Are Enterprises Ready To Migrate To Windows 10?


The day has arrived … If you have reserved your free* copy of Windows 10, then expect to update your device to the latest shiny version in the next few days, weeks, etc (those download servers are going to be very busy, bless them).

But are Enterprises ready to migrate to Windows 10? Normally waiting for the first service pack (or two), enterprises will usually wait and delay (months, even years) before adopting a new platform. But remember that the current favourite, Windows 7, will go out of support in 2020. That’s only five years away. And while that may seem a long way away, migration to new platforms instills fear in even the most respected and talented consultants and engineers out there. So start early, follow age-old best practices and plan well to increase your chances of success.

At a high-level, I feel there are seven considerations:

  1. Backup & Protect – Backup your data, applications, their licences and for goodness sake, test those backups!
  2. Application Landscape (Roadmap) – Download Windows 10 versions of your apps or at least get a roadmap from vendors if they currently don’t exist.
  3. P.O.C / Test Environment – There’s no excuse for not setting up a test environment and run it in parallel with production.  Fire up some VMs and get familiar with Windows 10 and test how your applications behave.
  4. Communication of Plan – It’s one thing to develop plans, but they’re next to useless unless they’re communicated to the correct stakeholders (executive sponsor, clients, vendors, internal impact teams).  Bonus of this?  You never know when you need support, so continually communicating your plan will increase your chances of getting the help and resources you need and when you need them. Hand in hand with this should be a risk register, detailing the risks, their impact, consequences and mitigation plans.  You will find this will be indispensible in getting these stakeholders onside.
  5. Deployment – Stick to best practices explained by Microsoft, consult the community (some of the best talent out there who have lived and breathed through several deployments) to offer extra insight and leverage vendor support who can act as your extended resource for patches etc.
  6. Execute Test Strategy – Develop a test plan that mirrors production environments.  Use that as a foundation and then tweak it to maximise the new feature sets in Windows 10.  It’s a living document, so pay close attention to detail until each and every check box is ticked.
  7. Follow-Up – Don’t sit on your laurels!  Follow-up with your employees, clients and vendors and check if the user experience, performance and reliability is all you hoped for.

Click here for more details on how planning for these seven steps will help you on your journey to Windows 10.

Asad Malik, @asadmaliksimba

Great resource to get you started on Content Marketing

B2B Content Marketing Cook BookA few years ago, a lovely colleague of mine had this small book on her desk (Maria, I’m looking at you kid!).  Titled The B2B Content Marketing CookBook, it very quickly and  succinctly walked you through different strategies on how content marketing can aid lead generation.

Love the analogy with recipes (being a foodie, what did you expect?!).  Let me know if this inspires you to whip up some great content marketing pieces!

Asad Malik, @asadmaliksimba

Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe …

For those who don’t know Simon Sinek, he is a business visionary and Management Theorist.  Whilst this video was posted up on Ted back in March 2014, it has a timeless message.  Best part for me is about 10 minutes in, and I quote:

Leadership is a choice. It is not a rank. I know many people at the senior most levels of organizations who are absolutely not leaders. They are authorities, and we do what they say because they have authority over us, but we would not follow them. And I know many people who are at the bottoms of organizations who have no authority and they are absolutely leaders, and this is because they have chosen to look after the person to the left of them, and they have chosen to look after the person to the right of them. This is what a leader is.”

Here is the video.  Enjoy!

Asad Malik, @asadmaliksimba

Discreetness Empowered

Pebble-1Wearable Technology.  Fitness trackerssmart watches, even products that monitor vital health statistics of babies while they are sleeping.  We are clearly in the age of technology becoming intimately close and creating more, valuable information about our daily life.

While much has been written about the social, political and health elements of this new evolution of personal/mobile tech, it still comes down to the use case.  Will wearing a fitness tracker help me improve my fitness?  Will a smart watch make me more productive?  How important is technology in safeguarding my family?

Keep these themes in mind when I share with you my experiences with the Pebble Steel smart watch (I’ll refer to it, going forward, as ‘the Pebble’).  While the name may not yet have reached the dizzy heights of Casio and Seiko in terms of brand recognition, the Pebble will go down in history as a pioneer of the next wave of technology influencing our lives.  Today, we’re on the cusp of the Wearable Technology era.

