Awareness Communication Technology, provider of an e-publishing platform, wanted the benefits of migration to the Windows® 7 operating system without the pain that can accompany a migration. So, it turned to the Front Runner program. It received both technical and marketing support for Windows 7 compatibility, achieved compatibility in less than a month, and made better use of the new software than it could have on its own, says the company’s founder.
You don’t have to sell Awareness Communication Technology (AwareComm) on the value of the Windows® operating system. The company has been supporting Windows pretty much ever since Windows has been around. It made the leap to development based on the Microsoft® .NET Framework soon after the availability of that technology and then integrated Microsoft Dynamics® CRM. AwareComm continues to integrate Microsoft products, including Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 and other Microsoft Office 2007 products. Yet, Founder and CEO Richard Jorgensen was concerned about the migration path to the Windows 7 operating system.
AwareComm provides an electronic publishing platform with proven personal learning technology, offline learning, and online communication (featuring Microsoft Office Live Meeting), which brings together publishers, businesses, schools, educators, content creators, and trainers to accelerate content application, sales, and distribution. Given its history in the marketplace, AwareComm has seen e-publishing hardware come and go. It is watching the current e-book market closely—and betting its business on the continued marketplace dominance of Windows, particularly the market for low-cost Windows-based netbook computers.
“The high sales figures for Windows-based netbooks reflect that trend,” says Jorgensen. “To continue to participate in this market would require compatibility with Windows 7. Our customers are accustomed to us being an innovator and early adopter of technology and expect us to be compatible with Windows 7.”
The company’s software was already compatible with the Windows Vista® operating system, but Jorgensen remembered the migration process as laborious and time-consuming. Due to the depth and breadth of Microsoft products integrated into its platform, AwareComm faced a challenge in migrating to Windows 7. Jorgensen wanted a faster and more effective migration path.
Jorgensen and AwareComm found an effective migration path to Windows 7 compatibility, thanks to the Microsoft Front Runner for Windows 7 early adopter program. Front Runner provides both technical and marketing resources to help companies get their applications compatible with the latest Microsoft technologies, and then to promote that compatibility.
||Microsoft is making a commitment to us through Front Runner, and we’re glad to return that commitment to Windows 7 compatibility.
Founder and CEO, Awareness Communication Technology
Among the Front Runner technical resources that AwareComm used were the training and technical support features of the program. Della Jorgensen, Chief Operating Officer at AwareComm, went to the Front Runner Web site and launched two of the training videos available there.
“Watching the Front Runner training videos on Windows 7 gave me a good grounding in what was new about the technology and also helped to ensure that when I called technical support, I would be able to communicate in a way that would be well understood,” she says. Front Runner also provided a series of documents and resources including requirements for Windows 7 compatibility and information on the Windows 7 certification and logo program.
During the initial two-week period, Della Jorgensen was on the phone with Front Runner technical support engineers about twice a week and knew that support was available whenever it was needed, she recalls. “I was very impressed with the quality of Front Runner support. The support engineer took an active interest and worked with our staff whenever help was needed—even when the conversation went well past the end of his day. And when he didn’t have the answers, he brought in specialists who did.”
AwareComm also plans to take advantage of the marketing aspects of the Front Runner program. With compatibility achieved, it plans to use the Front Runner stamp on all e-mail correspondence and on its Web site. It also plans to be listed on the Pinpoint Web site directory, and to use the public relations and marketing templates available through the program.
One of the biggest benefits of the Front Runner program to AwareComm was the speed and efficacy of the migration to Windows 7 compatibility. “Compare this to past experiences and the difference was like flipping over a pancake,” says Richard Jorgensen. “We were compatible in less than a month, we didn’t need to resort to workarounds, and the experience was actually delightful. More than merely being compatible with Windows 7, Front Runner helped us to take real advantage of Windows 7 to make our software more useful to our customers.”
A key example of that greater usefulness is in the company’s application of the User Account Control Isolation features of Windows 7. Those features help to ensure that software—such as content published through the AwareComm platform—is isolated on a shared computer to the authorized user, and is unavailable to other users of that computer.
“We publish content for more than 25 industries, including subjects ranging from re-training, organization, culture, legal, autism, and family problems,” says Richard Jorgensen. “Windows 7 helps to ensure the privacy of the people who use our software.”
Jorgensen also sees the Windows 7 feature being of particular interest to franchise organizations, or others whose primary assets are based on intellectual property, which are now better protected by being available only to the authorized user.
”Front Runner has enabled us to hone the already-proven AwareComm platform and take it to a new level of excellence,” he says. “As a result of Front Runner, we will submit more than 100 applications to the Windows 7 logo program. Additionally, we have become a Microsoft Certified Partner and are well on our way to becoming a Gold Certified Partner.”
“Without Front Runner, we would not have been able to optimize our use of Windows 7. Nor would we have devoted the resources to Windows 7 that we have. But Microsoft is making a commitment to us through Front Runner, and we’re glad to return that commitment to Windows 7 compatibility.”