many examples of how Nexthink helps its customers in their digital transformation initiatives.
In this case, a simple back-of-the-envelope calculation will reveal over 32,000 of IT support’s hours saved, estimated at $1.6 million*.
With company’s starting their Windows 11 Migration, this level of visibility, engagement and automation becomes crucial to ensure migration readiness, optimize IT productivity and reduce unnecessary costs.
Are you thinking of Migrating to Windows 11?
Explore our Windows 11 Readiness Assessment solution
* Hours to cost conversion:
32,000 hours at 2,000h per Full Time Equivalent (FTE) = 16 FTEs per year.
16 FTEs at $100,000 (industry standard) = $1.6 Million