Last Friday during a client conference call I was asked if Windows 8 should be considered for their workplace. There is a lot of discussion about Microsoft’s newest OS. Currently nobody has a definitive answer regarding it’s validity in the workplace . If someone tells you they do, then they obviously do not know what they are talking about.
Many IT managers and directors are meeting with their CIO’s to discuss if they should implement and rollout this new OS, and if there is even a business value.
Last month Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Turner stated, “Employees will be bringing devices into the workplace that run Windows 8, whether it wants them or not. Running Windows 8 will be as simple as plugging in a USB stick, even in a Windows 7 machine. So enterprises had better “get ahead” now, and embrace the wave rather than try to repel it.
Turner painted a picture of the role of the CIO shifting from the IT manager to the business manager, answering the needs of an employee base made up of consumers whose personal technology already exceeds the capability and quality of what most businesses have installed in their networks now. Said Turner: “If you look at the trends, whether it’s cloud or consumerization of IT, you’re going to notice that there’s one thing in common: They’re mostly being driven by end users, and the ability to get in front of that is the real challenge that we see for CIOs and for enterprises. Which is why more and more IT solutions are being built from the end-user backwards, versus the business and the system out (this could be another topic all by itself). That’s something, again, we continue to see in a very, very profound way.”
As you can surmise – of course Microsoft has a vested interest in you purchasing Windows 8, it brings them more revenue. In my opinion the above statements by Kevin Turner are a weak attempt to spin a marketing buzz about their newest product, which I might add has not even been released yet. One thing that really rugs me the wrong way is an external company telling another how they should run their business without first understanding the business model, company culture and technology needs. To walk into a room of a couple hundred people and state ” you had better get ahead now and adopt our product” is just plain arrogant. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Microsoft hater and I use and like most of Microsoft’s products professionally and personally. But I have been in the management and IT consulting field for a very long time and have worked with large and small companies alike. The first thing I came to realize is that one size does not fit all, especially in business and what works well for company “A” is a death sentence for company “B”.
So what’s new in Windows 8? The jury is still out on this. Windows 8 in currently in Beta testing so what the final product is or what it will look like is anyone’s guess.
Although there are some major changes. For one thing, Windows 8 is built around the “metro” interface. This metro interface seems to be the major visible “innovation” of Windows 8. It is built around a tablet model with large buttons representing your commonly used programs. All the functions and settings for Windows 7 are hiding behind Metro. They aren’t extremely difficult to get to — but the classic start menu is now gone in Windows 8.
Before you rollout Windows 8 there are a lot of questions you should be asking right now.
- What is the business motivator
- Does this fit your environment
- What is the business value
- Will this help our employees work better and smarter
- How will this disrupt our company
You should know that in Microsoft’s race to keep up with the iPad, Windows 8 was designed for the PC tablet and has some enhancements to the traditional mouse-and-keyboard desktop. One of the issues that’s been on my mind is whether this will keep bogging Windows down with more running processes, and whether running a full Windows desktop on a low-powered tablet was really a good idea.
So is it a good idea to roll this product out company wide? The short answer is NO. I would suggest that you always perform a pilot program with a few select power users who are willing to take the product out for a major road test and run it through all its motions before you unleash it on your company population. Any CIO, IT director or manager who knows their stuff is going to want to test this OS in various situations and on many different systems.
It is hard to find someone who has both a business and technology understanding, there are few us around who know and understand both sides. For those of you who know me, I am sure you know what I am going to say next, so here it comes. Don’t make your technology intrusive to your staff, but instead let your technology wrap itself around your staff and enhance their efforts and focus. Your staff will thank you for this, your hardware and software does not care.
If you would like, we provide a Free Technical Assessment, this can be beneficial to new and startup companies that are not sure where to start.