The rewards for a great, successful upgrade migration are many. Work can get done more efficiently. Communication between colleagues is enhanced. Data and documents enjoy a greater level of security. And there’s so much.
All of these values and more are only available, however, if the migration is complete.
Completing the Migration
In January 2016, Information Week magazine published an article called “Windows 10 Migration: 4 Tips to Help IT Prepare” in which they listed upgrading aging hardware, considering application compatibility, and thinking about how updates would be handled.
Saving the best for last, Information Week emphasized the importance of preparing for end-user training.
The Key Importance of User Training
It would be very easy to say that failing to train users is the same as simply not plugging in their computer (or charging their laptop or smartphone batteries) but it’s really somewhat worse!
An untrained user can make costly mistakes. They can waste tremendous amounts of time trying to and waste the time of those around them asking for help from nearby colleagues who have better things to do. Of course, time is money.
“We were upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10,” explains Brandi J. Norris, Computer Support Technician at LOOP LLC. A unique link in the nation’s energy infrastructure, LOOP delivers billions of barrels of crude oil safely and efficiently to U.S. refineries.
Norris continues, explaining that “The navigation and user interface were completely different from Windows 7. The file structure was different as were the security tools and troubleshooting tools. Windows 10 is a completely different product in itself.”
Norris, whose department is responsible for the highly proactive training program at LOOP explains how valuable training has been right from the start of their Windows 10 migration, saying “Training helped as we were preparing our deployment. We utilized training for issues that presented themselves as we were rolling out our workstations. This helped us create the baseline for our deployment image.”
Effective training leads to the most effective users. The IT organization at LOOP sought the best, and reports that
“Our organization is unique in how we approach training. We have an internal department with the freedom to select which training and which platform we’re going to use. When it comes to our Microsoft platform needs, everything totally leads toward New Horizons. Their flexibility in scheduling, the quality of their instructors. My personal experience? I haven’t had any courses where I didn’t get great value out of them.”
It comes as no surprise that Norris points at the relationship she enjoys with her preferred provider. “The New Horizons team is always there for us. Really responsive and understanding of what our needs are. They always point us into the training that will best suit us.”
She continues, adding, “I really feel that New Horizons goes above and beyond in finding the best training for their customers. They listen. They help our people earn promotions by adding the right new skills. When a new application comes out, they look ahead to see if we’ll need it.”
Beyond the Class
Norris also addresses the concern about follow-up resources after the training is over. “The follow-up that we get after training is invaluable. We’ve been in some other training courses where it’s all out-of-the-box info. You pay, you have your materials, and it’s up to you to go back and read them. The person who sold you the program doesn’t take an interest. Our New Horizons team does a great job of reaching out to us after we’ve taken a training to find out if it met our expectations and help us accomplish what we set out to accomplish.”
Beyond the fundamentals featured in the courseware, Norris was impressed with the experiential value shared by New Horizons’ instructors. “We learned about the “getcha-gotchas.” All the things you wouldn’t inherently know without instruction from a truly experienced person. This helped us to determine what to turn on and off in our baseline configuration.”
Norris notes that New Horizons training has served LOOP LLC well beyond the initial implementation of Windows 10. “On the tech end,” she points out, “the troubleshooting section was invaluable. We’re still using those skills regularly today.”
Making Training Convenient
Many organizations view user training as a significant inconvenience and a heavy cost, taking billable resources out of production for perhaps several days at a time.
LOOP LLC predominantly uses available scheduled classes for their personnel. “When Windows 10 came out in July 2015 we wanted to test and deploy it immediately,” notes Norris. “We procured Windows 10-equipped workstations and decided the first thing to do was to send our technicians to New Horizons for training because they would be key in developing our plan going forward. New Horizons schedule is always broad enough to accommodate our needs so we were able to move quickly.”
Norris appreciates that many courses are offered online, making it far easier for their technicians to take classes with minimal downtime, and many courses are offered live at various New Horizons locations for those who prefer in-person training. “There are always plenty of choices,” notes Norris. “That flexibility really works for us.”
These vouchers make New Horizons’ training available to Microsoft customers at no cost, part of Microsoft’s added-value proposition for customers.
Completing Your Migration with Windows 10 User Training
Windows 10 can deliver tremendous value when used by someone with the right training. Using LOOP LLC’s experience as a model, here is a quick checklist of what to look for when planning to complete your Windows 10 migration with user training:
- Technical training that supports initial deployment decision-making as well as ongoing troubleshooting and support.
- User training that goes beyond the courseware and includes experiential information that enhances usability.
- An extensive calendar of regularly scheduled training flexible enough to meet the needs of the various people you’ll be sending for training.
- Online and in-classroom options to suit different learning preferences.
- Top-rated instructors with relevant real-world experience using Windows 10.
- Microsoft Learning Center certification assuring the highest-quality courseware and the opportunity to use training vouchers provided by Microsoft to many customers as part of their licensing program.
- Staff that work proactively to help you select the right sequence of courses to assure maximum efficiency in learning.
- A team that is there to help you choose the right resources, not to sell you classes and courseware.
- Follow-up resources that continue to support your users beyond their class experience.
- A curriculum that continues to evolve along with the continuing evolution of the Windows platform.