How will “Smarter IT” Influence business growth for Chamber Members in 2016?

On Friday 2nd October businesses from all around the Midlands converged on the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre for the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Expo. Exhibiting at the show were locally based IT Solutions providers Zenzero.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, the team at Zenzero are able to offer businesses a full range of services from a new PC to a fully outsourced managed service, from server support to application development or remotely hosted applications to data and network security solutions.

Following the launch of Windows 10 in July and then more recently Office 2016, the CWExpo presented the team at Zenzero with the ideal opportunity to give visitors the chance to experience the latest offerings from Microsoft running on the latest Dell laptops and tablets.

Zenzero at CW EXPO

During the course of the day, the team at Zenzero had the opportunity to talk to a large selection of visitors and exhibitors, to listen to their thoughts and opinions on how the latest offerings will impact their businesses in the next 12 months. The outcome of the conversations were documented in an official survey and reflected the mixed opinions that came out during the many conversations.

What was unmistakably clear from the conversations was that the importance of electronic data is greater for businesses in 2015 than it was in 2014, and will continue to grow month on month, year after year. With the importance of this data, comes a reliance on IT systems to wheels of industry turning in the Midlands. This fact was backed up by the statistic that 55% of the businesses surveyed at the event said that ‘security of company data’ was in their top two concerns for the next 12 months. It was also clear from the discussions that the businesses speaking to Zenzero were looking to improve the flexibility of their IT systems to give them a business advantage and in doing so there was a specific desire to improve the ability for their staff to work remotely.

The opinion on ‘how’, or more accurately ‘if’ Windows 10 was going to have an impact on SME’s in the Midlands was less clear. When questioned, 16% of organisations said that they had already upgraded to Windows 10, which is above average for UK businesses. The most understandable statistic is that 45% of organisations are waiting for third party applications to be compatible or for their IT managers or providers to confirm that Windows 10 before considering an upgrade. This hesitance to upgrade to Windows 10 is understandable as the need to ensure business critical applications continue to offer their value will always outweigh the benefits that a new operating system may offer. The importance of waiting to make sure that Windows 10 meets the needs of any organisation should not be underestimated and while Zenzero appreciate the benefits the new operating system offer users, keeping systems running must be the priority.

CWEXPO Stats.fw

The team at Zenzero were keen to see how the introduction of Office 2016 would be received. With more and more organisations moving to Office 365, and taking advantage of the benefits achieved by having constant access to the latest software without having to perform complicated and disruptive upgrades, they expected to see a more open approach to the new version of the universally used suite of applications. Of the people questioned 26% were using Office 365 and were ready to upgrade (if they had not already done so) to benefit from some of the new features. A massive 42% said that they were planning to upgrade in the next 12 months. There were a few people (10%) who were reluctant move to Office 2016 because they believe that the result will be a drop off in productivity that they want to avoid. However despite the small percentage who will stay on their current version for as long as possible, the general picture bodes well for a strong uptake of the latest mainstream offering from Microsoft.

Some of the other interesting facts that came out of the survey were;

– 13% of said that at this time they don’t know enough about Office 2016, so would need to understand more about the benefits before upgrading

– 32% of people questioned see Business continuity & Disaster Recovery planning a s key priority for 2016

– Only 6% of the organisations questioned wait for a refresh of the desktop hardware to upgrade the operating system

Above all, the message that the team at Zenzero took away from the event was that there is growing importance for local SME’s on having secure, scalable and flexible IT systems to keep ahead of the competition. It is also clear that Windows 10 and Office 2016 will be at the centre of the IT strategies for businesses in Warwickshire.

To help demystify some of the new features and explain some of the possibilities Zenzero are holding a ‘lunch and learn’ in Warwick on 30th October. To book your place please e-mail marketing@zenzero.co.uk with the subject “Lunch & Learn”