Small businesses succeed by embracing modern technology

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Did you know that businesses in need of a technology facelift have a whole new world of device options and capabilities at their fingertips? With a slew of versatile, touch-enabled new PC, tablet, 2-in-1 and All-in-One devices on the market, there is a Windows 8 device to match every mobility and productivity requirement. In addition, cloud technology has given small businesses access to the same powerful capabilities that larger companies use, but at a price small and medium businesses can afford.

Many small businesses know technology can make them more productive, but new research shows technology also can have a significant impact on a company’s reputation and customer satisfaction. More than 90 percent of respondents to a recent Microsoft survey said they would consider taking their business elsewhere if a company uses outdated technology.

What qualifies as “outdated”?

About 60 percent of consumers consider operating systems and desktop computers that are five-to-10 years old to be outdated. That means that the estimated 30 percent of small businesses that are still running the 12-year-old Windows XP operating system fall into the category of “outdated” in consumers’ minds. In the case of Windows XP, there are more than just reputational considerations for businesses still using it. After April 8, 2014, businesses running Windows XP will no longer receive security updates or technical support for the system, meaning their systems may become more vulnerable to security threats.

The good news is, moving to modern with Windows 8 devices and the cloud is easier than ever, giving small and medium businesses the power and flexibility they need, at a price that won’t break the bank. As an example, let’s take Office 365, a cloud productivity suite that includes all of the well-known Office apps like Outlook email, Word, Excel and PowerPoint – and it’s available on a subscription basis for as little as $6 per user per month.

Why is it important to move to modern? Among other reasons, consumers cite convenience and better customer service among reasons modern technology matters to them when it comes to working with small businesses. In fact, 68 percent of consumers think the use of modern technology is critical to the success of a business, and more than 60 percent said they are likely to become a repeat customer of a business using modern technology.

Modern technology has helped South Carolina-based Carolina Realty Group deliver new levels of client service. Their team is using Windows Phones and tablets, and SharePoint Online to stay productive and connected when they’re out selling homes in the Hilton Head, SC area. In fact, this year Carolina Realty’s broker-in-charge Dan Prud’homme has sold more than one home using Skype on his Windows Phone to show the house to buyers who were unable to be there in person. Prud’homme has also taken his business paperless. No more printing out huge purchase contracts for clients to sign with a pen; instead he uses Surface tablets to complete and sign all of their paperwork and contracts.

Microsoft has developed a free guide to help small businesses learn how modern technology can help them win more customers and get more done. If your business is using outdated technology, there’s never been a better time to get current.

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Jennifer Chen
Microsoft News Center Staff