In the past large enterprises had many advantages over small businesses when it came to using and benefitting from the latest IT tools and services. But over the past decade the world has changed. Today with the advent of cloud services like Office 365 and powerful new mobile devices, small businesses can benefit from the same technology as larger firms.
Take Office 365 as an example. Small businesses can adopt enterprise-grade capabilities or even opt for a tailor made solution to meet the needs of their business, all at an affordable price point. The benefits of these new services are significant for smaller enterprises that need to work smarter – using better collaboration and communication – but they also help improve customer acquisition and retention. Consider the fact that 90% of consumers said they would take their business elsewhere if a small business was using outdated technology.*
Needless to say, there is a lot to be gained from ditching outdated technology and upgrading to modern solutions like Office 365 or Office 2013. We’ve connected with small businesses around the world to see how they’re benefiting from modern technology, and here’s what we found.
- FLO Wine founder and jazz musician Marcus Johnson tried using Google Apps to run his business while on tour, but the collaboration tools he needed were sorely lacking. Marcus took FLO Wine to the cloud with Office 365 and never looked back – by using shared calendars in Office 365, Marcus is able to maximize promotion activities by coordinating schedules with his music team. By streamlining calendaring, the company has acquired more than 5,000 consumers worth tens of thousands of dollars. Read more about FLO Wine here.
- Steve Moore Chevrolet needed a tech makeover when IT manager Nick Portello started working there in 2012. Right when he started, one of the executives’ hard drives crashed and burned, and unfortunately took important company files along with it. To make matters worse, some of the company’s software licenses had lapsed, leaving them at risk for an audit and big fines from their software vendors. For this reason Nick decided to upgrade to Office 365, which is always up to date, ensuring that they never run into this problem again. With everything stored in the cloud, none of the executives will need to worry about losing company data in the future.
- Wildlands Conservation Trust, an organization leading the charge for sustainable growth in South Africa, needed a way to keep employees connected from remote areas throughout the country. The home office has frequent power outages, so workers in outlying areas weren’t able to reliably access files. In fact, there would be hours when they wouldn’t be able to get any work done. Andrew Whitley, strategic manager for Wildlands, moved the organization to Office 365 so they would no longer lose time and money in the event of intermittent power outages and poor connectivity. Now teams across South Africa can always access their files and stay connected by leveraging the power of the cloud via Office 365 and mobile devices.
These are just a few of the thousands of SMBs who have adopted what modern technology has to offer. Rather than relying on aging hard drives, basic clip art and stationary workstations to make their companies shine, small business owners can now benefit from industry leading apps, automatic updates, standardized file formats, built in security, and cloud storage to optimize and run their businesses. And new technology doesn’t just mean working faster and better – it means increased revenue and customer satisfaction. According to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) global study commissioned by Microsoft in 2013, if all small businesses across the globe upgraded to the latest technology, they could potentially boost their revenues by a combined $770 billion and create more than six million jobs.
Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 will end on April 8, 2014. Make sure your small business is up to date–learn more here.
* Microsoft commissioned and conducted a survey among 1,405 general consumers between September 13–16, 2013.