A few months ago, Microsoft released some advice about upgrading to different versions of Windows at the enterprise level. What was somewhat surprising was the change of attitude compared to past advice. Instead of talking about a full upgrade to Windows 8, Microsoft said that many businesses might only want to upgrade devices to Windows 8 if they planned or needed to use touch capabilities.
Microsoft talked about a mixed ecosystem, and prided Windows 8 on working well in Windows 7 environment. Now Avanade is reporting that this is very much what they are seeing (and recommending) in the business world as well.
For those that don’t know, Avanade is a consultancy formed by Accenture and Microsoft, and takes a role in helping large companies adopt and use Microsoft technology. They have also partnered with Nokia to bring Lumia hardware to the enterprise world.
Avanade talks about how Windows 8 tablets are being used and targeted at sales people, field service staff, financial advisers and health care professionals. Furthermore they are seeing continued interest in switching to Windows tablets over the iPad.
According to Avanade’s Dan O’Hara, businesses see potential in the touch tablet market but at the same time want something that they can tie into their managed infrastructure.
He further states:
“We are dealing with several companies that have gotten into the implementation [of iPads] and after the first iOS upgrade it is a lot more difficult than they had expected. Now they are looking at replacing iPads with the Microsoft tablets.”
O’Hara also talks about how many businesses are already starting to tweak their Bring Your Own Devices policies to “Bring the Right Device” – in other words focusing on just a few devices being allowed instead of any device you want. Why? It’s hard and expensive for IT departments to keep up with updates, software and security among so many different platforms.
“Is the right solution letting 20 varieties and phones into your company? It’s fine if they are just used for mail. But in a business like retail sales, where you have multiple people sharing a device, companies want a single type of device,” O’Hara says.
More Businesses Now Working With Avanade towards Windows 8 Tablet Transition
According to Avanade, they are seeing several major businesses that are now working with them to test out the idea of transitioning some of the devices to Windows 8. That said, many of these businesses aren’t ready to talk about the switch publicly just yet.
One company that isn’t shy is BMW, who has publicly talked about how they are using the Surface in showrooms to provide potential customers with information and features without having to tell them to “step into my office”.
Another way that Windows 8 is exciting to the enterprise world is that it can be used and seen in many different form factors like tablets, ultrabooks and touch desktops, yet it provides the same basic experience and doesn’t require extra training or learning for these different formats.
Avanade concludes that in the past they saw complete migrations during upgrading, but now will likely only seen 10 to 20 percent moving to Windows 8, the folks that can really get something big out of the new touch-optimized features found in the OS.
I truly believe that Microsoft’s victor lies in the enterprise world. Right now, many consumers look at the Surface RT and Surface Pro and start comparing immediately to the iPad. For a consumer, why invest in a new ecosystem when the iPad already is established and has tons of apps? Additionally, Microsoft currently doesn’t offer lower-end (7-inch) devices, which is the main consumer tablet market that is growing.
In contrast, when businesses start to take a hard look at Windows 8 versus Android tablets or the iPad, they don’t give a darn about the 500,000+ games out there on the market. They have specific wants and needs, and Windows 8 could fit perfectly into their existing infrastructure with minimal changes or costs when it comes to training or managing.
What do you think, do you agree that Windows 8’s best bet right now is in the business world? Does it surprise you that many businesses are only doing partial transitions? Share your thoughts below.