LONDON, May 21 /PRNewswire/ --

- Former Minister of State for Trade Industry Addresses the CPiO Customer Conference in Warwickshire

Speaking at the CPiO Customer Conference 2009 former Minister of State for Trade Investment and Head of the CBI, Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham Kt. implored SMEs to focus upon maintaining their level of business fitness to ensure that they are ready to take advantage of the upswing in the economy when it occurs.

Giving a keynote address at the CPiO Customer Conference on Tuesday 19th May at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire entitled 'The changing face of global business', Lord Jones remarked to the audience of CPiO customers , SMEs face the dual challenge of both staying in business and maintaining 'business fitness'. It's not enough just to be there at the end of the recession, but UK SMEs need to keep 'working out' to ensure that they have the very best potential when the business opportunity is there. It's clear that technology offers that significant edge and new and emerging approaches like Software-as-a-Service have the ability to enable the sector to stay healthy and thrive when markets recover.

At the CPiO Customer Conference , Lord Jones offered his views on how the UK is performing against the background of sweeping globalisation. With a strong relationship to Midlands industry, Lord Jones has a keen insight into the changing face of industry and provided his view on how the UK is fairing against increasing pressures and competition from around the world.

The Waterdale Group will shortly publish new research into current and future trends in the use of technology by SME businesses in the supply chain, and associated industries. Commenting on the research at the CPiO Customer Conference, Lord Jones said, In today's economic climate SMEs struggle to have the resources, expertise or budget to keep up to date. This survey reveals how organisations are responding to the current crisis by postponing investment in IT. Yet it is clear that these organisations are also aware that this trend is likely to compromise operational performance - and makes re-building the sector extremely tough once the economy improves.

As part of the Waterdale Group, CPiO focuses on providing IT solutions to the manufacturing, automotive, engineering and general business sectors. Its expertise ranges from delivering powerful end-to-end Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management solutions to innovative infrastructure redesign projects.

The CPiO Customer Conference is an annual event run by the Waterdale Group in association with its key partners including Sage UK. Jim Scott, Sage General Manager of the Enterprise Division joins the list of key speakers along with a number of guest speakers from CPiO's large customer base.

Lord Jones served as Director-General of the CBI, the UK's 'Voice of Business', from January 2000 to June 2006 where he regularly visited businesses in the UK and worldwide - taking their views back to those who make the rules.

Following his departure from the CBI he held a number of senior corporate advisory positions, for businesses including, Deloitte, Premier Automotive Group and JCB.

From July 2007 to October 2008 he served as the UK Minister of State for Trade Investment accepting a lifetime peerage in the House of Lords, where he now sits on the cross benches. During his 15-month Ministerial office he changed the way that UK Trade Investment was perceived in delivering a record year for inward investment and expanding the UK's presence in all of the major international markets.

Following his departure from Ministerial office, he was appointed as a Business Ambassador for UK Trade Investment. He is also Chairman of the HSBC International Business Advisory Board.

About CPiO Limited

Based in the West Midlands, CPiO is a privately owned company that provides integrated business solutions covering all aspects of the enterprise - such as finance, manufacturing, distribution, customer relationship management, service management, business intelligence and e-commerce.

Founded in 1990, CPiO has over 18 years experience working with software houses to offer mid-market organisations bespoke solutions which address a broad range of business needs. The company works with clients across a wide spread of sectors, including the Service Industries, Energy Environmental, Medical, Education, Manufacturing and Automotive.

A Sage Strategic Partner and a Microsoft Gold partner, CPiO is one of the top UK resellers of Sage's Mid Range and Microsoft's Dynamics software. Solutions include Sage CRM, Sage SalesLogix, Sage 1000, Sage 500 and Sage 200 Suite, Dynamics CRM, Dynamics AX. Systems can be either conventionally installed on the customer's own servers, or fully hosted at a secure data centre using a subscription payment model.

CPiO has strategic alliances with many other IT providers including Microsoft, Sage, Oracle, IBM and more, enabling it to deliver total business solutions to its customers.

For further information on the customer conference please contact: CPiO Limited The itpr Group +44(0)844-880-6140 +44(0)1932-578800

For further information on the customer conference please contact: CPiO Limited, +44(0)844-880-6140, The itpr Group, +44(0)1932-578800