Gavin Payne is a principal architect for Coeo, a SQL Server and Azure professional services company, and a Microsoft Certified Architect and Microsoft Certified Master. His role is to guide and lead organisations through data platform transformation and cloud adoption programmes.
The post-recession years have shown business leaders that everything around them is changing. The way they sell, what they sell and how they sell. A new generation of technology and innovation is both to thank, and to blame. Now is the time to stop merely approving of such innovation, and to begin benefiting from it. As part of their roadmaps, IT Pros should be making business-wide plans to adopt Microsoft’s last major update to Windows, Windows 10.
Windows 10 is more than just the latest version of a PC’s operating system; it’s an IT modernisation toolkit. It brings the technical functionality businesses need to support their users of today and tomorrow. It allows them to be productive at work, at home or in the cloud. It’s the last major release of Windows and is the answer to many people's problems with Windows 8.
No more big releases, no waiting for Windows 11
IT is quickly moving to a version-less world. In the same way that we don’t know what version of Bing or Office365 we’re using, soon we won’t know which version of Windows we’re using either. Microsoft has said Windows 10 will be the last major release of its desktop operating system. In the future, updates will be just that – changes slowly made to our Windows 10 platform.
Tactically, this might make IT administrators manage Windows updates more closely. Strategically, this means IT leaders can’t wait for Windows 11. They can no longer say “we’ve only just upgraded so we’re going to wait for the next version”; their strategic planning approaches can now change for the better.
They can bring longer term stability to their end-user computing roadmap. It provides them with an opportunity to catch-up whether they're currently using Windows XP, 7, 8 or 8.1, and for once have a good chance of using a single major version of Windows across the whole business.
Cloud ready as we’re already cloud adopters
Within almost every organisation, cloud adoption has now happened. Perhaps not strategically, but cloud services are being used. Most start with application services, then email, then authentication and infrastructure services.
Windows 10 provides as many opportunities to integrate with Microsoft’s cloud services as it does with its on-premises server software. The operating system allows Azure directory services to authenticate and manage devices – tablets, phones as well as PCs – and use Microsoft’s online services to authenticate users. Right now, deploying Azure based Active Directory services are amongst the hottest infrastructure projects for the organisations I work with - end users can benefit from seamless integration with Office365, Skype and OneDrive. My expectation is that Windows 10's ability to provide a single user experience, wherever the user is and whatever device they're using, will be one of the fastest adopted new features over the next year.
However an organisation expands its Microsoft infrastructure into the cloud, Windows 10 should provide businesses with the reassurance that it’s ready and waiting with a set of single sign on, authentication and management functionalities designed to work with Microsoft’s Azure, Office 365 and online services.
Windows 10 is about tomorrow as well as today
Few business or IT strategies currently need all of the new functionality in Windows 10. Nevertheless, deploying Windows 10 brings, for the first time in a long time, the balance of technical functionality and planning stability that businesses look for. We can upgrade without expecting Windows 11 to appear in two years’ time and ruin our upgrade plans.