Google recently announced its Android Wear initiative at its annual Google I/O developer conference. Amongst several announcements, one of the main takeaways focused on better engagement with wearable tech, in turn, delivering improved lifestyles. And with IFA in Berlin announcing smart watches based on Android Wear from several well-known brands (Asus, LG, Sony, Motorola and Samsung), the Pebble now has a lot more company. Back to the Pebble, famously known for helping Kickstarter, kick-start (pun intended!) their reputation to help fund creative projects, the Pebble certainly captured the imagination of many for what they were looking for in a smart watch today. Their vision still remains fit-for-purpose despite the recent announcements at IFA.



Why do I say this? Having worn and used it for the best part of six months, this is my verdict. I get to swap out watch faces, select and match one with cufflinks worn that day. More importantly, it looks like a watch and not some odd piece of technology strapped onto my wrist (for example, the Moto 360 is significantly thicker drawing, potentially, the wrong kind of attention). A compelling feature is the e-ink display, which is easy to read, even in direct sunlight (OLED/LCD displays are usually rendered ineffectual in daylight; look at your smartphone screen and you will see why). The Pebble provides me with all sorts of information I need to know at a glance (time, date, day, weather forecast in my current location). But underneath its Corning© Gorilla© glass lies a daily companion who can keep up with you.

Pebble-6The lead feature, relaying notifications (via Bluetooth) from your Android or iOS smartphone, keeps you updated but does not get in the way of your daily routine.   By far, this has been an important, and arguably, the most compelling reason for the Pebble.  Today, an individual checks their phone, on average, 125 times a day (Google I/O 2014). That’s a lot of taking the phone out, unlocking it and swiping across the screen. With the Pebble, it will vibrate and subtly notify you of updates only you will notice.  This ability to discreetly check the latest text from my family or a reminder of my next appointment during a meeting keeps me on track with my day.  Social etiquette is preserved at social and work gatherings ensuring I am still engaged with the actual people I am with.  No longer do I need to take my phone out and swipe a few times to check my notifications.  It’s all there, on the Pebble, at a glance.

But there’s more! The relatively recent launch of a dedicated App store (on both Android and iOS) has a growing list of applications and watch faces to customise your Pebble.  Applications range from games, productivity, fitness and more. Well-known brands are catered for (Yelp, Evernote, RunKeeper and more).  A couple of decades ago, you would find standard features like a stopwatch, timer and alarm on most watches.  Now, the choice is yours.  Load up a game, a fitness app or perhaps an RSS feed.  With capacity to load up to eight apps, you get to customise your Pebble to your choosing, suiting your lifestyle.

However, it’s additional, small details that seemingly offer the most value.  For instance, the Pebble subtly notifying you are out of range from your phone.  Now, I no longer worry I’ve left my smartphone behind.  Storing short notes like grocery shopping lists making it easier to access, instead of fumbling with the phone scrolling down a list while negotiating turns of your part-full laden trolley in the local supermarket. Changing music tracks while working out at gym is another plus point.  With Bluetooth headphones connected to my smartphone, I do not need to have the phone itself on me.  Now I can leave it near me, in my gym bag, but continue to listen and change music tracks while I work out.

Any issues?  Battery and charging.  The Pebble is charged using a proprietary magnetic charging cable that attaches to the side of the Pebble.  This means you need to keep this handy to charge up your Pebble.  Ideally, other forms of charging, such as wireless charging pads, solar-based panels (such as Citizen’s Eco-Drive system) and even kinetic energy (often found in Seiko watches) would help to keep the Pebble charged for longer.  Despite the use of E-ink technology, battery life is 3-4 days presently, but with improved firmware, this could increase to a few days more.  Unlike the daily need to charge the smartphone, I’m glad I only need to charge the Pebble twice a week, but a monthly charge cycle would be ideal.

So, has the Pebble become my daily companion? In short, yes. I’m loving the increased productivity it’s delivered thus far. The price tag is comparable with other brand watches ($249 / ~£155). And while new smart watches have recently been announced at IFA, there hasn’t been anything compelling to make me choose a new smart watch over the Pebble. Daily charging still remains a deal breaker despite the rich functionality showcased by Android Wear. Therefore, at this time, the Pebble, being a relatively mature offering, continues to deliver the added benefits of productivity & flexibility complementing my lifestyle (not getting in the way of my usual routine) and that brings me huge value.

Asad Malik