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Next year is expected to be a banner year for Windows 10. In a recent report, Gartner predicts that 50 percent of businesses will begin Windows 10 deployments by January 2017, making the new operating system the most widely installed ever.

Windows 10's improved Start menu.

Microsoft included a vastly improved Start menu in Windows 10. Users may need a little help with the feature’s new customization options. Photo: Microsoft

This is good news, for the most part—Windows 10 is designed for the modern workplace. The catch is, starting with Windows 10, Microsoft will transition from version-to-version operating system upgrades to delivering them in incremental streams. Changes to critical elements of applications will now occur more frequently, which, if not planned for, could cause disruption and stifle productivity. (We explain how it works in more detail in this blog post.)

This creates a new challenge for business leaders, who must prepare for a higher demand of support from employees. That includes rethinking how they approach end-user adoption and productivity—instead of an annual afterthought, end-user support needs to be incorporated into employees’ regular routines. Providing training, employee software coaching and access to a self-help portal should become a core focus for an organization—not only during migrations—but throughout the year.

In its report, Gartner made additional predictions about workplace technology, including:

  • By 2018, touchscreens will be shipped on a third of all notebooks. As the price of touch technology decreases and becomes a standard feature on laptop computers, users will need help mastering the dual interface.
  • By 2019, organizations will deliver twice as many applications remotely compared with 2015. As many “desktop” or “installed” applications reach retirement, organizations will increasingly move them to servers or the cloud, where they can be used on a range of devices. Device diversity will increase productivity and improve collaboration, but will also create new support challenges.

These estimates, along with the surge in Windows 10 migrations, fit neatly in line with the overall transformation of business technology, where change and uncertainty are the standard. For organizations to compete, they need smart planning, combined with a focus on the organization’s greatest asset—its employees.

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