The Scottish government is all set to roll out a major deployment of Windows 8 tablets following a successful proof-of-concept by York-based IT integrator Trustmarque. The decision is a significant triumph for Windows 8, which was designed from conception, to work equally well on both desktops and tablets, but has so far received a lukewarm reception, as large organisations stick with Windows 7 or even the outdated Windows XP.
The Scottish government’s internal IT department will implement Trustmarque’s proof-of-concept plan. According to officials, they will start with a pilot programme of 100 users, with wider deployment planned over a period of time. Subsequently the government plans to reduce desktop and laptop deployment to run concurrently with this rollout.
Windows 8 will be offered on Samsung’s Series 7 Slate, Dell’s Latitude 10 and Samsung’s ATIV, but surprisingly not on Microsoft’s own Surface tablet. The government plans to use Microsoft System Centre 2012 Configuration Manager to manage the devices centrally.
The Scottish government said it believes the shift to tablets and Windows 8 will improve the delivery of public services and interaction with the public by allowing staff to work with greater flexibility. Ultimately the goal is to provide staff throughout the organisation to work anywhere, officials said. Scottish government’s chief technology officer, Andy McClintock said “The decision to move to Windows 8 was driven by a need to support greater mobility of staff following several consultations…Our long-term ambition is to transform the way Scottish Government employees and our shared service customers can collaborate, access and use information applications with mobile access, both online and offline, from virtually anywhere in the UK.”
Trustmarque, which has an office in Edinburgh, said its proof-of-concept included the use of Microsoft User Experience Virtualisation to assist with the implementation of roaming profiles that allow users to access their desktops and documents from any computer on the same network. Mark Garrity, Trustmarque’s head of UK Public Sector said: “At every step of the process we have engaged and listened to the government’s requirements and provided our expertise to deliver a solution to achieve their vision.”
Windows 8 was seen as Microsoft’s effort to solve a decline in PC sales. However, adoption to the new Windows 8 OS has been somewhat sluggish and analysts IDC even blamed the platform for having the opposite of its intended effect. The Scottish government’s decision to roll with this infrastructure program is a monumental boost for Microsoft, which is planning to release a major Windows 8 update, version 8.1, imminently.
[Image via: see.ed.ac.uk]