Windows 8 was a backward step for CIO Keith Hopkinson as he developed a mobile strategy and business processes for UK animal science leaders Genus. The UK firm with major operations in the US, Europe and a growing presence in China and Asia sees mobility as one of the most significant technology changes to impact its business and set out to build a stack of mobile processes on the Microsoft Windows 8 platform, but has dropped it in favour of Google Android.

“Windows 8 has been personally disappointing. Now the strategy has no Windows in it at all. It couldn’t be a more abrupt turnaround. We are now focusing on Android and iOS for delivering mobile applications and information,” CIO Hopkinson said in a CIO UK interview.

“The Microsoft vision of Windows 8 being a platform for all formats just isn’t the case. There are three versions of Windows 8. Windows 8 was a backwards step for us and we will now stick with Windows 7. It is a shame,” he said of the complexities CIOs are finding with Windows 8.

Android adoption rates are rising globally, especially in the important Asian markets, while Windows 8 continues to struggle in comparison.

“Within every country we operate, we have a mobile workforce that goes to the customer. Transactions on the move is a real opportunity for us to improve the business in terms of efficiency and speed.

“I have been in IT for 20 years and have not seen an opportunity as big as this to improve businesses,” Hopkinson said.

The recent developments that have driven up bandwidth, dropped the price of devices and improvements in usability have really made mobility a “will do” by everyone in the business world, he said.

“Android devices for £100 opens up a lot more opportunities for people to be technology users. So apps for transactions, information and services that we will provide to our customers means we can be more customer-centric and efficient.

“The focus is to produce a set of apps that will sweep out all the old mobile technology and provide a modern platform for mobility,” he said.

But his adoption of mobility is not a reaction to the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomena that has swept into many organisations.

“To me it is an anathema to bring what you use at home into work. People are used to multiple devices. BYOD has largely happened as IT departments have been weak when the senior management want to use their own iPad. I’m making sure we are providing equipment that is on a par, so employees don’t have the desire of the new.”

“People know they have to get the chief execs’ approval for iPad use, so they have to justify it. No-one can store company information on a personal device, and as employees they sign that they are responsible for company data,” the CIO said of his strategy.