1. First step: Testing
A global Windows 10 project team, consisting of individuals from the global IT organization and Accenture’s Consulting workforce, kicked off the upgrade project. The project team’s high-level approach was to first test all business applications and validate that they were capable of running on Windows 10, and second, proceed with deployment to employees.
From the start, speed to outcome was key. To accelerate business application testing, the project team leveraged a methodology it has used in the past to quickly assess applications. Nearly all of Accenture’s applications are browser-based and platform independent, which eliminated a huge testing effort. “We had a much smaller testing list because the browser compatibility was guaranteed in Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) on Windows 10,” says Brad Nyers, Infrastructure Services Strategy Lead. “So we were able to move our business applications with no impact and move to production ready in a very short window.” During this time, the Windows 10 project team also examined Accenture’s security tools in the context of Office, and performed a technical business pilot.
2. Next: Initial deployment
Eight months later, initial deployment of PCs loaded with Windows 10 began. The project team set up a “two-lane” deployment approach. The first was to deploy all new PCs with Windows 10 and give a manual upgrade option for early adopters. The second lane addressed existing PCs running Windows 7 and enabled employees to use an In-Place Upgrade tool and process that used OneDrive for file distribution to perform the upgrade to Windows 10.
This innovative In-Place Upgrade tool, developed by the Accenture Windows 10 project team, was key to enabling deployments at scale and pace. The tool validated whether an employee’s computer meets the necessary criteria, such as having sufficient disk space and the proper versions of security software, to receive Windows 10. If not, the user received information on how to remediate the situation. If yes, the user received communication by e-mail that their PC was ready and they received the Windows 10 upgrade file, which they could execute at their convenience. This approach was fast and eliminated the need to come into an Accenture office to have the upgrade performed by local technology support.
Throughout the Windows 10 Upgrade project rigorous project management, robust methodology and priority setting were important factors to achieving results at speed and scale. “At Accenture, we do a fantastic job at setting priorities and getting everyone engaged and to execute as a priority,” notes Nyers. “We set targets, we measure them and we achieve them. This aspect of a program is just as important as having great technology solutions.”
Employees executed in-place upgrades to Windows 10 at a regular cadence, with Accenture completing them by August 2018, with a few exception areas. Accenture embraced the Windows 10-as-a-Service (WaaS), and is staying current with the latest Windows 10 feature update. This model means Accenture has the latest Windows 10 operating system at all times, and is not concerned about falling out of support nor having to fund future large programs to stay current.