Windows 8 is come upon us! But what's the verdict going to be? Will it be the game changer that Microsoft is betting its empire on or will it be the company's Achilles heel? A quick study amongst small business owners by iYogi Insights reveals some potential possibilities for Windows 8. Our survey asked small business a few leading questions and we got some very interesting answers!
respondents are considering upgrading to the Windows 8 platform
of respondents are also considering upgrading to MS Office 2013 along with Windows 8.
respondents already use tablets
respondents are planning to integrate tablets into their company network
respondents already use Windows 7 tablets
of those respondents using iPads are considering migrating to Windows 8 tablets
respondents currently using Android-based tablets are considering migrating to Windows 8 tablets.
of overall respondents are considering only Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT tablets.
While many businesses do use iPads for some tasks, Windows continues to be the PC platform of choice for most IT departments, so a Windows 8 tablet that offers a slew of features and can strike the right balance between usability and affordability will have the homefield advantage. In this battle for territory, small business might well prove the secret weapon that Microsoft has.
Small business can migrate and upgrade with relatively greater ease than a large enterprise. Its agility allows for greater exploration of newer technologies.
Small business needs to be mobile and connected at all times. Earlier studies reveal that nearly 25% of all small business employees are out of the office at any given time and hence need devices and platforms that offer greater integration and connectivity. If Windows 8 can offer all this along with ease of use and affordability they could very well make a significant dent in the small business computing universe.
Small business has smaller budgets. It actively seeks technology that gives it more for less. If Windows 8 tablets can offer this along with other benefits, Bingo! It's bound to make inroads into the small business segment.
Tablets designed to attract small business will typically have heavy power consumption especially if they are used for serious content generation and legacy apps. This is an important criterion for business usage. Also power efficiency is an important consideration for superior mobility, a critical need of small business.
Since Windows is the platform of choice for most businesses, compatibility with legacy apps can offer huge incentive to small business and speed its migration to Windows 8 tablets.
This is a huge concern today and if Windows 8 can crack this requirement, it is yet another positive. Already, security enhancements such as Secure Boot, BitLocker and AppLocker to encrypt the device and prevent malware and the unauthorized use of apps and software, are on offer.
Not only is Windows 8 being seriously considered as the new OS to upgrade/migrate to, by small business, it could also help cross sell more Microsoft products such as MS Office 2013, as our survey revealed.
All this translates into more revenue for Microsoft and more inroads into small business with newer versions of legacy apps.
That's the advantage of having been the preferred platform of choice for decades not only among small business but also among most users. Whether Microsoft will be able to use this advantage to its benefit, remains to be seen.
That's huge vote in favor of tablets. Either Presidential candidate would probably be happy with such a lead in just one demographic! And if that weren't enough, you have a large number who plan to use this device and add it to their corporate network.
Further, the number of laptops and tablets is on the rise and catching up with the previously mandatory desktop as is evident from the following figures.
Clearly, for small business, devices that aid mobility are necessary to conduct business effectively. Employees are on the move more often and need to stay connected when out of the office.
Having made its take on tablets clear, small business now gets specific in its preferences.
If Microsoft doesn't cash in on this bias, it is clearly an opportunity loss that could impact its future deeply.
Ease of use is clearly the common denominator for choosing tablets. Can Windows 8 tablets be user friendly, offer seamless connectivity across multiple devices and have an interface that is consistent across devices and consequently a no-brainer for users? These are the features that will finally decide how small business - for whom productivity is a business necessity from the word 'Go' - adopts Windows 8 tablets.
There seems to be a clear lack of awareness among small business on support and services to upgrade/migrate to Windows 8. This is a serious lacuna that could work against Windows 8. While the platform will be shortly launched officially for retail users, yet, there seems to be a worrying lack of knowledge of tools and services available to help implementing a move to Windows 8 in the smoothest manner possible. This is an important factor for small business, as it doesn't have IT departments and a huge systems management infrastructure. There is both a threat and an opportunity for Windows 8 here.
While it seems logical for small business to embrace tablets, it is not as simple as it appears. The use of tablets in business can be difficult to quantify. Tablets may not be able to function effectively as direct replacements for laptops, especially true for mainstream knowledge workers who need a lot of computing power on tap. More so because they tend to use legacy apps using which they need to generate content such as presentations and reports, not a function that tablets have ideal capabilities for, as yet. In addition, this means that users often have multiple apps running simultaneously. Yet the potential of tablets seems immense and if fully achieved, should be able to offer mobility, ease of use, seamless connectivity along with all the advantages that a traditional laptop offers. Will Windows 8 manage to bridge this gap between the business potential that tablets offer and the current technological lacunae that may prevent this from happening? It's an exciting time ahead for Microsoft and Windows 8, their reinvention of their Windows OS and their bid to outpace formidable competition.
Methodology This iYogi Insights consumer research on small business and Windows 8 seeks to understand whether small business is likely to be an early adopter of the new Windows OS as well as subscribe to the new tablet frenzy that is sweeping the world.
This survey, conducted over two days, covered iYogi small business subscribers through an online form following their support sessions. A total of 175 respondents filled the online survey form consisting of 16 questions requesting details on current platform and device usage, preferences, future expansion/upgrade/migration plans and reasons for each. The data collected was collated, analyzed and compared to identify, assess and quantify trends and patterns.
DISCLAIMER: "Affiliation of any third party organization is not implied, unless expressly stated."