The changing shape of the desktop

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.

Content Contributors: Josie Sephton, Dale Vile & Tony Lock

Click here for more posts from this author

Dale is a co-founder of Freeform Dynamics, and today runs the company. As part of this, he oversees the organisation’s industry coverage and research agenda, which tracks technology trends and developments, along with IT-related buying behaviour among mainstream enterprises, SMBs and public sector organisations.