Windows 8: CUA says nay

Credit Union Australia (CUA) will not be adopting Windows 8 any time soon, according to the bank's CIO, David Gee.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

Microsoft is banking on Windows 8 to bring the tech company back to its former glory. But, as it stands, the operating system isn't exactly setting the business world on fire, and Credit Union Australia (CUA) has cast a sceptical eye on Windows 8.

On the surface, the operating system is geared more toward mobile devices, but is still able to provide a consistent experience on desktops. There has been some optimism that Windows 8 will appeal to companies that want to support a diverse device ecosystem.

CUA, however, isn't one of those companies.

CUA CIO David Gee (Credit: CUA)

There are many reasons why the bank is spurning Windows 8. Firstly, CUA is already in the process of migrating the desktop infrastructure for its 1,000 users into a virtualised environment through Citrix.

But even if the bank wasn't heavily involved with Citrix already, CUA CIO David Gee said that the company has no interest in taking on Windows 8.

"It's not that often that you get wowed by operating systems, unfortunately," he told ZDNet. "What does Windows 8 give us that's more compelling? I have not heard anything, anecdotally because I've not used it myself, that makes me think we need to jump on it fast."

For a bank, it is also important to deploy an OS that has been tried and tested. Most software already out in the market has not been tested with Windows 8. CUA simply does not have the luxury of being at the bleeding edge of tech adoption, according to the bank.

Gee failed to see the value that Windows 8 can bring to his company.

"I can think of a number of things I want to do before taking on Windows 8," he said. "I don't see it as being high priority from a strategic value standpoint.

"From a business and IT standpoint, I don't feel the OS is special for us."

But Windows 8 will be adopted widely over time anyway, as people gradually upgrade to more up-to-date OSes, according to Gee.

Microsoft has put in the hard yards to make Windows 8 a viable OS for mobile devices, and has even developed its own brand of tablets. The Surface is Microsoft's attempt to wrestle in on a saturated tablet market that has been heavily dominated by iOS and Android devices.

Gee believes that Microsoft is still playing catch-up with Apple and Google, though he conceded that Windows 8-based tablets may find a niche in enterprises that want to build apps to use seamlessly between desktop and mobile devices.

"Clearly, the Windows 8 tablets will do better than the BlackBerry tablet, right? Because that's just a dumb device," he said. "Certainly, some corporations who haven't yet embraced iOS or Android might take a look at Windows 8.

"But I think they're looking for a game changer, and I don't think this is it."

CUA does have a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, but the bank's IT department can support any device, irrespective of OS.

"We don't support OSes on devices; we provide Citrix receiver onto it, and the employee looks after their own device," CUA IT manager of architecture and strategy Michael Pauli said.

CUA has deployed Apple iPads at its concept store in Carindale, Queensland, that customers are able to use. Gee said that this has worked well for them, but that the bank is not looking to deploy Windows 8 tablets as a replacement.

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