There is no doubt Windows 7 is turning the heads of many companies. In fact, more than 19% percent of the global IT workforce is expected to be using Windows 7 by the end of 2010.

Why the quick uptake? Many organisations have ageing machines that need refreshing, while others see the end of mainstream XP support on the horizon, and still others are being swayed by the promise of improved mobility, security, networking and search capabilities.

Any operating system upgrade can be disruptive. It takes time and careful planning, and it can deplete IT resources and drain employee productivity if not done correctly. But it doesn't have to, especially if you are armed with the right set of tools. Smart organisations are recognizing that a trifecta of technologies, asset management, configuration management and application virtualisation, can ensure a successful Windows 7 migration.

The first key step is to figure out how much change the upgrade will entail. That's where an asset management solution comes into play. It gives you a clear picture of your Windows 7 readiness.

Do your PCs have enough horse power? Enough RAM? Will your applications be Windows 7 compatible?

Besides helping you identify key migration targets for Windows 7, if you're looking to refresh aging PCs, an asset management tool can help keep track of hardware contracts. This makes it easy for you to plan and prepare for hardware refreshes as part of leases that are becoming due.

With that nailed down, consider a centralised configuration management tool. These can simplify the process of creating a Windows 7 operating environment and distributing that to your target PCs. By utilising the automated tools, policies and processes with configuration management, organisations can reduce administration time and save up to 50% of the cost of a typical Windows 7 migration.

There are a number of ways that configuration management solutions can help simplify a Windows 7 migration. For instance, with personality migration capabilities, you can extract your user's Windows XP DNA (eg, application settings, bookmarks) and apply them to new Windows 7 devices so your users don't lose productivity.

Find your next job with techworld jobs