If you have many Windows 10 questions, your vendor should have an answer for all of them.

5 questions to better vet your Windows 10 vendor

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The end is near. The final countdown. The last days. However you refer to it, Windows 7 is on the brink of oblivion. When the release of Windows 10 was first announced, banks and credit unions didn't feel particularly rushed by the inevitable changeover. That was then, this is now – what was once several years away is now mere months.

So if you haven't already made the transition, there's no time like the present to get things going.

That said, Windows 10 optimization can be compromised when you approach the process without a game plan. Here at BranchServ, we're intent on making sure the segue is as smooth and painless as possible. We recently put together a list of questions to ask your ATM vendor to inform your plan of action. Here are a few more inquiries that will not only help you prepare, but will allow you to better assess whether your vendor is truly an expert in Windows 10:

1. What is the very latest on the Windows 10 rollout?
As a banking professional, you've probably heard a lot about Windows 10 over the years. Regardless of what you already know, however, asking this question can provide you with some insight regarding just how up to speed your vendor is with regard to the upgrade. Their familiarity with the latest happenings can give you added confidence that they know what they're talking about, and in turn, provide you with the information you need to know. Most vendors don't mislead maliciously, but may unwittingly spread misinformation because they are uninformed about the particulars of the OS.

2. Is it Windows 10 or bust?
What Google is to search engines, Microsoft is to operating systems: It has a virtual monopoly on the retail banking software space. This is part of the reason why a number of banking professionals who have procrastinated the transition are now scrambling, worried that the system overhaul will force some of their ATMs to go offline, inconveniencing customers.

"Technically nothing prevents you from continuing to use Windows 7."

Here's the truth: There are indeed alternative OS to Windows 10, such as Linux. In fact, nothing prevents you from continuing to use Windows 7 if that's what you choose. It's really a question of what you're willing to risk. For example, should you decide to continue with Windows 7, you're bound to experience troubleshooting issues that you'll be on your own to fix because technical support is being phased out, ending for good in early 2020. Additionally, Linux doesn't have the security enhancement that Windows 10 does. In fact, the security upgrade is why Windows 10 is the recommended OS by most banking organizations, including the ATM Industry Association.

Getting your vendor's professional opinion as to whether Windows 10 is indispensable can help inform your planning strategy. 

3. What is the cost projection for professional services to accommodate current or additional transactions?
Please excuse the pun, but enhanced ATMs and state-of-the-art ITMs provide a ton of bang for their buck. In fact, it's their wide array of supported services that explains why nearly two-thirds of FIs plan on increasing the number of ATMs and ITMs they operate in the coming years, according to polling done by ATM Marketplace.

Some of these services, however, don't come built in; they're installed later on, often by the vendor who sold the system. Even if you don't anticipate utilizing all the bells and whistles that ITMs boast, you may feel differently a year or two from now. That's why it behooves you to ask about what it will cost to have these features installed and if that price point may change in the future. Ideally, your vendor will at the very least be able to give you a ballpark estimate. And of course be sure to ask about costs projected for the short-term, not just the long-term.

4. How old is the installed OS?
Windows 10 is certainly the newest OS, but that term is a relative one, because the actual release date was in 2015. Thus, your vendor may have an earlier version of Windows 10 that has since been updated. So if you are already a Windows 10 user, asking about the specific date on which the OS was installed will give you an idea of whether you need to perform a system update so the appropriate security patches are in place.

"This is a window of opportunity for your vendor."

5. Is there anything that I'm missing?
Hopefully, you won't have to pose this question because your vendor will have touched on everything you need to know, but it's worth asking to cover your bases. A truly informed vendor will take advantage of this window of opportunity to answer any questions about the various functionalities of Windows 10 and provide information you may not have or that they neglected to mention, such as how to set up multi-factor authentication or biometric identification.

For Windows 10 wisdom, look no further than BranchServ. We not only have the ATM equipment enhanced with the latest OS, but we know how the software works backwards and forwards, giving you the support you need for optimized integration that won't let you down. Please contact us to learn more.