Windows 8's learning curve isn't as steep as some have claimed, according to PC Helps, an enterprise support and training firm.
The operating system "will be difficult to adjust to," said Joe Puckett, director of training at PC Helps. "But there are a lot of things that can be done to minimize the disruption."
PC Helps has already worked on a Windows 8 migration at a 7,000-employee company, which Puckett declined to name.
The degree of disruption "depends on how a company chooses to do rollouts," Puckett said. Focusing on mobile users, for instance, will make for a speedier deployment. "Anyone who has used a smartphone will pick up [Windows 8's Metro interface] very quickly," he said.
Desktop migrations will be tougher, Puckett acknowledged.
He also advised companies to train users before the rollout, not afterward, and to create shortcuts and images for specific user groups.
Any short-term pain might be mitigated by longer-term gains. "Like Google and Apple, Microsoft's vision is one interface across multiple devices," said Puckett. If desktops, tablets and smartphones all have the same interface, he noted, "that cuts down the learning curve."
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.