18/09/2013 09:29 BST | Updated 17/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Enterprises Are Unprepared for the "New Normal" of Massive Software Migrations

Continual software migrations are now the "new normal." Today while massive software migration projects such as the move from Windows XP to Windows 7 are underway, already the next wave - virtualization - is gaining steam. Critically, CIOs aren't equipped to handle it. This is the conclusion drawn from Flexera Software's jointly prepared study with IDC, which surveyed more than 700 respondents from software ISVs, intelligent device manufacturers and end-user enterprises on all aspects of managing the software license lifecycle.

Advancements in the world of technology will continue to move at a pace far quicker than we can accommodate, and with this in mind enterprises need to embrace the inevitability of regular software transitions.

Enterprises are still racing to implement Windows 7 ahead of the April 8, 2014 Microsoft Windows XP end of support date. 28% of respondents still must migrate more than half of their application estates to Windows 7. Only 3.7% of respondents plan on migrating directly to Windows 8.

But this is not all. Simultaneously, organizations are beginning to take on projects to migrate their desktops and applications to virtual environments. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) projects are in full swing - 20% of organizations will be virtualizing between 26-100% of their desktops over the coming 12-24 months. An additional 23% will be virtualizing between11-25% of their desktops over that same time period.

Moreover, given the proliferation of mobile devices, platforms and the BYOD trend, enterprises must pay attention to mobile application migration too, which will likely tax current IT efforts even while Windows 7 and virtualization efforts continue.

This 'new normal' requires a fundamental shift in the way organisations approach software migrations. Even though mission critical operating systems migrations and software deployments are amongst the riskiest, time intensive and costly IT initiatives, they were far between and so typically enterprises got away with approaching them as 'point-in-time' projects that often have been implemented with minimal planning. In today's evolving technological landscape, this approach does not hold. Businesses require clear methodologies and automated best practice processes.

It is acknowledged that there are six Application Readiness best practice processes for application deployments and software migrations, including:

  1. Identifying applications being used
  2. Rationalizing applications to eliminate unused software prior to migration
  3. Assessing compatibility with the new target environment
  4. Migration planning
  5. Fixing compatibility issues & packaging
  6. Handing off applications to a deployment system

Interestingly, according to the report, many enterprises have not yet implemented or are not even planning to implement Application Readiness. Only 30%+ of the organizations surveyed are either currently or planning to implement automation for each of the six Application Readiness best practice processes. The highest level of automation achieved already within enterprises (only 22%) is for the "Identify applications being used" step. The lowest level of automation achieved (14.5%) is for the "Fix & Package" step. Moreover, almost 20% of respondents said they would not be implementing automation in the "Assess Compatibility" (18.9%), "Fix & Package" (19.5%) and "Deploy" (19.5%) steps.

Between major migrations, such as Windows 7 and virtualization, and day-to-day application upgrades, bug fixes and patches, as many as 30% of an organization's applications change every year. Leveraging Application Readiness best practices consistently across the desktop, datacenter and mobile devices is therefore essential to ensure companies are consistently and reliably up to date on the apps that run the business. Few IT teams have sufficient resources to ensure continual Application Readiness using manual processes. Leveraging automation enables those teams to automatically test and remediate the majority of applications, allowing them to focus resources on the small minority of 'problem cases'