Companies of all sizes that wish to excel in today's tech-heavy world need to take advantage of all the tools available to them, both physical and virtual. Computer hardware requires ongoing maintenance, phone systems need to be kept up to date and old software should be upgraded in a timely manner.
In regards to the latter, however, business owners do need to be wary when it comes to updating mission-critical applications that the enterprise relies on to service its customers. This is doubly true when it comes to foundational software such as a computer's operating system (OS).
The rise of Windows 10
While Apple might be a key player in the mobile game, when it comes to computers, Microsoft comfortably holds the throne. As of July this year, Windows 7 was king, with a 60.7 per cent market share, followed by Windows 8.1 at 13.1 per cent and Windows XP at 11.7 per cent, according to figures collated by Net Market Share. What's more, these figures look set to favour Microsoft even more with the release of the tech giant's latest offering.
Windows 10 hit the market on July 29, almost three years after Windows 8 was launched to fairly mixed reception. The latest iteration has so far been met with much more enthusiasm, largely due to its universal Office apps, reverting to a more traditional start menu and the fact that existing Windows customers can upgrade to the new operating system completely free of charge.
In addition, it comes loaded with a bunch of nifty features, some of which you can see demonstrated in the video below:
The fact that the upgrade is free makes it a very attractive option for businesses and everyday consumers alike, but should you be rushing into it?
From a communications point of view, there are a couple of key benefits to making the move to Windows 10. Firstly, the new operating system can be used to run many universal apps that allow for enhanced integration across computers, phones, tablets and other devices. When used in conjunction with other cloud-based technology, such as a hosted phone system, you may be able to unlock greater versatility and collaboration options for your employees.
At a more technical level, the engineers at Microsoft have gone to great lengths to improve the operating system's networking application program interfaces (APIs), which will essentially boost the speed, performance and capabilities of many web-based and network-reliant programs. Contact centres and other service-based companies will likely welcome these improvements.
As we can see, there are some real benefits to being an early adopter, but there are a few things to be wary of. While Microsoft has made efforts to simplify the upgrading process, ZDNet pointed out that there will probably still be some compatibility issues. Even after an extensive testing phase, it's likely that there will be some kinks that will need to be ironed out in the weeks to come.
So, is it time to upgrade?
— ZDNet UK (@ZDNetUK) July 23, 2015
Gartner Research Vice President Stephen Kelynhans, recommended that businesses should trial Windows 10 in isolation before rolling it out to the rest of the company.
"Bring it into a lab, bring it into a test environment, let some folks run it for the rest of this year. Then, in 2016, get serious about it, start looking at it in a real test environment, start piloting it with some real users to see how it's performing," said Mr Kelynhans, as quoted by ZDNet.
Moving to Windows 10 will probably cause at least some minor disruptions, so businesses should tread with caution. Before upgrading, test the new operating system extensively and take the time to learn whether your critical applications will work seamlessly with the platform.