Microsoft Hopes 2019 is the Year of the Modern Desktop
In about a year, Windows 7 will reach its end of life and unless you are willing to open up the checkbook, you need to start planning to migrate. Along with Windows 7, Office 2010 will reach its end of life in the same year which means organizations that are running both platforms, a significant migration needs to occur in 2019.
While we don’t know how many organizations are running Office 2010, we can ballpark the number of users running Windows 7 at around 400 million. Microsoft has said that more than half of commercial active devices are already on Windows 10 but stated another way, there are still likely hundreds of millions of devices that need to move to Windows 10; many of which are still running in corporate environments.
For 2019, expect to see Microsoft make a huge push towards the ‘modern’ desktop‘. The primary reason for this is that the company sees a huge opportunity with customers who are upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7. While most large companies are likely utilizing Software Assurance (or similar) meaning, they are already paying annually for Windows, moving from 7 to 10, doesn’t move the revenue needle much for Microsoft. But, if Microsoft can get these customers to move to Microsoft 365, this is a sales-win for Redmond.
Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management
Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.
And the pitch is quite easy here too. If you are running Windows 7 and Office 2010, you need to migrate from these legacy platforms to something new. And if you want to simplify the migration process and add new capabilities beyond what Office 2019 and Windows 10 offer, Microsoft 365 is the product that makes the most sense.
Microsoft pitches this as the most secure way to move forward with your computing environments; Windows 10 Enterprise and Office 365 Pro Plus. These two products, when used in conjunction, are expected to provide streamlined management, security, and end-user experience, as long as you believe the kool-aid that that company is distributing. And of course, this combined functionality also costs considerably more, for most users, than what you are paying for Windows 7 and Office 2010 currently.
That being said, streamlining the overhead of managing your environment does have a real-world impact on companies as it should free up IT staff to work on other value-add projects, like upgrading ERP; in theory. Additionally, it can also be argued that this arrangement of software and services will also provide your organization with better security as well. And considering that ransomware and social engineering attacks are becoming more sophisticated each year, letting Microsoft handle a large portion of the controls for your environment may not be a bad thing.
Microsoft has the data to know how many customers are running their magic combination of Windows 7 and Office 2010. While there are likely several other combinations of Office and Windows 7, this demographic is the target market to get them to move to Microsoft 365. During the next 12 months, expect to see the company push this platform with increased vigor compared to previous years as there is a serious incentive to get companies off of traditional on-premises iterations and into the company’s cloud platform.
Announced today, Microsoft and Walgreens have formed a partnership to develop new health care delivery models, technology and retail innovations but more importantly, more than 380,000 employees will be moving to Microsoft 365. If 2019 is going to be the year of the modern desktop, it is off to a good start for Redmond.