How to Seamlessly Transition from Windows Mobile OS to Android
In December 2019, Microsoft ended its support for Windows CE and Windows Mobile OS and has encouraged enterprises to migrate away from the platform. However, many companies have relied on Windows Mobile for years and have a lot invested in it. Without a presently painful operational reason to migrate, many businesses continue to use Windows Mobile OS to run critical aspects of their business. They feel this way because they can’t feel or see the end of life pain until it actually occurs.
Migrations are never easy, and it’s hard to get excited about a complete hardware refresh for mobile devices when current devices seem to work fine. Businesses are rightly concerned about the possibility of downtime during a transition, or the need to change or upgrade their current mobile device management (MDM) system to support devices with a new OS.
While avoiding downtime is a good idea, the reality is that without vendor support for your mobile OS, downtime is inevitable. Unsupported operating systems are prone to security risks at a time when criminals are ramping up hacking and ransomware attacks. And eventually, companies will experience lost functionality and a decrease in operational efficiency.
So, upgrades to handhelds and mobile operating systems can’t be delayed indefinitely. Businesses need the full support, security, and features of a modern mobile operating system in order to reliably maintain and optimize operations, keep pace with the competition, and ensure a healthy bottom line.
DecisionPoint understands your dilemma and has some ideas for you to consider to help you overcome some of the key obstacles to migrating to a new mobile operating system.
Tips for Staggered Device Migration
Organizations are concerned about the downtime that comes with overhauling their mobile devices and operating systems at once, which can lead to lost productivity, unnecessary amounts of time and resources to train staff to gain user adoption, and the technical side of needing to port over apps in current use to a new OS.
But you don’t need to overhaul everything at once. To minimize downtime in an OS transition, enterprises can stagger the mobile device and OS upgrade over time, using two platforms while the organization fully transitions. This way, your users can continue to use their existing apps and solutions while they learn a new device instead of having to also learn a new operating system at the same time.
Also, keep in mind that many of your users already use Android on their personal devices, so many people will be transitioning to a familiar environment, which should make the mobile OS switch run more smoothly. Staggering the transition also gives organizations more time to manage writing or updating apps to work with Android.
Methods for Migrating Apps
One of the biggest challenges businesses face when upgrading mobile devices is migrating existing apps to the new mobile OS running on a new, rugged handheld. Even if a software vendor offers an Android version of an app your company is using, it will likely require a fresh installation rather than a simple version upgrade. And relying on IT staff to recode apps for new devices and operating systems is labor-intensive,time-consuming, and a distraction from your core business.
However, there are alternative migration solutions that can help ease the process of migrating apps to a new platform:
- Terminal wrapping: “Wrap” terminal apps in a UI that supports custom keyboards and hardware interfaces
- Cross-platform tools: Use existing C# skills to compile the app for native Android or iOS
- Conversion tools: Convert legacy C# apps into Xamarin to allow them to run on Android
- Mobile Device Management : Consult with an MDM services provider to discover the best solution to migrate your legacy apps
Mobile Device Management (MDM) Complexities
If you’re working with an older, legacy version of an MDM platform, migrating to newer devices may require an MDM upgrade. That’s because each mobile OS has a unique way of interacting with an MDM and your legacy MDM solution may not have the capability to support new devices.
To avoid adding unnecessary complexity to your MDM migration, it’s crucial to set expectations early with your MDM provider. For example, complications with configuration can slow down progress in the pilot or migration stages. Managing this early will help facilitate a smooth transition.
Start by ensuring your MDM provider fully evaluates and understands your enterprise MDM needs. For example, ensure the provider can help you create the right policies for all devices on the network and also help ensure your applications and associated data are safeguarded in the migration process. Also make sure your MDM provider can help you control end-user access to the device and its applications.
With your attention focused on today’s operational needs, it’s natural to put off a mobile OS migration in favor of keeping processes running smoothly. Unfortunately, experience in the industry has shown that unsupported software like Windows Mobile OS and Windows CE will inevitably create business problems down the road, including downtime from unsupported, aging devices, and serious cybersecurity threats that can cripple operations. It’s best to upgrade now while things are running smoothly rather than wait for a crisis.
A phased upgrade approach can give you control over the migration to minimize downtime while also helping to preserve capital. And, phasing in a new mobile OS also takes the pressure off IT to tackle a major change in a short timeframe, which can take their time and attention away from other matters.
Outside guidance can also help you make the transition without unscheduled downtime. By working closely with an MDM service provider like DecisionPoint, you can get expert support in configuring your new MDM to work with your new mobile OS, making the upgrade and transition process much easier.
DecisionPoint Systems has decades of experience in enterprise mobility and has helped many enterprises successfully navigate out of Windows Mobile OS and Windows CE. We’re here to answer your questions about the challenges associated with upgrading a mobile device fleet.
Connect with DecisionPoint today to take the first step of upgrading your enterprise’s mobile OS and devices.