Small businesses on fence about Windows 8 upgrades

Small businesses on fence about Windows 8 upgrades

Summary: New data collected by Australian accounting software company MYOB suggests just 12 percent will make the switch within six months.

TOPICS: SMBs, Windows

There is plenty of intrigue surrounding Microsoft's long-term operating system strategy given the sudden and dramatic departure this week of strategist Steve Sinofsky

Kind of makes you wonder just how much of a disaster the Windows 8 release is becoming for the company.

Analysts categorize overall adoption as "mixed" at best – but that's mostly for consumer and enterprise sales. What about the here and now of whether or not small businesses are upgrading to Windows 8?

A new survey by Australian accounting company MYOB offers some insight, suggesting that most smaller companies are still on the fence about upgrading.

The company's latest edition of its ongoing MYOB Insights Panel found that just 12 percent of the respondents are ready to switch within the next six months, according to published reports about the data.

Another 43 percent of the respondents weren't really sure when they would make the move.

This finding is somewhat at odds with a survey that Staples conducted among about 500 American small-business owners in June. 

Approximately 70 percent of the companies that were aware of Windows 8 already had upgrade plans. Mind you, that was four months ago, though, and there hasn't been a follow-up survey on who actually followed through.

Similarly, I've just been reading some Forrester Research adoption analysis, which also points to a very slow first year for upgrades into 2014 – just in time for Windows 9!

Seriously, though, if your small business is mulling a Windows 8 migration, you should keep the following in mind:

Are your employees ready to handle the new interface? If tablets are well-established, the answer is probably "yes," but people are bound to be confused over the concept of a "touch-enabled" menu.

Do your main business applications require Windows 8, or will they be messed up by it? The new interface and development model underlying the OS will require many existing apps to be rebuilt for Windows 8. Are yours ready?

How reliant is your company on cloud applications? If the answer is "very," then how important is the OS on any given desktop or notebook computer?

Speaking of which, what is your company's reliance on mobile devices? If your business is using tablet computers – or starting to use them heavily – you might want to consider the fact that Microsoft still accounts for a very small piece of that market. It won't hit the 30 percent mark until 2016, according to Forrester's estimates. 

Ultimately, Windows 8 is important for Microsoft because it acknowledges the emergence of non-traditional devices such as smartphones and tablets and other things that we haven't seen yet - and makes them far easier to manage. The company's top management is right to hope for healthy sales in the weeks after the launch, but the magnitude of this upgrade sort of works against that.

Topics: SMBs, Windows

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  • But why upgrade?

    I understand if you own a car but need a truck, you would trade in the car and buy a truck.

    But unless any of these businesses are going to invest heavily in Windows tablets and can therefore leverage the Metro/Modern UI in Windows 8 on the desktop, I defy anyone to make a serious busines case.

    But even then, is Metro/Modern UI the platform of choice? Of course not; it's more like an applet platform - good for dashboards and executive types who want to look cool in a meeting. And that has a place, but so do W32 apps where the real work will get done (data creation/input). Is everyone seriously thinking all applications in the future will be dual mode, one for Metro to serve data consumption, and one win32 for the creation side?

    No one has seriously thought through this paradigm.
  • Why the concerns about windows 8

    Windows 8 is the best operating system to date that Microsoft has ever made. I just don't understand all the concerns about windows 8. If it's because it doesn't have a start button well there are plenty of work around's to fix that. It is faster and more productive than windows 7. I can only imagine what will come out for windows 8 in the near future to make it even better. If anyone has any questions about what windows 8 will do or what you can do to windows 8 to make it more personal just visit my Blog and it should clear up a lot of your concerns.
  • It is Vista II

    You have to admit in order to truly get the most out of 8, you need a touchscreen. So spending more $ on hardware not needed at the moment is a huge factor.
    D.J. 43
  • If you want your employes twitting & facebooking

    all day than W-8 is your OS.....if you want productivity than you stay with W-7.....W-8 is for fooling around and nothing more......,
    Over and Out
    • Hi!

