With Windows 8.1 set to launch next month, users have a range of new operating system (OS) features to look forward to. Microsoft is upgrading its flagship OS in a bid to offer an even higher level of support for its users, including those working on touch-screen connected devices outside the traditional office environment.
Businesses and individual users can potentially benefit from installing the OS in its pre-release state, if they have the required level of IT skills and a sufficient interest in the development of the new release. By piloting the OS update, users have the opportunity to contribute to the final release, while also stealing a march on other organisations.
When Windows 8 was nearing its launch date, ICT group Getronics was among those to trial the OS in its pre-release form. The group - which employs around 4,000 workers across 13 countries - deployed the beta release of Windows 8 in its production environment, helping it to get a head start with the new OS. Windows 8 has now been rolled out across the company.
Windows 8 reduces cost and boosts productivity
Getronics identified a range of potential gains from upgrading to Windows 8, particularly for staff using laptops, tablet computers and smartphones. The firm said the new OS would not only help make workers more mobile and agile but would also help support emerging trends such as bring your own device (BYOD).
“Windows 8 marks an exciting time for Getronics and our customers," commented Nico Sienaert, a senior infrastructure consultant at the firm. He said the OS has helped deliver cost savings for the company, while also boosting employee productivity. “With our extensive knowledge and experience of working with Microsoft technologies, Getronics can guide our customers on this journey," he stated.
Mr Sienaert explained how testing Windows 8 prior to its full release has proved beneficial in the long run. He said the company's philosophy is to test technology in its own environment, before advising its customers to deploy it. And the firm's positive experience with Windows 8 has meant Getronics is now willing to advocate the OS to other potential users.
Building on the Windows 7 experience
Mr Sienaert said that with Windows 7, his company could see that many features of the OS "showed a lot of promise for the future". "Now with the improvements Microsoft has made, these features have become even easier to implement," he added. And with mobile technologies set to become "more and more of a commodity", Windows 8 should have a role to play in many organisations' growth strategies going forwards.
“While many companies have it on their radar, we have implemented this way of working for more than two years now,” Mr Sienaert stated. “Besides the change in culture and mentality, technology is key to making such a project a success. Getronics believes that Windows 8 and its features will bring many organisations a step closer to a full 'New World of Work' environment.”
The expert pointed out how Windows 8 has helped Getronics embrace BYOD - something he describes as "a complex area". Despite network security concerns, Windows 8 is helping the firm's customers to better prepare themselves, and add value through the use of personal technology. "Windows 8 provides the opportunity for companies to offer its employees leading devices with the operating system that they are familiar with," Mr Sienaert said.
Find out about the potential benefits of Windows 8 for your organisation.
Posted by Alex Boardman