One of the responsibilities within the community at HP that I have is to identify trends based upon the research and field experiences that I observe. Remember to keep in mind that all of my research and observations are independent, not necessarily those of HP.
Over the past few months I have seen more momentum build up for the upcoming technology refresh cycle for client computing. Last October I wrote a white paper about client technology refresh cycles in a tightening economy. At that time the "R" word (recession) was not declared so one could not include that in the writing. However, most of us had a feeling that it was indeed a recession. Businesses do what we have to do in a troubled economy- we all "hunkered" down. Expenses were cut and various counter measures were implemented, some unique to a business and some not so unique.
Depending upon whose perspective it is, the recession is either over, getting over, still around but getting better, or stalling. That is quite a range of opinions. However, despite that wide range, it is clear to me by my interactions in the field that the planning is occurring for the upcoming client technology refresh cycle.
There are a lot of factors in this scenario that are at play, and all are occuring simultaneously in the environment. These factors range from the new operating system (W7), the custom applications coming out of development, price/performance, the aging of the PC fleet, and so on. One could likely list far in excess of 10 factors all related in some manner.
These factors appear to me to be compelling because most result in a cost reduction and a tight ROI. However, there remains a perception that retaining the aging technology is "free" and some businesses may take a "wait and see" approach to the refresh. These businesses, in my opinion, may miss the opportunity to innovate at this time.
While the plannnng is occuring, the larger question still remains whether that plan of record will be implemented, or will the market place become slow in refreshing simply as a hedge.
My opinion is that this technology refresh carries with it the promise that cost improvement can follow- this is not a traditional "like for like" conversion. The trends that we discussed in our last blog entry now come into play. There have been a lot of lessons to be learned from the Y2K and subsequent technology refresh cycles which can optimize the upcoming cycle.
Businesses are gearing up for this technology refresh cycle which signals a return to a level of normalcy in the refresh cycles and potentially in the business cycle.
Are you seeing the same trend in your business and is the planning occuring? Along the same lines, is this technology refresh cycle unique in any way in comparison to the last refresh cycle? Your opinions and thoughts could impact how others may view their refresh process.
Finally, the gearing up for the refresh cycle is somewhat of a signal of a return to a more stable business as usual model within client computing, but given all of the changes in access devices and the trends, has the client technology refresh cycle fundamentally changed, or is this refresh cycle a "traditional" client technology refresh cycle?
For those of us involved in end user computing, these are challenging times; change is never easy, and in the context of all of the surrounding factors more complex than ever.