The Benefits of Windows 8 for Channel Pros

From better security to manageability and streamlined IT set up and maintenance, Windows 8 offers benefits to both IT pros and their end-user clients. By Frank Raimondi

When it comes to the channel, Windows 8 has several benefits that are specifically useful for resellers and managed services providers: manageability, streamlined IT set up and maintenance, and better security than in previous iterations of Windows software. These are great benefits for IT and end users alike and all contribute to the success of partners within the channel system.

BETTER MANAGEABILITY
Windows 8 is easy to integrate into an IT environment, offering a number of manageability capabilities that keep the computing environment healthy and running smoothly. The OS helps protect and manage clients and provides embedded security and manageability with some help from Intel vPro Technology. Intel Small Business Advantage is designed to help maintain and protect a small business' PCs automatically, as well as run routine data backup and software updates at any time, even after hours. With Intel Active Management Technology 8.0, IT professionals can manage and repair PC assets remotely.

STREAMLINED SET UP AND MAINTENANCE
With Intel processor-based Ultrabook devices, the desktop UI and Windows 8 UI can be used interchangeably with touch or a keyboard-and-mouse combination. The user has the freedom to choose the type of interaction he or she would prefer for the task at hand, and the IT manager still has ease of maintenance control when needed.

Having a single operating system across multiple form factors also means managing fewer operating systems on the back end, which can reduce overhead for IT. With Intel processor-based platforms running Windows 8, business users can also run legacy applications and use existing peripherals such as webcams, printers, and scanners, and still purchase new desktop-enabled applications from their favorite sources.

Intel processor-based platforms will be able to execute not only new Windows 8 style UI apps, but will also run the millions of existing Windows applications business users rely on to get their jobs done. The business peripherals and drivers in use today are also compatible on Windows 8, meaning businesses won't lose their existing investments.

BETTER SECURITY THAN WINDOWS 7
In Windows 8, apps are isolated to provide better application security than apps that exist in other operating systems, ultimately making the OS a smarter decision for channel clients that have diverse app requirements. Apps for Windows 8's new desktop interface are sandboxed and therefore restricted in what they can do on computers, while apps for the tile-centric Windows 8 UI are sandboxed and restricted in what they can do on PCs and tablets, which aids in preventing malware and spyware.

THE BOTTOM LINE
For new systems or upgrades, Windows 8 provides channel partners with solid reasons to contact their existing customers and reach out to new ones for education, training, and sales. In addition to the new features described above, the new focus on touch capabilities are a key element of Windows 8. This alone offers many new opportunities to customers.

With the top-to-bottom approach of touch from Microsoft, customers will be more inclined to update or upgrade other systems and peripherals, such as keyboards, mice, touchpads, and so on. This is, of course, in addition the loads of new touch-enabled software. Many software vendors have optimized their software to take advantage of Windows 8 features.

Now is the time for the channel to start using, advocating, and selling Windows 8 - customers are ready.

FRANK RAIMONDI is worldwide channel alliance manager, Intel Reseller Channel Organization.