Love it or leave it, Windows 8 is almost here. Some love its new look and feel – the touch-enabled tiles especially –, while others prefer to stick with Windows XP and Windows 7 for now.
Organisations will largely base their decision on whether or not to upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7, Windows XP or another operating system on budget and how the new OS benefits their specific business. For those considering the leap, two of the most important factors to weigh include hardware and Windows 8 training for you workforce.
1. The right hardware
Reportedly, Windows 8 will work with any hardware that can run Windows 7. That doesn’t mean, however, that everything will be compatible between Windows 7 and Windows 8 (Windows XP will prove trickier, as told in this PCWorld piece). Certain applications and hardware drivers might be incompatible; identifying Windows 8 compatibility with networking hardware will be crucial.
If you’re doing a hardware refresh without migrating to Windows 8 right now, but are considering it for the future, look into laptops or desktops offering ten-point touch to make the transition from Windows 7 or Windows XP easier. Datacom’shardware procurement services can help you purchase and acquire the compatible hardware for Windows 8.
2. Training time and resources
Because it’s a touch-first operating system, Windows 8 will likely require considerable more training for new users than Windows 7 or Windows XP. Some reports estimate that it will cost hundreds of dollars per user each day to train employees for Windows 8. Remember, too, that usability goes beyond the basics. Employees should be as productive on Windows 8 as they were on Windows XP or Windows 7.
Organisations must determine how much budget, time and staff they need to train the entire workforce (and don’t base it on how long it took to train employees for Windows 7 or Windows XP). They should measure how long it will take to get back to the productivity levels seen with Windows 7 or Windows XP and ensure they can account for downtime. A phased approach to deployment, a pilot user group and training materials will likely contribute to a successful Windows 8 training and deployment.
Ensuring you have support, whether from the internal IT department or an external IT provider or both, will factor largely into the success of your Windows 8 deployment. An IT provider like Datacom can help plan and roll out your Windows 8 deployment, provide licensing expertise related to software used for Windows 8 and offer desktop support post-deployment.
Attention Sydney readers: Datacom and Microsoft are hosting a free informational session on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 this Wednesday, 24th October, at 8:30 a.m. at the Microsoft offices in North Ryde. If you’re interested in attending the event or receiving the post-event materials, fill out the contact form at the right of this blog post.