Windows 10 Enterprise Survey Reveals Faster-than-Expected Migration

IT professionals say they are excited about the move to Windows 10 primarily for its numerous additional security features but also because it is easier to maintain on a day-to-day basis than its predecessors.

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U.S. enterprises are moving to Windows 10 desktop deployments even faster than market experts had originally anticipated, a new survey of IT professionals revealed.

Adaptiva, which specializes in new-generation systems management, said in its 2017 Windows 10 Enterprise Impact Survey that businesses are moving to Windows 10 faster than they had estimated in the 2016 Windows 10 enterprise survey. This is largely due to IT departments using automation to create increased efficiencies, allowing them to conduct large-scale migrations with relatively small staff sizes, the Bellevue, Wash.-based company said.

IT professionals say they are excited about the move to Windows 10 primarily for its numerous additional security features but also because it is easier to maintain on a day-to-day basis than its predecessors. While the planning and preparation are taking a long time, the migration process itself is moving briskly once begun, Adaptiva said.

The survey, released Aug. 29, recorded the perspectives of 446 IT professionals and revealed enterprise IT trends and insights around Windows 10 adoption rates, driving factors for adoption and migration plans.

The annual survey of highly qualified IT industry professionals comprised more than half of respondents working at companies with 1,000 to 10,000 systems and a third at enterprises up to 100,000-plus systems. With few exceptions, every organization will migrate to Windows 10, if they haven’t already.

The survey was planned and written by Daniel Okine, Adaptiva’s Senior Director of Product Management, who is responsible for setting product vision and roadmap at the company. Okine uses data from market trends and opportunities, competitive landscape and customer needs to develop a global strategy for the company’s endpoint management platform and products.

Here are 15 takeaway data points from the survey:

Data Point 1: Companies are migrating to Windows 10 at a faster pace than originally anticipated.

Running ahead of previous estimates, more than 10 percent of survey respondents indicated that their companies had fully completed their migrations to Windows 10. Only 12 percent of companies had migrated even 5 percent of their systems to Windows 10. Only a subset of those—7.2 percent of total respondents—expected to have more than half their systems migrated by this point in 2017.

Data Point 2: Nearly every organization is moving to Windows 10, but planning and preparing for the migration are taking longer than expected.

Only 7 percent of respondents plan to move less than 5 percent of their systems to Windows 10 in the coming year, while the rest plan much more aggressive migration schedules. Forty-two percent plan to move 51 percent or more of their systems to Windows 10 in the coming year, while a strong majority (56 percent) plans to move 30 percent or more to the new OS in the same time frame.

Data Point 3: Many companies still have a long road ahead planning and preparing before they can begin an organization-wide migration to Windows 10.

Nearly 35 percent of respondents expect to complete their migration planning in less than three months. More than half (52 percent) estimate four to 12 months before they are ready to begin migrating in earnest, and 14 percent expect it to take even longer.

Data Point 4: While planning and preparation are taking significant time, many companies expect migrations to move at a fast pace once they begin.

Twenty-three percent expect to complete their migration to Windows 10 in three months, while 40 percent estimate they’ll be done within six months. Another 23 percent expect to complete the effort within six months to a year, while 37 percent are looking to finish in more than a year.

Data Point 5: IT departments are operating at vastly different levels of automation, leaving many organizations with an opportunity to save significant time by automating critical aspects of the migration.

While about 31 percent of respondents estimate each single system migration to take an hour or less, the majority (57 percent) estimates two to four hours. Thirteen percent expect the migration to Windows 10 to take a day or more per system.

Data Point 6: Windows 10 still requires a lot of manual effort, pointing to a strong need for advanced automation to do more with less staff.

Forty-nine percent of survey takers expect their organization to require five or fewer staff members to complete the move to Windows 10, while another 25 percent think it will take six to 20 people. Five percent see a need for 50 to 100 staff, and 8 percent anticipate a need for 100 or more.

Data Point 7: While many companies are achieving low-touch migrations, a pressing need remains for high levels of automation in order to deliver true zero-touch Windows 10 migrations.

One-third (34 percent) expect to intervene manually on 10 percent or less of the systems, and two-thirds (67 percent) expect to take action on up to 50 percent. A full 42 percent of respondents anticipate that the majority of their systems (90 percent or more) will be migrated to Windows 10 without any manual intervention.

Data Point 8: Companies are still struggling to conduct migrations without touching the systems in some way, whether physically or remotely.

Half the respondents (49 percent) reported that of systems migrated, less than a tenth were completely zero touch—requiring no manual efforts at all. About a third reported that more than half their systems were true zero-touch deployments.

Data Point 9: Although respondents consider time the biggest challenge to deploying Windows 10, most do not consider the level of manual effort required to be significant.

Thirty-five percent of respondents believe that Windows 10 deployment requires significant manual effort. The rest (65 percent) did not consider the manual effort to be significant.

Data Point 10: Microsoft is using both the stick and the carrot by forcing people to move to Windows 10 in order to have support, while making the OS extremely compelling in its own right.

While nearly all organizations (89 percent) see the move to Windows 10 as necessary to maintain ongoing support from Microsoft, they also see many compelling reasons to move to the new OS. Security is by far the strongest force for Windows 10 adoption, with 79 percent citing it—nearly four times as many as cited the runner-up, universal applications (23 percent).

Data Point 11: Microsoft’s efforts to make Windows 10 an extremely secure OS are paying off, and IT professionals are embracing the improvements across the board.

Companies are embracing all aspects of Windows 10 security almost equally, with the top three— Improvements in BitLocker (55 percent), Identity protection and access control (51 percent), and Improvements in Windows Defender (45 percent)—only slightly outpacing the others. The only outlier was Windows Hello at 15 percent.

Data Point 12: Because time is the biggest obstacle to successful deployment, companies should find ways to automate OS deployments to a much higher degree than they have in the past.

For the first time in this survey’s history, time is the biggest challenge in Windows 10 deployment, impacting 57 percent of respondents. The next most-cited obstacles include application compatibility (53 percent), training of end users (41 percent), and migrating user data (40 percent).

Data Point 13: Windows 10 migration is a large, complex project, and careful planning up front could prevent significant delays and costs.

The most time-consuming task isn’t actually delivering Windows; it’s verifying migrated system data post-migration (50 percent). However, that is a single post-deployment task versus many pre- and mid-migration tasks, including making changes to the base OS image (49 percent), converting BIOS-UEFI (27 percent), and others.

Data Point 14: While post-deployment tasks are a concern, IT professionals worry more about delivering on the plethora of pre- and mid-deployment tasks.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents are concerned about the time post-deployment tasks require. Sixty- two percent don’t find it worrisome.

Data Point 15: IT professionals overwhelmingly say that Microsoft has made Windows 10 much easier to manage on an ongoing basis than previous OS versions.

A minority (30 percent) of respondents said they feel that maintaining Windows 10 post deployment will take more time than it does with Windows 7/8. Seventy percent believe day-to-day-management of the new OS will be easier than its predecessors.

For more information on Adaptiva, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...