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Ten essentials for enterprise desktop migrations to Windows 7

Without proper planning and execution, desktop migrations can quickly become a money pit. In part one of this series, see what you should consider when preparing a move to Windows 7.

Mark Twain once said, "Migrating to Windows 7 is easy; I've done it hundreds of times!" My apologies to Mr. Twain, as I may have gotten his quote wrong, but the gist is the same: While one desktop migration isn't that bad, what happens when the process needs to be repeated hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of times?

It becomes a challenge of managing moving parts.

An enterprise desktop migration -- like any project -- has two major phases -- planning and execution. It's important to keep these two phases separate and deliver them in the correct sequence because of the breadth and scope of a Windows 7 migration.

If this sounds pretty basic, well, it is. But like with most IT projects, the basics are frequently overlooked, and 66% of projects fail to meet their stated objectives.

Keep in mind that the term desktop migration is in fact a euphemism for the full re-engineering of desktops, laptops and all related management systems. Many IT organizations do not appreciate the interdependencies of the desktop environment, so they take the overall effort for granted.

Your program's plans, identified processes and desktop architecture will change as the project progresses. If you wait for absolutely final and complete solutions, then timelines will slip and costs will increase while progress all but halts. And don't lose sight of having to keep end users happy and productive while you turn their office and IT world upside down.

The 10 recommendations discussed this two-part series are based on firsthand experience in the execution of just under 20 desktop migration projects involving more than 200,000 seats and 50,000 applications. Each enterprise is different and will have unique issues, but these essentials affect every migration project in some form.

Next: Planning your Windows 7 migration »


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Lucian Lipinsky de Orlov is an Associate Partner at Citihub Inc., an IT consultancy focused on the financial services industry with offices in London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. He specializes in enterprise desktop migrations and helping clients implement cloud-based solutions. Lipinsky can be contacted at

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