For the past two weeks (and for the upcoming month) I am delivering a series of field sessions with teammates from Intel and Microsoft. To date, there have been a series of questions and comments that I would like to share and secure your commentary and feedback.
As always, the content on this blog are mine, and do not represent my employer.
Overall, the feedback on Windows 7 has been positive. Most businesses recognize the business case and are seemingly moving ahead. I tested my belief that this refresh cycle requires a really well documented business plan with quantified details and, for the most part, there was agreement. The following represent 5 of the top questions (with apologies to David Letterman's Top Ten list, by the way we did go to the same high school).
Question #1- Should my business adopt 64 or 32 architecture? My response, is that as long as the cost differential is minimal, 64 is the way to go. The idea behind this is knowing that we do not want to even upgrade a desktop or laptop once deployed, having the higher architecture makes sense. For newer applications, multiple sessions, and futures the 64 architecture will return the investment.
Question #2- Does my business need a new PC to make W7 work, or can I add disk and memory if needed? My opinion differed from others in the sessions to a degree. One of the points about W7 is that W7 is optimized on the new Intel iCore technologies and newer platforms. It seems to me that deploying a new operating system on older technology simply defeats the purpose and sub-optimizes. If the technology is new(er) within an 18 month window, different story, but even then I would encourage a look at a trade in strategy. I joked that the answer from the hardware company was to buy more hardware, the software company solves all ills, and the chip company encourages newer chip for benefits. The point I have made in other blogs still remains true- if you line up six consultants in a room and ask the same questions, you will recieve six different answers and all will be correct. The business plan will be unique for each business.
Question #3- Is your business virtualizing? Not surprisingly, a lot of hands go up when this question is asked. There still seems to be a lag in the timing to go from the pilot and proof of concept phase to production. The hands that go up when I ask if there is scaling are fewer,and when I inquire if the roll out plan is defined, there are clearly concerns. This suggests that this to some degree remains a work in process.
Question #4- I asked the follow on question of whether the virtualization is to be deployed before W7, and the response seemed to be, "we would like to" but unsure if the business case, user segmentation, and other factors could be vetted in time. The application stack is almost always identified as the issue. Having W7 run in XP mode for these may be a viable option to consider.
Question #5- Last question (for this blog), What is the timeframe for W7 adoption? Almost all businesses are looking at this today. The constraint is obviously stated as cash. We discussed leasing, PC as a Service, big bang vs. phased and other topics in this area of interest. In most businesses, the business case is in process of being defined.
After the sessions, I remain of the opinion that 2010 is indeed the year of the refresh. The benefits that are counter measures to the gross acquisition pricing approaches 30% to 40% of the overall total. This makes this refresh cycle unique in terms of the economics.
Let me know your thoughts.
Over the past few months as the economy rebounds from the recession, many businesses that I have met with regarding lifecycle management have asked about the thoughts on leasing as a service delivery strategy.
As always, the opinions expressed on this blog are mine and do not represent those of my employer.
Leasing in client computing is likely a consideration worth revisiting if you have not done so pre-recession. It may seem somewhat counter-intuitive to finance in the context of our economy, but there is a business case that may be compelling for your business. The first perception that businesses face, I believe, is that the leasing business itself is the same as it has always been. If the consideration is only rate and residual, many businesses would remark that their Treasury has internal rate of return that may outweigh financing. However, one of the first questions to ask is whether scarce capital resources are to be deployed for client computing.
I would be very interested in your thoughts on this topic. It does seem to be coming up more and more as a potential service delivery strategy.
The issue is that a bad leasing experience, even if a long time ago, lingers as a perception in the current tense. Businesses that may have not located PC's due to asset management weaknesses, or had negative end of lease experiences may find it challenging to revisit the topic. In my research "Appropriate Incumbent Bahavior" (I need to get a better title) it is suggested that if the conversations about condition of the equipment, components like mice and keyboards, and extensions/ buy outs are prevalent, it may be relationship that is an issue, not the actual strategy itself.
The leasing business has changed over the years - like for like not specific asset returns, assumptions for shrinkage, components, and so on are embedded or can be embedded. However, the real benefit of leasing may have little to do with the actual financing - leasing as a by product of the solution embraces a planned refresh discipline, and all of the information on the detailed leasing schedules (Schedule A's) can be a feed into the asset management repository. This can actually improve the practice level for PC asset management which on a good day is a challenge for those of us in IT.
With the innovation curve for refresh and improvements increasing in velocity, leasing can provide a hedge. The behavior we have all experienced in the recession is the hunkering down and extending the useful life of the devices, and the related impact on IT support. (older PC's really do cost more if the enterprise looks at cost not only acqusition price). Leasing could be a short term, interim tactic, as well as a longer term strategy.
Leasing may not be for every business, but it is worth revisiting to see if the benefits can go beyond rate and residual. What are your thoughts ?