Windows 8 and the Enterprise

Microsoft recently ran an event for senior managers to explore the impact Windows 8 could have on their business. Jamie Burgess was there and shares some of the insights from early adopters, customer and attendees.

The scene is Microsoft’s sleek, modern London offices in Victoria. More than a hundred executives  have gathered from well-known companies like HSBC,BSKYB, BAA, UBS and Lotus F1 and public sector organisations like the Crown Prosecution Service, the Treasury and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It’s an elite group and they’ve come to hear about Windows 8 and how it can help their organisations.

Windows, just more so

The event showed how touch and beautiful design can transform the user experience, making Windows 8 easier to use. One company at the event reported that its staff were up and running on Windows 8 in minutes. It’s a big improvement but real customers are not finding a big change.

Behind the shiny interface, Windows 8 also gives systems administrators an equally worry-free experience. Things like Secure Boot and UEFI create a tighter bond between hardware and software and make Windows 8 devices more secure. We saw how companies can take advantage of Windows 8’s enterprise credentials.

Underneath, it’s still Windows so administrators can manage, secure, encrypt and lock down devices using the same tools as before. In fact, if you’re ready for Windows 7, you’re ready for Windows 8. System Center 2012 supports them both.

Ready for BYOD

The event put paid to one of the biggest misconceptions about Windows 8: that it’s primarily for consumers. Yes, the new wave of devices and form factors are appealing to consumers but the line between consumers and enterprise users is blurring thanks, in part, to trends like ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD).

In the old days, there were two types of devices: the ones you trusted and the ones you didn’t. Now, with BYOD, it’s changed. There are devices that originated in the company and those that came in from outside. Companies need to deal with both. The event showed that if you try to approach Windows 8 in the same ‘lock everything, control everything’ way that you did Windows XP, you won’t get the most out of it.

Windows 8 gives companies more choices. For example, don’t want domains? You can manage devices using Windows Intune. Want to give contractors secure access to company systems? Just give them Windows To Go on a memory stick. The event showed that Windows 8 gives companies a chance to re-evaluate what they want to lock down, what they want to virtualise and how much they want to lock their systems down.

Customer response

Early feedback on the day shows that we have communicated the benefits of Windows 8 and enthused many of our customers around this New Era for Microsoft. You could see attendees visibly coming alive to the possibilities: new devices like phones, tablets, convertibles, laptops and touch-enabled desktops as well as new ways to empower staff and solve traditional IT problems.

The event sparked intense discussion over lunch and we’d like to continue and broaden it by looping specialist implementation partners and moving to an online discussion group on LinkedIn. The better people understand Windows 8, the more they can get from it.

Next steps

Talk to some of our specialist partners who can help you deploy and exploit Windows 8.

Connect with us via our Enterprise Blog for more updates ,insights and discussion on this and other topics impacting the Enterprise today.

By Jamie Burgess, Enterprise Client Business Team


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