Windows 8 will be great for Microsoft, bringing its mobile, gaming and desktop platforms into line. Windows Phone is a good demonstration of how all these platforms come together on one device.
The new OS will start in the consumer world and then filter out to business; after all, it seems to be consumers who are leading the charge in the UK. But once businesses adopt Windows 8, it will be easy for any IT manager to convince their stakeholders that Windows Phone - rather than other devices such as an iPad or iPhone - is the best device to access business applications on the move, from a commercial and a user perspective.
I expect the Windows 8 experience to resemble that of the current Windows Phone but with obvious additional power and functionality. This is the catalyst we have been waiting for to convince partners that mobile is no longer separate to IT. And the amalgamation of the two will take mobile firmly into the IT camp.
This will present opportunities to drive additional professional services revenue from bringing companies well and truly into the 21st century.
I anticipate it as a way of opening up new discussions with customers. Windows 8’s Metro-style user interface is like that of Windows Phone, and once users see it in action, the benefits of mobile offerings should start to hit home. In fact, I think it will almost sell itself, with recurring revenue being generated as a result.
Hopefully, we will finally have a true rival to Apple’s devices. The iPhone is among the biggest mobile sales success stories and the challenge faced by IT managers is of employee demand, to which many have given in. But the iPhone makes a big dent in the business budget and now, with Windows 8 creeping on to the tablet and slate market, I do not think there will be a strong enough business case to cover the extra money needed for Apple devices.
The tide may change as users express desire for a far more intuitive interface to access their applications.
It might be fashionable to bring your own device to work, but this came only from the fact that IT departments did not have a viable, single, user-friendly option.
I expect IT managers will applaud the arrival of Windows 8, which will allow them to take back control of devices throughout the network, enabling them to more easily maintain and service their mobile fleet on one platform.
Through a credible reseller provider, they will have a much simpler life, with control over voice and data tariffs, and added benefits such as 24-hour replacement and warranty swap-out - although the top beneficiary is the finance director, who will be buying less-expensive devices and garnering more efficiencies.
Which brings me to the benefits of the experience end users will get on a Windows Phone when accessing Office 365 with the improved OS and the new tiled interface. The user experience should be much more like that of their PC. They will be able to read, access and change documents from their smartphone, making their lives easier and saving them time.
As Office 365 looks to be the fastest-selling piece of Microsoft software of all time, this has to be a key point. But it is more than a piece of software. Instead, it is a complete proposition that gives us a chance to talk about something new. On Windows Phone, you can show customers mail, document sharing, collaboration, IM, presence and phone functions, all together. This makes for a far easier conversation and a visual opportunity to identify a need for additional services that get the client’s systems up to date.
Customers will have a great experience with Exchange, with rich office documents they can access, along with a shared environment, quickly and simply, anywhere. I defy anyone to find a slicker, more user-friendly experience.
Stuart Cordingley is head of channels t Fusion Mobile
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