All good things come to an end. Microsoft Windows 7 is still a hugely popular operating system. However, the clock is ticking – and the Redmond-based IT giant will stop supporting the platform in the not-so-distant future, just like it has with other systems, such as Windows XP.
Each Microsoft product has a lifecycle and IT managers must be aware when system support is due to end. Failure to pay attention to these deadlines could have serious consequences, as we will see below.
So, what will happen when time runs out and your operating systems is no longer supported? We look at the challenges your business faces, while also considering how long will it take for other currently-supported versions of Windows to suffer a similar fate.
Why do operating systems reach end of life?
The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when the technology is no longer supported. It might seem unusual for a firm to stop supporting a product. However, the cost of providing never-ending support would be prohibitive.
As Microsoft updates and then releases new versions of its Windows operating system, so older editions drop off the support list. Microsoft released Windows 10, the latest version of its operating system, in July 2015. It is a platform that boasts a range of benefits, including a revised user interface and as-a-service updates.
Many users are keen to take advantage of these new features, and many IT directors are helping their business make the move to Windows 10. However, not all CIOs are moving as swiftly. For those laggards, several important dates loom large on the horizon.
How long will it take for current versions of Windows to reach end-of-life?
Support for Windows Vista will cease at the beginning of April. Vista was not a hugely successful system when compared to XP, which preceded it, and Windows 7, which followed. However, it still has an install base and you might find PCs running the platform in your own business.
Of greater concern to most IT managers will be the end of support for Windows 7 and 8. Microsoft has already signaled end-of-support dates for both systems, with Windows 7 support due to end January 2020 and Windows 8 set for a January 2023 end-of-life date.
Evidence suggests far too many businesses routinely leave the switch to a new operating system to the very last minute. By leaving it late to update, your business risks using technology that slides into obsolesce – and it also fails to take advantage of the latest toolsets earlier.
What will happen when your operating systems are no longer supported?
Research suggests many CIOs are still grappling with unsupported versions of Windows XP, never mind installing later operating systems, such as Windows 7, 8 and 10. Windows XP still accounts for about nine per cent of desktop operating systems globally, according to NetMarketShare.
Without support, your operating system will not be updated and patched – and your business could put its critical information at risk. Your organisation will no longer receive security updates that protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware and other malicious software.
Most desktops currently run on Windows 7 (43.3 per cent), with Windows 10 accounting for almost a quarter of computers (24.3 per cent). For those yet to make the switch, the clock is ticking – now would be a good time to start thinking about phasing out Windows 7 or 8 in favour of Windows 10.
Click here to view the Windows lifecycle fact sheet to learn key dates about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software.
Operating system market share: https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0
There’s no getting away from the digital transformation that is sweeping global business; it touches every layer of modern enterprise, from how data is stored and handled, to how colleagues interact on a daily basis.
To leaders who are still uncertain as to what all the fuss is about, or to those reluctant to dip more than a toe into the waters of digital enlightenment, transformation is indeed disruptive, but its benefits are so undeniable that those who do not dive in risk being left high and dry.
Below we break down some of the more complex aspects of digital transformation and highlight the enormous good each element brings to how workforces do business today.
As a modern business compass, data is now being produced, analysed and acted upon to an unprecedented degree. In today’s enterprise domain, SMEs and multinationals alike are able to react to market fluctuations and customer demands in real time, deepening understanding and allowing innovation to soar.
In this climate, disruption may occur as those nearest data decisions may find themselves leveraging more important choices, potentially taking power away from individuals with more industry experience but less knowledge about modern methods.
Tools of the digital trade
Global companies are finding Microsoft Office 365 to be a huge disruptor effecting positive change within their digital transformation journeys. With cloud-based programming spearheading their strategy, Microsoft Office 365 is reaching out and meeting firms half way as IT infrastructures are overhauled to optimise for Millennium 2.1.
Teams stand to benefit hugely from the efficiencies and transparency 365 brings to collaboration, including the ability to lock down one master document or project file which can then be edited by numerous parties in real-time. The capacity to receive latest upgrades means all relevant team members stay up-to-date without Office having to be uninstalled and then reinstalled on everyone’s devices.
Perhaps the most obviously tangible disruption brought by digital transformation relates to how, when and where professionals work, which in turn is spelling an end to the traditional office concept.
Cloud-based infrastructures are providing a foundation for the proliferation of BYOD (bring your own device) culture in enterprise, which can invigorate workforces with flexibility, higher levels of morale and increased productivity.
Digital disruption is not limited to business internals: customers and clients alike will feel empowered by the improved connectivity that brands can establish.
Transformation has huge implications for how firms reach out to target markets, with mobile presence holding great potential for consolidating old business and creating new leads. In modern enterprise, customers expect a 24/7 offering from their favourite labels and the organisations they work with. Digital transformation is the pathway to exceeding expectations with optimised delivery and response times.
A new wave of opportunity
Digital is disruptive, and as it continues to be embraced by global enterprise, fundamental change will be effected across every facet of business. A certain fear-factor is therefore understandable when leaders are faced with the prospect of technological overhaul with the entire running of a business at stake.
Help is at hand thanks to Dell EMC which brings global IT expertise to IT transformation. Through bespoke cloud-based models, companies can match business requirements to a fully-supported digital transformation solution that won’t break the bank.
