Term Paper On Preparing For A Company-Wide Migration To Windows 8
Windows computer operating systems account for more than half of the operating systems being used by individual and corporate users of desktop and other types of computers. This series of operating system was developed and first introduced by computer software giant Microsoft Corporation. It is important to note early at this point that the term Windows does not only pertain to a single computer operating system but rather to a meta-family of computer operating systems. Within this meta-family lies numerous individual operating system segments that are developed, marketed, and sold for different sectors. Examples of sectors in which the Windows operating systems are being sold to are the computer server sectors, office and or corporate sectors, and for the sector of individual computer users.
Prior to the introduction of Microsoft’s Windows computer operating system, the predominant operating system that corporate and individual users utilized was Microsoft’s MS-DOS. It was in the fourth quarter of the year 1985 when the company first introduced the Windows operating system as a form of graphical operating system shell that worked as an adjunct to the bare and simple MS-DOS. The market responded fairly well to the introduction of GUI-based (Graphical User Interface) operating systems. The company capitalized on it and since then, they have successfully developed, marketed, and sold different and often updated versions of the Windows computer operating systems.
In the fourth quarter of 2012, the Windows 8 operating system was released. It was the successor to the earlier version of the OS which was Windows 7 which in turn was released in the fourth quarter of 2009. Following criticisms as a result of the presence of numerous bugs and glitches, Microsoft Corporation released a revamped version of the Windows 8 which they called Windows 8.1 in the fourth quarter of 2013; just one year after the official Windows 8 OS was released.
The objective of this paper is to outline and discuss the preparations, including the pros and possible drawbacks of company-wide migration of computers’ operating systems from the current which is Windows 7 to the latest at least not until the newly announced version of the Windows 10 gets released, which is Windows 8.
SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities)
The SWOT Analysis section of this paper focuses on the Windows 8 Operating System as the subject. In this case, the Strengths section, for example, the strengths and or advantages of migrating to the latest Window OS, which is Windows 8, will be discussed. The same principle applies to all the other sections under the SWOT Analysis.
It is important for information technology professionals and technicians to know why they would want or recommend a company-wide operating system migration in the first place. In this case, it would be important to be direct. The most common reason why corporate and individual users of computers would want to upgrade the operating system of the computers being used in the company, especially for a company the size of Crescent Manufacturing Incorporated (CMI), is the upside on the performance department. So far, it has been established that every time computer software (i.e. operating system) developers release a new version of their flagship operating system, new performance tweaks and features get introduced.
In the case of Windows 8’s release, Microsoft reiterated in their press releases that Windows 8 offers a huge upside in performance and extra features compared to its predecessor, Windows 7. Windows 8’s boot time is one of the most commonly featured strengths of the Windows 8 operating system. In order to provide an objective comparison, a computer that has the Windows 7 operating system installed in it, on average, takes 3-5 minutes for it to boot from a completely shut down state.
It is important that this value for the Windows 7 OS is also largely dependent on the hardware installed in the computer. The more outdated and low-performance the installed hardware components are, the longer it would take the system to boot. On the other hand, computers that have the Windows 8 operating system installed in them would, on average, take only 10 to 15 seconds to boot up. In the boot time department, Windows 8 indeed easily tramples Windows 7. Another performance aspect that must be highlighted is Windows 8’s ability to run as fast as or even faster than Windows 7 while consuming fewer system resources such as CPU processing power, RAM, and hard drive space .
This feature is what actually enables users of low cost and consequently low performance computers to use the latest and high performance operating system features without having to shell out huge amounts of money for hardware component upgrade. In fact, even computers that are roughly five years old can successfully get installed with and run Windows 8 operating systems. For companies like CMI, this is a great plus because what they would want is a computer operating system migration that only has a minimal impact on their balance sheets. If the computer operating system they want their computers to migrate on is Microsoft’s Windows 8, then there is certainly a good chance that the company would be able to do it.
One major weakness of Windows 8 over its predecessor, Windows 7, is its newly revised interface that contains icons in bricks and or blocks as opposed to the traditional desktop setup featured in earlier versions of windows. According to Microsoft, this was meant to make the Windows 8 OS available for touch devices such as high-performance phones and table computers, as well as touch-capable notebook computers .
What turned this feature into a weakness is the fact that by nature, humans would be reluctant to accept change. In this case, the new desktop environment that Microsoft has introduced in their Windows 8 OS represents a huge change that would certainly take a considerable amount of time to get used to. In fact, some individual users have opted to retain their Windows 7 OS because of the fact that they simply disliked the newly revamped interface it offered. Also, most computer systems released during the same period when Windows 7 was released are not touch-capable which meant that the tiles and blocks in the new interface would only benefit those who have and are going to buy touch-capable devices.
