Windows 8 upgrade: Is the new 'modern' interface a good move?
Is Windows 8 an upgrade? Fans of the Metro or 'modern' interface say, 'yes!' But other users aren't so sure.
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Lee will be walking the walk himself in two weeks when he travels to Asia. In the past, he said, he would have carried both a tablet and a notebook. This time, he'll only pack one device.Skip to next paragraph
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"With Windows 8, I'll just be carrying one device," he said. "I can watch my movies, play my games and still get to work if I need to. It's going to be a lot more convenient."
Don't touch that
The biggest challenge for Windows 8 users will not be an operating system challenge, Lee said. It will be a device challenge as users make the move from keyboard-and-mouse to touch. That's where there will be a learning curve. Although touch is an intuitive interface for infants and children, it's counterintuitive to fingerprint averse "don't touch that" adults. It represents an imagination shift for adults.
"But that's a humongous shift," Lee said.
Because Windows 7 still has a lot of miles left in it, you won't see organizations that have already moved to that OS make a wholesale move to Windows 8, Lee said. More likely, desktop workers will continue with Windows 7 until their hardware needs replacement, at which point the enterprise will elect to migrate to Windows 8. Mobile workers, on the other hand, and those who want to take advantage of a touch interface will be migrated to Windows 8 sooner.
"The landscape has changed with Windows 8," he said. "It's going to run in a hybrid environment."
The economics are pretty compelling, Lee said. Windows 7 is only 45 percent of the marketplace. The old workhorse, Windows XP, still has half the pie.
"Windows 7 is working just fine," Lee said. "It's secure and able to do everything you need to do at work. There's not going to be a big push toward Windows 8 in an established Windows 7 environment."
A seamless system
For IT departments, the advent of Windows 8 as a corporate standard will let them retake some of the turf they ceded to consumerization. Because Windows 8 in its various flavors will encompass all devices from the immobile desktop to mobile tablets and even smart phones, IT will be able to offer devices with features that workers desire. It offers a seamless system.
"For IT departments, it's the whole concept of consumerization," Lee said. "It will be much easier to manage than when you had disparate consumer devices such as iPhones and Android."
The best way for IT departments to minimize maintenance and work and management is to simplify control, he said. By controlling that turf, they can hand out devices that are already customized the way they want so you don't have breeches of security. The adoption of Windows 8, he believes, can put the brakes on indiscriminate consumerization.
Bridging the gap
"We love the user having the luxury of bringing any device, but it's getting harder to manage," Lee said. "With that technology comes threats — viruses, malware. Windows 8 is going to simplify that. It bridges the gap between the enterprise and consumerization. It's a very fluid interface that allows IT to give a better user experience yet lock it in a way that they can still control of the system, the security and the maintenance."
This is not to say that moving to Windows 8 will be completely pain-free, Lee said. There's never been a seamless operating system migration; the next one will be the first one.
As with all things in the corporate calculus, it's not so much what you do as how you do it and how you communicate it. If you treat the migration to Windows 8 as an onerous exercise, that's what it will be.