After much anticipation, Windows 11 has finally arrived, taking over as Microsoft’s primary Operating System.

With a modern, sleek aesthetic and rearranged start menu and taskbar navigation, the new OS has caught the eyes of the members of the global workforce who will be using it daily very soon (or, at least, before Windows 10’s 2025 end-of-life date).

But it’s also caught the eye of a group of people who are a bit more anxious about this change: IT professionals.

That’s right, while you or I will be enjoying (or hating) our new OS experience, there are hundreds of thousands of EUC, Transformation, and Support teams hard at work to make sure the transition is as quick, painless, and cost-effective as possible.

But to do that, they first need to answer the question: “Is our organization ready for Windows 11?”

The question is a more complex one than it appears to be.  Because t’s not just a matter of hardware readiness. It’s also a matter of delivering and managing a completely new OS experience.

So, are you ready?

Hardware Requirements

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: hardware requirements.

Beyond Microsoft’s proud announcement and fancy screenshots, IT pros quickly took note of not only Windows 11′ CPU, RAM, and storage requirements, but also the need for devices to have a new Trusted Platform Module (TPM) installed.

This could present roadblocks for many IT teams. A recent report from Lansweeper revealed that, across 30 million devices from 60,00 organizations, these new requirements mean that only 44% of devices are ready for an automatic Windows 11 update. (You can also try to perform this task manually, but be ready for some serious headaches).

So, before you can even think about managing a new OS experience, you have to make sure your devices can actually install it.

Critical Applications

Although a device might meet all the hardware requirements for Windows 11, it does not mean it should be migrated. With every new OS release comes the dread of unpredictable application compatibility issues.

Think of all the critical applications employees use on a daily basis, and how they impact workforce productivity and experience when they go down. When rolling out a new OS, you run the risk of a serious company-wide digital employee experience (DEX)  and business process degradation from key apps not running as well as they did on their previous OS.

Before taking the leap, make sure you’ve proactively tested all your business-critical applications in controlled pilot groups and identified any updates they might need. You might just avoid some very nasty post-migration surprises.

OS Experience

The OS is the most important piece of software – an employee’s gateway to their digital workspace.

Beyond the technical hardware and software readiness of the product, you have to think about how you deliver a great OS experience to your employees. Migrating is one thing, but ensuring adoption and satisfaction is another.

So, another consideration before you migrate is to ensure your current employee experience is even high enough to migrate. If your DEX Score is quite low today, maybe it’s a sign you should hold off on the delivery of a totally new OS experience.

Building the right pilot

Before you take the plunge, you’ve got to take W11 out for a spin. But to do that, you need to test it under the right conditions.

You need to pick the right users, with the right devices, the right apps, and the right experience. In other words, you want to test the new OS with a group of people who are currently having a great DEX, are using a varied set of critical apps, and are willing to try W11. That way, you can A/B test all the conditions: are they having a better or worst experience? Are their apps working well? Is the hardware stable?

Running a pilot is important. But make sure you’re using the right variables to get the most out of the process.

Beyond budget: Enabling a flawless migration

An OS migration can be a pricy affair, especially when it doesn’t go smoothly.  The cost of a poor DEX and drops in digital performance are no laughing matter.

It’s not just about deciding whether you have the budget, but also about considering how can you optimize and reduce the costs of migration. For instance, with the proper planning, you can:

  • Map out out all devices that you can keep for W11, versus those that would need to be replaced or upgraded.
  • Assess the potential impact on application performance to avoid DEX and process degradations.
  • Provide real-time insight and troubleshooting capabilities to enhance support teams’ agility during migration.
  • Use pilot feedback to proactively iron out any issues that could lead to additional tickets on the big day.
  • Prepare your workforce with targeted educational content to improve adoption and prevent new software frustrations.

Detailed and contextual insight into your current device landscape can go a long way to support decision-making – and save you a pretty penny. Being able to report on these factors can provide upper-level management accurate insight to support your migration’s plan of action.