GameWear Inc. is one of many small and midsize businesses already realizing cost savings and productivity improvements with Windows 7..
Walk into Frank Cerullo’s office, a stone’s throw from the Hudson River in Hoboken, N.J., and you might think you’ve encountered the ultimate sports fanatic. Logos of every major league team adorn the walls of GameWear Inc., Cerullo’s booming business. The company sells team-branded bracelets, necklaces, key chains, and MP3-player, cell-phone and smartphone cases that are made from the same leathers and stitching used to make baseballs, basketballs and footballs.
But, like a lot of burgeoning businesses, GameWear has experienced its share of growing pains, including some of the IT variety. For example, the company has more than 4,000 stock-keeping units (known as SKUs), and associated with each are at least four types of product images. “We have 10 different varieties of bracelets just for the Phillies,” says Cerullo. “When a retailer calls asking for a photo they can put in their catalog, we have to quickly locate the right photo and graphics.”
GameWear’s customer service representatives have to organize, track and retrieve more than 50,000 files. “It’s easy to misplace a PDF, Word or Outlook file. We used to spend hours tracking down mislaid files,” says Cerullo.
That was before he upgraded the company’s PCs from Windows XP to Windows 7. The search function in Windows 7 lets the GameWear team quickly find any type of file regardless of whether it is on local drives, network drives or the Internet.
For small and midsize businesses, Windows 7 offers an opportunity to leap ahead of rivals by improving employee productivity, reducing costs and enhancing security.
“I can’t point to just one feature of Windows 7 as the most important for a small business like mine,” says Cerullo. “Rather, it does hundreds of things a little bit better or faster than previous operating systems, and at the end of the day that adds up to a significant productivity improvement. I would estimate it is about 30 percent faster than Windows XP, which we used to run, and that it has provided my employees with at least a 10 or 15 percent improvement in productivity. And it took less than a day to upgrade all 12 of our PCs.”
Cerullo says the features and tools in Windows 7 that help GameWear employees work more efficiently include Snap, which makes it easy to compare two documents side by side, and the Problem Steps Recorder, which he says despite its name is useful for more than capturing computer problems — for example, creating training tutorials.
The experiences of GameWear and Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky are typical. Endpoint Technologies Associates, a computer industry research and analysis firm, recently surveyed several small and midsize businesses that had used Windows 7 on a trial basis. Respondents were uniformly positive in their evaluation of the operating system, citing time savings as the single greatest benefit.
Elite Personnel, a Maryland staffing agency, for example, estimated that the efficiencies in Windows 7 cumulatively saved at least 30 minutes a day per employee. And Geosynthetics, a British industrial supplier, described the many ways that Windows 7 sped up work, projecting that migrating its entire sales force to the new software would save the company 300 hours annually.
“Some of the features that businesses found most useful were what they called ‘small’ things,” says Endpoint president Roger Kay. “For example, almost all cited the Taskbar and Thumbnail previews as major productivity enhancements. These seemingly modest enhancements are the heart and soul of Windows 7’s appeal. Microsoft has done a thousand tiny things right.”
For Mazzanti, the Windows 7 value proposition is clear. “Small and medium-sized businesses today want to get more out of what they already have, whether that means getting by with less staff, being able to leverage their existing infrastructure, top-line growth or bottom-line improvements. Windows 7 is an enabler of all of these. For nearly every business, it saves time and it saves money. The path to savings may be different for different businesses, but the savings are there. You’d be surprised how quickly seconds and pennies add up to hours and dollars.”