Microsoft's 'most radically redesigned version of Windows since Windows 95 (their words, not ours)--Windows 8 is garnering consumer attention, although Indian CIOs are shaking their heads.
Indian CIOs aren't ready to kiss their existing operating systems goodbye and make way for the new touch-centric operating system.
"Today, companies are still basking in the glory of a pan-organizational Windows 7 implementation. A considerable amount of time, money, and with change management, has gone into the process. Expecting a Windows 8 adoption now is silly," says Vishal Tripathi, principal research analyst at Gartner. If what Tripathi says is true, the adoption inertia, as he puts it, is here to stay for another three to four quarters.
Novel technology has always been met with a cautious pace of adoptionin India. "We usually believe in waiting for six to eight months beforebeginning to even test a new mobile OS," says Godwin Fernandes, CTO at Mumbai-based Ask Investment Holdings.
Vishad Rahangdale, CIO at Rs 2,300 crore Electrotherm India agrees. He remembers the user-resistance his team faced a year ago when the company migrated to Windows 7 from Windows XP.
"Change will always face resistance. My users resisted the move to Windows 7, but eventually accepted it as the process only enhanced the user experience and didn't change it. But, it's clear that Windows 8 will be a complete 'experience shocker'," he says.
Rahangdale himself, who is an avid iPad user, loves the Windows 8 consumer edition. "If you ask me, I think Windows 8's metro interface isfantastic. I will be delighted if I get the same experience on my office laptop, just as my iPad."
Gartner's Tripathi believes that employees will expect IT support fortheir Windows 8 tablet, claiming that it will increase their productivity.
Although Microsoft may not see enterprise interest anytime soon, saysTripathi, CIOs better be ready for the challenges Windows 8's consumer-friendly features will bring.
"For companies with a strong BYOD policy, the number of devices usingWindows 8 can be expected to rise. This means a good amount of testing for stability and support preparation for CIOs. And then there's security," says Tripathi. "Also, running a new mobile OS will require new hardware which means more cost."
Some CIOs are getting ahead of the curve. Bhupendra Pant, head-IT at L&T EWAC Alloys for example believes managing and supporting the newbreed of Windows 8 users on an experimental basis, will be good learning for his department.
"This is a good opportunity for my IT force. So, when in a year from today, the number Windows 8 users has increased, we would have already built up the capability to integrate and support them in our environment," he says.