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Windows Client Migration

The Migration's Not Over Until the Users are Trained

Many businesses are looking down a three-barreled set of upcoming migration challenges with Windows 7, Windows Server and Office 2010. What's the best approach for handling user training on new software?

    The decision to migrate is just the first step in a software migration. Businesses also need to consider how they are going to train their employees on new software.

    “You don’t know what you don’t know,” suggests Lisa Eyerkuss, President and CEO of New Jersey-based Corporate Training Group (CTG), “which is one of the biggest challenges companies and their users face in a migration.”

    Discussing the migration from Office 2003 to Office 2010, Lisa adds, “Most users we see are coming from Office 2003 to Office 2010, which has a completely different interface, making it important to overcome a significant learning curve. But the big challenge is to help the company and the users take full advantage of all the new enhanced functionality of Office 2010. Having never seen it, they don’t know what they don’t know.  Unless someone shows it to them, the company loses all that value.”

    CTG Director of Strategic Alliances Rob Eyerkuss III adds, “Beyond the return on investment that companies realize from having far more productive, trained employees, our clients are looking to maximize their return on the investments they’ve already made in hardware, software and infrastructure services.”

    Explaining that CTG has had to develop a portfolio of offerings to help clients stay within their budgets, Lisa Eyerkuss describes how many of her clients are looking down a three-barreled set of upcoming migration challenges:

    Windows Server: CTG has many clients migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2. Their internal technical support people need to be trained to maintain the new servers even if they’re having an IT firm perform the actual migration.Lisa suggests that corporate IT managers include such training in their initial capital budget proposals to avoid having to “go back to the well.”

    Windows 7: CTG identifies two key groups that require different levels of training. Users should be shown the improvements Microsoft has made to the operating system’s user interface so they can take fullest possible advantage of them. At the same time, the internal help desk or IT support people should be provided with intensive training so they can help those users obtain maximum value from their new and improved interface on an ongoing basis.

    Office 2010: It should be anticipated that any company moving from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7 will also be migrating to Office 2010, often from Office 2003. “All of the applications have the ribbon interface, which will be completely new to Office 2003 users, and each application has great new capabilities,” explains Lisa Eyerkuss. “For example, there are many new features in Pivot Tables in Excel. Outlook has incredible new features to help organize a user’s mail. Without training, the users won’t gain as much productivity as they could, and that cheat’s the company out of significant return on all of their investments.”

    Phased Approach

    CTG takes a two-phase approach to training that anyone performing a migration will want to take advantage of. In Phase I they cover new features and enhanced functionality. In Phase II they focus on people in specific departments and what their particular training needs are. “All of this takes time,” warns Lisa Eyerkuss. “We’ve been helping clients with migrations for over 20 years, and for most it takes 12 to 18 months just to complete the planning and preparation. With Windows XP support ending in less than two years, we’re advising our clients that they are already late getting started.

    “There’s much to do between now and then,” concludes Lisa, “and while most of it concerns changes in hardware and software it is critical to remember that to get the most value out of it, the migration isn’t over until the users are trained.”


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