At the start of April, we reported that Microsoft has upgraded 190,000 of its internal PCs to Windows 11. Later, the company also went into more details about how it streamlined the process, making it the smoothest update in the history of Windows updates at Microsoft. Now, it has shared some insights from its own upgrade process, that serves as a guidance for other organizations.
Microsoft says that it followed a three-stage approach to Windows 11 upgrades within the organization. The first is "plan" in which the company determined how many PCs are eligible for Windows 11 based on hardware requirements. Not all devices were eligible so excluded devices stayed on Windows 10 with the expectation that employees using them will get Windows 11 hardware at their next device refresh. Microsoft used Update Compliance and Endpoint Manager's Endpoint analytics capability to evaluate the total number of machines that could update to Windows 11, and 99% of these upgrades were successful. Microsoft says that it developed a timeline and a ring-based approach to roll out the update in a staggered manner across the company.
In the second stage, which is "prepare", the idea was to excite employees about the new features and improvements coming with Windows 11. Microsoft leveraged Yammer, Teams, SharePoint, and its internal webpages to drive interest in the OS by talking about the new UI as well as the speed and flexibility of the upgrade process. Employees were also allowed to use PC Health Check to determine if their machine would be eligible for Windows 11. Power BI was used to track and visualize device statistics such as population, region, eligibility, and adoption.
Finally, in the "deploy" stage, Windows Update for Business was configured to set up policies, manage the rollout of the upgrade, and alert employees. Microsoft also used Windows Autopilot to work with OEM partners in tandem so that any new device orders come bundled with Windows 11.
Microsoft boasts that:
We count our upgrade to Windows 11 as a strong success story. We had no increase in support tickets, we had broad adoption across the company, and it was our fastest deployment in company history. We hope that sharing our story helps you tackle your Windows 11 upgrade.