Dell recommends Windows 8.

Make the RT Windows 8 Decision

Curtis Franklin Jr., Executive Editor | 11/19/2012 | 44 comments

Curtis Franklin Jr.
RT, or not RT: That is the question. It might not be Hamlet's soliloquy, but it's a question IT departments must ask when migrating to Windows 8.

It sounds like a simple question, since Windows 8 RT is the lighter version of Windows 8 designed for home users. In a perfectly segmented world, you wouldn't have to worry about such things, because no one would ever want to bring a computer designed for personal use into the enterprise.

Ours is not such a world. Enterprise IT in the teens is all about the merging of the personal and the corporate, so this is, in fact, something you'll need to prepare for. Fortunately for you, the users will make most of the decisions for you.

Let's get the big division out of the way first: If your users want to run any legacy applications, want to add applications that don't come from the "Windows Store," or need to run Outlook for mail and calendar access, they do not want Windows 8 RT. That's simple. If a user comes to you and asks about a tablet that can be the device to replace their aging laptop, then the odds are awfully good that you're going to want to steer them toward a Windows 8 x86 tablet, rather than a tablet running Windows 8 RT. Simplicity is good, but once we leave those big, easy cases you're going to have to put a bit more thought into what you allow and what you recommend.

What about access to enterprise applications? Windows 8 RT is no good for those, right? Not so fast. With more and more enterprises using Web-facing applications for their critical functions, Windows 8 RT tablets become quite acceptable platforms for access, with a couple of caveats. The most significant involves Flash. Now, I'll admit that I don't know why you would program a critical enterprise application using Flash, but if you've done this then you're in trouble. Windows 8 RT will run Flash if it's on a site already approved by Microsoft. Has your accounting package been approved? It's something you want to check. (Though I'd really appreciate it if you'd let me know if yours has, in fact, been approved.)

Another popular way for users to gain access to enterprise applications is through a virtual desktop application (VDI). Windows 8 RT has approved clients for two such clients, RemoteFX and the latest version of Citrix HDX. If your enterprise is running either of these clients, then you open up a world of possibilities for BYOD. If you've chosen another virtual desktop option, then you are at best playing a waiting game with your users.

The most interesting issue that Windows 8 RT brings to the BYOD table involves licensing. A thorough look at the license for the Windows and Office versions included with Windows 8 RT tablets shows that the purchaser agrees to use them for personal and educational purposes only. That means that anyone bringing a Windows 8 RT tablet to the enterprise and using its software to support their work is in violation of their license. You can, of course, put your own enterprise software license on the tablet, but that becomes complicated if the employee leaves the company and in some cases reduces the appeal of BYOD to the enterprise.

Companies that buy Windows 8 tablets for their employees are almost certainly going to go for the "real" Windows 8 devices. They'll be more powerful, more flexible, and more manageable by enterprise management consoles. They'll also be more expensive and heavier. The more I look at Windows 8, the more I believe that the expense will be worth it to many organizations, but companies instituting BYOD programs need to be very clear about the versions of Windows 8 they can accept, and quite proactive about publishing guidelines before the avalanche of new machines that's sure to follow the holiday season.

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SaneIT   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/20/2012 8:31:36 AM
Re: RT or not RT
Windows in the server market has it's roots pretty deep.  I think it could hang on for awhile but I'm seeing more and more companies who are letting Macs creep in and they are realizing that the management although a bit more manual can be handled by the same team and that it's not adding much more to the support queues. 
Toby   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/19/2012 8:11:52 AM
Re: RT or not RT
@saneIT: Now that is an interesting way to look at it but it pre-supposes windows would, even as a spin off, have the huge lagacy ball and chain to drag with it. My guess is it would not, each branded version being a one off with little legacy support. However that might drive the coffin nails even deeper. Hard to know,

It would be a great business school exercise for some students to chop Mr Softee up into it's products and then estimate what the individuals lines would be worth if sold separately.
SaneIT   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/19/2012 8:03:03 AM
Re: RT or not RT
Being part of a very agile company I'd say that in many cases just spinning off a new division would be enough, but what do I know, I don't have an MBA.  In the past few years we've spun up a new division and retooled an older division giving it the attention it deserved, both of them grew rapidly and in the end they add to the companies brand image.  Bringing this back to the MS subject think of what would probably have happened to Windows if MS had spun off it's offerings as separate companies, I dare to say that right now Windows wouldn't be able to stand on it's own.
Toby   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/19/2012 7:54:49 AM
Re: RT or not RT
@SAneIT: Funny, I used that same line to someone last night. I think someone should write a Dilbert book on IT with Homer as a guest user for commentary. I have read some of the Dilbert Management book...darned funny.
Toby   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/19/2012 7:53:25 AM
Re: RT or not RT
@SaneIT: Precisely, and this is exactly what the business MBA classes teach all those fresh faced lads and lassies as they come in the door. However, one wonders if a more agile business could not adapt to this without having to reset the controls every time. 
SaneIT   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/13/2012 8:27:10 AM
Re: RT or not RT
That's an interesting business model, if you can't sell one solution because it's hard to get people on board with new technology you can just sell them the old stuff under a different name.  We tend to spin up new divisions of the same company to handle lines of business that don't quite mesh up with our core business.
Toby   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/12/2012 8:02:56 AM
Re: RT or not RT
@SaneIT : Interestingly I have worked at several legacy companies who had the foresight to see that the changes disrupting their current business could be used to drive a new one. In each case the course taken was to launch a separate company.

A smart business recognizes how difficult it is to have both models working alonside one another.
SaneIT   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/12/2012 7:46:29 AM
Re: RT or not RT
That reminds me of an old Simpson's episode where Homer asks "the internet is that still around", while funny on the surface too many companies miss the boat on new technologies because they think the idea is absurd or is just a fad.  Your example with GE shows that even with deep pockets if you're late to the game or under invest you're going to be left behind.
Toby   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/11/2012 10:12:03 AM
Re: RT or not RT
@SaneIT: Well here's my relavant but ultimately time wasting interval. Recall Prodigy and GEnie? ..here's what I just read on that

"GEnie -- named for its owner, General Electric -- was founded in 1985 as a time-sharing service, like CompuServe. But GE rarely gave this side business the resources necessary to compete with its more industrious kin; for example, while CompuServe and AOL offered both text and graphical interfaces, GEnie was almost exclusively text-based."

So GE under-invested in a product perfectly poised to drive huge revenues at the opening of the .Com era...now it gets better:

"Without the support it needed from General Electric, GEnie was unable to maintain its momentum. "They were slow to add Internet-compatible features as the Internet became increasingly popular," Shepherd says. "Eventually, usage dwindled to the point where GE sold it off" in 1996 to Yovelle Renaissance Corp"

So, just like Mr Softee, GE MISSED the Internet. Amazing how big companies can simply miss the forest for cutting down the trees.
SaneIT   Make the RT Windows 8 Decision   12/4/2012 7:39:37 AM
Re: RT or not RT
It makes me wonder if some of the UI developers are reliving their childhood.  The idea is sound, simple to navigate interfaces, they just did some updating .  It's much the same as looking at Apple vs Braun in the 70s.  Nothing is new it's all been done before.
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