How Windows 8 Will Work for Your Business

How Windows 8 Will Work for Your Business

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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

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  • I hate despise windows 8 it is not user friendly I bought a new computer last week that has windows 8 I'm going to return it going with a Mac or something else I hate it worst money I ever spent! I can't find anything or figure out how to enlarge a window I open.

  • So if I say, "Don't think of a black cat," what do you do? Immediately, you think of a black cat and whatever version of one you have in your head. Tao of badass review

    So if I said, "Don't try to make out with me," or "Don't make out with me right now," girls are going to be consciously hearing, "Don't make out with me," but their subconscious minds will be hearing, "Make out with me right now!"

    You're attempting to sort of use real-life Inception to get making-out with you to be HER idea. She should be thinking, "I should make out with this guy."

  • It's funny to me. My girlfriend and I were shopping over the weekend, and at the mall a lot of the high end retailers are now using iPod Touch's with card swipes. Microsoft's big push, use a Windows 8 tablet for point of sales by claiming a middling furniture company is planning on using them?

    Lets see, Nordstrom's is all ready deploying and using iOS probably at a lower price point using a competitor. Rooms to Go may sometime in the future use a version of Windows that not a single professional I know really wants to use.

  • This is the best Windows at work and at home and everywhere. has many advantages such as fast, features great speed in the performance, ease of installation and other features.. Windows includes everything we need within our computer, whether a PC or computer to work

  • Drew
    19 Posts

    I'm just hoping to get moved off of Windows XP at work!  I think there may be 3-4 of us still on XP and the chance of moving to Windows 8 anytime soon is slim-to-none.

    Unless somebody gets the silly idea of jumping me from XP to 8 to beta-test the Enterprise use of it, I'll be lucky to move to Windows 7 or Server 2008 thin client.

  • I have to agree with the Metro comments and business. Most CIOs including my own will not do it. We are a tiny organisation and the support would be enormous. I spend an eternity rolling out Win7 and training people from XP. Give people an option like Win 95/DOS. I am exited about the tablet and phone but corporate users have spoken. Why won't MS give us an option? Eventually we will get Metroised,

  • I really love Windows, but it does seem like Windows 8 is going to fall into the Windows Vista category of the "black sheep" of the family.. The fellow commentor's are correct-make it optional which you want to you use Metro or Smart. If the overall outlook of your consumers is negative, then you really should make a change sooner than later.

  • @dclausen46,

    if you think Metro is good for your business, you feel free to deploy it  The problem some other have other things to do. Windows 8 will force us to use this new "Start Menu" aka Metro. We have the choice: Use it or use Windows 7. We will use windows 7.

    Tablet PC are only gadget for email, calendar and gaming. No one uses a touch screen with real buisness applications like the SAP GUI f.e.

    Yes, I like my Galaxy Note too. But on PO, I like mouse and keyboard.

  • Wouldn't Metro UI be a benefit to IT departments.  New employee starts his PC and there in front of him is everything he needs.  Tiles to intranet sites.  Tiles to HR polices and information. Tile to search company intranet. Tile to the database or order entry system.  The UI could be locked down so the main tiles are the apps and places that employee need to go to and use to do his or her job.  How many times do you go to an employee's desk and ask them to look at or open something?  And what do they do.  Spend a minute minimizing all their apps so they can get to a desktop Icon they created.  The average user doesn't use the start menu all that much they make icons on their desktop.  Or give them a simple gesture with the mouse to pull up a search to search apps, internet, or intranet.  Yep that is there too.  Now talk about sales or executives that are always moving locations they have a powerful tablet type laptop with the metro UI they will be able to perform normal functions even faster.  Just because you think it looks consumer doesn’t mean that’s all it is.  Think outside of the box; what can we do with it.

  • imnaved
    1 Posts

    Windows 8 is AWESOME ..... :) :D

  • This programmer's comment best establishes the real PROBLEM that Windows 8 CREATES:

    "Sadly, what MS is offering is simply not an OS geared toward doing real work: it's designed to ease your access to captive social platforms and for media playback."


  • abm
    268 Posts

    @xpclient, among 59 replies for your msdn post, none of them is from windows team and now they have blocked it. Solving this problem might regress other issues with the filesystem's features (which were not present in XP). Clearly, they will not address this issue in Windows 8. You can count on Windows 9 OR you can try some alternative to Windows Explorer.. something like File Commander, Cubic Explorer, Explorer++ etc.

  • C'est clair que windows 8 peut aider les entreprise, mais l'interface metro...

