news Microsoft has revealed that the Australian division of specialist beverage company Campari has deployed a number of Windows 8-based tablet devices from HP, as well as having plans to deploy Windows 8 more generally in the business’s desktop and laptop fleet.
Campari describes itself as a ‘leading player in the global branded beverage industry’. It is known for its namesake, the Campari alcoholic spirit, but it also sells American Honey, SKYY Vodka, Appleton Estate Rum, Coruba Rum, Aperol and Frangelico, for example. Locally, the company has more than 100 staff, with sales offices around the nation.
According to the company’s Asia-Pacific IT Manager, Loic Herbin, who conducted an interview recently with Microsoft Australia’s corporate blogging team, the organisation is “a big Microsoft shop” and recently supplied each member of its sales and marketing teams with an HP ElitePad 900 running Windows 8.
“We have plans to upgrade each laptop and desktop PC in the business to Windows 8,” Herbin said. “On top of this our systems are running on Windows Server 2008, we use SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Lync. Windows 8 integrates seamlessly in our infrastructure. You could say Microsoft is a crucial component of Campari’s IT platform and strategy.”
According to the IT manager, the reason for deploying Windows 8 to the company’s sales and marketing team was “pure convenience”, as there was no need for additional hardware such as a mouse with the devices, and the user interface for Windows 8 is “intuitive and interactive”.
“We’ve also introduced a new CRM system this year, so it was the ideal time to introduce a change in the way we do business,” he said. “Previously our team had to store information locally on their laptops or present customers with hard copies of presentations. I’m sure you would agree that this isn’t the most compelling customer experience, which is why we’ve deployed tablets along with a new CRM platform to really bring the great work we’re doing to life.”
Herbin noted that Campari did look at Apple’s rival iPad platform, but determined that the company would not be able to achieve the same level of functionality with the iPad as it could with a Windows 8 device. “Yes you can get email but, for example, you can’t add new slides to a PowerPoint presentation or use the full functionality of Excel or Word,” he said. “At the end of the day Windows 8 had the functionality and workability which the iPad lacked.”
To ensure the widespread adoption of the Windows 8 tablets, Campari trained a team member from each state who was then responsible for educating their state teams.
“Microsoft did a great job of showing our “super-users” how to get the most out of Windows 8 and, as a result of having internal staff championing the technology, uptake has been rapid,” he said. “It took around a week for users to get used to the new operating system but since then we’ve never looked back. The intuitive user face of Windows 8 was a critical factor in this. Furthermore, tablets are such a common form of technology today that it didn’t require staff to grasp a new concept or identify the benefits either.”
And the wider Campari group may also shift to Windows 8, following the early success of the Microsoft strategy in the company’s Australian office.
“Our head office team is closely watching the deployment in Australia and is considering Windows 8 globally as part of our global mobility strategy,” said Herbin. “China recently went live with Windows 8 running across a collection of Acer devices. For our sales and marketing teams in particular, they often need to access company information on the go and we’re looking to incorporate these abilities into the devices supplied. We’re also looking to integrate Microsoft Lync so that users can quickly and efficiently communicate with one another on the move.”
The capabilities enabled by Windows 8 also mean that Campari is looking to build its own Windows 8 application, which would allow its sales team to easily show its customers how to make cocktails with a selection of Campari products, according to Herbin. The company will also move to Windows 8.1 as soon as the new platform is commercially available.
“… if anything else, we’re looking forward to the return of the start button to the main menu,” the IT manager said.
The news comes as a number of other Australian organisations are known to have recently deployed Windows 8. For example, iTNews reported this morning that the Queensland Department of Parliamentary Services had replaced around 70 Lenovo laptops with new Windows0based convertible laptop/tablet hybrids from Fujitsu.
Oil and gas giant Santos has also recently deployed Windows 8 tablets, while in August Microsoft revealed that a number of Australian schools had conducted massed Windows 8 rollouts, and Bankwest was also revealed in August to be deploying Windows 8 to its staff.