2-page Partner Case Study
Posted: 7/10/2012
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District Computers Small Business IT Firm Increases Billable Time by 10 Percent with Latest Operating System

District Computers recommends new technologies to help its customers improve productivity. After installing the Windows 8 Pro operating system on PCs, laptops, and tablets, its consultants are more efficient—visiting more customers and increasing billable time 10 percent. The company knows that its small business customers want the same mobility and productivity benefits and expects to grow its revenue by fulfilling their needs with Windows 8 Pro.

Business Needs
Headquartered in Washington, DC, District Computers delivers enterprise-class service and technology to small businesses. The company helps customers use the latest Microsoft technologies to boost efficiency, while ensuring they have secure, well-managed IT infrastructures. “As a small business, we share our customers’ IT needs,” says Stephen Hall, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of District Computers. “So when we evaluate new technologies for our target market, we try them ourselves.”

District Computers employees spend most of their time with customers onsite. They used portable computers, but limited battery life required them to recharge their computers several times a day. “I carried a laptop running the Windows 7 operating system for business computing, an ultrabook for personal stuff, and an iPad for demos,” says Hall. “Not one of these devices did everything I needed. Many of our customers shared our desire for a better mobile computing platform. They asked, ‘Should I just buy the iPad?’ I had to say no, because I wouldn’t be able to secure and manage them effectively.”

To simplify their lives, District Computers employees wanted to bring their own devices to work. “I’m always hearing from staff and customers: ‘I have this cool new device, can I use it for work?’” says Hall. “I ask, ‘Can it run your Windows-based business applications? Can you keep your data safe on it?’ The answer is usually ‘No.’”

For District Computers, Hall wanted PC productivity and enterprise-grade security and management combined with a touch-enabled experience and truly mobile convenience. “I was looking for a no-compromise computing environment to get everything done on one device, at work and at home. I kept hearing the same thing from my customers.”

* Windows 8 Pro is where cool meets business. It provides the consumer-oriented touch experience that employees want with security and management features I trust. Windows 8 Pro is going to grow my business. *
Stephen Hall
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, District Computers
In September 2011, District Computers joined a Microsoft early adoption program for the Windows 8 operating system. It offers both the fast and fluid new user interface that’s optimized for touch and traditional computing with a mouse and keyboard. District Computers deployed the consumer preview of Windows 8 to four tablet computers that employees take to customer sites. Employees can use the tablets running Windows 8 Pro to connect to Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based business productivity software and to access Microsoft Office Web Apps stored in Windows Live SkyDrive. In the office, they use Windows 8 Pro on laptops and PCs.

“Windows 8 Pro was the answer to all our prayers,” says Hall. “It has all the mobility, security, and manageability we were looking for, and it works great on any form factor at work and at home.”

Hall believes tablets running Windows 8 Pro represent a new opportunity for businesses to boost productivity by introducing mobile, touch-enabled computing without sacrificing security and manageability. He saw a huge potential for District Computers to market the operating system. Businesses can use domain join to join the network domain and Group Policy to set security and IT polices, and they can help protect data by using BitLocker encryption technology included with Windows 8 Pro. “Windows 8 Pro is where cool meets business,” says Hall. “It provides the consumer-oriented touch experience that employees want with security and management features I trust. Windows 8 Pro is going to grow my business.”

In May 2012, District Computers introduced one of its customers to the tablet running Windows 8 Pro. According to Hall, migrating employees’ data and business applications was easy; all he did was join the new computers to the company’s domain. The managing partner immediately began using an AT&T Mobile new user interface (UI) app that he had downloaded from the Windows Store that helps him better monitor and manage his broadband usage while he’s on the go. The UI is so intuitive that he took the tablet, running Windows 8 Pro, on a business trip.

Since adopting Windows 8 Pro, District Computers employees work more efficiently, which helps the company improve customer service, increase revenue, and shorten sales cycles.

Increased Time in the Field
District Computers builds its reputation on personal, on-site service, so Hall and his staff are thrilled that they can improve customer relationships by replacing their laptops with tablets running Windows 8 Pro. “We are able to stay out in the field 50 to 60 percent longer between charge-ups back at the office or in the car,” says Hall. “For us, that adds up to approximately 10 percent more billable hours, or otherwise productive time, each week. With all the time we are saving, we can spend additional face-time with our customers, improving our service.”

Reduced Sales Cycles
Hall uses a tablet running Windows 8 Pro with his customers, so they can see the new experience in action, which has been a successful way to generate sales. Hall impressed a trucking company that wanted mobile access to its business applications by using his tablet to download sales templates from the cloud, create a new service offering, and then build a proposal for the company to sign right there. “We sold them a subscription for Office 365 and Windows Intune, and got a commitment for tablets running Windows 8 Pro for all employees, as soon as it is released to manufacturing,” he says.

Improved Business Potential
District Computers sees Windows 8 Pro as a no-compromise experience for businesses that need highly mobile, touch-enabled computing and traditional desktops. “Windows 8 Pro meets all our customers’ needs, and that equates to a lot of business potential,” says Hall. “Windows 8 Pro is perfect for businesses that see mobile computing as the foundation for a more agile, competitive workforce that wants to balance work-life commitments—with minimal time and effort. Right now, that’s about 75 percent of my customers—adding up to a lot of sales opportunities!”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 8 employees

Partner Profile
Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Washington, DC, District Computers helps small businesses optimize their IT environments. It is a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with Gold competencies.

Organization Profile

Software and Services
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Live Skydrive
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft Office Web Apps

Vertical Industries
IT Services

United States