Windows 8 is here and with it a lot of questions for the corporate IT Organization. In previous blog posts on Windows 8, I have noted the potential impact on the IT Organization by way of BYOD and that in order to track all of your BYOD devices, you should have a fully implemented CMDB in your ITIL-based ITSM solution. Yes, Windows 8 will further drive the consumerization of IT. In today's post, I would like to give a brief overview of what you need to know.
I think the introduction in the recently released TechRepublic guide, The Executive's Guide to Windows 8, basically sums it up:
Proponents suggest that Windows 8 will bring greater flexibility, lower costs, and increased productivity. Critics say that the OS offers little business benefit and that the new interface will only confuse users and require extensive training.
However you see the change to Windows 8, a serious evaluation of the OS is needed before you can proceed. If you haven't tried to upgrade one of your laptops as a test, you might want to start there. I have read a few upgrade posts, none with any nightmare scenarios. That seems promising!
The #1 takeaway for business and IT - you guessed it: Steep Learning Curve
Of course the interface is going to take some getting used to. I was jazzed to get IE on my Xbox, only to find the interface too frustrating to surf the web on my biggest monitor. So, plan some training - big expense, headache and begs the question, why proceed?
The #2 takeaway for business and IT - Great News! Improved Security
We know users are the weakest link in the security chain. Windows 8 has improved the security so an upgrade may actually be a great way to protect your infrastructure and your user from themselves. Windows 8 helps make browsing, use of browser extensions, downloading and using apps all safer.
- Secure Boot will help protect user computers against low-level exploits and rootkits.
- Smartscreen will help users avoid downloading bogus software.
- Windows 8 style apps are safer and the MS Store will help prevent malicious apps.
The #3 takeaway for business and IT - RT vs. Windows 8
This is one of the conversations I had with Russ Miller, CTO of SunView Software previous to the Windows 8 launch. Are the users going to bring in a tablet with RT on it and expect the tablet to interface seamlessly with their business environment? We know the answer is yes, so it begs the question, will RT seamlessly interface? It is very difficult to find good information on the differences between the 2. Blame goes directly back to Microsoft who hasn't really made the differences clear. After the holidays, when users bring in their shiny new toys, they probably won't even know which OS they have! You can bet the farm on this one!
Just as a personal note, I try to be unbiased in my reviews. For example, my iPad2 does not even show me it is a second generation anywhere! I am sure some of the iPad obfuscation is marketing and some of it is the cool factor; but in the case of the RT vs. Windows 8 it might just be plain old bad communications. The bottom line: RT can't run traditional Windows apps, can't connect to a Windows domain and doesn't include Outlook.
The RT confusion is enough to cause some analysts to predict doom for RT and tarnish the Windows 8 launch. The onus returns to IT. You need to test your environment and determine if consumer devices running RT will interface seamlessly with work for your users. Holiday shopping is coming soon and you might want to help clear up the confusion for your users - in advance of them buying RT for business.
Flickr Image: By Dell's Official Flickr Page