Channel must act as guide in the next gen app world

Users will need help getting the most out of next generation apps and vendors will need the channel to help them deliver people-friendly technology

Moving to Windows 10 is a journey that a fair few businesses are starting to embark on or think about establishing a departure date but getting the benefits out of any software suite is always a challenge with many users falling to get to grips with all that the product can offer.

For the channel that presents an opportunity to help customers get the most out of their investments as well s a potential pitfall if a frustrated user comes back to them complaining of waiting money on features that are rarely used.

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, has talked a lot recently of making computing more personal again and using technology to improve the user experience and Windows 10 was intended to be an illustration of that strategy in action.

Already millions have downloaded the OS with the vendor aiming to get the global base up to 1bn and the reception from the enterprise market has been much more positive than it was to Windows 8.

But making sure that users get then most out of Windows is just the start and much more effort has to be made to ensure that users can use applications that can help deliver time saving automation.

Martin Neale, CEO of Microsoft gold partner ICS, is keen to use the experience of Windows 10 as a stepping stone to get users ready for the next generation of applications.

“The Microsoft application suite has been enormously successful and its deployment is ubiquitous amongst the majority of UK organisations. However, within this success is a deeper challenge to ensure the widespread use of applications by employees,” he said.

“There is a lot of functionality that people could use more effectively but a lack of awareness or experience is getting in the way of achieving improved productivity. The big challenge is to make its applications more intuitive to use,” he added.

The reason why getting to grips with the latest software matters so much is because of the improved productivity that it can deliver, which is important in a competitive global market.

“The problem that the UK faces is that for the amount of effort and resource as a nation we put in, we are way behind other countries in the outputs that we achieve. The focus of turning this around lies within the way businesses operate so technology is a major way that individual companies can turn around problems with productivity,” added Neale.

One of the main answers that he suggests is to make the software deliver user experiences that mirror how people think to make sure a business rather than technological need can be met.

“Microsoft will need to continue to work closely with its partners if it is to successfully bridge the gap between its applications and users to really boost UK productivity,” he added.

As well as preparing customers for the next generation applications there is also going to be a requirement for helping manage an ever growing number of on-premise and cloud based services.

A report from Skyhigh Networks that gave a snapshot of what was happening in the financial services world revealed that things are already getting to a point where the phrase ‘management headache’ would be a major understatement.

The cloud security firm found that the average financial services firm used 1,004 cloud services with the average employee using 31.

Unsurprisingly the sector had seen credentials compromised and many firms had seen behaviour that was indicative of an insider threat in the last quarter.

‘By far, the most popular cloud category in finance is collaboration. The average financial services company uses a dizzying 195 collaboration services, including Microsoft Office 365, Gmail, and Evernote. Of course, using this many collaboration services can actually create silos and impede collaboration,” stated the vendor.

The challenge for the channel is not only to encourage the greater adoption of the latest applications but to make sure that they are then used in a way that the business can manage.

Windows 10 might have gained most of the attention this summer but it is is just the start of a wider debate about how customers should be using software.

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