Retirement Concepts replaces old platforms with SP2

A Vancouver-based provider of services and care to senior citizens says it has simplified business processes, reduced redundant administrative tasks and bolstered staff productivity by replacing Windows 95, 98 and 2000 with Windows XP Professional Edition Service Pack 2.

Choosing XP SP2 as

a technology platform has not only complemented a previous Retirement Concepts initiative to provide workers with new PCs equipped with the latest hardware, but also enabled the company to improve the security, reliability and stability of internal documents, according to Alan Owen, Retirement Concepts’ director of information systems.

By the early 2020s, one in five Canadians will be at least 65 years old, according to some estimates, and as more and more individuals require the services of retirement communities, assisted living centres and nursing facilities, organizations like Retirement Concepts will be expected to step up to the plate. Anticipating the impending demand for services, Retirement Concepts has also opened new facilities across British Columbia and Quebec. And as it operates numerous locations across the country, said Owen, it wants to keep up with its technology needs.

“”We were having (problems) in managing our network in terms of an inability to provide collaboration for our people,”” said Owen, adding the upgrade has slashed by eight hours a week the amount of time spent on administrative tasks in each office. “”We have better levels of system stability and reliability.””

Because the company had desired to focus on its core business, it tapped Microsoft technology partner Dyrand Systems, also of Vancouver, to help it find the right solution.

According to Ed Anderson, president of technology at Dyrand, moving up to XP SP2 was the best choice to meet the client’s needs. “”Stability and security—there’s enough within those two key things to warrant upgrading,”” he said.

Elliot Katz, senior product manager at Microsoft Canada in Mississauga, Ont., said XP SP2 features stronger security settings, increased manageability and control, and more secure user experiences. It also features updates for key drivers, support for new technologies and security updates for critical functionalities.

“”We encourage (companies) to install XP SP2 because the computing environment is much different than when Windows XP was first released (in October 2001),”” he said. Switching to XP SP2 from earlier Windows versions, he continued, can simplify things in IT departments.

According to Roberta Fox, senior partner at Fox Group Consulting in Markham, Ont., XP SP2 is much more user-friendly than previous Windows platforms. And not having to manually locate drivers when adding new applications is also a plus, she said.

“”The company servicing the retirement market is thinking about IT. That’s a good thing,”” said Fox. “”It’s also thinking about how to run the business from a productivity perspective. That’s a good thing. With the graying of the Baby Boomers, there’s a need for quality retirement living.””

Microsoft has been trying to put a good face on SP2 after users discovered several snags once the software was deployed. An Ottawa-based research firm estimated that 60 applications need to change in order to work with the new operating system. Microsoft also delayed automatic distribution for SP2 due to fears around possible problems with other software.

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