The end of XP is here: How to upgrade and future proof your digital operations

The impact will be felt by countless businesses that have yet to upgrade to Windows 7/8.

XP was first implemented 12 years ago, and reports suggest that approximately 30% of organisations worldwide are still using it. Unfortunately for them, the longer an upgrade is delayed, the more vulnerable their confidential business information will be to security risks.

But the decision to migrate to Windows 7/8 does present a hidden opportunity for IT departments. Since XP came on the scene, there has been significant innovation in areas of digital security, workforce mobility, and employee productivity.

For those moving away from XP, or even other older operating systems, now is the perfect time to review current digital strategies and assess whether other individual elements of software could function better, or be more tightly integrated, to make the business run better.

Nitro vice president of product Mimi Hoang recommends that business owners develop a detailed plan before embarking on the Standard Operating System (SOE) overhaul that an XP migration necessitates.

This strategy establishes a strong foundation not only for the present, but provides a competitive advantage for the long term. Looking at how your company works with documents is a great place to start because, as Hoang points out, much has changed in the way businesses use, create, review and disseminate documents among colleagues and clients.

“For example, document management now revolves around a digital strategy where files travel from the desktop to the web and back,” she says.

Here, Hoang discusses what you need to know about overhauling your digital operations smoothly, cost-effectively and with the best chance for future proofing your infrastructure.

Integration matters

Every element of a business’s digital strategy needs to be integrated to enable employees to operate with a high level of productivity.

Consider that an organisation’s IT framework is essentially an ecosystem made up of applications that coexist with each other. Any change or addition to that ecosystem can have negative consequences, which underscores the importance of having a well thought out SOE.

“Standardising your SOE essentially establishes formats, interfaces and architectures within and across your organisation and helps guide product selection. More importantly, it can provide a clear picture of cascading dependencies,” Hoang explains, “which can become quite expensive if not properly attended to.”

Think of the end user

IT departments typically limit what applications are installed or downloaded on computers. Of course, busy professionals seeking a quick solution often download an application that they find online, without consulting their IT department.

“IT should take a much more measured approach to these limits because they can actually encourage employees to find workarounds. Workarounds found frequently within organisations can bring security problems due to the lack of oversight by IT,” Hoang says.

To avoid this, the trick is to communicate effectively with end users before a system overhaul to ensure that all of their needs are met.

“You need to give end users and each department a voice so that you can tailor the software requirements to promote, and not hinder, productivity,” she says.

Hoang says it can be wise to set parameters regarding what the end users can install on work systems without over-limiting their ability to experiment and find great new solutions.

Be flexible

Any SOE must allow for some flexibility, since departments or units within an organisation will likely have special requirements. For example, the demand to share and collaborate over documents with a certain level of immediacy within unique workflows has increased significantly over the past decade. So any document standardisation should ensure document sharing can be facilitated on the various platforms, such as laptops, tablets and other mobile devices.

“Think of the life-cycle of a document and you can bring different people into the document, track the details of who has seen it, who has signed off, and who has provided feedback, and you can distribute as needed,” Hoang says. “Those workflows can be quite simple or complex depending on the user and the department.”

Future-proof your business

Hoang explains that with a system upgrade, the trick is balancing urgent needs, what can wait, and what will need to be addressed as software becomes increasingly sophisticated. One way is to stay up to date on advances in technology and IT trends that will no doubt impact organisations today and in the future.

Think about mobile technology, security needs, information sharing and anything that can provide a distinct advantage for employees, your customers, and other important external parties.

“It all goes back to your SOE since an outdated, rigid approach will likely prevent you from leveraging these advances.”

For more information on how to migrate successfully from XP to a new operating system, download “Best Practices: Migrating from XP to Windows 7/8,” a Nitro white paper authored by VP of Product, Mimi Hoang.

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