Enterprises, evaluate Windows 8 now (even if you won't use it)

Summary:Even if you're absolutely 100 percent sure that your business or enterprise isn't going to roll out the forthcoming Windows 8, at least give it a try, says one analyst.

You may love it, you may loathe it. But Windows 8 is here to stay -- at least for the foreseeable future -- and the workplace should at least try to embrace it, says one Forrester analyst. 

Businesses and enterprises should evaluate Windows 8 as soon as possible, even if they know for an absolute fact they will not roll it out on existing networks, says Forrester's David Johnson.

Above all other reasons is that bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices are becoming more commonplace in the business environment and IT departments ultimately must decide whether to let in the business-friendly tablet or not. 

Though Forrester believes that Android devices and iPads will continue to gain momentum in the enterprise space over Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, it "could take off quickly like the iPad," with businesses noting a sudden influx in demand.

Windows 8, at this stage -- only hours before it is formally launched by the Redmond, WA.-based software giant -- has seen less interest than its predecessor, Windows 7. Forrester believes that Windows 8 could be "skipped," but BYOD may power its growth. 

According to Johnson, enterprises should buy a range of devices running the forthcoming operating system, testing and evaluating the software, deploying the features, and giving it a run for its money in one's own business setting. 

However, it's worth noting that  ZDNet's Ed Bott described Windows 8 as "the new XP."  Remember when Windows XP was first brought out? It was like a contrast color mortar to the face. The greens and blues were so bright it could melt the screen. 

Windows XP was "slow to take hold," and users "cling[ed] to old Microsoft operating systems." Microsoft even extended support for Windows 98 and Windows ME, it was seen as that much of a disaster. More than a decade later, and many businesses are still using it. Windows 7 has only recently overtaken Windows XP in market share rankings, according to Net Applications

Reviewers have criticized Windows 8 for its radical new user interface, which many believe is too radical and difficult to understand. While the underlying features, security enhancements and the added integration with its Windows Server 2012 counterpart have received on the whole rave reviews, the visual aesthetic and 'learning curve'  means many business workers will have to "re-learn" the operating system. 

But in spite of that, once you're over that Windows 8 learning curve -- whether you love it or loathe it -- it's here to stay, unless Microsoft throws out Windows 9 in a year or so in an attempt to claw back the damage from Windows 8.

At this stage, it's too early to gauge what effect impact the operating system will have on the market, let alone the enterprise sector, despite what the analysts, pundits and reviewers say. But Microsoft's move to the post-PC market -- think Surface -- will likely lessen the damage and maximize the impact of the next-generation software.

(via Network World)

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Operating Systems, Tablets

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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