Cupcakes, Accounting, and a Microsoft-Dell Makeover

It's not always easy to leave behind your time-tested technology, especially when current systems aren't broken. But Microsoft teamed up with Dell and found two small businesses willing to take the leap. The goal was to transform the companies as examples of the tech brands' new hardware, operating systems, and applications.

Microsoft and Dell offered to pick up the tab and do all the work to migrate the small businesses from outdated legacy systems to current technologies.

The makeover project focused on two distinctly different businesses: Cupcake Royale, a chain of boutique cupcake bakeries, and a family-owned accounting firm, Balin Accountancy. Each has unique computing needs, yet initially relied on Windows XP and other legacy applications and hardware.

These two companies accepted the challenge to explore the impact of on their businesses. From the beginning of the project in the fall of 2010, I spoke with the owners and employees to learn why they continued to rely on older platforms and tools. I heard their concerns about making the switch, and followed up afterward to see how they adapted, and if upgrading was an experience they would recommend.

Meet the Players

creates delicious cupcake treats in the Seattle area, but it also focuses on community involvement and social responsibility, using all-natural, local ingredients and environmentally sustainable packaging.