Mobile devices are increasingly defining the way we live our lives, influencing our opinions on all things from where we go on holiday to what we choose to eat.
Beyond helping us order our recreational lives, electronic gadgets have also become a driving force in modern business, paradoxically enabling workforces to get closer together while being physically further apart.
Below we look at four key ways in which enterprise mobility makes huge sense in a 21st century world.
What a way to make a living
Working 9-5 is an antiquated concept thanks to the evolution of technology and the enterprise mobility it has created. With solid mobile policies and procedures in place, companies can empower their staff and teams to work as effectively at home or abroad as within the confines of a firm’s HQ.
When built upon a foundation of cloud-technology, enterprise mobility can be leveraged to full effect to bring new levels of productivity. Employees stand to gain far more flexibility in how, when and where they work thanks to full network access and endpoint protection on their personal devices.
Moving forward as one
Good business depends on good communication and collaboration, both of which are strengthened by robust enterprise mobility. Dedicated tools and technologies exist that are engineered to maximise efficiency and innovation in a way that enables teams to get more done in less time.
A fully-mobile workforce can switch from project to project seamlessly, sharing documents and editing files on-the-go. The traditional board meeting with all its inherent inefficiencies, gets a revolutionary overhaul with mobility-promoting technology; online video and audio conference capabilities dovetail with multi-host file sharing to create a collaborative and far more effective space in which to get things tasks ticked off.
Integrating enterprise mobility into an outsourced data storage solution enables firms to take advantage of automation services and the multiple business benefits that they bring.
Algorithm technology steps in to take care of those repetitive tasks that traditionally weigh heavily on personnel, time and money, allowing firms to reallocate those resources to more mission-critical concerns.
Automation also avoids costly instances of human error, creating far faster and more reliable processes and galvanising business on administrative levels.
The electronic ecosystem that enterprise mobility creates drastically reduces paperwork, which has knock-on space- and money-saving benefits. Furthermore, the usual office slow-downs of transferring and checking documents, working on projects and analysing data become faster and more efficient, granting a more effective workflow.
Response times improve, not only internally, but also between the team and their clients and customers, enabling queries to be dealt with in real-time, the slowest speed acceptable in today’s marketplace.
Tomorrow starts today
Bosses that fail to engage with enterprise mobility risk burying their heads in the sand to the evolution of progress. With more mobile, flexible working practices, enterprises stand to improve across the board, from the ability to get daily jobs done quicker and more intelligently, to the long-term ability of the company to grow and scale securely.
When partnered with a reputable IT industry, companies can deploy new IT infrastructures to specifically match mobility requirements. Speak to Dell EMC today for a consultation on the best solution for your needs at a budget-friendly price.
Modern business leaders face a choice – they can make the most of digital transformation or they can get left behind. The impact of advanced technology is such that every business and sector is feeling the force of change.
To avoid being disrupted by new market entrants, CIOs and their c-suite peers must make use of modern digital technologies – like the cloud, analytics and mobile – to help create deeper customer insights and adaptable business models. Becoming flexible is no easy task, especially for established organisations in traditional sectors.
However, there is hope. Companies can build a strong bedrock for constant change by focusing on their IT infrastructure now. Meeting digital transformation head on is the best way for your organisation to plan for what will be an uncertain future.
What does digital transformation mean for your business?
It is almost impossible to attend an IT conference and not be confronted with stories about service-focused firms like Uber and Airbnb. These new market entrants have turned long-standing sectors upside down through an effective use of digital innovation and agile service.
The focus on these disruptors at events might be strong, but the concentration makes great business sense. Smart companies in all sectors are using digital technology to offer their customers new experiences. These experience-focused companies are not just service-based startups, either.
Traditional businesses are finding ways to use digital transformation to create new business models. As experts at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) recently concluded, companies in all industries are using artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics and 3D printing to create new levels of value.
How is this data-driven approach disrupting traditional IT infrastructure?
But it is not all good news. BCG recognise that firms in some industries, such as energy, transportation and healthcare, continue to take a slow, methodical approach. These industries are rigid and process-oriented. Here, IT transformation might take as long as five years, suggests BCG.
As a recent article on CIO.com outlined, too many process-oriented businesses are still wedded to an outdated infrastructure that cannot possibly keep pace with digital change. Rather than focusing on innovation, IT leaders and their business counterparts are still fixated on operational concerns, leaving digital transformation neglected.
IT managers, in short, must move to a new way of working. Rather than trying to keep outdated and outmoded data centres up and running, they need to engage with their business counterparts and help create a business case for a move towards a new, advanced IT infrastructure that can support digital transformation.
What does a modern IT infrastructure look like?
As stated at the outset, the era of digital transformation can be characterised by its focus on almost constant change. To remain competitive in a flexible market place, your business must have access to an adaptable, high quality IT infrastructure.
The modern data centre must be fast and efficient, and should include a series of key elements. It should be software-defined to help provision resources automatically and preferably use all-flash storage to deliver best-in-class performance.
All the required virtualised compute, storage and networking assets should be integrated to provide resiliency, high performance and flexible pooling. The key is that your organisation should also be able to scale its IT infrastructure outwards, taking advantage of on-demand IT and hybrid cloud facilities as the business need arises.
Now is the time for your business to ensure its IT infrastructure is up for the challenge. Is your business ready for digital transformation? Click here to find out.