One of the managers I worked for in the past , made a comment to me years ago that I remember still today- "if it happens more than twice, it is a trend". Over the past few months I have observed what I now believe is a trend as related to Windows 7. As always, opinions expressed in my blog are mine only and do not represent that of my employer.
The recession, and subsequent state of the economy, has had many businesses "hunker down" extending the useful life of desktops and laptops, in essense declaring a moratorium. Regardless of whether the extension was a conscious or unconscious decision, what now seems clear is that the " business as usual" refresh for this particular cycle requires a project plan. This technology refresh cycle has embedded several other decisons that impact the client experience ranging from cost, operating system, virtualization, reuse, consumerization (BYOC), energy management (this could be an exhaustive list). To some degree, this refresh is at the crossroad of innovation.
Businesses regardless of size, industry, and scope seem to concur that unlike the like for like technology refresh cycles previously, this technology refresh cycle requires a higher level of due diligence. My opinion is that there is a broad realization that this refresh cycle could set the agenda and perhaps the innovation tone for the next 3 to 5 years. The implications from this refresh cycle may be farther reaching than previous ones because the stakes are higher given the impact of the economy and the potential that strategic direction is implied. I constantly remind that there are no right or wrong answers, only conscious and unconscious decisions in client lifecycle management. However, that does not suggest that there are no financial and strategic implications.
The question I am asking for your guidance is whether your busienss has required a business plan or more rigor in this cycle than previous ones. So is this observation correct ?
The pent up demand as we arrive in the recovery period of the recession, is similar in nature to the demand we all experienced post Y2K, the difference though is that the technology alternatives are more mainstream and driven by Windows 7, Intel's new chipsets, virtualization, product features, new form factors and so on. It seems as though many businesses have recognized this somewhat as the cross roads in client computing alternatives- which is likely why we are likely seeing more project plans and business cases required.
The business bases and project plans that I observe in the industry are far more comprehensive and deeper than rationalization projects or optimization projects.
As capital becomes scarce and visible, all alternatives are likely to be vetted at this timeframe.
The risk of course is to over analyze the scenario and result in a further delay or perhaps inertia in the client infrastructure. I recall a quote attributed to Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees "If you see a fork in the road, take it". The decisions regarding this technology refresh cycle may not be as tactical as we might think.