Microsoft Canada Co.

Microsoft Canada Co.

October 13, 2005 06:00 ET

Microsoft Canada Co.: Small Businesses Help Close the Prosperity Gap by Investing in Technology to Increase Productivity

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 13, 2005) -

Six in 10 Canadian small business owners plan to invest in business technology within the next year, according to a recent survey

Microsoft Canada Co. captured small business views in a new national survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid(i), and found that 73 per cent of Canadian small businesses agree that increasing productivity is a priority. While closing the prosperity gap between Canada and the U.S. remains an ongoing challenge, most respondents (81 per cent) do not feel increasing productivity only concerns big business and the government.

In fact, eighty-two per cent of small business owners agree that adopting technology is the key to increasing productivity and competitiveness. Within the next year, 64 per cent of small business owners plan to improve productivity and efficiency in their business by updating their software. Half (48%) say they will implement new business processes, and 44 per cent are developing a new Web site.

Lansink Appraisals and Consulting is one Canadian small business that recognizes the value of technology. The family-run business provides real estate appraisal advice to customers in North America and the Caribbean. Owner Ben Lansink started the business as a one-man operation. Today, the London, Ont.-based company employs a team of 10 consultants and has satellite offices across the province. When Lansink's son Ward joined the team, he helped his father realize the importance of using the right technology to keep their offices connected and track customer data, sales leads, accounts and business contacts. Lansink upgraded to Microsoft Small Business Server 2003, and deployed the Business Contact Manager (BCM) update to help increase business productivity, enhance collaboration among staff and better track customers and new sales leads.

"Since investing in Microsoft-based technology we've had our most productive year yet," said Ward Lansink, consultant and IT manager, Lansink Appraisals and Consulting. "We know that it can grow with our business and provide us with the flexibility to do our business from virtually anywhere."

Although small businesses understand the importance of increasing their productivity, the biggest barriers to taking action are cost (62 per cent) and time to find new ways to increase productivity (41 per cent). To help address these issues, Microsoft recently announced its Small Business Specialist Community. The program helps small businesses quickly identify different Microsoft technology partners suited to address their needs. Microsoft developed the Small Business Specialist Community in response to input from customers and technology partners, who expressed a need to connect small businesses with technology partners to help support them.

"Microsoft Canada is committed to the small business community, and we're continually looking at ways to address the needs of this growing segment," said David Willis, vice-president, Small and Mid-market Solutions and Partners, Microsoft Canada Co. "Productivity is clearly a priority for small business owners and Microsoft is delivering solutions and services that will help these companies succeed, grow and thrive."

Additional survey findings include:

- 79 per cent say they use technology to make their business more productive and efficient

- 66 per cent of small businesses feel technology has given them greater flexibility/mobility, and they are no longer chained to their desk

- Men are more likely than women to say that they leverage technology to make their business more productive and efficient (82% vs. 75%).

- Business owners in Saskatchewan/Manitoba and Ontario (both at 31%) are the most likely to say they would like to invest in "developing new processes to better manage customers and sales leads" while those in Quebec and Atlantic Canada (both at 15%) are the least likely to.

- 28% of Quebec business owners believe that increasing productivity is only something that big businesses and the government needs to worry about.

- 88% of Alberta small business owners believe that adopting technology is the key to increasing productivity and competitiveness

- 84% of British Columbia small business owners disagree with the statement that increasing productivity is only something that big businesses and the government needs to worry about.

Microsoft Canada also provides small business owners with an online resource where they can access valuable information on different technology solutions that will help meet their business needs. The Small Business Corner resource center (www.microsoft.ca/smallbiz) - offers business productivity tools and tips, Microsoft business software, and special offers.

(i)The online poll of 855 small business owners (small business was defined as 20 or fewer employees) across Canada was conducted in September 2005 by Ipsos-Reid.

About Microsoft Canada

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Co. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Microsoft Canada is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario with MSN.CA offices located in Toronto and eight regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. Visit Microsoft Canada's Web site at www.microsoft.ca.

©2005 Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft, Windows Server and Windows Server System are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

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