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Windows 10: How Orgs Can Achieve Success with Software Updates

Chances are, if you have anything to do with enterprise IT, you have read about the recent public rollout of the Windows 10 update. While some companies that already had concerns over the deployment and servicing of Windows 10 may have taken this news poorly, those who understand how Microsoft’s servicing model works were neither surprised nor worried.

In the case of the October update, also referred to as version 1809, Microsoft’s servicing model worked exactly as expected. When servicing PCs in the enterprise, company IT departments will test Windows builds before deploying to the entire organization. With Windows as a Service (WaaS), Microsoft releases feature updates every six months, making testing a process rather than a project.

Microsoft’s role in the update process is to provide companies with compatibility information and telemetry—i.e., data on how often certain features are used, measurements of start-up time and processing time, hardware, application crashes, and general usage statistics. This helps organizations decide where to focus their resources. Microsoft also offers many servicing channels that provide organizations with time to test and resolve any issues well ahead of a systemwide release:

  • Semi-Annual Channel (targeted) – Updates become available via Windows Update as soon as Microsoft publicly releases them. This channel should only be used for a select number of targeted operational machines for testing and feedback.
  • Semi-Annual Channel – Formerly known as Current Branch for Business, this servicing channel delays the release of feature updates by three months. This delay enables Microsoft to patch any issues before rolling out to business users and provides company IT with more time for testing.
  • Long-Term Servicing Channel – This channel is for PCs that require long-term stability, such as systems that control key pieces of business, industrial, or medical equipment. Microsoft does not release feature updates for this channel. However, this channel still receives quality patches and security updates monthly.

In addition to servicing channels, Microsoft also provides companies with the ability to defer any quality or feature updates to allow for additional pre-rollout testing time. The catch is learning about these updates before they roll out. The Microsoft 365 Roadmap includes detailed information, but it’s up to IT to use it and stay one step ahead of the changes — which can be a challenge, considering that IT professionals are, like most other workers today, overwhelmed and distracted.

In the case of the October update, Microsoft’s servicing model worked exactly as expected

There’s very little predictability in today’s technology landscape—software implementations often don’t go as planned and change is constant. However, when organizations ensure they not only have the right servicing plan in place but also a sharp focus on upcoming changes, they have a greater chance of creating successful outcomes.

For companies that are considering a Windows 10 update or a Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration, note that Microsoft provides programs to eligible organizations to help offset the costs of user adoption and support. Vitalyst has helped many of its customers achieve—and exceed—their goals with migrations, updates, and technology adoption. Contact us to learn how we can help your organization.

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