  • spc1972
    3 Posts

    @tweekism - I agree that feature should be in the mail app but on my Windows Phone 7 I can compose an email and search the corporate directory today using native functionality.  Just hit the + to add a recipient, hit the search icon and type. The search is offload to Exchange via ActiveSync etc.  Perhaps you've got something misconfigured or need to update something in the chain but it definitely works today! And all the more reason to wonder why its not in the mail app on Win8 today :)

  • Snkabt
    2 Posts

    I work in a Microsoft focused development team that trends towards keeping current in technology. That said, I've used every Windows 8 version since the Developer's Preview. I told my boss yesterday we should skip Windows 8.

    We support over 600 users running the entire gamut in computer skills. Retraining them for the quirky Metro interface is a waste of time and adds no value. Ironically, the vast majority have touch screen laptops but, again, Metro only adds an unnecessary layer.

    We put a tremendous development effort in XAML specifically targeting the Aero library. Our users love what Microsoft bizarrely now calls "cheesy". We don't just use gradients, shadows and transparencies to look pretty but to provide users with important visual cues. If there's a cheesy UI it's Metro that's a throw back to yesteryear. The color palette reminds me of a CGA monitor, the fish and curly cue themes mirror 1970's graphics styles and the flat controls remind me of Windows 1.0 sans the chrome. I find Metro apps waste gobs of screen real estate and its lack of Aero visual cues often obscures controls.

    For large enterprises with a big investment in 'legacy' desktop apps the crippled Windows 8 desktop not only adds no value, it significantly reduces it. I personally hate using it and I've given it a long trial period.

    The fact that Microsoft has decided not to make the latest .Net Framework side-by-side means it'll be a long wait before we upgrade Visual Studio. In fact, it may end up the first Visual Studio edition we skip depending how its 4 comparability pans out.

    We're under a lot of pressure to deploy iPad solutions. I can't say my tablet experience with Windows 8 convinces me to push Window 8 tablets instead. The experience isn't as horrible as on the desktop but the product isn't pick it up and use it intuitive. As an IT professional, it might sound silly to talk form over function but compared to iPad the Metro UI is extremely ugly making it even a harder sell. So far the UI configuration options completely underwhelm.

    Under the skin, Windows 8 offers some valuable features but they are masked by Metro's many flaws.

    I applaud Microsoft not making Metro a me-too iPad UI like Android. As a tablet UI it brings some nice innovation like the live tiles. However, even that features is immature and lacks configurability. Worse, Metro is stuffed with bad ideas that need to be fixed.

  • I tried to compose an internal email in Win8RP and noticed that I have no way to access the Exchange Global Address List, so I guess it's not *that* enterprise ready :)

    I realise this is an issue for the app team and not the windows team, but I don't think my users will appreciate that distinction.

    Yeah I'm a huge fan blah blah blah, if this doesn't get fixed I'll still immediately buy a Win8 tablet, but I'll kick every Microsoft employee I see in the street. I don't even want to think about the possibility of Windows Phone 8 not having this feature.

  • Here at my school district we are re-doing the networks. We will not be going to Windows 8, but Windows 7 because of Metro UI. The IT department head literally told me in his own words "it is crap." I don't think metro is crap, but I understand where he is coming from. This isn't going to work.

  • Please, don't force users to METRO UI, in business metro UI is very VERY BAD!!!

    You dont have to remove good things (start button), you have to add new functions if you wants, ok, add metro ui for business too, but let the same desktop, and if user wants go to angle and open metro,you are forcing users to metro, but lot of users leave windows,you dont have to force people!!!!!

  • xpclient
    50 Posts

    Even Windows 7 does not work for me because of the mandatory automatic sorting requirement: A hotfix can fix that.

  • spc1972
    3 Posts

    Unfortunately, our evaluation of Windows 8 has been cut short by the fact that the only version we've been able to access is the Release Preview which limits us to Professional SKU features and as such we've been unable to use DirectAccess at all and so are reverting back to 7 and waiting for RTM.  This all worked fine in the CR and I really cannot understand why the Enterprise features have not been made more broadly available.

  • techieg
    25 Posts

    The Metro UI, while great for tablets is not well accepted on the desktop and laptop side. We need policies to be able to disable it and enable the regular start menu. We would like to have policies that can enforce this on laptops/desktops/servers vs tablets. This is a common echoing issue people are harking on and MS has not given any indication of any of these requests being addressed.

  • Yes, I agree, windows 8 may have good business features (except the Metro UI).

    And yes, the Metro UI it is good for tablets (2 of your examples)

    But , we don't have the time and  the money to teach our destop users (almost users are destop users) for the Metro UI (how to shutdown the computer, etc.) Metro Apps are completely useless for us and the Microsoft App store must be blocked at proxy level.

    The Entprise Version of Windows 7 should have an option to disable Metro UI at all an bring back the start menu ;)

    Our current migration plan from Windows XP is focused at Windows 7. The Metro UI is not an option for us.