Microsoft Technology Empowers PerkPool

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KUALA LUMPUR (19 September 2013) — PerkPool Sdn Bhd (“PerkPool”), a local small and medium enterprise (“SME”) which helps other small and medium-sized businesses provide attractive employee benefits packages, has taken a technology leap to enhance its communication and collaboration efforts in implementing Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Office 365 offerings in its business operations. PerkPool emerged as the Malaysia winner of the Get2Modern SME IT Makeover Contest organized by Microsoft, and will receive support from Microsoft to revamp and modernize its IT environment.

The Get2Modern SME IT Makeover Contest aimed to encourage SMEs in Asia Pacific to upgrade their IT environment to meet current demands and challenges of the current marketplace. As a young SME established less than a year, PerkPool faces tough challenges in being adept in its operations and at the same time ensuring quality in its services. Today, it employs a small but growing number of five staff serving education, food and beverages, beauty and wellness, fitness, healthcare as well as lifestyle customers in Malaysia.

Emerging as winners of the Get2Modern IT Makeover Contest has reinforced PerkPool’s choice of going with Microsoft’s Windows and Office 365 products for their communication needs. The company is now in the process of moving 90% of the team who were previously on Apple and Google to join those already on the Windows platform. The company will also be migrating from Google Docs to Office 365 as their productivity tool of choice to enjoy the seamless devices and services experience across various platforms.

Mellissa Lee, Managing Director of PerkPool

Mellissa Lee, Managing Director of PerkPool

Like most SMEs, funds are limited and PerkPool has to exercise prudent spending without affecting business operations. “As a new company, we do not have the funds to spend heavily on our IT infrastructure; it is almost non-existent. Most of our staff use their own devices such as laptops, most of which are old and bulky, for sales pitches with clients. More often than not, the laptops tend to fail us during these crucial moments. Since deals are made or broken through these meetings, this can be a hindrance,” said Mellissa Lee, Managing Director of PerkPool.

With Microsoft technology solutions, a lot of these issues can be easily addressed. “In this digital age, we identify with the idea of being technologically ready in our operations to ensure the best possible service to our customers. We are a young startup, full of energy and buzzing with ideas, and we are sure the new Windows 8 devices and Office 365 will help portray a tech-savvy image to our customers,” Mellissa added.

A lot of PerkPool’s work requires effective communications as the sales staff are always mobile and on-the-go – something it is struggling to achieve at the moment. One issue it faces is that its current documents are mostly stored offline. At any one time, there could be up to 20 versions of the same document floating around and being circulated through email amongst its staff. As a result, precious time is spent to track down the latest and correct version of a document. There is just no room for efficient collaboration. “With Microsoft Office 365, we are able to edit, share and collaborate on just one version of the document saved to SkyDrive – Microsoft’s cloud storage service – it is an ideal solution since most of our staff are mobile and can work from anywhere they are. This will truly transform our sales process and make it more efficient, leaving us with more time to dedicate our resources to what is important – meeting clients and closing deals rather than worrying about IT,” Mellissa explained.

In addition to the above-mentioned prizes, PerkPool also qualified for the Get2Modern SME IT Makeover Regional Contest, where it went head-to-head with winners from all other participating countries[1] in the region for the grand prize of over US$9,000 worth of additional Microsoft products and services.

“We are excited with the possibilities that this IT makeover will enable for our company. A major consideration for us to go with Microsoft was because as a company, collaboration is just so much better facilitated with Microsoft. I look forward to experiencing seamless, more integrated and accessible user experience that comes with Windows 8 and Office 365. In order to manage and drive our business, Microsoft is definitely lending a helping hand by providing their technology expertise and full support by assuring our IT needs are taken care of which allows us to focus on managing and driving our business well, all with the help of Microsoft’s technology solutions,” Mellissa concluded.

Azizah Ali, Director – Small and Medium Solutions and Partners (“SMS&P”), Microsoft Malaysia, congratulated PerkPool on the win, “Our heartiest congratulations to PerkPool for emerging winner of the SME IT Makeover Contest. At Microsoft Malaysia, we acknowledge that SMEs play an invaluable part in the growth of the economy. With many small businesses, it is not uncommon for owners to wear many hats. Not only must they drive and grow their business, they must also manage IT. SMEs should be allowed to concentrate on what matters most – running the business – and leave the technology side of things to trusted partners like Microsoft. This is all part of what we have been doing for more than 20 years to transform Malaysia together – helping transform businesses by enhancing their competitiveness through technology.”

PerkPool was selected based on its creative video submission where it featured Mellissa Lee, Managing Director of PerkPool sharing her insights on Windows 8 and Office 365 which could help transform her company and business. To view PerkPool’s winning video entry, please visit the Get2Modern SME IT Makeover Contest website.

Modern Office: Modern Security and Productivity Needed

PerkPool’s upgrade came at an opportune time for the company with the impending end-of-support for Windows XP and Office 2003 on 8 April 2014. With end of support, businesses need to migrate from Windows XP and Office 2003 to avoid external vulnerabilities and risks that have the potential to cause business disruption and extra costs.

“The modern office requires a completely different set of tools and features to optimize productivity and collaboration, as well as create a secure IT environment. This is what Microsoft offers with its modern OSes and productivity solutions and services. With seven months to go beyond end of support for both Windows XP and Office 2003, we strongly encourage business owners to mitigate the risk by migrating to a modern office,” Azizah concluded.

According to StatCounter[2], Windows XP still makes up 20.39% of PCs in Malaysia as of March 2013. That equates to over 3.6 million PCs in Malaysia running Windows XP. Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report, Volume 14 released in April 2013, highlighted that PCs running Windows XP with SP3 are 2.5 times more vulnerable than Windows 7 SP1, and about 14 times more vulnerable than Windows 8[3].

In addition to Windows XP, Microsoft Office 2003 will also be retired on the same date. The implications are no less serious – without security updates, fixes, or online technical support, businesses will face greater risk of security and stability issues, which has the potential to cause disruption and incur extra costs. Built in mind with meeting the challenges of new security threats today, and packed with modern productivity and collaboration features, both Windows 8 and Office 365 can deliver instant productivity gains and promote greater collaboration in any workplaces.

SMEs can find out more about how to upgrade to modern IT systems by visiting the Windows Upgrade Centre website.