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Majority of SMBs still on the fence about when to upgrade to Windows 8

Majority of SMBs still on the fence about when to upgrade to Windows 8

SMBs need a greater awareness of the benefits of software and hardware upgrades

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Windows 8 may have done well out of the gate with regular consumers, but most SMBs are still on the fence about the OS.

This is according to the latest MYOB Insights Panel, which found that 43 percent of SMBs were not sure about whether they would transition to Windows 8 in the next six to 12 months.

Only 12 percent of respondents voiced their intention of upgrading to Windows 8 in the next six months, a result that does not surprise MYOB chief strategy officer, John Moss. "Given the technology adoption lifecycle, you'd expect innovators and early adopters to jump on board quickly then others to follow at a slower pace," he said.

Moss says the results of the survey also align somewhat with the research of the July 2012 MYOB Business Monitor, which found 66 per cent of SMB managers intended to keep the value of their spending in IT systems and processes steady this financial year.

"16 per cent said they will beef it up and 12 percent will reduce it," he said.

Opening the window

Other key results from the MYOB Insights Panel included 19 percent of respondents planning to transition to Windows 8 and two per cent already using it.

11 per cent said they would make the jump to the OS in one to two years, and the same number said they would do so in more than two years.

As for what needs to change for numbers to improve, Moss points towards greater awareness amongst SMBs of the benefits of technology in general.

"It should encourage better adoption of technology, as will a greater understanding of the significant return on initial outlay," he said.

"Even simple software and hardware updates can result in improved business productivity, team engagement and cash flow." For this reason, Moss said companies such as MYOB encourage SMBs to consider taking advantage of the increased instant asset write-off, currently estimated at $6,500, by investing in IT.

"It's interesting to note a LinkedIn poll conducted by Intel indicates 51 percent of SMB business decision makers are not aware of this increase, an important change that could really benefit their business," he said.

Forward thinking

Factors stopping SMBs from upgrading to Windows 8 included people being happy with their current OS (29 percent), not knowing enough about Windows 8 (25 percent), cost of software (25 percent), needing new computers (10 percent) and cost of installation (nine percent).

Only three per cent of the surveyed respondents had no intention of using Windows 8.

Despite the sobering results, companies such as MYOB have been proactive in making sure its own software is compatible with the new OS. Moss says that Windows 8 has been extensively tested by MYOB, and the company's recently launched Cloud accounting solution, AccountRight Live, is Windows 8 compatible.

"We've also launched a Windows 8 compatibility update for our latest desktop version of AccountRight," he said.

"We've also been testing our retail products on Windows 8 for some time, which is looking good, and expect to provide formal support for these early next year."

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