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Windows 10 – Do you Love it? … or hate it?

Well, for the first time ever, there is plenty to “love”,

a bit to “hate”

and a bunch of “getting used to”

involved in this latest operating platform from Microsoft.

 

What we have all been told however, is that this is the last major change of how it works. From now on, we will just be getting upgraded releases of Windows 10 instead of having to re-learn an entire operating system every time Microsoft decides to release a new version.

In Microsoft’s words,

“Windows 10 is the first step to an era of more personal computing, one in which Microsoft is moving Windows from its heritage of enabling a single device – the PC – to a world that is more mobile, natural, and grounded in trust. With Windows 10, applications, services, and content move across devices seamlessly and easily. Windows 10 features a universal app platform and universal store, providing a consistent experience across devices.

Windows 10 helps make people more productive and have more fun, with a personal, natural experience that works across all of their devices. Windows 10 delivers ongoing feature innovations and security updates, and it is available as a free* upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users.”

Personally, I (once I got used to it) loved Windows 7. Before that, Win XP.

I could not stand Win 8! I was forced to uninstall it before I lost my temper and ‘rebooted it through the windows’ (get the pun?)

Windows 10 has come along and I must be fully upfront in saying that it took me a little while to venture out and test it. I mean really, who wants the hassle of re-installing an entire computer just to find it is worse than what you already had?

But, with my entire tech team calling me a techno-phoebe (including casuals I had only just hired 2 weeks earlier) along with other terms and phrases I probably cannot print, I finally took the plunge and got one of the team to load it for me (I know, right! Huge commitment on my part!).

And the result? I actually am pretty happy. I have finally become used to it and find a lot of things I knew and loved from Win7 being re-added and some of the really stupid and horrible things from Win8 being removed. ‘My Computer’ is now ‘My PC’. I can live with that.

In reality, I don’t have a choice about using Windows 10 – unless I want to go Apple or Linux for a business platform – and that I do NOT want to do, but I am really quite happy with Windows 10 and would probably have migrated to it even if I did not have to.

Warning with regards to upgrading to WIN 10: Some older Laptops (Pre 2011) have not supplied drivers for the graphics and result in a black screen. It becomes a bit more difficult to fix an issue if you cannot see it so please backup important data before attempting it. Even a quick Google search “<Laptop brand and model> with Windows 10” will give you a fairly good idea if yours is going to be okay before you start.

For more information, see the Windows 10 Upgrade page on Microsoft’s website.

For now, enjoy the new windows and give yourself enough time to get used to it before you start having to meet deadlines. I found a glass of wine to be especially helpful with my first explore of it.

Thomas

Case Study: All Too Common “Cost-saving” Scenario

We come across many clients who try and save themselves money by using ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ IT solutions, that turn out costing the company a lot more than the other options. One of our clients found out the hard way, choosing the wrong places to spend their funds.

Our client installed Open Office, the free alternative of Microsoft Office, onto their Terminal Server because they didn’t want to spend the additional costs on Microsoft licensing. After repeatedly running into issues using the software, we were brought in to help them out.

Is it really the cheap option?

Using Open Office, the company was having to deal with: staff requiring more training, the software taking longer to do simple tasks, and support of the software taking longer from a break-fix perspective.

On average the staff member was spending approximately 15mins a day extra than they normally would need to use the new software.

The hidden costs

Extrapolating it out it works out to, 15mins per day = 75mins per week = 3450mins per working year = 57.5hrs per working year = cost of $1,315.60 per year (based on the hourly rate of $22.88 per hour), and for a company of 15 staff, the ‘cheap’ software actually costs the company around $19,734.00 per year.

As servers get older, they typically require more break-fix type maintenance. When they first go in, they probably require around 12 hour per year of solid maintenance as a bare minimum. At the five year mark, they probably require around 60 hours per year of solid maintenance (including backups, hardware failures, etc).

These are estimates of course, but mapping this out from the first year to the fifth year, the cost to maintain a five year old server would be approximately $7,200 per year.

In addition, power and cooling costs go up.

A new server typically costs 18% of the original cost of the hardware per year in power and cooling. So based on the average cost of a server of $15,000 (for a small company of 15 staff), the cost per year for power and cooling in the first year would be around $2,700.00.

However, by the fifth year of a server’s life, it’s reasonable to assume the server won’t run as efficiently as it first did. Let’s say in it’s fifth year it now costs around 25%, rather than 18%, equating to $3,750.00 per year.

The count so far on our scenario here is approximately $61,288.80 per year for a company of 15 staff with ‘cheap’ software, slow infrastructure and an aging server.

And this is only looking at a small subset of factors.

Needless to say, once we consulted with the client we were able to work out a beneficial solution that saved the company money in staff productivity, as well as software and hardware maintenance.

Case Study: Implementing an Overarching IT Strategy

A recent client came to CCSiT, having been dissatisfied with their previous IT supplier’s level of service. The client designs and deploys water pump and hydroponics solutions. They were using a server running a dedicated database software and retail front. Their systems were approximately six years old and well overdue for an upgrade. Staff were experiencing regular dropouts on the server and internet connection, which resulted in delays from their retail front-end software, and also impacting their email flow. We went onsite with the client and discussed the owner’s business requirements, whilst our engineer inspected the setup on a more technical level.

Replacing Ad-Hoc with an IT Strategy

Using the CCSiT approach, our focus was to implement of an overarching IT strategy, rather than short-sightedly looking at a particular solution that attended to a given problem. Working with our client we were able to establish an appropriate IT strategy and agree on long term goals.

Assessing the Client’s Needs

The owner discussed the need for a system that would allow for the possibility of scaling in the future, if they were to open up additional retail shops. The owner expressed concerns of a change in IT system causing any instability. The business depends on their database system to function, needing an operational system was vital for their retail front-end. The other concern was that while business was doing well, cash flow was not great at the time, so cost was also a significant factor in any changes.

Addressing Those Needs

The first step of the strategy we prepared for the client was to stabilise the current infrastructure, ensuring that any implemented solution would be scalable. The IT solution we proposed was an onsite server along with a hybrid Cloud solution for emails.

Essentially, our plan was to put a ‘branch style’ server in place at the main office, providing an in-house platform for the database software. We also suggested implementing a hosted (ie. Cloud) email solution, thus significantly lowering the requirements (and cost) of the inhouse server. Finally, we recommended an appropriate backup solution be put in place.

Tailoring the Solution

After discussing this proposal, however the owner expressed concern over the upfront costs. We then readjusted the process of the overall solution, still fitting in with the agreed upon IT strategy and the following improvements were put in place;

  • The hosted email solution was implemented immediately, removing a significant load from the existing server, as well as ensuring the disaster recovery is now quick and easy.
  • Approximately six weeks later, a new server was purchased and the database system was migrated across, with a temporary backup solution put in place in the meantime.
  • And finally, another six weeks later, a more robust backup solution was put in place.

By moving forward with this kind of staged approach, the client was able to still receive the full solution with minimal financial outlay and without compromising on quality.

This approach also ensured their IT strategy remained intact, so they are positioned to achieve their long-term IT goals, further proving that by putting a good, solid IT solution in place, will save your business money over time, by providing increased staff efficiency and less overall downtime.

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