At Avanade, we have a history of early adoption of Microsoft technologies. It makes sense for us, being a Microsoft solutions integrator. This aligns with our strategy to provide our customers with showcase examples of innovative technologies actively being used to run our business. While, in general, we consider ourselves an early, and sometimes even first adopter, we thoughtfully consider each opportunity and target our energy for innovation where we see the best alignment with Avanade’s business strategy.
As CIO, I search for ways that our team can drive value to Avanade customers beyond our fundamental responsibility to provide the core technology enabling the enterprise. Windows 8 provides a great example of this, with benefits for our employees, customers, and my IT team members. Windows 8 was a clear target for us to adopt quickly because of the combination of impacts it will have.
- The ability to support customer opportunities and engagements with internal credentials and expertise.
- As Avanade works with customers to lead mobility and workstation transformations, our internal implementation of Windows 8 will not only serve as an example of what is possible, the knowledge gained through that effort can be leveraged directly by our customers.
- Contributing to an innovative and cutting-edge environment contributing to our internal IT group being the best place to work in IT.
- There are few places that IT professionals could work where they would have the opportunity to work on more leading technologies than at Avanade. That has become integral part of our culture, and is a critical element in our approach to building and maintaining a world class team. Though we wouldn’t make a technology decision based solely on the opportunity it would present to our team, it is important to understand how your innovation strategy impacts your resource strategy.
- Benefits to our users by providing the latest functionality and capabilities. As an IT function, a top priority is supporting Avanade’s employees in performing their various jobs, and so the technologies we introduce have to have a positive impact on our end users. Benefits to end users will include:
- Support for BYOD, including Windows 8 tablets
- Significant reduction in boot times
- Greatly improved touch experience
- Consistent management across devices
- Internet Explorer 10 security and performance improvements
- Windows 8 Start screen provides a consistent (across devices) immersive search, navigation and data consumption experience
Like many changes, especially those involving new technologies, the success of Windows 8 at Avanade will depend on end-user experiences in both acquiring and utilizing the new operating system. Our upgrade process, leveraging Azure-based software delivery, was designed to have minimal impact on end users. A pilot was used to gather feedback which allowed us to improve the process before global deployment was initiated. We’ve also developed end-user support including training sessions, online support materials, and a thorough internal communications plan. True to our core value of “achieving through global teamwork,” we are leveraging internal enterprise collaboration capabilities to allow Avanade’s worldwide network of experts to provide feedback and support to their colleagues.
The right balance of risk and innovation is different for each enterprise, and each new technology which is considered. These decisions need to be made within the context of your IT Strategy to ensure they align with the company’s overall business strategy. Once the decision is made, the impact of the change to your people must be understood, and accounted for within your plan.
Windows 8 is a great fit for Avanade, and we are eager to once again lead the way on Microsoft technology.