Recently, I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend in reputable blogs and magazines and I wanted to share my take on this with you.
There have been 3 myths floating around the web regarding Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 Tablets and the demand for them in the Enterprise.
Roughly, this is the sentiment I have been reading:
- The business world really wants Windows 8 on a Tablet
- Apple iPads are less desirable because they cant be managed on a Windows network
- Windows 8 Tablets will defeat the iPad in the enterprise hands down
There’s a simple reason that these erroneous assumptions are getting so much airtime. It has a lot to do with the fact that the tech writers and bloggers who write this very rarely have worked in IT in the enterprises they write about.
I’m kind of an anomaly that way.
You see I started out as a management consultant 16 years ago and throughout the course of my Tech career:
- I designed (working with enterprise architects) enterprise apps
- I coded enterprise apps
- I deployed enterprise apps
- I secured enterprise apps
- I managed enterprise apps
- I budgeted for enterprise apps
- I defended (to CEO’s and CTO’s) enterprise apps
I kind of know how companies think regarding enterprise IT.
I’ll explain it to you.
In the US at least, most companies look at IT as a financial drag.
Yes the function of deploying, managing, fixing and upgrading software and hardware has value but I think but most bloggers have no idea what the perception of that value is. It ain’t good folks.
You see, companies are first and foremost in the business of making money and selling their products.
Business Units or departments within those companies that assist with that function (Engineering, Sales, Finance, Marketing etc) are perceived as valuable. Those departments tangibly and provably add value or revenue to a company’s bottom line.
IT departments do not directly generate revenue. They are an expense.
In fact, IT departments are ALWAYS under fire from the business and ALWAYS studying metrics and trying to LOWER the amount of money that the company is spending on IT.
IT doesn’t set budget or direction – the business does.
It’s important to understand this in the context of the conversation about Tablet demand in the enterprise.
You see, IT departments and IT senior management care about the efficiency of managing tablets in a large company.
They feel the pain of deployments and management and its important for them to be able to provision, secure and manage these devices efficiently.
Other more critical and more powerful parts of the enterprise however couldn’t care less.
They care about which devices make their work easier which translates into REVENUE.
If you are a CEO, it’s really simple.
- If you run a company and your sales people tell you they need iPads to make the company more money – you are using iPads – IT’s job will be to make it work.
- If there are more business apps in the Apple Store or better business apps developed for the iPad than for Windows 8 Metro – you are using iPads – IT’s job will be to make it work.
You see it’s not businesses that want Windows 8 Tablets, it’s IT resources who really want them – BIG difference. Business users want whatever is easy and pleasant to use and makes their day to day job easier.
Remember – IT departments and management do not set direction – business users do!
Ask any IT manager who has tried to tell salespeople that their iPhone is not supported by the company. Guess who the CEO will back in that discussion?
There are 3 issues that will determine who wins the battle for Tablets in the Enterprise.
- An attractive and intuitive UI
- A large ecosystem of business apps
- A large ecosystem of tools to build and support business apps
Those 3 will decide the winner of this fight.
If you think Apple isn’t refining tools to make enterprise deployment and management of the iPad easier on Windows networks, you have no idea just how heated this battle is going to get.
This is why Metro is so important for Microsoft.
The battle IS NOT to have people playing cut the rope or angry birds on Windows 8 Tablets.
The battle IS to have Sales People run Metro Sales Apps and to have Finance People run Metro Finance Apps and to have HR people run Metro HR apps.
The Tablet battle will be fought and won in the application space.
If an HR application runs better on the iPad than on Windows 8 Tablets, iPads will be supported in that company. That simple.
The battle for the enterprise is a 3 way battle between Apple, Google and Microsoft.
Apple is clearly ahead, Google are kind of stalled and Microsoft is about to enter the battle.
Bloggers need to think more strategically about this one.
If you think a Microsoft victory is guaranteed, you really have no clue about how large businesses work.
What do you guys and girls think? Let me know in the comments below.