Your Enterprise – Windows 7? Windows 8? Both?

Corporate IT can be a funny place. As a Systems Admin, I was always torn between wanting to be able to install the latest software and making sure that the primary business needs were being met. For a long time, Windows XP met those needs. The required applications ran, the staff was comfortable.

And then came the push for getting to Windows 7.  It was a long road to get applications working on Windows 7 and getting those desktops upgraded. The road has been so long in fact for some, that many are facing a fork where they feel they have to decide between Windows 7 and Windows 8. But there really isn’t a decision to be made. Windows 7 and Windows 8 can both be used in the enterprise, depending on the needs of the workers in your organization.

Let’s consider the existing Windows 8 Enterprise version, which I’m running on a Surface Pro. Now, since I’m just an end-user here at Microsoft, I can really only guess what they do to manage my device.  (A strange experience for me, I admit.)

It’s got MDOP MBAM on it for BitLocker management, System Center Endpoint Protection and it’s domain joined with a nice collection of group policies pushed down to it. It’s running Office 2013 with SkyDrive Pro.  Connecting to work via DirectAccess has been completely painless from my end and I’ve managed to tie in both my personal SkyDrive accounts (I have two Live IDs, don’t get me started) and my SkyDrive Pro. And all of that syncs to my Windows 8 phone. Plus some 3rd party stuff I’ve used for long time to sync other data, like Evernote and SugarSync, works just fine.

 
Has it taken some getting used to?  Sure.
 

Can I generally get to everything I need easily? Yes.

 

Do I still live mostly on the classic desktop? Yes.

 

Does the Start menu bug me?  Nope.

Windows 8 might not be right OS for every person in your organization – a tablet might not be the right device for your accounting department, a touch screen might not be what your HR
department needs to do their job.  But for those people in your office that are laptop users, juggle meeting after meeting with the notes and the slides and bouncing from remote work to hanging out in the office, well, Windows 8 might just be the ticket to their greater success.

There are a crazy amount of machines with different form factors that make using Windows 8 fun. And this is just with the current release of Windows 8. With the coming of Windows 8.1 (check out http://preview.windows.com, if you haven’t already) it’s even MORE enterprise ready.

Connecting your laptop to a monitor? Windows 8.1 makes improvements to the UI that take advantage of different screen resolutions, provides better support for keyboards and mice and allows you to boot straight to the desktop.

Need to multitask between several modern apps?  You can have up to 4 modern applications on screen and have multiple modern applications on different screens if you have more than one monitor connected.

Embracing BYOD in your organization? Use Workplace Join to grant access to corporate resources. Automatically sync data back to your data center with Work Folder. And with Remote Business Data Removal, only wipe corporate information when a user leaves your organization with heir device.

Need to know more? Check out the Springboard Series post “Windows 8.1 Preview: An Enterprise Call to Action” for more details about how evaluate the preview and review updated deployment tools.

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