Don't Forget the Human Factor
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Your ability to make a smooth transition to Vista is contingent upon the capabilities of your employees. If you dont have sufficient staff or if they lack the necessary expertise, you are virtually guaranteed to encounter difficulties. So, how can you make sure your organization is well prepared?
Start by conducting a thorough assessment of your staffing situation. Key questions to consider include: ·
The precise number of employees needed during this time will vary greatly depending on the size of the current IT team and the number of users who are transitioning to Vista. A good starting point when forming your strategy is to review your experience implementing earlier operating systems such as Windows 2000 or XP and add in a buffer.
Vista is expected to require more work than prior systems due to the long wait between Windows releases and Vistas heightened capabilities and unique user interface changes. For a collection of Vista deployment tools, including a step-by-step guide, from Microsoft, click here.
Deploying a new operating system to an entire organization will change the way your IT department functions. For instance, you may have employees devoting extensive time to testing application compatibility in pilot programs before rolling out Vista or making changes to the network infrastructure. Who will manage their everyday responsibilities in the meantime?
Executives, managers and employees will hold the same expectations as they did before IT staff resources were funneled to these efforts: When people at your firm need technical guidance or assistance, they will expect an immediate response from your group.
Another key component to your human resources plan should be training. Your help desk staff, in particular, must be experts with Vista to field whatever questions may come their way after the rollout. They need to be familiar with not only the features of the operating system but also the intricacies of how Vista might interact with your firms other applications.
There are a number of ways to effectively train employees in your department. Setting up a test environment before your deployment to give support staff hands-on time with Vista can be a wise investment. Traditional training methods, such as seminars, online courses, classes and certifications, also are worth considering for business workers and IT professionals alike.
Any technology rollout is going to present its share of challenges. By taking the time to get your staffing and training strategies in place before your Vista deployment is underway, youll ensure you have the necessary infrastructure to make the project a success.
Katherine Spencer Lee is executive director of Robert Half Technology, a provider of IT professionals for initiatives ranging from e-business development and multi-platform systems integration to network engineering and technical support. Robert Half Technology has more than 100 locations in the North America and Europe, and offers online job search services at www.rht.com.