Microsoft achieved something quietly remarkable with Windows 10. Not only did PC users find the new Windows an improvement – with huge intuition around their bugbears unlike any previous version – but businesses, too, have been able to roll onto Windows 10 with massive benefits and (almost) zero hassle.
In fact, most small businesses see the benefit of Windows 10 immediately, as it’s true when running the various other Microsoft suites or enterprise-level apps that smooth computing via Windows comes together. Freelance workers of the gig economy are running Windows 10 too, for the same seamless fluidity that enables both their working and personal lives, regardless of what task they’re tackling. As much of a challenge as Windows 8 was, is as much of a homecoming that Windows 10 is. Put another way, if you were one of those (and there were many) who disliked the Windows 8 touchscreen design elements – and sideways “improvements” – you’re bound to love Windows 10.
Microsoft has looked and listened to its’ loyal customers and skeptical critics alike, and it shows. Windows is no longer the intimidating, giant purchase it used to be. Microsoft’s more flexible per-user payment options, a sharp but detailed learning curve sampling consumers, and a renewed focus on its core business-building productivity software for business and professionals – have combined to take the trepidation out of running Windows on your business or home PC. Microsoft might have taken a moment to navigate the necessary passage between technical self-indulgence and consumer desires, but they’ve done it with Windows 10.
Are there better business options than Windows 10?
There are many people who simply dislike the fundamental format of Windows. The minority they remain, yet they’ll run Linux or any other OS because Windows just never grabbed them. That’s all good and well – for all end users, it’s far better to have a competitive software marketplace than a homogeneous one. There are the Apple diehards too, although it has to be said – notwithstanding occasional pitches by Apple billing itself as the maker of business tools – that the dominance of Windows in the working world is more than just a case of people sticking with what they know.
Apple’s current pitch for recognition as a business tech maker is more the product of gig work and the accompanying freedom people now have to employ whatever tech they feel most comfortable with to get the job done. When it comes to facilitating business growth and facing any working day with a full suite of common features and apps to present as professionally and promptly as possible, however, even critics begrudgingly acknowledge Microsoft Windows is still streets ahead of Apple.
Perhaps taking a leaf from Apple’s playbook, Microsoft have taken a few painful steps backward after Windows 8, realigned their tech with the (easily frustrated) working world, and made a meal out of seamless productivity. Windows 10 is on point with its interpretation of how people work in the modern economy. Individuals can still squeeze through a wormhole to upgrade to Windows 10 for free (depending on their previous version), but business licensing is worth the money.
Windows 10 security and the cloud
There are almost no tech “issues” with Windows 10, at least in comparison to previous years.
Computing is computing, but the demands of servicing machines running Windows 10 cannot even be compared to the virtual career many made from fixing previous Windows versions.
There’s no real learning curve stepping into Windows 10 – it’s the familiar old Windows but with all the mod cons.
Moreover, the platform is tailored to run seamlessly on a host of devices – PCs, tablets, phones – with no more jarring differences. This might seem a small accomplishment, but anytime a tech house improves both the simplicity and capability of its software, it’s a big score for regular users.
The Windows 10 platform is geared for data security and management.
Inbuilt with Windows 10 comes protection from modern security threats. Apart from Windows Defender, Microsoft has made it both simpler to work and at the same time more difficult for bad actors to access data, whether by accident or intent. Windows 10 utilises data separation and “containers” at both app and file levels. This means protection accompanies sensitive data wherever it might go. The same level of protection is enacted on any device, including external drives and the cloud. No more “better protection” intended only for bigger business, either – small businesses running Windows 10 enjoy the same security construct as large corporations.
OneDrive allows for accessing and storing files across multiple devices, anytime.
User identities – and simple-yet-tight security – have enabled Windows 10 users to flit in and out of their data using whatever device is on hand, at whatever time of day or night. It’s a baseline reality nowadays, but a lot of effort went into making it so. Microsoft Office 365 is fully integrated with OneDrive, and although business users only get 50GB free cloud space, it’s a modular feature – you can buy more as your business grows.
Office Online is also supported in OneDrive.
Within the cloud a host of nuanced access is enabled, along with various apps allowing for historical checking and referencing of data.
So what? So, no more overwriting data by mistake amongst a team, no more confusion as to what current consensus might be on any particular policy document, and no more scratching for who did what (and when) in order to simply move forward. It’s all there and legible.
And then there’s Cortana…
Voice-enabled computing has had some bad press, partly because of lousy voice-to-text apps, and partly due to a needed development curve. That’s over now, and Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to the likes of Siri. Put aside any previous experiences – Windows’ Cortana works incredibly well, and no one should ever think of a digital assistant in the same way again after experiencing it. The app is intuitive, has some personality, but most importantly is accurate and makes for a faster, better-assisted day.
Users can quickly “jot” down reminders and other notes, can ask direct questions about anything from the local weather to philosophical stances, and – perhaps most helpfully – Cortana will locate files on a user’s PC if they but ask. The app can manage and display appointments, launch apps on command, track goods in transit or people on flights, and a whole lot more. Truly assisting, the days of speaking into a void are over – Cortana is enabling and completely up to speed with user expectations.
This might seem a new angle – and an irrelevant one – for small business, but voice enabled computing has moved well past the cute factor. Cortana is efficient and helps productivity unlike anything in Windows before. As a wholesale business optimisation platform, for all the seamless flow and modern tech in-house, even if you love to hate them, it’s hard for any SME to do better and get more than with Windows 10.