Nearly half of all desktop computers run on Microsoft Windows 7 – it’s the world's most popular operating system (OS). But Microsoft will finally end support for the software in January 2020.
That's important because for many organisations, ensuring they complete the upgrade to the latest OS, Windows 10, by this date will be a challenge. Just look at the reports about businesses still running Windows XP. Many CIOs are put off by the cost and time associated with migrating their systems from one OS to another, and many don’t have a clear view of the benefits of upgrading – and the risks if they don’t – so they’re delaying the move. This not only means they run the risk of operating without official software support and exposing their organisation to a greater risk of malware, it prevents a company from kick-starting its workplace transformation. Consequently, businesses that don’t upgrade miss out on the benefits of greater collaboration, increased operational agility and, ultimately, more engaged employees.
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The workplace has changed. Employees expect a more personalised, consumer-like experience. Organisations are reacting by shifting to a user-focused IT environment that is designed to align IT with business requirements and enable people to work the way they want, while also cutting costs. However, it’s a slow process and many organisations seem reluctant to allocate sufficient budget and time to transforming their workplace. For those that have made the move, the benefits include an almost immediate upturn in workforce satisfaction, reduced hardware deployment and management costs and a drop in the number of licences required for some of their purchased software.
Despite the initial financial outlay, embracing digital transformation and this shift in the workplace can deliver significant savings in the long run. Central to this are the concepts of “user-centricity” and the “as-a-service” model that changes the way companies use, distribute and pay for anything from support to software and infrastructure. Windows 10 can help drive this through its “Windows as a service” build, deploy and maintain model. Further opportunities arise from the adoption of Microsoft’s cloud-based subscription productivity suite, Office 365.
Businesses can switch to Office 365 so the workforce can use productivity tools like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint from any device they choose. It’s important to remember that it’s not all plain sailing. CIOs must consider how their existing infrastructure is equipped to cope with moving from desktop-based applications and internal networks to the cloud. In a recent survey, nearly half of companies that have upgraded to Office 365 say network infrastructure and equipment upgrade costs were above their initial expectations. Despite this, the benefits are clear; on average, employees can get back half an hour a day in productivity and gain access to value-added services – which can help drive increased revenue by as much as a third.
Office 365 sits alongside Windows 10 as acknowledgment that by catering to the changing needs of employees, businesses need not open themselves up to security breaches or face headaches over interoperability. Instead, they can provision their people with devices and software that enable them to be productive in a changing, fast-paced digital world. Alongside these changes in technology, organisations must address the need for new support models and greater access to assistance through multichannel and extended-hours services.
Cognitive technologies can help take some of the pain out of this change. Just as cloud-based productivity suites and future-orientated operating systems free businesses and employees from the rigid operations of yesterday, cognitive technologies can be used to provide support and assistance without the need to increase a team’s size or extend working hours. Cognitive can also help realise the potential of tomorrow’s data. By applying advanced analytics to the reams of data provided by these new ways of working, cognitive systems can uncover insights and help employees perform even better.
Read Forbes Insights, thoughts on the Cognitive Workplace and what it means for employees
Businesses yet to upgrade to Windows 10 must change their perspective. Instead of concerning themselves with thoughts of cost and time, they should use the necessary upgrade as an opportunity to embrace the concept of digital transformation and look at the way they want to change their operations.
For more information on digital transformation, the mobile workplace and how Windows 10, Office 365 and cognitive technologies can help kick-start your digital future