      Hello there!!!
      Loverock Davidson-
  • Avoid It Like The Plague

    The guy responsible for the whole Windows 8/Windows Phone 8/Windows RT fracas has just been sacked from Microsoft. Do you really want to bet your entire company on such dead-end technologies?
  • it will win

    I think windows 8 will be the new "it". Windows 7 will slowly die, even tho, i already dislike windows 8. Its too fancy. But it will not suffer the same faith as vista.

    IT Consultant, Outsourcing -
    Mikkel Nielsen
  • As a small business owner not impressed

    The interface is only part of it. I agree that I would never have two types of apps, but I would suspect that is the Win 8 interface is here to stay that Windows applications will change to the tiled interface as well. The installation problems I had with windows 8 on a laptop that is not even two years old however is what has caused me to abandon windows 8 and stick with Windows 7. The big thing was a lack of error messages when my installation failed. Small business people will normally lack the resources of an IT department and if there are problems it will cause them to give up and stay as they are vs trying to diagnose. That was what I ended up doing.
  • Why Would........

    A company 115 users move to WIN8 and Office 2013 at a cost of NZ$850 per seat not including HW and Application requirements, we wont/dont use upgrades, or touch screens.

    When we can move to Linux flavor Zorin 6 Ultimate, "" for NZ$30.00 with DVD and Support.

    This includes Libra Office and a full range of Applications Business, Multimedia, Gaming, you dont need to purchase anything else.

    Zorins UI is much like WIN7 and it also has an application to run MS applications, have a look.

    Sorry MS you just lost our seats, and our financial controller loves the saving in the bank.
    • Zorin is pretty cool and never gets mentioned

      This company is great for new linux users and will easily install exe files like MS Office, mailwasher and other essential utilities with it's jacked up version of wine. Now all we need is for Steam to come through on its proposal to put out a linux compatible list of new games and I'll switch in a second. Most of these distros are based on ubuntu without their crummy gnome shell. Mint is great for KDE if thats your bag.
  • A Good move for certain customers with one conditgion (Classic Shell)

    I totally hate the metro look and I'm sure a service pack will offer the old desktop back when sales start dropping. "Classic Shell" a freeware program offers a XP, or Win 7 desktop on top of the Win8 operating system. A good update for Vista and XP users that have anything newer then a pent 4 with a decent vid card. The $39 until Jan 31 and $69 update to pro 8 is a good deal.
  • Windows 8 and Mobile devices

    I'm using Windows 8 Pro Upgrade on my non-touchscreen laptop, and, after a few installation hurdles, it's now my primary OS. I spend one percent of my time on the Start screen, and the remainder on the Desktop screen. Compared to my previous Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8 Pro is performing faster. Though I've had to learn the 'differences' on the Windows 8 Desktop, its still running all my current apps well.

    My Windows Phone 7 (Nokia 900) was my first experience with the 'Tiles', and it now feels quite natural. Anxiously awaiting the 7.8 update to Windows Phone.

    Though I don't often use the Start screen Tiles in Windows 8, at least I'm learning to use it, and I'll be ready to use newer Windows 8 apps when they are released. I don't do much cloud computing now, but I can see the advances that Windows 8 offers when I start using more cloud services.
  • windows 8

    There are two interfaces - the "start screen" and the "desktop". The desktop is almost like windows 7. I did not like windows 8 when I first downloaded it (cr version). But the more I use it, the more I like it. I especially like the ability to have two or more apps open at one time and being able to switch between them easily. I find Windows 8 much faster as well.
    If you are having a problem with installation, call Microsoft-they can help.

    • Windows

      "I especially like the ability to have two or more apps open at one time and being able to switch between them easily."

      You know why Windows was called "windows," right? This is not a new thing. It's been around since version 1.0. You're marveling over the fact that you can work around new crap to use what was introduced over 20 years ago: Windows.