Make sure strategy\u2014not panic\u2014is driving your migration. There is no better time to upgrade your Microsoft environment than today. The decision is easy, but executing can be a challenge.\u00a0 By keeping business strategy at the top of your objectives, you can assure best chance of best outcomes.\u00a0\nThey say there is an appointed time for everything, and that includes your software. At some point you will have to migrate to newer, more powerful, flexible and secure\u2014and perhaps even less-expensive\u2014alternatives. While that is rarely an easy or enjoyable process, the military adage\u2014proper planning and practice prevents poor performance\u2014can make software migration a lot less painful.\nThe current poster child of why to migrate is Microsoft SQL Server 2005. With its official end of life (EOL) scheduled for April 12, 2016, millions of customers must select and deploy a replacement that addresses today\u2019s business requirements that have changed drastically in the last decade, including explosive data growth, new data types, new demands, and new threats.\nMany organizations have a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to migrations: the old \u201cif it ain\u2019t broke, don\u2019t fix it\u201d excuse. Using a related Microsoft example\u2014Windows Server 2003, which had its EOL in April 2015\u2014a recent survey found that it\u2019s still present in 60% of companies, in spite of no support or updates and numerous security issues. However, the survey did report that EOL and company growth\/additional needs top the list for why organizations migrate their software.\nFrom an additional needs perspective, cloud, mobility, social media, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are rapidly transforming everything. In the emerging \u201cdigital economy\u201d every company will increasingly be a software company, according to IDC. So software changes and upgrades will continue to drive the business agenda.\nNow, for whatever reason, you\u2019ve decided to make a software change. The first consideration should be creating the right strategy to ensure the process is as a painless as possible. There are four steps to a successful software migration strategy:\n1. Discover which applications and workloads are running on the existing software.\n2. Assess your infrastructure and categorize applications and workloads by type, importance, and degree of complexity.\n3. Target a migration destination for each application and workload upon migration.\n4. Migrate to your new software.\nA key part of your strategy should be ensuring that your community of users are kept up-to-date on the proposed changes, when they will take place, and what will be done to ensure a speedy and successful changeover. This will include data migration, features and benefits, and workflows.\nThere are many reasons for migrating your software, and those reasons are expected to multiply and come with shorter and shorter time windows to react. In the digital economy, standing still is not an option. But with the appropriate strategy and resources in place\u2014either internal or with a partner\u2014migrating your software need not be the challenge it has been in the past.