Windows Mobile Migration: Three Ways to Ensure Business Continuity and Minimize Supply Chain Disruption

Microsoft’s 2015 decision to curtail support of mobile devices included, to the company’s credit, a sustained transition period. While this provided some breathing room for supply chains dependent upon Microsoft mobile platforms to transition to alternative operating systems, the days are numbered for companies that have yet to complete the OS transition.

In June 2018, Windows Embedded CE reaches its end-of-life, with Windows 8.1 and Handheld 6.5 to follow. Even Windows 10 Mobile – once touted as Microsoft’s ground-breaking approach to mobile computing – will no longer be enhanced with new features.

For businesses that haven’t transitioned to new operating systems – Android or iOS, most likely – time is running out if they are to avoid the costs and risks of business disruptions. If you haven’t already made a switch, here are some potential next steps.

  • Accelerate plans to transition to a new OS. Relying on outdated Windows OS or even Windows 10 with occasional security patches to "buy time" carries significant risk to your business (both security and operational), while adding to maintenance and support costs.
  • Move quickly but prudently. The move to a new OS should be undertaken in short order but not without a comprehensive plan for data protection and transition, including app migration, to a carefully vetted alternative.
  • Base decisions on long-term strategic needs. While your next generation OS and hardware decision may seem obvious, think strategically and long-term about the future direction of your business, including the enterprise impact of digital transformation and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Prior to taking action, Windows rugged mobile device users should fully understand all day-to-day and business-critical aspects of OS migration, including the identification of OS options that most closely align with business needs.

It’s critical to consider a new platform’s stability, reliability, and hardware compatibility, among other factors. Anticipating the effect of migration on data gathering and management, IoT, and new devices, and the ongoing threats posed by hacking and malware is also critical.

Nuanced and Complex Considerations

Although migration considerations are nuanced and complex, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) providers specialize in breaking through the clutter and helping supply chains "future proof" mobile investments by bundling applications, devices, and analytics into a unified solution that permits prompt, cost-effective upgrades to the mobile platform.

App migration from Windows to Android or iOS, for example, often proves to be a major undertaking. It should be approached with a thoughtful, multifaceted strategy, not just a standalone migration of the app’s functionality. Nor should migration be viewed only within a technical context. To achieve the most effective transition, companies should implement the transition based on a 360-degree assessment of potential impacts.

Ultimately, every company should look at OS migration not as a hurdle, but rather a chance to capitalize on new business opportunities, improve customer experience, and revitalize business models. To do otherwise is to risk falling behind as we move more deeply into the digital transformation and mobile technology.

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