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Stories Asia

Business transformation in Asia Pacific rising from beneath the Surface

The growth in active internet users and mobile connections year-on-year in Asia Pacific continues to astound. Today, there are more than 1.1 billion mobile connections in Asia Pacific for a population that is just over 838 million. In fact, people are spending more time on their devices than actual face-to-face time with their family and friends.

This explosion in connectivity and mobile devices has fueled the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement in businesses as employees clamor for tools that meet both their professional and personal needs. Gone are the days of big and bulky “business grade” laptops; today, employees demand devices that are sleek and portable yet powerful enough to empower their productivity anywhere, anytime.

At the top of this list is our Surface family of devices, which is increasingly becoming the go-to device for enterprises in Asia thanks to its power and flexibility. Surface offers support for touch, ink and keyboard, and is complete with all the ports, apps and security features that businesses need.

Since the launch of Surface in 2013, enterprises in the region have revolutionized the way they work with this incredibly popular hybrid device. Here’s a look at how some organizations in the region are tapping on the power of Surface to transform their businesses:

Creating a more mobile workforce to help Kiwi SMBs succeed

As one of New Zealand’s largest bank, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) aims to help locals be good with their money. And with 97 percent of enterprises in New Zealand being small businesses, BNZ offers products and services designed to help them succeed. As such, the Small Business Acquisition team in BNZ spends its time out and about to help its customers to get the most out of their banking.

“The Microsoft Surface solution aligns with BNZ’s technology strategy in two ways. Firstly, we want our customers to be engaged by our staff at all times in the most effective way possible – the Surface allows us to bring this ‘Customer First’ strategy to life. Secondly, we want our team to be able to access technology solutions through their devices easily when on the road, in order to better serve our customers,” said Gerard Graham, Chief Operating Officer, Technology.

Surface is a total desktop replacement for BNZ’s employees, offering access to all internal systems, as well as a custom-built cloud-based mobile presentation app for easy and consistent access to collaterals while on-the-go, thus reducing the need for paper-based brochures for client meetings. Employees have also found the Surface to be an enabler for a more personal sales experience with the touchscreen and Pen which makes for a more interactive conversation.

Challenging norms in manufacturing

A garage in suburban Canberra is an unlikely setting for a manufacturing business, being the capital of Australia and far away from industrial heartlands of Sydney and Melbourne. But Red Robot Photo Booths managed to transform the manufacturing process of building a photo booth, now a mainstay in every parties, weddings or events, with the help of Surface.

For Red Robot, the design process started the traditional way – pen, paper and a lot of time spent thinking – until one of the founders, Duncan Amos, was introduced to Siemen’s Solid Edge software portfolio. Needing a system to match the freedom Solid Edge gave him in the design process, he decided to try out a Surface Po 3.

“The transformation from a paper based old style design process, through to using actual technology that I could move around with, was just mind blowing and revolutionary for me,” says Duncan.

“The thing that really blew me away was the (Surface) pen because I come from an artistic background. It’s virtually an extension of me.”

Surface allowed Duncan to visit factories and show off his designs in a 3D form instead of a physical render. This meant that Red Robot was able to prototype faster, while saving substantial amount of time and money.

Today, Red Robot’s photo booths are seen in over 500 businesses in Australia, as well as in companies across 21 countries. Last year alone, the company’s products achieved revenue in excess of AU$65 million for its customers. Its success has enabled the business to consider entering different sectors with the launch of a collaborative working space.

Transforming retail experiences with Surface


As Australia’s leading telecommunication company, with more than 370 stores Down Under, Telstra has embarked on its transformation journey by focusing on changing the customer experience. With Windows 10 and Surface, Telstra’s new Discovery Stores in Melbourne and Sydney blend online and offline worlds so that customers can interact with the company when, where and however they choose.

Telstra set out on its journey with two key goals in mind: make it simple and make it fast. It needed to ensure that its employees pick up new technology easily, and for its customers to have a simplified yet engaging experience in-store.

Besides implementing Windows 10 and the Universal Windows App platform to deploy engaging and adaptable content and apps across its devices and displays in-stores, Telstra is also planning to roll out more than 5,000 Surface devices across its stores. With Surface, store staff will be able to be more efficient in processing payments anywhere in store, without having to return to a dedicated point of sale area.

Boosting employee productivity and mobility with Surface (JLL, previously Oak Grove Capital)


Before being acquired by JLL, Oak Grove Capital was a leading provider of wide-ranging lending and underwriting services. Its workforce had depended on laptops for work, but had reached a point where older, underperforming devices needed to be replaced. This is when the IT department sought to replace these older devices with Surface, and to ultimately standardize their employee devices with the portable and powerful machine.

The Surface was chosen for several reasons. First, the device needed to work with the apps that JLL needed (which included Office, Adobe Acrobat, Citrix XenDesktop, VPN, other network connectivity software and internal database tools). Secondly, it needed to run Windows, which ensured cost-effectiveness from a deployment standpoint.

But more importantly, the device of choice needed to meet the needs of the increasingly mobile representative, who meets more than a dozen clients a day. “If the rep needs a client’s signature, having the electronic document on the Surface right there in front of their faces, with a pen, is faster than waiting to open a laptop and boot it up,” shared Trevor Weaver, now an IT technician at JLL.

In addition, the Surface brought about a new sense of pride among the employees as it is seen as a piece of cutting-edge technology with its sleek form factor that delivers the power they need for their work.

The Surface gets better with Windows 10


The Surface is perhaps the most productive device on the planet, but with Windows 10, it is also the most advanced and secure device for enterprises today. The recent Windows 10 Anniversary Update features the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which help customers detect, investigate and respond to advanced and targeted attacks on their networks. With the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update, enterprise customers will see more enhanced security capabilities as they move along their digital transformation journey.

Already, IT administrators estimate a 15% improvement in IT management time with Windows 10, and the Creators Update will further shift resources and time-intensive tasks to the cloud, allowing our customers to focus on strategic activities within their organizations.

We have made it easier for enterprises interested to hop on the Surface bandwagon to get the most out of their deployment with the Surface Enterprise Initiative in partnership with Dell, IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton.

For more information on Surface for Businesses, visit