Organisations have until April 8 2014 to upgrade their operating systems and enterprise applications before Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows XP support.

But according to a recent study conducted by market watcher IDC sponsored by Flexera Software, many still have a significant way to go, with some yet to begin the migration process altogether.

Of the 750 executives and IT professionals from software Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) surveyed, almost a third (28%) indicated that they are yet to migrate half of their application estates to Windows 7, and 3.7% are yet to begin the process altogether. A further 3.7% of respondents plan to migrate directly to Windows 8.

Virtually there

According to the report, many organisations are beginning to migrate desktops to virtual environments to support new Mobile Device Management (MDM) applications necessary to manage the influx of 'bring your own device' (BYOD) smartphones and tablets entering organisations.

This means that there are fewer IT resources to dedicate to Windows 7 migration projects, IDC says.

According to the survey, 20% of organisations will be virtualising between 26-100% of their desktops over the next 12-24 months. An additional 23% will be virtualising between 11-25% of desktops over the same time period.

Moreover, 28% of organizations surveyed will be virtualising between 26-100% of their applications over the next 12-24 months. An additional 23% will be virtualising between 11-25% of their applications over that same time period.

Six steps

To prepare for application migrations, IDC has outlined six steps for 'Application Readiness' best practice process to make sure the transition runs smoothly. They are:

  • Step 1: Identify what's being used (an accurate view of the apps being deployed)
  • Step 2: Application Rationalization: Determine what software isn't being used before migrating
  • Step 3: Assess Compatibility: Test applications for compatibility before migrating
  • Step 4: Migration Planning: Plan how time consuming migrating will be and identify applications that need to be fixed in order to run on the new platform
  • Step 5: Fix compatibility issues: Fix apps and package them in accordance with IT standards before migrating
  • Step 6: Deploy Packaged Applications Quickly and Cost-Effectively: Deploy applications to users through a configuration management system or via a self-service enterprise app store