A number of factors outside the substance of the operating system may be contributing to its tepid performance. Weak economies worldwide are sapping the amount of money available to buy PCs. Fewer PCs are being purchased as the computer spend of buyers is being diverted to hotter items like tablets and smartphones. Systems running Windows lack compelling designs.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that at this point in Windows 8’s life cycle, it can only be found on 1.7 percent of the desktops in computerland. By comparison, at the same point in its life cycle, Windows 7 had 21 percent of desktops under its wing.
Windows 8, though, may have something going for it that will make it attractive to organizations itchy to relieve their dependence on email — although Microsoft may not want to trumpet that attraction too loudly.
Roux ought to know something about Zero Email strategies. His boss, Thierry Breton, made headlines when he announced about a year ago that he would be instituting such a policy at Atos, a global information technology company based in France.
Roux maintains that office workers continue to use emails for purposes it wasn’t designed for — even though they may have better tools on hand to perform tasks ill-suited for email — because they need a focal point for their information access. “Getting everything in the same repository is just convenient,” he writes.
While we may bellyache about the volume of email we recieve, the work it takes to weed that mail and answer it, our email clients meet an essential need. And because they meet that need, we tolerate their deficiencies.
Enter Windows 8. Unlike previous versions of the operating system which were based on a desktop metaphor, the new Windows has a home screen made up of live tiles. Those tiles perform as applets with information in them that is being dynamically updated.
With Windows 8, Roux reasons, a new information focal point is created for office workers, a focal point that can wean them from their email clients.
“On Monday morning,” he writes. “I won’t open any specific app, but will just look at my home screen where I get notifications. This will provide me a summary view of each of the multiple tools I will use to replace email. The Windows 8 home screen will become my focal contact point.”
As part of its Zero Mail campaign, Atos has introduced a number of apps designed to supplant the functions of internal email and improve employee productivity.
Roux says he’ll be customizing the tiles on his Windows 8 home screen to pull in information from those apps and display it in the tiles — information like activity in collaboration spaces, changes in databases, pending requests for approval, new documents published, market watch information and such.
Roux’s case for Windows 8 adoption in the enterprise in order to advance a Zero Email strategy is an interesting one and one organizations looking for email alternatives should explore.