Construction SMB Always On, Always Connected with Windows 8 Pro

Blog by Jay Paulus.

Originally posted here.

I often sit down with IT staff and decision makers from small and medium-size businesses [SMBs] to discuss their unique technology needs and challenges. One of the biggest themes I hear in these meetings is the importance of mobile technology that allows them to be connected to their business from anywhere. Compared to larger enterprises, these small, rapidly growing businesses have fewer resources and employees at their disposal and need the technology that they adopt to wear as many hats as they do. Above all, SMBs want their technology to give them a fast, flexible computing experience so they can stay competitive and always be one step ahead of their customers and competitors.

Meet Glenigan, a construction intelligence supplier.

One such fast-moving midsize company that has taken advantage of Windows 8 Pro is Glenigan , based in the United Kingdom. Glenigan is a construction intelligence supplier; the company provides construction project sales leads, market analysis, forecasting, and intelligence by searching thousands of construction planning apps across the UK and aggregating the information on behalf of their clients. Glenigan helps companies increase their profits by providing timely intelligence about construction jobs. Whether customers are looking to bid for new construction work or refurbishment projects, Glenigan helps them stay ahead of competitors. The company offers access to its continually updated leads database as well as email alerts on construction projects that help customers bid for work contracts at the right time.

At the end of the day, Glenigan’s business depends on technology that helps them outpace competitors. Since January, Glenigan has been using the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist and the ThinkPad Tablet 2to do just that. Tablets and convertibles with Windows 8 Pro help Glenigan’s employees stay connected to their clients, colleagues, and their ever-changing database of customer leads from anywhere.



SMBs take Windows 8 Pro tablets on a train.

According to Neil Taylor, PC and Network Support Analyst at the company, the biggest benefits Glenigan has experienced while testing Windows 8 Pro has been the speed and mobility of the platform. After interacting with the Windows 8 Pro devices, he notes, “It is always on, always connected, so I can manage my day from anywhere, anytime, anyplace—and it just works. With Microsoft Office 2013, I can connect to Outlook and Word and documents on SharePoint sites, and I can go home and carry on working. That’s the beauty of it.”

The ThinkPad’s twist capabilities in particular help employees stay productive while traveling. Theresa Ferguson, Head of Delivery at Glenigan, describes it like this: “I was sitting in a coffee shop, waiting for the train, filling out a questionnaire, and I was using the laptop to start answering questions. The train arrived, I closed the keyboard, switched to tablet mode, and just carried on. I didn’t even realize I had done it.”

As a company, Glenigan has been increasing its focus on making employees as mobile as possible in recent years and Windows 8 fits into this vision. All of their teams meet with customers onsite, whether representing the research, content, or technical teams. The Windows 8 testers have enjoyed the benefits of the new touch-based operating system over more traditional desktop models while they are on the road. For instance, they can easily take their devices with them when visiting their parent company in London, two hours from the company headquarters in Bournemouth. Mobility also increases employee communication within the office, so colleagues can more easily move around and exchange ideas with each other. This is something Glenigan’s management hopes will increase over time as their core office incorporates more mobile devices.

When comparing the company’s experience with the iPad and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, Taylor notes that with Apple, people can’t join to the Windows domain network or install Office, but the Windows 8 tablet is always connected so “you can access the network and you can access your files and it’s just there.”

Outside of the flexibility Windows 8 Pro offers, Glenigan highlights inherent security features like picture password that help the business transmit information securely from anywhere. Taylor calls Windows security over Apple security a “no brainer.”

Deploying Windows 8 alongside other systems.

Glenigan is a perfect example of many of the SMBs I talk with that are actively working within a mixed operating system environment. Glenigan has approximately 110 employees and most of them are currently using Windows 7 32-bit as the standard desktop platform; they also use laptops with Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit. The Windows 8 devices have been integrated into their business operations alongside this existing infrastructure to increase the company’s mobile operations with simple-to-use, lightweight touch devices.

Whether SMBs need a notebook, a tablet, or an all-in-one, whether touch-based or a keyboard-and-mouse system, Windows 8 offers a variety of choices to fit their needs. There is also great compatibility between Windows 7 and Windows 8, and this makes it easier to adopt Windows 8 with existing systems.

Glenigan’s case shows how technology can be a key business enabler. Whether it’s visiting a construction site, traveling to another city by train, or meeting with clients on the road, the devices just have to work. With Windows 8, Glenigan has discovered that they can have it all. They don’t have to sacrifice performance while away from the office or trade flexibility for reliable business functionality. To learn more about Glenigan’s recent interactions with Windows 8 and Office 2013, check out this new case study. And for more information about Windows 8 Pro for small and midsized businesses, click here.