Microsoft Windows 8 was released in late October 2012 and marked the most significant change to the Windows operating in many years, if not ever.
If one of your New Year's resolutions was to move your clients to this new Microsoft operating system, you need to be ready.
Clients will inevitably buy machines pre-installed with it that they expect you to support, and the last thing you want is to appear ill prepared.
Here are five things you can do to ready your MSP for using the latest version of Windows in 2013.
The consumer preview of Windows 8 has been available since February 2012 and gives you an easy way to become familiar with Microsoft’s new ways of doing things. Encourage all of your staff to install a preview and play with it extensively. Virtual machine technology means this free preparation needn’t cost your MSP a penny.
This preview will be expiring on January 15, 2013, so if you want to take advantage of it, the time is now.
Get ahead by testing the applications your clients most frequently use now. This way, you can be aware of issues before they happen, rather than have them catching you out the first time you use the new OS in a live environment.
Ensure that you and your team know about all the changes and features of Windows 8 so you don’t appear ill informed.
As well as learning about the new features (such as the new UI interface (dont' call it "Metro"), the Windows store and the new security functionality), ensure you are familiar with the editions available, upgrade options and licensing terms.
You will need to give a consistent message to your customers as to your recommendations for Windows. Follow the computer press, read the reviews and make sure you have decided exactly what to tell them.
Are you going to recommend a quick upgrade or tell customers to wait for the first service pack? Are you going to advise that they ignore it altogether and buy Windows 7 before it’s too late? You need to ensure that your message is clear and consistent.
Inevitably, you will end up with one or two early-adopter clients who wish to jump straight to this new version of Windows, perhaps against your advice.
You can benefit from these clients, as you will be able to learn from their early experiences. Encourage them to do things properly in terms of test networks and trial groups of staff PCs – and be sure to bill appropriately for your time!