You can hardly turn on your TV these days without seeing a commercial for Microsoft’s latest operating system. But for all its fancy features, Windows 8 is being criticized for not being business-friendly enough.
However, what may be a detriment for large companies may not be as much an issue for small businesses. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of Windows 8, here are five ways the new operating system may help your small business.
1. Easy access to apps — Small businesses are increasingly relying on apps to handle tasks such as payroll, customer relationship management, and billing. Windows 8 gives users access to all the apps in the Windows Store, many of which are free. The OS also comes preloaded with many of the major apps, including SkyDrive, email, and Skype.
2. Seamless transitions between devices — Windows 8 is designed to provide a uniform experience across devices. This means you’ll be able to get up from your PC or laptop and head out to your meeting knowing that, when you reach your destination, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off by using your Windows Phone 8 smartphone.
3. Touchscreen input — The demise of the computer mouse has been predicted for several years, but the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets suggests that the point-and-click method of inputting data will soon be history. Windows 8 and new lines of all-in-one touchscreen PCs are already bringing touchscreen technology to the workplace. By being an early adopter, your small business can be on the forefront of change.
4. Improved speed — In performance tests, Windows 8 beat Windows 7 for faster boot-up and web browsing speeds. The OS also excelled when creating content. While Windows 8 isn’t faster at every application, in general it offers better performance. For small businesses strapped for time, this speed-up can help squeeze more work into each day.
5. Simple backup and sync — This applies only those who plan to use SkyDrive, but the ability to easily backup and sync your documents, photos, videos, and more is a welcome addition to the Windows OS. No more losing files due to a hard drive crash. SkyDrive will back them up in the cloud on a schedule you specify. One major plus to SkyDrive integration is the ability to back up your browser history, which you can access from your mobile devices. So the website you visited two days ago that you want to share with colleagues can be easily accessed from your phone.
If the touchscreen design of Windows 8’s new look is too confusing, don’t fret, the old Desktop is still there, one click away. Using a third-party service called Classic Shell, you can even add the old Start Menu to your Windows 8 interface.