President Obama is taking this week to celebrate the 48th annual National Small Business Week in the United States. Obama’s sentiment is that the success of this nation is built on the foundation of entrepreneurial spirit. Recently, he was quoted saying, “From the family businesses that anchor Main Street to the high-tech startups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of America’s promise.”

Here at Microsoft we also see the important role that small businesses play in the U.S. as well as all over the world, and we’re here to help them recognize how technology can assist in creating and growing a successful business. Microsoft sees that while technology can help drive innovation, small businesses don’t want to use technology just for technology’s sake, but want to see that there is a great Return On Investment (ROI) on adopting new technology. That’s why with Windows 7 Professional, we’re offering a new Microsoft Windows ROI tool specifically designed for SMB customers to help calculate the total cost of ownership. This recently launched tool allows decision makers within small businesses to gain insight on the cost and savings associated with running Windows 7 Professional. So in honor of National Small Business Week, I’d like to share with you feedback from two successful SMB customers who used the Windows ROI tool to their advantage.

I recently sat down with Armand Vasquez from The Burke Museum and James Doike-Foreman from Emery Burton to hear their thoughts about how they’re using the ROI tool. 

The Burke Museum

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The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington is currently in the process of migrating their PCs from Windows XP to Windows 7. They have around 125 physical Windows stations in conjunction with an additional 30 virtual machines, and are approximately 5% implemented. When asked about working with the Microsoft ROI tool, Armand Vasquez from the Burke Museum said, “The generated reports resulted from the tool were quite helpful.  This secondary documentation was beneficial in the respect that it accounted for more detail and breakdown of the total migration cost and [calculated the] perceived/estimated saving.” The ROI tool, which calculates the total cost of ownership (TCO) and identifies the potential benefits of installing the Windows 7 operating system to help lower costs and increase productivity. The tool “provided an easy to understand picture allowing non-technical management to be able to have open dialog and comprehend the total process. An excellent tool to be used to start discussion of migration,” said Vasquez, leading to them starting a successful deployment of Windows 7 Professional, which is expected to be completed in September 2011.

Emery Burton

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When Emery Burton, a greeting card distributor specializing in small American greeting card publishing, wanted to upgrade their operating system they looked to Microsoft to validate their decision. James Doike-Foreman from Emery Burton, said that “With the help of the ROI tool for Windows 7, I was able to give concrete numbers to the owners of the company.  Since I already had experience with the OS, I was confident in its ability but needed the extra evidence that it was a good step up for our company. The owners wanted to see real numbers before making a decision and that's what the ROI tool did for us.” The ROI tool was perfect for giving them the extra information to convince them to upgrade to windows 7 Professional. “By using it, I was able to get them to purchase an initial set of copies of Windows 7 to upgrade key machines in the office.  This is just the start and eventually all the machines will be upgraded to Windows 7,” said Doike-Foreman.

Check it out for yourself. To use the tool, please visit https://roianalyst.alinean.com/microsoft/windows7_SMB/.