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Does the release of the latest Windows operating system provide business benefit?

This week will see the release of the new Windows 8 operating system, part of the on-going and periodic launches that we have become accustomed to from Microsoft. Increasingly, our clients have adopted new versions through a process of gradual replacement, i.e. as a PC or server reaches the end of its life, it is replaced with a new one, carrying the new version of Windows.
Our advice with Windows 8 would follow the gradual adoption process of previous releases; however, as this new version has significant business implications for anyone thinking of refreshing their infrastructure, we felt it was worth flagging up some of the substantial changes.
If you have been delaying purchasing a devise, awaiting the news from Microsoft, then you are not alone. Microsoft reported last week that quarterly revenues were down 8 % year-on-year as consumers bought fewer PCs ahead of the launch, together with a raft of new PCs that have been designed specifically to take advantage of the new capability. We believe the wait is worth it.

A new world of unified desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile

Whilst there are a whole raft of improvements in areas such as speed, security and a reduced time to boot up, the really significant change is related to the move into tablet and mobile computing. The new operating system is designed to run on a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or a windows phone with the same look and feel, as well the ability to run the same applications.

This has heralded the launch of a whole series of new devices from major PC manufacturers, together with the first Microsoft hybrid PC/Tablet combination called ‘the Surface’. This looks like a very thin laptop where the screen easily detaches from the key board to create a tablet. Aided by magnets at the hinges the screen can become easily separated to become a fully functioning tablet running windows.
In addition to Microsoft’s own Surface device, other manufacturers, including HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, are all launching similar hybrid devices to utilise the change in Windows. However, it’s worth noting the new operating system will also run on any existing conventional desktop or laptop.

The new icon based interface looks similar to that found on a tablet. However, it can be operated by using a conventional mouse or a finger, when using it on a touch screen device.
To support this move into the mobile world Microsoft are launching their first App Store in the same vein as Apple iTunes, where users will be able to purchase and download applications or Windows tools from this store.

Business implications

Clearly, if you are about to buy an old style laptop, you need to think twice and consider the option of using a new style hybrid. However, the real benefit will come to those organisations and employees who have to do both desk based input through a keyboard, as well as have access to the same data and applications in the field, when mobile, through a tablet.
These might include front-of-house situations, such as in retail, where staff are able to use tablets as a mobile tool for presenting products that aren’t in-stock within the store, as well as provide a PC for managing store operations and inventory without leaving the sales floor.  Sales people will now be able to use a device that can be used both at a desk, at home and as a tablet presentation device for customers; all using the same data and applications.
In addition, any services’ organisation with employees providing services off site in areas such as distribution, transport, leisure and health would see substantial benefit in efficiency and access to information. 
Our verdict
Increasingly our working lives are becoming more mobile, and if we want our key workers to be more effective wherever they are, this new move by Microsoft should help drive significant efficiencies in operations. While the new interface isn’t going to be to everyone’s liking, the potential business benefits in employee effectiveness and efficiency could be significant and should be welcomed. 

Rob Leverton

Rob has worked as an IT technician and project manager with Connexion for 14 years before moving into his current role as head of the technical services team.

Although Rob comes from a technical background he’s very much a people person and he is exceptionally good at building excellent working relationships with our customers and his technical team to deliver service excellence to our clients.

Rob Leverton

James Stratton

James is passionate about technology and how it can transform business.  Having worked with hundreds of businesses in many different sectors over the last 25 years he has a huge amount of business IT knowledge that he enjoys imparting to Connexions customers.

James is responsible for Connexions strategic development and also still enjoys a role in consulting and sales and marketing