D&H Distributing has launched a new effort, appropriately named "Make the Move from XP," to help resellers and their customers upgrade off of Microsoft's aging operating system.
The education-based program, announced this week, offers solution provides free online training sessions and a full-length Webcast through its Web-based Solutions Lab. Microsoft is ending Windows XP support in April, although the software company said recently it plans to extend malware protection for another year.
Jeff Davis, senior vice president of sales at D&H, said the program is designed to both educate VARs about risks and drawbacks of remaining on XP and also promote the benefits of moving to newer versions of Windows.
"This initiative is to not only educate but also give them all the features of what the new OS brings to them," said Davis. "We are trying to educate our resellers in migrating from XP as the support runs out and educate them on the benefits of migrating to the newest platform, OS 7 or 8.1."
Making the move is inevitable, said Davis, and it's better to be prepared a couple months in advanced.
"Depending on the use of the system in place, if it's mission critical to your business, you have a failure and you don't have the support from Microsoft later on, then it'll be more than a headache," said Davis. "Instead of interrupting business to hurry up and replace your system with a new OS, begin the planning cycle now with migrating to a new OS."
Jon Allen, owner of Ogden, Utah-based Proponent IT, a D&H partner, believes the new program is essential as the XP deadline looms.
"I really respect D&H educating all of the VARs and partners on what is necessary, what is happening and what the next steps will be because it's going to affect everybody in the industry in one way or another," said Allen. "Those that aren't educated will be left in the dust, and only by embracing the change will it lead to excelling in the industry."
Ultimately the program will help VAR partners like Proponent IT and its clients to take advantage of this opportunity, said Allen.
"Clients will benefit from a productivity increase with the new OS," said Allen. "It's a huge opportunity that is there as there a lot of XP machines that need to be migrated and the benefits are limitless. The end of XP is coming whether or not you want to be involved, and gaining profit is your choice."
As touchscreens, all-in-one desktops and convertible devices continue to do well in the marketplace, it creates an opening for adopting Windows 8, said Davis.
"A lot of businesses today are adapting to new devices, and the newest OS is the real business opportunity. Windows 8 will manifest in 2014," said Davis. "People are getting used to the tile interface more and more, and consumer devices are being sold with 8.1. And as businesses are made of consumers, they will want to use it in the office as well, so I think they are going to make that adoption."
The channel will ultimately benefit in helping customers make the move starting now on through the April 8 deadline and beyond, said Davis.
"There is real margin opportunity, and it creates a new sales opportunity for the channel," said Davis. "There is real value-added benefits they can bring to customers such as lowering costs to run the newest PCs, extra security, the fact you're dealing with a device that's 3x faster, and less downtime because of the increased reliability of this OS."
PUBLISHED JAN. 23, 2014