Windows 8 and Enterprise Mobility – Are we all saved?

Windows 8 Tablet in the enterprise

I'm a huge fan of iOS. I love it, and use it few hours a day. it's an amazing example of Apple's superior technology and quality of products. And still, when I was sitting at the Microsoft Build event, watching the demonstration of Windows 8 and how the Metro UI is about to become the new Tablet PC standard – I thought to myself: "we are saved…".

By "we" I don't mean myself, or the company I work for, and by "saved" I do not wish to imply humanity is at a risk of any kind (beyond the usual risks…). We could probably get along without Windows 8, but I think that having Microsoft finally back onboard with a decent answer to iOS and Android is a very positive thing for all parties involved in what we call: Enterprise Mobility. 

The iPad Initiative:

Right after the release of the first iPad I wrote a short article called: What will the iPad do to the enterprise?. Here are some quotes from this article:

"if the iPad will manage to do half of the impact the iPhone did to the smartphones world, we will soon see a new species of mobile devices all around us. Everywhere.

… Seems like a fantastic mobile device for many businesses out there where smartphones were too limited and laptops were too big and clumsy… but the impact it will create, may eventually change their future mobile strategy."

The iPad did start another revolution in the mobile world, resulting in what some companies like to call: "the tablet initiative" or even better: "the iPad initiative".

Those initiatives are still in progress; companies are looking for ways to deploy iPads or other tablets in order to gain business advantages and increase employees productivity. It's great. iPad is great. The business opportunities are countless. But it's not that simple.

The Tradeoff:

Modern mobile platforms such as iOS and Android do have their limitations: they are still young in terms of enterprise needs, therefore, still limited comparing to Windows, some IT aspects are still challenging for both software vendors and IT shops, and there are still things that simply do not fit the tablet form factor regardless to the software (show me one CFO who is editing his excels on an iPad…). I've seen customers of ours still debating whether to go with an iPad or an Android tablet, each with different pros and cons, and a lot of open questions. And there is, of course, always the question of how to support the employees' personal devices.

Windows 8 – No Compromises?

For the lack of any real alternative, enterprise companies are willing to compromise in order to enjoy the advantages of the tablets. What Microsoft is about to offer with Windows 8 might be a superior product, with no compromises.

Windows 8 is actually 2 platforms packed inside one package:

  1. For the extra portable needs – a tablet optimized operating system, providing amazing user experience (known as the Metro UI). 
    • Finger friendly
    • Lightweight
    • Fresh and innovative
    • Ready for hours of usage
  2. For the "desktop experience" – a full Windows OS, with all the power apps that comes along with it: Office (including Excel and Visio!), Outlook, powerful (real) multi-tasking, and a support for all the legacy systems IT managers are familiar and comfortable with (MDMs, MAMs, VPNs, MCMs, etc.).

It may be too soon to predict how consumers will react to Windows 8, after all, Windows Phone 7 made a similar buzz a year ago and sales are still very disappointing. There are at least 3 different scenarios that could happen once it is released.

It's hard to predict how quickly we will see Windows 8 tablets widely used, but as for the enterprise world, I think it's safe to assume many IT managers are reading these article, thinking to themselves: "we are saved…"