Scottish Government To Implement Major Windows 8 Tablet Rollout

The Scottish government gives Microsoft a boost ahead of Windows 8.1 rollout

The Scottish government is set to roll out a major deployment of Windows 8 on tablets following a successful proof-of-concept by York-based IT integrator Trustmarque.

The decision is a significant win for Windows 8, which was designed to work equally well on both desktops and tablets, but has so far received a lukewarm reception, as large organisations stick with Windows 7 or even the ten-year-old Windows XP.

Wider deployment planned

Scottish Parliament Building HollyroodThe Scottish government’s internal IT department will implement Trustmarque’s proof-of-concept plan beginning with a pilot programme of 100 users, with a wider deployment planned over time, according to officials. The government plans to correspondingly reduce desktop and laptop deployments.

Windows 8 will be offered on Samsung’s Series 7 Slate, Dell’s Latitude 10 and Samsung’s ATIV, but not on Microsoft’s own Surface tablet. The government plans to use Microsoft System Centre 2012 Configuration Manager to centrally manage the devices.

The Scottish government said it believes Windows 8 and the shift to tablets will improve the delivery of public services and interaction with the public by allowing staff to work more flexibly. Ultimately the goal is to provide staff throughout the organisation to work anywhere, officials said.

“The decision to move to Windows 8 was driven by a need to support greater mobility of staff following several consultations,” stated the Scottish government’s chief technology officer, Andy McClintock. “Our long-term ambition is to transform the way Scottish Government employees and our shared service customers can collaborate, access and use information applications with mobile access, both online and offline, from virtually anywhere in the UK.”

Roaming profiles

Trustmarque, which has an office in Edinburgh, said its proof-of-concept included the use of Microsoft User Experience Virtualisation to assist with the implementation of roaming profiles that allow users to access their desktops and documents from any computer on the same network.

“At every step of the process we have engaged and listened to the government’s requirements and provided our expertise to deliver a solution to achieve their vision,” said Mark Garrity, Trustmarque’s head of UK Public Sector.

Windows 8 was billed as the first version of the operating system to work equally well on tablets and desktops, and was seen as Microsoft’s effort to arrest a decline in PC sales. However, adoption has been sluggish and analysts IDC even blamed the platform for having the opposite of its intended effect.

The Scottish government’s decision is a huge boost for Microsoft, which is planning to release a major Windows 8 update, version 8.1, later this week.

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