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How Higher Education Minimizes Remote Worker PC Refresh Headaches

Universities now need to tackle the challenge of maintaining a hybrid remotework and learning environment, even when students and faculty are gradually returning to campus. Financial institutions face a number of administrative and technical challenges, from compliance reports to concerns about maintaining productivity while balancing short-term and long-term needs. As a result, we see a fundamental shift in the way educational institutions operate in both classrooms and back offices.

A particular challenge for many campus IT departments is finding ways to efficiently manage complex remote and hybrid workplaces to keep employees productive. For IT teams responsible for providing the PCs and applications that faculty and staff need to do their jobs, the long-term transition to large-scale remote work presents some unique challenges.

In this more complex environment, IT departments have significantly more workspaces to set up and are almost evenly divided into remote and office locations. When a PC and laptop have reached the end of their life and need to be replaced, the technical support team needs to find a way to efficiently and securely transfer data between PCs without having physical access to both devices. Even in a small institution with 1,800 students, such as Colby College in Maine, IT service teams need to transfer data. Over 150 PCs per year on average.

Avoid loss of productivity

Exacerbating the problem is the fact that many application and data migrations are performed manually. This is a very time consuming process. Also, for complex migrations from one device to the next, copying files to cloud storage or an external hard drive and dragging them to a new machine is not enough. For most faculty and staff, there are many special applications and PC settings that need attention. IT support staff often need to access the system, change and update passwords, and resolve potential issues. Costs aren’t just about the time IT staff spend. There is also the problem of losing the productivity of faculty and staff.

In many large educational institutions, Microsoft’s User State Migration Tool (USMT) is a commonly used tool for setting up remote workers and handling hardware replacements from lease rotations. However, it relies heavily on custom XML scripts that require development and maintenance, and certain features that are important to remote migration scenarios are not sufficient. As one global professional and financial services company It’s been found, USMT cannot provide the quick and easy experience needed to support thousands to thousands of migrations. In this case, the company has developed an internal tool based on USMT that is customized to fit the process. This tool allowed users to complete the migration, but the process itself was long and tedious, requiring at least 20 minutes of setup to start the process. They missed an important element of the PC that needed to be transferred, and found that the final result lacked the required accuracy, eventually abandoning USMT altogether.

“USMT is partially inadequate because the list of things that don’t migrate is about the same length as the one that migrates. Even though certain failures can migrate the application settings of a particular app. Application migration is not supported. “

USMT is partially inadequate because the list of non-migrating things is almost the same as the migrating ones. Certain obstacles are that application migration is not supported, even though it may migrate application settings for a particular app. Various settings such as printer, hardware settings, permissions, etc. are also not supported. Also, migration between different language versions of Windows is not supported. Overall, the USMT process is cumbersome and does not handle remote migration scenarios.

Zero touch transition

A new approach to managing PC migration is needed in the era of remote work. Remote employees require simple migration steps and the process should be as automated as possible. In this scenario, employees start migrating to a new or replacement PC with just a few clicks, and the rest of the process is automated with minimal monitoring by remote IT departments. This simple and streamlined process reduces the need for employees to call the help desk or submit support tickets. To move in this direction, IT departments need more automation and control of the migration process than other tools provide, and exclude labor-intensive scripts and tests.

“Remote employees need simple migration steps and the process needs to be as automated as possible.

Here are three recommendations for university support teams to consider when deploying an automated solution for remote PC / OS migration.

  1. Look for automation tools that can move everything from user accounts, application environments, application add-ons, background images, favorites, applications, data, settings, and more.
  2. PCs and users are different and require different migration steps. To accommodate these variations, IT needs to give PC migration tools ample flexibility to support a variety of unique use cases.
  3. A policy-based tool that allows IT managers to pre-check various choices in the program to create a predefined experience that end users or IT administrators can perform with minimal effort. Implement. “Experienced” users may need all the options, but most users are advised to use a no-touch or light-touch migration to reduce human error. The policy-based approach reduces complexity compared to developing complex custom XML scripts while providing the flexibility you need.

Even after the COVID-19 pandemic finally enters the rear-view mirror, remote work is likely to not only stay in the entire educational environment, but also introduce a much more complex concept of hybrid workspace. To successfully support this model, institutions need to find ways and tools to automate and streamline their processes while minimizing the practical involvement of IT in setting up and migrating PCs.


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How Higher Education Minimizes Remote Worker PC Refresh Headaches

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