Putting a Better Big Data Face on Windows 8By Michael Vizard | Print
Third-party tools providers give solution providers more control over the way Windows 8 presents data
With the rise of Big Data the single most compelling reason to upgrade any client system is going to be the ability to actually visualize all that data. Existing systems by and large do a poor job of visualization, especially when compared to Windows 8 or the MacOS running on the latest next-generation processor from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices.
Unfortunately, most customers don’t intuitively understand that, which means it going to be pretty much left up to solution providers to explain why customers should upgrade their client systems sooner than later. Worse yet, there might not be much air cover in this regard from Microsoft, which initially seems obsessed with Windows 8 from the perspective of the consumer.
One can argue about the merits of the Metro interface for Windows 8 all day long. What’s clear is that it’s a user interface that borrows heavily from Microsoft Windows Phone as part of an effort to make Windows 8 more appealing to consumers. But what appeals to consumers might actually wind up having the opposite effect in corporate settings.
For that reason the folks at Telerik, a provider of application development tools for building Windows applications, have begun previewing RADcontrols for Metro. Chris Sells, vice president of Telerik’s Developer Tools division, says RADControls for Metro is designed to give developers more control over how data is actually presented in a Windows 8 environment. In essence, developers if they so choose can eschew the boxy user interface that Microsoft is hoping will have lots of consumer appeal.
Sells says that the initial wave of Windows 8 applications will probably stay close to the basic Metro user interface. But Sells says developers of corporate application will soon after be looking for ways to have more control over how data is presented in a Big Data era where the way data is visualized is going to determine which applications actually succeed.
Most IT organizations today can afford to take a more wait and see approach to Windows 8. Solution providers in the channel, however, need to be right about what customers need starting today if they hope to succeed tomorrow. As a hedge against the possibility that most corporate customers don’t warm up to Metro, it’s clearly in the best interests of solution providers to have an alternative user interface approach ready to go.
Microsoft may very well succeed with Metro. But if history is any guide corporate customers are slow to warm up to any radical change when it comes to user interface unless there is specifically some new capability that they can’t serve using Windows 7. The good news is that most IT organizations are under pressure to find ways to make it easier for end users to understand the implications of massive amounts of data at a glance.
That creates an opportunity for solution providers that can draw the connection between the visualization capabilities of a next generation PC running an operating system that supports a user interface that was specifically optimized for that use case versus, for example, simply making it easier to share data between a couple of applets running in two separate boxes.