Do you train your users on how to use Windows?

I asked this question at a customer workshop last week, where they were discussing the possible rollout of Windows 8 across their ~20,000 users…

Do you train your users on how to use Windows?

Why the question?  For two reasons:

1. Windows 8 is going to be a significant new user experience for most employees.  Remember, you cannot disable the ‘Metro’ UI (yes I know, Microsoft isn’t calling it that anymore, but the rest of the world is), and so (at a minimum) every time a user wants to change settings or even restart they will need to shift into new areas of the interface.  Of course, there is no Start menu either…  For the average ‘Office and Email’ user, that is going to take significant adjustment, particularly if the standardised business applications will still require the old Windows desktop, but web access and built-in applications use ‘Metro’.

Also, much more importantly…

2. Many new employees will never have used Windows as their primary computing interface.  Whether they are Mac or Linux devotees that have never used Windows on a home PC or at their educational institution, or else tablet/smartphone users that have never needed or wished to sit in front of a ‘traditional PC’, then the experience of using Windows for accessing their work is going to be an alien one.

I’m not suggesting that this is necessarily happening in large numbers today, but over the next 3-5 years I believe that a significant minority of individuals will be entering the workforce without the expected framework of reference that previous use of a similar version of Windows has given in the past.

In both cases, for these users to achieve maximum productivity, I believe that proper Windows training will be essential.

So what’s your plan?

Will you begin to train your users in how to Microsoft Windows and specifically, Windows 8?

Also, will your oganisation look to shift away from a reliance on Windows toward platforms that more closely matches their previous experience?

Interesting times ahead…

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!