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How to avoid unnecessary costs when upgrading to Windows 10

Just under 6 months ago, Microsoft officially released their new Windows 10 operating system (OS) into the world. So far, the figures are speaking for themselves; Microsoft noted earlier this month that there are now over 200 million active devices that are running Windows 10. There have been widespread opinions on the new OS, some of which are understandable, especially considering how flawed Windows 8.1 seemed to be in the eyes of many organisations. However, it has been widely noted that Windows 10 is a vast improvement on the prior release and there have been improvements in many areas of the OS that were previously not up to scratch.

So if your organisation is still deciding on whether to upgrade to this shiny new platform, you would have undoubtedly had a conversation about how much it’s all going to cost, aside from the likely business implications and the potential migration risks involved. With such a sizeable and time-consuming project, how can you keep on budget and prevent your upgrade expenditure from spiralling out of control?

Right tools for the job

First things first, one major area to assess is your computer hardware, paying close attention to the system requirements for Windows 10. There shouldn’t be much trouble here if you’re already running Windows 7 or 8.1; however any existing peripherals that your organisation uses need to be evaluated for their compatibility with Windows 10. Auxiliary devices such as computer mice and keyboards, monitors, printers and scanners may still work and should be tested pre-migration. You might find that you can make some savings here by reusing your old equipment and avoid further purchases; just check online with the manufacturer to see if your devices are already compatible with the new OS. If they’re not, you might be able to simply install new drivers for your old kit and save yourself from getting any new hardware unnecessarily. Your budgets will thank you for it!

Software licencing

Again, if you are already running newer versions of Windows it’s likely that most of your existing software applications will function with Windows 10, much like your hardware. But, an easy transition is not guaranteed. Check with your vendors if your software will carry over seamlessly. Are there any snag points or upgrade costs involved when migrating? Will your existing software run without any hitches in Windows 10? It’s best to get as much information in advance as you can so you can plan accordingly. You can also take this opportunity to take stock of all your current software licences. You may find that you’re able to cut back on costs in some areas through virtualisation or by simply getting rid of certain licences altogether if you have software packages that aren’t getting used enough to warrant the additional cost.

Mobile device management

It’s also worth taking a look at your company’s mobile device policies for any lurking costs that you can reduce. Incorporating a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) scheme if you haven’t already can be a great way help reduce spending internally whilst empowering users to use their preferred devices. Coupled with the new and improved Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities that Windows 10 offers (vastly improved over the Win 8.1 toolset), this approach can help you to cut back on 3rd party MDM software applications and subsequently achieve further savings.

Don’t get caught out post-migration

Another (important) area to think about is disaster recovery (DR). With something as major as an OS migration it’s essential to revisit and update your current DR plan and test it where necessary, particularly if you are bringing in new hardware too. This will help to mitigate downtime in the event of a disaster situation and identify any stress points in your current setup. It’s also wise at this stage to include a reputable data recovery company’s contact details as part of this plan, ensuring that they have solutions available for the technologies that you employ. Make sure you don’t get caught out down the line and plan ahead for any eventuality; it will help to minimise disruption and save significant time and money should you need to invoke your DR plan in the event of a disaster.

Slow and steady

With all the new capabilities and great features, it’s tempting to dive straight into Windows 10 in a hurry. However as with any planned migration activity, it’s always best to think ahead, plan for any potential issues and take your time in making decisions. Spending that little bit more time and asking more questions pre-migration will pay off post-migration and prevent both purchasing and IT budget costs from escalating unnecessarily. You often only get one chance at a project like this, so it’s essential to get it right first time and ensure you’ve got all your bases covered. Don’t forget to also involve all relevant stakeholders when making decisions to ensure that any potential roadblocks are identified early and that suitable workarounds are found. You’ll be saving resources in the long run, therefore it’s worth your time to take a step back and see what’s necessary for organisational success and what areas you can be frugal in.

If you’ve got any handy tips to avoid unessential Windows 10 upgrade costs, leave a comment in the box below. If you’ve already migrated to Windows 10 – what worked for you? How did you plan ahead to mitigate unnecessary expenditure? Did you encounter any unexpected costs?