The Calm Before the Storm

TheThe start of a new year offers renewed focus on our goals and the steps needed to get there. From an IT perspective, last year was centered on transitioning from Microsoft Windows XP to new desktop computers and updated operating systems. The move from Windows XP has forced many organizations out of their technology innovation slumber to actually consider mobility applications and how computers are used.

While some users embrace change and welcome new ways of using technology to become more efficient, others completely avoid any form of technology change. (Some organizations even continue to use dot matrix printer based forms.) Technology is constantly evolving with greater functionality and ease-of-use…and sometimes not so great changes, too. The dramatically different Windows 8 desktop environment has not been readily accepted due to a lack of transition planning and communication.

Many times, daily emergencies prevent IT teams from recognizing epic change, and preparing for the transformation. IT departments have been surprised by the seismic changes of mobility (e.g., tablets, smartphones) that have abruptly ended their slumber as users expect more ubiquitous functionality.

Microsoft has not helped this state of affairs. The introduction of Windows 8 is a dramatic departure from the way people work. Adoption of Windows 8 must be considered as part of a complete touch based environment, which many government organizations have not yet considered. Microsoft introduced Windows 8 without preparing IT organizations with relevant information about the keys to success in a touch/mobility environment. Additionally, Microsoft did not prepare the vendor ecosystem to deliver touch-based ready products. The result has been an extremely chaotic and frustrating year for users, IT and Microsoft.

Thankfully, many IT organizations have transitioned to Windows 7 and will probably stay on Windows 7 for the next 3 to 4 years. In the meantime, the transition to a dramatically different user experience has begun, and this year we will see an increasing interest in the use of Windows 8 mobile devices.

The storm is coming, and it’s time for IT to prepare by working with innovative users to develop “test” environments that seamlessly incorporate Windows 8 mobile devices for both mobile and desktop use. The experience gained by IT will be invaluable when adapting their support organizations and users to the wave of new applications that Microsoft and the application software vendors will deploy in 2015.

Ernest Pages
Partner, Sciens Consulting

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