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A number of solution providers view upgrade services as a way to get their foot in the door of their customers' IT departments and have a conversation about their IT goals, problems and priorities.
There are also lots of custom applications that need to be adapted for Windows 8 -- or new custom applications to be built. Infusion is developing its Personif video auditions application, best known for its use by American Idol producers to screen potential talent, to work with Windows 8. The company, Microsoft's 2012 Cloud Partner of the Year award winner, also built the first Windows 8-based mobile banking app for client ING Bank of Canada.
Infusion buys into Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's vision of Windows 8 serving as the front end to line-of-business cloud applications. "And for that you need to be talking to your customers about their business computing needs and goals," Infusion's Millett said. "Our bread-and-butter is building business-facing applications."
"We've got a bunch of guys with .Net [developer] experience who can build a .Net app in their sleep," said Snyder at Sonoma Partners. "It's going to open up a ton of opportunities for systems integrators like ourselves." Sonoma Partners, which resells Microsoft's Dynamics CRM applications, sees opportunities to extend CRM capabilities to Windows 8 tablets used by mobile sales representatives, for example.
Looking beyond the immediate Windows 8 launch, Lenaghan at Navantis said next year's availability of Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 will provide additional opportunities for integration with Windows 8. And, all that needs to be linked with Microsoft cloud services like Office 365 and SkyDrive in a way that's secure and manageable.
Geevaratne at New Signature even sees integration opportunities with smartphones running Windows 8 Phone, which is scheduled to make its formal debut next week.
Solution providers say they haven't had to wait for this week's Windows 8 launch before making money from the new product.
Infusion had 35 Windows 8 engagements by the time of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in July, according to Millett, with another 10 or 15 added since.
"Windows 8 is generating revenue for us before the software is even released," said Geevaratne, noting that along with custom development work in anticipation of Windows 8, his company has been training customers for Windows 8's new interface, security enhancements and mobility capabilities.