If at this point in time, your business has not deployed or have the Windows 7 readiness in action, you might be in the "big bang" territory for this upcoming technology refresh cycle. If your business has a "ride it 'til it dies" refresh program, perhaps this is a "Aha" moment.
While staging and integrating desktops and laptops pre-deployment is something we have been delivering in IT for quite a while, the new trending suggests a change is in the wind. Delivering the staging in the same way as before for the W7 deployment and technology refresh cycle, may be so "1990 ish."
As businesses look to perform a technology refresh cycle on desktop and laptop technology, what guidance do we provide our employees for refreshing their PDA's and handheld devices? As IT, should we?
We have just about completed the Windows 7 Year of the Refresh Roadshows throughout North America. For those of you that I have had the pleasure to meet and chat, I thank you. The sessions and the follow on Q&A flagged several issues and concerns, and validated many of our beliefs about this upcoming refresh cycle. First the disclaimer.
The opinions and comments expressed on this blog are mine, and do not represent those of my employer.
One of the key points that we validated in the sessions, was that this refresh cycle will, for the most part, require a detailed business plan with concrete ROI and contribution calculations. Moreover, this refresh cycle wil require a definitive statement of benefits to the enterprise. We also validated that with Windows 7, new product features, new technologies (virtualization), practice improvements, security, (I could go on and on, but the point is made) suggests that this business case simply is compelling as any we have collectively seen in the industry.
Interestingly, when I asked the question if the business case would be the key mobilizer of the technology refresh cycle, the response was almost universal in its positioining - not without addressing the politics of the refresh.
We have known from previous research that a good (or even great business case) can be trumped by politics, social issues, cultural concerns, and emotional issues. In this refresh cycle it is clear that there are inhibitors to the refresh cycle. This may or may not be a "bad" thing.
In Closed Loop Lifecycle Planning (my research) we have concluded a number of findings in regards to the emotions of change:
1) You cannot overcome emotional argument with business logic
2) Even the best ROI and business cases need to address the emotional, political, and social aspects to succeed
3) The Great Recession is a game changer
Based upon this, the question is how to manage and address organizational behavior. To a high degree, we in IT are our own "worst enemies" in this respect. When we were asked to do more with less, we did a lot more with a lot less. When asked to make older technology work, we made the older technology work (and work well). Now we are at a point where client technologies need to be updated, but the political realities take over- cash is stil short, the economy is still uncertain ... so IT , "squeeze out another year". This tends to be played invariably in one form or another.
To some degree this is really a cause and effect that could be predicted. For many years, PC's and many technologies in general were viewed as "commodities". None of us would argue (or for that matter win the argument) that there is clearly a commodity aspect to PC's. But allowing the argument to go unchecked over time, leads us to the scenario that when we can innovate (such as virtualization, W7, etc) , the commodity perspective takes over. Quantifying the business case will not be enough in many cases since there will be a perspective that at the end of the day, how can you improve on a commodity? Politically, those who believe this may be likely less receptive to a technology refresh of scale since that would suggest that delaying the cycle could have had a less than positive impact to the enterprise.
In the blog we have discussed the potential of continuous process improvements (8% to 10%), the opportunities for step changes (>25%), energy management >$30 per seat, improved productivity >68%, and other amazing statistics that could accompany this refresh cycle. Much of the technology that is available now did not even exist pre-Great Recession.
Addressing the potential of this refresh cycle, requires IT to understand the organizational biases and ground that has already been staked out in terms of position. If once a commodity always a commodity exists, this is an inhibitor.
Perhaps a logical technique to engage is to focus on the economics, identify the perceptions, acknowledge them, and incorporate the objections up front into the dialog. Ignoring the objection will likely result in a sub-optimized IT refresh. Emotionally, convincing teammates that the refresh cycle is not about a commodity discussion will be decidedly different than other refresh cycles.
To some degree, this refresh cycle is about "green field"- a new playing field that is driven by a unique set of circumstances.
This is my perspective, I would like to hear yours!
I have just concluded some research that I wanted to share, and yes, I am developing a detailed white paper on this topic, but wanted to share some interesting points and concepts and get your thoughts.
As always, the opinions represented on this blog are mine and do not represent my employer.
The premise is simply this - since the 1980 Recession, and the subsequent 5 including this, the Great Recession, IT has re-inveted itself after each downturn. Each downturn included such re-inventing such as the internet adoption, automated banking, dot.com era, and now user oriented computing. IT alignment to the end user is now at the forefront of many businesses as we gear up for the next technology refresh cycle. The popularity of the BYOC concept, the ubiquitous mobilty, smart phones, and elements of consumerization abound. At the other end of the spectrum is virtualization and cloud computing delivering the secured on demand access.
Evidence that IT has reinvented itself is there simply by observation of current events. News reporting , social networking, blogging (like this one) . Time Magazine reported recently that the citizens are sending 13% fewer letters which now forces postal service to rethink Saturday deliveries.
My son enters his assignments on a laptop, researches on his laptop. Teachers communicate with students via technologies. Textbooks are even modified by technologies.
Techonomic change is not bad, it will likely be a source of a new generation of green jobs and industries. Techonomics also changes the fundamentals.Technomics is likely the foundation of innovation , since innovation must solve a business problem in the first place.
I pointed out in an earlier writing that the dot.com era was far from a bust- the Google, Amazon, Yahoo model was created. We shop today and research different through the internet. By casting the set of economics in this new position, we can engage our employees and management in new conversations. Instead of talking about home office or teleworkers , the conversation should be about the techonomics- what changes from the financial perspective. The green initiatives includes working from a non-corporate location to reduce carbon footprint, a business case for virtualized desktops, new technology, a new set of economics. A home office costs the business less than a corporate office. Some studies suggest a cube set up is$1,800 and $500 or so for the care and feeding year to year.
The Great Recession has yet another unintended consequence in my opinion, we in IT now need to speak and plan in the business context of economics. The green jobs, technology jobs, and new jobs that are frequently discussed may in fact be driven to a degree by the techonomics that we create in doing our jobs in IT. Techonomics is not just a set of words, I think it captures the result of what we in IT have been striving for - a new set of economy driven by solutioning in our businesses. ROI's need to adopt to terms like "time to solution" in software implementation, "time to patient" in health care, as examples. For years, we in IT have held that IT enables change, not inhibit. The business case for asset management after SOX was the law of the land suddenly became an easier converation to have.
What do you think about this concept and have you seen changes in how client technologies are being positioned, please let us know.
One final point of this blog entry that is an interesting point of view, the PC as a Service and cloud computing are technonomic approaches to solving capital and resource issues we all have had to deal with over the years. Much of this is driven by security enabled by networking and virtualization offerring a new set of economics which are unique to us in IT.
Techonomics, you'll be hearing more I am sure.