While Windows 8 is suitable for organisations across the board, an upgrade to Windows 7 will make more sense for some companies, according to Avanade CTO Adam Wengert.
Part owned by Microsoft, the consultancy firm specialises in deploying the vendor's technology to clients, which now includes the newly released Windows 8 operating system.
Armed with plenty of practical experience on the new operating system, and despite Microsoft's optimism that Windows 8 will win over the enterprise, Wengert understands the reluctance of CIOs to jump onboard.
Many businesses are spurning Windows 8. Credit Union Australia doesn't find the operating system compelling, while the Commonwealth Bank told ZDNet that it will be moving to Windows 8 only because there are no viable alternatives. Microsoft's Surface tablet isn't tickling the fancy of many CIOs, either.
While he thinks that Windows 8 is suitable for all businesses, Wengert conceded that some companies are better off with Windows 7.
"In reality, if our customers are already on the road to Windows 7, or if they're on XP and want to take the next step, we think Windows 7 is a terrific place to land," he told ZDNet. "From an enterprise perspective, in terms of scalability, security, integration, and so on, Windows 7 meets the mark."
Wengert understands that CIOs may not find Windows 8 all that appealing if they are looking for an operating system to solve certain pain points. Instead, what Windows 8 does is present organisations with new opportunities to change how they operate, he said.
"What Windows 8 does is introduce a new element into the Microsoft suite, and align it with what the vendor has always been great at, which is the desktop experience," Wengert said. "It brings in new avenues for enterprise-quality devices to get into companies.
"This makes [mobile devices in the enterprise] more manageable, and can be easily integrated as opposed to the situation we have today.
"We think organisations are going to look at Windows 8, because they have opportunities to actually improve how they do business."
Some companies will be thinking about how they can redesign the way they work to take advantage of what Windows 8 can offer, which is greater integration between desktop and mobile devices, according to Wengert.
Microsoft Australia business group leader Tina Flammer told ZDNet last week that features such as Windows To Go, which is available on Windows 8 Enterprise version and allows users to boot an imaged version of the operating system on any device that meets minimum specification requirements, will be very appealing to businesses, and will be a driver for Windows 8 uptake.
BYOD or CYOD?
Avanade has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy in place, where employees are encouraged to buy their own devices through a gadget fund from the company.
In light of the Windows 8 launch, Avanade is looking at introducing a choose-your-own-device (CYOD) option, whereby workers can pick a Windows 8-based device from a small, set list. This may include convertibles and tablets, such as the Microsoft Surface or Dell Latitude 10, according to Wengert.
Despite having a BYOD policy in place, Avanade much prefers the CYOD option.
"I think CYOD is absolutely where our company is heading, and it's where we're seeing our customers lean toward," Wengert said. "We're pretty excited, because with Windows 8, you really have an opportunity to do that without sacrificing some of the security and just standardisation elements companies are struggling with today across the different OSes they support."
While BYOD is a hot trend right now, IDC mobile analyst Tim Dillion said in August that companies won't save money through BYOD, and they are much better off going with CYOD.