Business customers are choosing Windows 8.1 for mobility solutions

Today in New York we hosted an event with customers and app partners and talked about the role technology is playing in enabling mobility scenarios for businesses. When we think about mobility, it’s much more than handing out a tablet to road warriors to deliver sales presentations. It’s about how a mobile platform solution can be transformational in creating business value, driving process efficiency, revolutionizing customer engagement, and delivering bottom line results.

We’ve been talking since before the launch of Windows 8.1 about the enhancements we are making to the Windows platform across both Windows and Windows Phone. Our goal is to lead the industry in delivering a single common mobile platform that represents one Windows, one experience for our customers.

Windows is built to work well together across the range of devices from high performance desktops, to tablets and phones. Windows and Windows Phone have the same shared operating system core, which means we deliver a common platform from management, security, and networking to productivity tools, app platform, file access and user interface.

Today we announced a number of customers that are truly taking advantage of our business platform across our cloud services, management infrastructure and devices to create new business value through enabling mobile scenarios in their business. There are a few examples from today that I wanted to call out here – to read through the other customers announced today, check the Business Mobility Newsroom.

In the conversations I frequently have with business customers, companies across industries are telling me how Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 are delivering the mobility solutions today, that help their businesses address a wide range of complex IT scenarios while also delivering a great connected experience for their employees – whether at their desk, on the road or at home.

Businesses big and small are choosing to migrate to Windows 8.1.

As people access their data from anywhere, security and management are key concerns for businesses. Windows provides a complete security platform for all devices, starting with secure boot all the way to full, data encryption using BitLocker technology. The system is well protected against malware with the curated Windows Store and app sandboxing, so apps only have access to their own data and cannot prey on users.

Westpac, one of the largest banks in Australia, through its Financial Services division, offers an award-winning wealth advisor program called Discover Your World. Wealth advisors use this program to engage clients on strategic financial planning discussions, which previously was a very paper intensive process.

Westpac is now streamlining this process onto a Windows 8 modern app called Discover Your World. The app will improve advisor customer service and provide a more intuitive and engaging experience for managing customers’ most critical financial decisions. Westpac has made the app available on a convertible device that is perfect for Westpac’s sales team in the field – the Lenovo Helix.

Westpac is deploying Discover Your World to more than 1,000 devices – primarily to their distribution mobile staff, making it easier to take advantage of the very latest technology to improve employee productivity and implement new ways to stay connected with customers in the office or wherever their customers may be.

Initial feedback of the app and Lenovo Helix tablet has been extremely positive. Employees have told them, “The combination of Windows 8, Discover Your World app and the tablet helps me be more productive.” Another employee commented, “Many customers are in geographically dispersed locations so having the ability to have the right information, at the right time and in a secure environment is a tremendous advantage.” Additionally, with this success, Westpac has made plans to move its employees to Windows 8.1.

Hear more details from Westpac in this video and these check out screenshots of the Your World program:

Westpac_Your_World_#3

Westpac_Your_World

Westpac_Your_World_#2

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is another example of a company that has found the right computing platform to meet the challenges of bringing together secure and easy to manage computing while enhancing guests’ digital experience in a highly social environment. They’ve achieved this with Windows 8 Enterprise running on Lenovo ThinkCentre All-In-One PCs to power their popular Link@Sheraton kiosks. The kiosks are touch-enabled and available in Sheraton lobbies for guests to use, providing access to the Internet and custom Sheraton content. To help protect information on the PCs, Sheraton IT staff uses BitLocker and Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) 2.0.

The kiosks have been so successful that Sheraton is deploying Lenovo ThinkPad 2 tablets in other areas of their hotels for an even more enhanced digital experience. Sheraton has been so pleased with the Windows 8 rollout that they’re now updating all devices with Windows 8.1. Hear from Sheraton first-hand in this video about their Windows 8 experience and future vision for making guest experiences even better through technology:

Seton Hall University is a great example of successfully leveraging the breadth of the Microsoft ecosystem to improve the way students and faculty interact and learn. Last year, we shared Seton Hall’s deployment of Windows 8 tablets, Windows Phone and Office 365 for Education to their entering freshmen and returning juniors as an example of how an organization can utilize multiple Microsoft technologies to benefit its users, while keeping information secure and well-managed. With the success of last year’s program, SHU will have 100 percent of their students and faculty on devices running Windows 8.1 by the Fall 2014 semester, along with updating their Windows Phone app, SMU Mobile, to a Windows 8.1 modern app for use on Windows devices. Currently, the school uses an executive dashboard from the Windows Store called Director’s Desk by Nasdaq for its Board members, and they have recently updated their LAB app for improved faculty and student collaboration in their science classrooms.

Check out these snapshots of Seton Hall University’s Mobile app:

Seton Hallmobile_tab

Seton Hallmobile_phone

It’s important to have great devices and experiences, and for organizations the devices and services are only one piece of the total solution. It’s critical for business customers to have a complete mobile enterprise solution that addresses issues like productivity, management, security, and the app development platform so that businesses can keep up with the demands of the modern worker.

We deliver an unparalleled ability for your employees to be fully productive with Microsoft Office wherever they are and on whatever Windows device being used. Windows Phone is also the only smartphone that lets people read rights managed messages – protecting sensitive data while helping people stay up-to-date with critical information at the same time.

One of the big things mobile can do is flatten organizations, building stronger connections between an organization, mobile employees and its customers. This drives faster, better, business decisions that improve employee and customer experiences. We’re excited to see customers like Seton Hall University, Sheraton, and Westpac continue to leverage the Windows family of products to design their own custom enterprise mobile solutions.

For businesses currently running Windows 7, you can download an evaluation edition of Windows 8.1 Enterprise today to begin evaluating and testing Windows 8.1 alongside your existing mobile devices. For businesses still using Windows XP, consider moving to a more modern operating system including Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and investing in modern hardware with touch capability to future proof your IT investments before the end of Windows XP support on April 8, 2014. New improvements in the Windows 8.1 user interface enable an enhanced experience for non-touch, mouse and keyboard users planning to migrate existing hardware; for more information on migration partners, tools and solutions visit www.get2modern.com.