Now that Microsoft has formally launched Windows 8, the fun begins from an enterprise IT perspective. While it’s unlikely there will be a wholesale migration to Windows 8, there is no doubt that systems running Windows 8 or its Windows RT sibling will find their way into the enterprise, and, like it or not, that’s going to create some help desk challenges.
Windows 8 represents a significant departure in terms of what users have come to expect from a Windows operating system. For better or worse, the Windows 8 environment and the applications running on top of it are going to take some getting used to before users are comfortable with it, which will generate some official and unofficial calls to the help desk.
According to Mike Hall, vice president of worldwide marketing for LANDesk Software, a provider of IT service management software, the simple fact of the matter is that the whole bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon is increasing IT support costs per user. To help mitigate those costs, LANDesk this week at the Gartner IT Expo conference rolled out the LANDesk Secure User Management Suite, which is now priced on a per-user supported basis versus the total number of devices managed. As Hall notes, IT organizations are shifting their approach to focus on supporting user experiences across multiple devices, so it’s time to make supporting those users more affordable by pricing IT service management software by the user rather than the device.
Large numbers of IT organizations are still making the shift to Windows 7, while also making room for systems running derivatives of Apple iOS and Google Android. Windows 8 is only the latest operating system for devices that are increasingly becoming disposable. Now that there are, for the first time, credible touch-enabled tablet systems running Windows 8, that trend will only accelerate, especially as more users begin to question the need for separate notebook and tablet computing devices.
As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer put it today, Windows 8 “shatters the perception of what a PC really is.” While that may be the usual amount of hyperbolic rhetoric from Microsoft, what is clear is the way end users in the enterprise need to be supported is never going to be the same again.