SMEs starting to understand importance of IT in expansion plans
Tie-up with TM is key, helps Microsoft penetrate suburban areas
MICROSOFT Malaysia is seeing signs that more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are beginning to understand the need to upgrade their IT infrastructure.
“SMEs are very cost-conscious. To them, IT also represents additional complexity because they would need to manage the infrastructure and so forth. So these concerns create resistance for them to upgrade,” said Azizah Ali, director, SME solutions and partners, Microsoft Malaysia (pic), in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (April 8).
“But today, the SMEs are starting to realise the importance of IT in their business expansion plans. They also understand that by using older infrastructure, there will be higher risks of downtime, and any downtime will affect productivity,” she added.
Azizah was speaking to the media after a press conference on the company's 'Good Bye XP. Good Buy Windows 8' trade-in programme, a collaboration between Microsoft Malaysia, Telekom Malaysia (TM) and Intel.
The programme is an exclusive trade-in programme for TM’s SME customers, allowing them to enjoy up to RM600 in savings when they purchase selected Intel-powered devices including tablets, notebooks and desktops.
For Microsoft Malaysia, the programme is crucial as it helps the company penetrate an underserved segment – SMEs located outside the major cities, said Azizah.
“That’s why we are partnering with TM, which has a wide distribution reach with its TM Point (retail outlets) and so forth. It has more than 100 locations nationwide,” she said.
“I also believe this kind of programme can help the SMEs realise that cost will no longer be an issue.”
TM executive vice president Azizi A. Hadi, who is in responsible for growing the SME business, said that the company expects 10% of its SME customer base to take part in the trade-in programme over the next three months.
It currently has 516,000 SME customers under its belt, compared with the 330,000 SME customers it had when it set up its SME division in 2009. However, its official SME customer base only consists of those which sign up for TM's SME packages, and does not include those which run their businesses by signing up for a residential phone line or broadband package.
“To achieve the 10% target in such a short-period is very challenging,” said Azizi.
To enjoy the discount, customers would need to bring their latest TM bill and devices to any TM Point outlet between now and June 30.
The announcement of the trade-in programme also fell on the same day Microsoft ends its support for the Windows XP operating system. Users will no longer receive new security updates or non-security hotfixes among others.
“This means that any new vulnerabilities discovered in Windows XP after its ‘end of life’ will not be addressed by new security updates from Microsoft, leaving users vulnerable to malware attacks and countless security risks,” said Azizah.
She said that there are approximately 2.5 million units of PCs in the Malaysian business community, and about 12% of these PCs are still running Windows XP.
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