The changing shape of the desktop

No more like-for-like

Published/updated: November 2010

By Josie Sephton, Dale Vile & Tony Lock


The desktop environment is ready for change
Desktop modernisation plans have been on hold for many organisations as a result of reluctance to press ahead with Vista, and challenging economic conditions. Organisations that have historically embarked on significant periodic refreshes have been less active. Only 18% have implemented a major upgrade recently, for example; much lower than the 25-33% we would expect based on a typical 3 to 4 year cycle. Clearly many organisations have some catching up to.

Investment in the desktop is bouncing back
With finances starting to free up and Windows 7 neutralising the previous Vista road block, the evidence of catch up plans and activity is already evident. Almost two thirds of those who have historically embarked on periodic refreshes are either in the process of a hardware upgrade or are planning one within the coming year. Operating system upgrades are frequently a part of this; there is also significant movement around office productivity suites.

Awareness that like-for-like not being the only option is growing
The pause in proceedings has allowed an awareness among companies that like-for-like is not the only option. They have had the opportunity to consider alternatives to the traditional Windows/MS Office based fat client desktop. Although many companies are likely to continue with like-for-like, it is no longer a given.

IT needs to factor in more alternatives around devices, including from the consumer market
While IT hopes for a more locked-down world, the reality is that they expect a growing number of users to increasingly bring their own devices into the workplace. Furthermore, as a result of changing expectations, most say that users now have an influence over desktop modernisation plans. This highlights a need to address the ‘consumerisation’ of IT more proactively.

A broader approach to upgrade is potentially more beneficial
A broader approach to refresh, including hardware, OS and office productivity tools, reduces migration overheads, leads to a more up-to-date desktop, and drives a number of benefits around user satisfaction and productivity, as well as reducing the need for IT support and power savings.

Upgrade should be used to deal with existing shortfalls
The upgrade process provides an ideal opportunity to deal with existing shortfalls, particularly around management capabilities and processes, which are often not front-of-mind for many companies, and tend to continually get pushed to the bottom of the list in terms of priorities.

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