Thoughts on using Windows 10 to move customers to the future
Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 10. Its predecessor, Windows 8, left many business users underwhelmed and reluctant to upgrade.
Microsoft has to persuade small businesses that Windows 10 is a significant advance on at least four widely used
Windows predecessors, including the popular but ageing Windows 7 and the now unsupported XP. It should be a worry for everyone concerned, of course, that thousands of SMEs still run at least some of their services on the oldest and most vulnerable of those operating systems. So Windows 10 has to right the perceived wrongs of Windows 8, which for many business users centred around its heavy touchscreen focus.
But it also needs to embrace a future of cloud computing and interchangeable devices. It’s a tough ask, but many experts think the new operating system has got the balance about right.
“From our perspective, Windows 10 is about Microsoft moving with its customers to the future,” The Telegraph“>says Marc Juffkins, operations director at Oxford-based Riverbank IT. “The hope is that it will win hearts and minds through a more seamless multi-platform experience, as customers swap between fixed and mobile computers and use different software and cloud services.
“As an operating system it’s already proving way more user-friendly – and not so reliant on touchscreen functionality – than Windows 8.”Microsoft hopes that Windows 10 will appeal to the SME owner when they work at their office desktop with keyboard and mouse, and the same owner finishing a last minute report on a touchscreen tablet on the train home.
One of the keys to this ambition is Continuum, an innovation which detects the hardware you are using and ensures that you always have the optimum interface on your screen.
Continuum is symbolic of Microsoft’s intent. While Windows 8 was widely seen as an attempt to force users down a touchscreen route, Windows 10 gives them the choice, depending on their preference, device and situation.
The company realises that this flexibility is key. “Windows 10 builds on the investments made in Windows 8… and carries forward a sense of familiarity while also providing a new level of flexibility that will help customers work the way they want, on the device they choose,” a spokesman says.
“The beauty of Windows 10 is that it will scale to what makes sense given your device capabilities.” Windows 10 is also Microsoft’s most cloud-friendly operating system, and an acceptance of cloud computing’s increasing ubiquity.
“Above all, Windows 10 is about moving the majority of its consumer and business base onto a new platform that has Microsoft’s cloud services woven into its DNA, simplifying the integration process with services such as OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, Skype and Office 365,” says Antoine Feriaux, enterprise solutions consultant for Europe, Middle East and Africa at software company Accellion.
Having all these services seamlessly and simply integrated, within and across devices, offers real efficiencies for SME users. The trend is for businesses to move to a pay-as-you-go model – for example, opting for the small monthly amounts for a subscription to the cloud-friendly Office 365, which they can use anywhere, any time, rather than the one-off cost of traditional desktop versions of Office.
“From a strategic perspective, Windows 10 integrates better with Office 365 and Outlook’s new 2016 release, so this combination will absolutely deliver in terms of efficiencies as a tighter integration,” says Mr Juffkins.
“From a commercial perspective we’re seeing the shift from a one-off fee to a subscription-based model.”
Not only does this radically change Microsoft’s revenue structure but, importantly, it will change the way customers engage with the brand, effectively bringing them closer as users, he believes.
But business users will not give such loyalty cheaply. Windows 10 needs to be both a familiar operating system to long-term Windows users, and one that makes working in the cloud, working away from the office and working on a range of devices easy.
So far the signs are positive.
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