Time's up! As of April 8, 2014, XP is obsolete.
If you are reading this and you still have not made the move, you're not alone. According to a recent survey of over 3,000 IT professionals by Redmond magazine, 23% of desktops and laptops will run XP indefinitely. In addition, 25% of the respondents said they would migrate off of XP eventually, indicating it is not a priority, while 16% are scrambling to make the move. And 8% of people still haven't decided how and when to migrate off of XP.
For large organizations, much of the confusion stems from not knowing what to do with legacy applications that won't work natively on Windows 7 or 8. There are also budgetary gripes over hardware and software upgrades, stretched-thin IT staffs as well as a shortage of expertise for making such a massive migration. Nevertheless, it's a situation that can't be ignored, especially by large organizations running XP across the enterprise, as they face the most risk after XP support expires.
Unfortunately, procrastination is not an option. And spending money is inevitable. So to ensure a smooth transition to new technology in a large enterprise, it's worth an investment in the professional services of an IT consultant/integrator.
Here are a few things to look for in an IT partner:
Full Service Support. Look for a holistic approach to planning, deployment and maintenance of the new hardware and software environment. Ask for the strategy upfront.
Microsoft Specialists and/or Microsoft Certified Solutions Experts (MCSE). Certification focuses on the ability to design and build technology solutions, and integrating multiple technology products on-premises or in the cloud.
Microsoft Licensing Practice. Software licensing agreements can be costly if not closely watched. An IT partner that can assess current licensing agreements and manage future terms can optimize software investments.
Mobile Expertise. The “Bring Your Own Device" movement adds another layer of complexity to an operating environment. Understanding how to integrate and manage mobile devices and the desktop is another needed value-added service.
Culture. Make sure the group fits into your organization's personality and that they provide a team of on-site experts who act as a seamless extension of the IT department.
References. Ask to speak with customers that have already completed their XP migrations to gauge your potential partner's performance.
Look for a Long-Term Partner. This won't be the last time you have to upgrade your technology environment. See what other IT services they offer, such as data center, network services and storage services.