One grand opportunity that a company-wide migration to Windows 8 presents is the new ability to make use of the enterprise features that Windows 8 has. It is important to note that Windows 7 also has enterprise features but thanks to the ability to access the Windows App Store, which unfortunately is only available to Windows 8 users, Windows 8 computers would have more flexibility when it comes to customizing the application list installed in the computers. By installing the needed applications, the computers would be able to help the company’s departments customize the list of installed programs in their devices based on what their respective department needs.
Security is an important issue that both individual and corporate users of the Windows operating systems have to consider. Because of the fact that Windows operating systems are used by a larger percentage of people who own and use a computer, Windows operating systems have been the primary targets for malwares, viruses, and other forms of security threats to users. Sadly, despite the new features introduced in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, the level of security being offered is still not necessary to block all security threats to the systems and its users . This is a real threat that the company has to mitigate, if not completely neutralize if it wants to completely change its computers’ operating systems to Windows 8.
Upgrade Plan and Strategies
Crescent Manufacturing Incorporated is a large company. It has roughly 450 employees divided into 3 locations, the largest of which is in Texas, followed by Maryland, and then Nebraska. Currently, all of its computers in all three locations are installed with the Windows 7 OS. Because of the recent hardware component upgrades it did and funded the last year (in order to make the migration to Windows 7 OS possible), migrating to the Windows 8 OS would still be feasible even without doing and funding another round of hardware component upgrades for the computers. Also, as mentioned earlier, Windows 8 requires less system resources to run so even low cost and low performance devices would be able to run it.
In this case, CMI should consider going for a step by step or phased-in approach in their migration. The company’s IT team should start out small in the smallest department in the smallest location first so that should problems be encountered, it would be relatively easy to contain and address them and so that the migration processes would not interfere with the company’s normal day to day operations. The smallest branch is the one in Nebraska. The migration should therefore start there, one department at a time, until the company reaches a point where all departments’ computers in that location are already installed with the Windows 8 OS.
The next targets would then be the next-larger branch until the Texas branch’s computers gets installed with the latest OS too. The estimated length of time would be roughly two months per branch including the time allowances for delays and other problems that may be encountered. The recommended approach for the IT team is to start out small and then expand as they get used to the processes involved in the migration.
Three Best Practices for Securing Laptops and Tablets for the Sales Staff
The first best practice would be to ensure that each sales staff member has their own personal laptop and or tablet that they use for sales. It is important that the staff members’ personal and work devices are separate in order to avoid confusion or any possible risks of leak of confidential information. The next best practice is to ensure that all staff members’ devices are secured with passwords that are changed frequently in order to decrease the likelihood of information leaks. The third best practice is to have a centralized control over the company-issued devices for the sales staff members. This way, the company would be able to easily regulate the security of the devices and all the information that pass through them.
App Locker is can prove to be a useful tool if the company wants to ensure that only company-authorized applications are installed and used by its employees. Using this application, the IT administrator, for example, can specify which users from which department can run specific applications. If, for example, the IT administrator wants the sales-related applications to be available only to the devices of the employees in the sales department, he may do so using this application. One drawback of using this, however, is the fact that it considerably decreases the flexibility that employees would enjoy in using their devices.
Managing Application Installations and Updates via the Windows Store
The Windows Store is a great place to look for application installations and updates. Basically, anyone who owns a device that is run by Windows 8 OS can access the windows store. The recommended process and or strategy in this case for Crescent Manufacturing Incorporated is to orient its employees to install only applications that are required in their departments and to keep their devices updated at all times so that they may take advantage of the latest security and performance enhancements that every new update incorporates. Additionally, with the use of applications such as App Locker, only one person or team would decide which applications and updates the employees may install on their devices. In that case, managing application installations and updates would become less of a problem because everything would be departmentalized.
Muchmore, M. (2013). 5 Reasons you should upgrade to Windows 8. PC Mag.
Nazario, K., & Preece, C. (2014). Windows 8.1 vs. Windows 7 - Which is best for you? IT PRO: IT Analysis & Business Insights.
Odell, D., & Chandrasekaran, V. (2012). Enabling Comfortable Thumb Interaction in Table Computers: A Windows 8 Case Study Abstract. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomis Society Annual Meeting.
Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.
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