Windows 7 Desktop Migration Webinar


If you’re in IT and just now considering moving your organization off Windows XP to Windows 7, first of all, what the heck took you so long? And second of all, now that I’ve probably totally insulted you, won’t you join me for a free webinar on how to do it? 🙂

I’m doing 2 webinars, both covering the same material but the first one targeted for healthcare organizations and the second one not specific to any vertical. One is this week on Wednesday and the other is next week on Tuesday. Although the title says Windows 7, you can use the same information moving to Windows 8. Hope to see you there!

Read all about it and register over on the Compugen IT Buzz blog.

Living without Lync: No Thanks!

[Cross-posted from the Compugen ITbuzz blog]

I’ve been working out of a home office for the past 10 years and although it may not be for everyone, I’d have a hard time going back to being in an office every day. While there are both merits and pitfalls to telecommuting, there is one tool I couldn’t do it without: Lync.

I have to admit, I have a certain bias here. After all, I did just come from 6 years of working at Microsoft where Lync is baked into the company’s corporate culture. When I was interviewing for my current role, I was happy to discover that Compugen is also heavily dependent on Lync and use it to embrace a flexible work place for employees. It weighed nicely in the “Pro” column when considering my options.

Why Lync? Implemented right, it’s more than just a teleconferencing application. For example, it integrates with Exchange, SharePoint and other applications to show presence. When I open up an email or shared document, I can see who is offline (gray dot), busy (red dot), away (yellow dot) or available (green dot) and I can click on the person’s name to email, IM or call them right from my computer.

Presence information in Outlook

Because I’m not physically near my colleagues, being able to see who is available and being able to have multiple ways to easily contact and communicate with them is critical. I don’t want to miss opportunities to have quick chats with a colleague on an issue or ping someone with an idea simply because I’m not in the office around the water cooler.

Through federation, I have similar visibility into the online status of customers, partners and others using federated Lync. With Lync 2013, federation extends to customers, partners, etc who use Skype as well. Even though I’m sitting by myself in my home office, I’m totally connected to all the people that I need to be in order to be productive and effective. All without the daily commute.

Federated contacts in Lync

To be optimally effective on any conferencing software, it helps to have good hardware. In fact, ineffective hardware can be a big barrier to adoption and can make telecommuting very frustrating. I had the opportunity to speak to Jabra, Plantronics and Polycom at the recent Lync Conference in Toronto and each of them have solid Lync optimized options for whatever environment you’re working in.

There are hundreds of hardware options on the market. Here are my two personal favs:

  1. For in my home office, I like to use what I call my Jabra hockey puck. The Jabra SPEAK is optimized for Lync and all I have to do is plug it in to my notebook’s USB port. The call quality is great and people don’t realize that I’m calling through my computer without using a headset. Because it’s a speaker phone, I can get up and stretch without being tethered to my computer or worrying about my glasses or hair getting in the way of an earpiece.clip_image003
  2. For the days when I do go into the office or I’m working from a coffee shop, train, airport or other shared workspace I have been using a Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset which I’ve absolutely loved. I’ve never felt like I needed to raise my voice any higher than normal, it’s pretty discreet and it fits over my ear well. However, I was given the latest version, the Voyager Legend, at the Lync Conference and I’m pretty excited to try it out.clip_image004

It looks much like my old headset but with a few key improvements. The volume and power buttons are easier to work with and it comes with this great little case that has a rechargeable battery to charge the headset when it’s stored there. How cool is that!clip_image005

So how do you like to work when you’re on the road and mobile? What are your favourite tools? Post a comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What not to do when deploying Windows 7


My first real blogging experience started when I joined Microsoft back in 2007. It was such a scary experience to post something so publically to such a large ready-made audience! I worried about being profound enough, smart enough, witty enough and died a little inside each time I discovered too late that I’d made a spelling or grammar mistake.

Fast-forward to today and I’m happy to say that I’m blogging again on a corporate blog. I worry a lot less and enjoy it a lot more now than I did then! It feels good to be able to stretch my creative writing muscle.

Below is my first post from the Compugen blog, ITbuzz. The first of many more to come! Enjoy.


[Cross-posted from the Compugen ITbuzz blog]

April 8, 2014 is coming up fast. Too fast for many IT shops. That’s the date when Windows XP extended support ends and Microsoft will stop updating the OS. Many organizations are finding themselves in a bit of a time crunch to complete their desktop deployments before time runs out.

Windows XP will not suddenly stop working on April 9. It’ll still boot, it’ll still run applications, and it’ll still connect to the Internet. But it won’t get any more security updates and when hackers find and exploit holes and bugs in the OS, XP users and their IT support folk will have no avenue of recourse to patch the OS. It’s a very vulnerable situation that businesses and organizations don’t want to find themselves in.

Having spoken to many IT folks lately who are getting started or are in the midst of their deployment, here are my 5 things not to do for a successful and timely client OS rollout:

  1. Ignore the size and scope of the project before starting. Let’s just add to the project as things come up. So don’t assess hardware so upgrades can be planned. Maybe an Office upgrade should happen at the same time. How hard could that be since the OS is being updated anyway? Let’s ignore the fact that the company uses macros and depends on Access databases which will need to be tested. April 8, 2014 isn’t a hard stop date anyway right? We’ve got lots of time for extras.
  2. Forget about doing a thorough assessment of your applications. Does it really matter that there are 5 versions of Adobe Reader on the floor, that the 3 different graphics packages could be consolidated down to one and that no one uses QuoteRUs although it’s installed on 50% of the desktops? Let’s just inventory the environment and test everything because we have lots of time and money to do so. Or let’s just assume we know what people are using and only test and remediate those applications to save time and money. Of course people may not be very productive after the rollout if we guess wrong but how bad could it be?
  3. Don’t consider who owns the applications. While the business unit may champion the use of some applications, we can save time by doing our own testing of the applicaiton. Regardless of whether we understand how people use the applications or what the business unit really needs we can decide if an application can, should and will be moved to the new environment. Consulting with the business just means more delays and we’re on a time crunch!
  4. Don’t put together a detailed project plan. Gantt charts are scary. Need I say more?
  5. Don’t worry about having solid technical leadership. Microsoft is pulling support and our executives are behind the project and expecting timely results. We’re experts on our IT systems so we’ll figure it out even though we haven’t done a rollout this extensive or invasive to our business since moving to XP 10 years ago. Let’s get ‘er done.

Now I must say our customers are pretty astute when approaching a project of this magnitude. But despite that, in just about every conversation I have there are always things that come out that weren’t considered. That’s why our customers love working us – we’ve got the knowledge and expertise that they need to be successful and we make them look good.

For more information about Compugen’s Windows 7 Acceleration Services, check out the deck that my boss, Joe Addison, and I presented at a recent event. Let me know if you want to know more or are interested in one of our workshops or assessments.

 Scroll to top