I love it when a plan comes together (Hannibal Smith)

By Danny Otten

I love my job! I meet a lot of IT and business decision makers who share their priorities and challenges with me. I leverage that information to inspire and help other people in my network. You could call it ‘sharing best practices’, very valuable for all of us. These discussions even became more interesting the last years since companies are focusing on ‘going digital’ and therefore alignment between business and IT is becoming increasingly important.

An IT team needs to be more proactive than ever to keep up with the increasing business demands. Cloud changed the IT landscape and empowered business people. If the IT team is not perceived as fast and flexible enough, businesses build their own solutions. And that is what you want to prevent. Get your business and IT strategy in line and drive innovation! I do believe that IT will evolve to become a natural integral part of the business and not be a separate team any more. And that is probably not a bad thing to happen if you really want to deliver maximum value to your company.

An important step into that evolution is to write an IT masterplan i.e. how does your roadmap to cloud looks like, what with legacy applications, how to deal with new software service models … and all this with the business and digital strategy in mind. I often need to remind customers that this masterplan should reflect the business and digital strategy but also keep the Microsoft Lifecycle Policies and Software Service Models in mind.

Microsoft itself has a very detailed set of lifecycle guidelines laid out here, but there is some understandable confusion as to what this actually means for many of us. There are three main phases of the Microsoft support lifecycle: Mainstream Support, Extended Support and Service Pack Support. Each of these phases has a set of guidelines defining their duration, and the type and availability of various support during each phase. But Microsoft also introduced their Modern Lifecycle Support policies for specific products… How will that impact your organization with the increasing pace of change…

Today, many enterprise customers have a mix of modern and legacy client and server operating systems. Managing the servicing and updating differences between those legacy operating systems and Windows 10 versions adds a level of complexity that is not well understood. This can be confusing. IT teams have a critical need to understand how best to leverage a modern workplace to support system updates.

My advice to you? Document a strategy with regards to these 2 important aspects of your Microsoft technology stack. By doing this, your roadmap to cloud will become much more easy to define and you will enable yourself to support the business as efficiently as possible.

A lot of our customers find it challenging to digest the massive amount of information Microsoft made available. One of the main pillars of the Nimbuz portfolio is the Lifecycle Roadmap service. Experienced consultants help you understand how to deal with support lifecycles, software service models and roadmaps to cloud and apply this to your environment. The outcome will be one of the fundaments of your IT masterplan.

 

What do our customers say?

‘Insights into the Microsoft Support Lifecycle only was already worth the engagement.’

‘We were not aware that hosting on Azure extended the support from Microsoft on specific products which gave us more time to migrate and consolidate.’

‘We’ll be leveraging the clear and actionable advice that came from this engagement.’

‘We got to a 3-years roadmap as a budgetary aid, assisting to see which initiatives or decisions can be postponed and which are mandatory for the year ahead.’