Where Does Windows 8.1 Stand With Enterprises And Users?

Since the original release of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012, the operating system has benefitted from two major updates — Windows 8.1 (in October, 2013) and the Update to Windows 8.1 (in April, 2014). With these updates, Microsoft sought to address a variety of user concerns and feedback, including some major revisions to the user interface. In the latest update, Microsoft has introduced some useful new features like the ability to right-click from the Start Screen:

We've just released a new report assessing the status of the Update to Windows 8.1 and what it means for enterprises. Whoa — hold on, you might say: Isn't Windows 7 the enterprise standard now? Does Windows 8.1 matter to the enterprise at all?

Indeed, Windows 7 remains the enterprise standard; most enterprises have only recently weaned themselves fully off of XP. But Windows 8.1 does matter in the enterprise, for several reasons:

  • Infrastructure buyers are interested in Windows 8.1 devices. In more than 50 recent inquiries with Forrester, clients asked about laptop replacement scenarios for Windows 8 devices. I&O pros tell Forrester that they like the idea of deploying replacement devices that are two-in-one laptop replacements — that is, devices used both for mobile tablet scenarios and then back at the desk with a mouse and a keyboard. 2-in-1 can conceivably save them money; rather than buying a laptop and a tablet, they like the idea of providing one device that can fill both purposes. They also cite manageability, the ability to domain-join the devices, legacy application compatibility, and other reasons for their interest.
  • The Windows ecosystem is providing a great number of form factors suited to different business needs. Business leaders and I&O pros both cite the wide array of choices for device types based on Windows 8.1 as another driver of interest. From the Dell Venue Pro 8 at 8" all the way up to Microsoft's 82" Perceptive Pixel device (and everything in between), it's possible to equip workers with devices that fit a wide array of business scenarios.
  • Workers are interested in tablets with keyboards. Sixty-two percent of information workers indicate that they would like to use a keyboard (either wireless or docked) with their tablet, mimicking the two-in-one concept. As we recently covered in our Quick Take Report on Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, the Windows 8.1 ecosystem offers credible, business-class options for this scenario.

In most cases, enterprises with an interest in Windows 8.1 devices are running hybrid environments — adding Windows 8.1 tablets (for example) into a largely Windows 7 environment. This is best accomplished using System Center 2012 R2; prior editions don't offer full deployment capabilities, making them onerous for I&O personnel to manage.

In the report, I offer an overall assessment of where Windows 8.1 stands today and whether you and your organization should be considering adopting some of these devices. I find that, overall, Windows 8.1 with its recent update makes the best case yet for enterprise adoption.  I invite you to read and download the full report here.

J. P. Gownder is a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research serving Infrastructure & Operations Professionals. Follow him on Twitter at @jgownder


corporate iPad

Really what people want is the iPad, and when IT doesn't give it to them they turn to a "surface" or Win8 experience because they know IT supports Windows and must eventually get to 8.1 since we've already been through all the others.

What you end up with, speaking from Fortune 500 company experience, is about 2% liking the OS and device and the rest wishing they could just get a real tablet.

Convertibles and tablets with keyboards sound much better than they actually work in practice. I have a stack of Surface devices that proves this.

Windows 8 is the new Vista. Sorry to be brutally honest here... I'm not getting paid by MS to blog positive about the OS.

Hardware is great but the OS is not

This paragraph..

"In most cases, enterprises with an interest in Windows 8.1 devices are running hybrid environments — adding Windows 8.1 tablets (for example) into a largely Windows 7 environment. This is best accomplished using System Center 2012 R2"

Companies still deploy Windows 7 with 2012R2 but at the end of the day the tablet hardware is great but the surface pro 3 still runs Windows 8 which going by our pilot most end users simply have no interest in.

There is nothing wow'ing them about the OS and the lack of apps does not help. You cant play the its a new OS card its been out for 2 years yet most major developers for the iOS and Android platform still have not migrated their own apps to the Windows store.

I'm a Windows user and support it in enterprise but the new features in OSX e.g. continuity is something MS should of implemented for tablets but as always they just rehash the same thing. Without putting that type of thought into the OS they have no chance of winning in the consumer space.

Also running a project to get your fleet to Windows 7 is not cheap, would companies be ready to go through the same pain so soon?

This article seems like a cash for comment..

No, the operating system is

No, the operating system is superb because i am using windows phone more than 3 years and i am not facing any kind of Os problem..