How Windows 8 Will Work for Your Business

Today at TechEd North America, we’re talking more about how Windows 8 is enterprise-ready, by design. As I was getting ready for this conversation, I found myself reflecting on the hundreds of customers my team and I have met with over the past several months. We have talked to companies in just about every industry and every area of the world. They’ve told us their implementation plans, some already demoed early business apps, and gave us feedback on how these innovations built on Windows 8 will be valuable to their organizations.

Since the last time you’ve heard from me on Windows 8 for the enterprise, I thought it would be important to share three customer stories on what enterprises are already doing with Windows 8 at TechEd and then here on the blog as well.

One of my favorites is what PCL Construction, the sixth largest contractor in the United States, is doing to ensure its team of 3,700 full-time professional staff has the tools they need to get the job done right.

PCL Construction recognized an opportunity with Windows To Go and how it could enable the work styles of its employees. Working with Windows 8 Release Preview versions of Windows To Go, PCL Construction employees can carry their entire managed corporate desktop and bring it along with them on a small bootable USB drive wherever they go – on the jobsite, from a field office, or from the comfort of their own home computer. They decided on an early implementation of Windows 8 to get feedback from users quickly and in an effort to remove any potential adoption barriers when Windows 8 rolls out to all employees.

As Shane Crawford, manager of infrastructure with PCL Construction, shared with us, “Windows 8 affords PCL Construction many ways to meet the needs of our diverse and mobile workforce from secure access touch-enabled applications that help improve jobsite safety to meeting the needs of executives and field staff working from multiple PC’s with Windows To Go.”

Another great example of an early customer case is a Windows 8 app developed by national furniture retailer Rooms To Go. This business app for tablets allows the company’s sales associates to offer a more intimate and immersive customer service experience without leaving the customers’ side.

Russ Rosen, CIO of Rooms To Go, stated, “Windows 8 provides Rooms To Go the ability to develop a custom point of sale application that takes advantage of continuous connectivity, and provides a natural touch interface to allow for a cost-effective experience for our sales associates across 175 stores.”

Finally, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, through their partner Sparked, is planning to outfit their employees with custom line-of-business applications accessing a Microsoft SharePoint backend on Windows 8 tablet. These applications allow prosecution officers to remain effective and productive whether working in an office, courtroom or while mobile.

“Due to the sensitive nature of the information presented to prosecution officers, it’s crucial that the data and devices be protected from viruses, malware, theft or compromise of data,” said Dr. Edwin C. Mac Gillavry, deputy director, Bureau for Criminal Law Studies, Dutch Public Prosecution Service. “The BitLocker solution with Windows 8 will protect our data, something that would be difficult to realize with other tablet platforms without extra costs.”

A few more items I want to touch on: yesterday at TechEd, we announced that the next release for Windows Intune is available here. My colleague Eric Main has a more in-depth description on updates and new features of the PC management and security software from yesterday’s keynote at TechEd North America.

While there are a lot of exciting new changes in this latest release, there are a couple that I would specifically like to call out. One is a new feature to better manage and secure your environment using mobile device management, which will be valuable to IT Pros who travel frequently, or have multiple locations to manage. Second, the latest release of Windows Intune includes upgrade rights to the latest version of Windows, which means businesses using Windows Intune will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise when it becomes available.

Finally, my colleague Karri Alexion-Tiernan has an update on several Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) products, including: the availability of betas for Microsoft BitLOcker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) and Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM), an upcoming beta for the newest addition to the MDOP family – User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), and a release candidate for the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 8.

Have an exciting implementation plan for Windows 8 in your business or have thoughts on the Windows Intune and MDOP announcements? Share your story with us in the comments section and you may be reading about it in a future blog post.

We look forward to traveling to Amsterdam later this month for TechEd Europe and you can look for more updates from my team here on the Windows for your Business site. In the meantime, we encourage you to download Windows 8 Release Preview and test it in the business environment, available at http://preview.windows.com.