With Microsoft ending support to several of its products in January 2020, many businesses are left scrambling for solutions. While many of the technology giant’s products reaching the end of support (EOS) next year are operating systems (OSs), other applications, essential pieces of software, are vulnerable, too, if they’re not appropriately evaluated. Called line-of-business applications (LOBs), these programs need to be updated if the OSs they’re operating on is either upgraded or migrated to the cloud.

What you should know about LOB applications

Basically, any program essential to the running of your business is a LOB application. These applications tend to be a little bit larger than other applications on your network. LOB applications are generally divided into two categories: department and industry.

Within your organization, to function properly, departments use certain applications on a day-to-day basis. For example, to accurately keep track of your finances, your accounting department, more than likely, uses an accounting application, such as QuickBooks, so for this particular department, accounting software is a LOB application.

Then, there are LOB applications for specific industries. For example, if you own an architecture firm, your architects are using CAD software — such as AutoCAD — to design, modify and optimize structures. For them, CAD software is a LOB application.

The LOB applications you currently have on your network are running on a platform they’re compatible with, so your LOB applications will also need to be upgraded if you decide to upgrade or migrate the underlying OSs they’re running on. Before having anything done to your infrastructure, determine what’s vital to running your business.

 Leave yourself enough time to assess, test your LOB applications

Before migrating your LOB applications elsewhere, assess your inventory. Determine the number of LOB applications your business uses on a daily basis. Review and evaluate each of them. Then, take some time to identify the individuals within your organization using your LOB applications. The key to any migration or upgrade is proper planning.

Again, the LOB applications you have within your organization need to be compatible with the OSs you’re upgrading, so your LOB applications need to be tested beforehand. If not, issues could arise. Give yourself enough time to test all your LOB applications.

Migrating, upgrading LOB applications can be painful

As with anything related to IT, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re in for a ride, so when it comes to migrating LOB applications, it’s best you do your homework and find an IT professional capable of assisting you with migrating your company’s LOB applications. During your search, you’ll come across various types of IT providers, but a managed services provider (MSP) — an outsourced IT department — is your best bet.

By now, more than likely, your local MSP has already completed numerous EOS migrations or upgrades, especially with the deadline looming less than a year away, so when you begin interviewing MSPs for the job, ask about previous projects. Learn more about how they go about preparing your infrastructure for the end of support. Find out more about their client portfolio. Do they have clients in the same industry as your business? Don’t be afraid to also ask the MSP you’re interviewing about potential challenges with the process. Selecting the right MSP for the job will ensure your migration will go smoothly.

While you still have some time to upgrade Microsoft products reaching EOS in 2020, it’s best to begin the process as early as possible to avoid any support gaps. Before worrying about how to upgrade or migrate these products, consider the LOB applications your business has and assess your inventory. To ensure there aren’t any issues when upgrading or migrating your systems, sit down with an MSP to evaluate your options.