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Windows 8: CIOs Get Enterprise Road Warrior

Microsoft has long been king of the desktop, but Windows 8 has enterprise IT leaders experimenting with new, mobile business tools.

8 Key Differences Between Windows 8 And Windows RT
8 Key Differences Between Windows 8 And Windows RT
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
While consumers eye the new Windows 8 gadgets that debut Friday, businesses have been experimenting with Microsoft's new operating system for months. Most won't deploy it broadly for years, but that doesn't mean it won't play a big role in the enterprise right away. Companies in a variety of industries are putting the mobile-friendly OS to work in targeted areas in an effort to, literally, get closer to the customer.

"What we saw with Windows 8 was an opportunity to take our customer experience and make it mobile," said Cristina Mancini, senior VP for worldwide marketing in the Television Distribution arm of Twentieth Century Fox.

Mancini's unit at the entertainment giant maintains a b-to-b website,, that lets the studio show off content to television networks and other outlets. Fox has now developed a Windows 8-powered tablet version that gives reps a powerful tool to pitch programming while on the road. It's packed with photos, video, and production notes about Fox hits like Family Guy, as well as upcoming programming.

"You want to get people excited about your product and your own marketing people excited," said Mancini. "When I saw the [Windows 8] interface, it was exactly what we had been talking about."

Fox's Windows 8 deployment fits with how most analysts, and even Microsoft itself, expect enterprises to use Windows 8 in the early going -- as a foundation for customer-facing apps and services that take advantage of the operating system's slick, touch-friendly interface and enhanced graphics capabilities.

"We believe that Windows 8 will be something that most organizations do not deploy broadly," said Gartner analyst Mike Silver. A recent InformationWeek survey of IT pros found that 47% have no plans to upgrade to Windows 8, while 64% will stick with Windows 7 for as long as possible.

[ Will Windows 8 be hard to learn? Read Windows 8: You Can Handle The Learning Curve. ]

"That's not a bad thing," Silver said, noting that most enterprises will stick with Windows 7 on the desktop while selectively issuing Windows 8 tablets or convertibles to field personnel who can make the most of mobile apps.

One company doing just that is Rooms To Go, an online and brick-and-mortar retailer of home furniture. The company runs a sales application at PC terminals located throughout its stores. It allows sales reps to capture customer information, show products, and complete orders. But CIO Russ Rosen wanted a mobile version that would let reps interact with customers more comfortably, say, while sitting on a couch.

"We were looking for a solution where the customer didn't have to break the engagement," said Rosen. "Something where we could put together the sale sitting next to them on a sofa rather than having to go back and forth to a PC."

Like Fox, Rooms To Go worked with Microsoft to develop a mobile version of its point-of-sale application. The app lets reps start shopping carts, input customer Zip codes, complete a sale, schedule delivery, and more.

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User Rank: Strategist
10/26/2012 | 6:34:44 PM
re: Windows 8: CIOs Get Enterprise Road Warrior
I tried windows 8 on my laptop and it was not intuitive at all. Sure there is a desktop but the tiles and apps were annoying and did not enhance or make the is easier. To me Windows 8 is a huge step back. The idea of multiple windows is a good one to keep. When a tablet can use a desktop multiple window interface with ease then win 8 will be ready. On a laptop or desktop it just feels akward. Maybe they have made.improvements and for $39 to upgrade to Windows 8 pro I will probably give it another go. It has potential but you have a lot of people who can't afford a new PC or expensive tablet. If MS were really smart they would price the surface rt tab up against the nexus 7. At least if they sold it at cost to get people interested I think the market could be huge. It seems though if you want windows tabs you are going to pay a premium. Too bad. Using Ms word on a tab with a doc and keyboard would be pretty cool. Until laptops and other devices catch up windows 8 will be hampered from the start. Without a touch screen it is not so good. I may be wrong and as much as I love android and Linux I still use Ms products and windows 7 was about the best iteration of Windows ever deployed. I think this may be a Vista repeat but you got to push change and most of the time that hurts.
Tom LaSusa
Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2012 | 6:13:46 PM
re: Windows 8: CIOs Get Enterprise Road Warrior
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2012 | 4:57:11 PM
re: Windows 8: CIOs Get Enterprise Road Warrior
Customers are starting to use Win8 tablets for the same reasons they chose the iPad. For one, it greatly facilitates the vendor/client interaction. You can create, consume and present content on a highly portable device.
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2012 | 4:40:29 PM
re: Windows 8: CIOs Get Enterprise Road Warrior
Good article. The ability (or difficulty) of creating a seamless Windows mobile experience from laptops, convertibles, tablets and smartphones will be a deciding factor in corporate acceptance.
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