Wait for 8 - There's No Debate

Before the question even came up, I felt like I had to address it before educating our end users on Windows 7.   We have been using Windows 7 at HbK for about 18 months now; however, we did a staggered roll out. This summer, with a laptop cycle replacement due, a new group of end users will be moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. Upon introducing the training, I started with this rhetorical question to audience members:  “Jim, I saw that Windows 8 just came out – why are we just getting Windows 7?”

The way I asked the question was not even factual because Windows 8 is not out yet – merely a marketing melee with articles, press releases and Youtube videos from our friends in Redmond. The implied message is that we are behind the times by just getting Windows 7 to users; however, the contrary is true.

Here’s what I mean with a little bit of Q&A and how it can help you understand what to expect:

Q. When should I expect to move to Windows 8?
A. Sit back with a cigar and just wait for 8. Why? It barely exists yet! This is not meant to be negative; it is just a new system that is at least a couple years out. Like Windows Vista, Windows 8 is a whole new interface and will take awhile before it is ready for corporate roll out. There will be many test users both on the developer side and the general public. Ask me this question again in two years.
Q. Windows XP still works, should I go to Windows 7?
A. It is nice to have an operating system that works and is generally dependable – you can safely put that moniker on Windows XP. It is a mature system that is stable. When Windows Vista came out, it too was a whole new OS and never really took hold like Windows 7 did. Windows 7 is essentially Windows Vista v2.0 – it is what Vista should have been. There is no substitute for time here – time to allow real world users to beat on an operating system and find/correct the bugs. The real world beta test has passed for XP and probably a safe bet to say the same is now true for Windows 7. Windows 7 is stable even for accounting firms who are near the top of the list for companies with the largest number of desktop applications to support.
Q. What are some things to expect in Windows 8?
A. Under the Bill Gates mantra to his developers of “Where’s my stuff?” (the question all users ask to help them get up to speed on a new OS), you’ll notice that things are developed to appeal visually to the end user. When it is easier to identify with the eye, you can more quickly translate from your eye to your right pointer finger where you should click next to “get your stuff.” Some of those visually appealing items are:
- Tile based Start Screen
- Touch based navigation
- One OS for PC’s, phones and tablets
Think back to the Ribbon introduction in Office 2007. While it may have taken you awhile to get used to it, the premise was to make it more graphical to get you where you are going a lot faster.
I've been using Windows 7 for over a year now and have to say it has been great.  Hopefully, I'll be saying the same thing about Windows 8 in two years (ok, maybe....four years?).

 

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Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.  He is also in charge of talent management and retention at his firm.  A background of IT and Human Resources helps Jim bridge the gap of technology complexities with end users who just want their computer to work so they can be chargeable.  Being a very cheap (frugal sounds better) person himself, he is always looking for ways to save dollars at his firm.  He is Director of Education for the Association for Accounting Administration and past Technology Committee member of the Ohio Society of CPA's.  He often leads industry CPE events on the topics of Information Technology, CPA firm practice management and human resources/recruiting. Find out more about Jim on LinkedIn.

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