Enterprises are concerned with the Win 8 big picture, but success may hinge on the little things. The very little things.
Last week at the Gartner IT Symposium, I watched a booth worker run a Windows 8 machine off into the weeds in thorough fashion. The booth had a number of touch-screen desktop systems set up running various applications and the staff was happily showing off how the new interface works. That included lots of touching, swiping, and moving things around on screen.
The demos were lovely, but they had an unfortunate side effect: finger prints on the large, lovely monitors of the systems. When those monitors met the mildly compulsive urges of one booth worker, things got interesting.
You see, bright shiny monitors with fingerprints all over the screens just weren't "right" for this individual. In an attempt to bring the world back to order, a cloth came out and the fingerprints were attacked. There was just one problem: The cloth was able to trigger the location tracking features of the touchscreen and just like that, applications, demos, carefully-constructed splash screens, and active tiles were all swept off into the depths of the new Windows interface.
Users familiar with the new interface were able to bring back the planned displays, but the incident (which was repeated while I watched) pointed out something that the IT department needs to take into account: screen cleaning cloths. A lot of them. And instructions on how to use them without destroying work-in-progress or disrupting carefully crafted application screens.
It's a small thing, but users moving to a touch-screen computer on their desk are going to need support if they're going to remain productive -- and help desks are going to have to be able to offer one- or two-step processes for getting back to a home screen from whatever accidental weeds the user has chosen to visit with a poorly-timed cleaning spree.
Another small fingerprint-related item to think about is the stylus or pointing device. I guarantee that some people will be so anti-fingerprint that they'll want to use a stylus to use on the touchscreen of their new computer. Unless you like the idea of permenantly etched lines on the screen from ballpoint pens, hat pins, hunting arrow broadpoints, and whatever other insane items users are apt to pick up and try, you'll research good stylus choices, make company-standard styli available to users, and impress on those users (in the mandatory Windows 8 training session) of the dire consequences that will follow from using anything except the official stylus (or a finger) on the screen.
There are plenty of big issues to think about, but if you want to get user buy-in and see productive results from your migration, you'll pay attention to the little things, too. Think of it as a branding opportunity: Give the migration project a great name, get screen-cleaning kits with the logo, and present everyone with a snazzy stylus when they get the new computer. It may sound cheesy, but the little things will add up to big wins when you move to Windows 8.