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."
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.
This technology refresh cycle is, of course, our first refresh cycle post Great Recession. Many businesses are wondering - should we phase the refresh cycle or should we just "bite the bullet" and big bang the refresh? As in all matters of client lifecycle management, there is no right or wrong answer, only conscious and unconscious decisions. Having said this, however, one can make a strong business case in either scenario depending on your particular business, however, the phased argument is now more challenging to make, to a high degree I have changed my view on this as well.
As in all of my blogs, the opinions represented in this blog are mine alone and do not represent my employer.
Spring is here, baseball, NBA playoffs, Final Four and budget cycles for businesses (I know that this is a stretch but the baseball season begins today).
This year, the budget cycle has some unique aspects to it for client computing. As a counter measure for the Great Recession, many of us (actually most of us) extended the useful life of desktops and laptops. Now our PC fleets are aging. In many cases the new software releases, energy management and power management options, applications, are not quite ready to optimally run on these older devices. We have inadvertently delivered on two things that may/will come back to "haunt" us in IT. First, we did do more with less, and we made the older devices work in the environment. Second, we have conditioned our end users to accept existing age and speeds (and hour glasses) as an acceptable response.
Now we are going forward to leadership and asking for funding to improve the PC fleet. This refresh cycle will likely require a detailed business plan.
This refresh cycle is different than all others before it as we have discussed in several of our blogs- Windows 7, new Intel chip sets, new form factors, new technologies, virtualization, the list is quite an impressive one.
Y2K was our last major IT refresh where it was not a "business as usual" refresh cycle. No one will forget the remediation efforts, and the big "sigh" that happended at 12:01 am. (perhaps big "yawn" is a better reference)
The choice this refresh cycle is whether to embrace and continue the phased refresh, to get back to the 25% to 30% annual model or to embrace the "big bang". For definition purposes, let's consider a big bang as a greater than 60% to 70% refresh pattern.
Most of the industry experts have published and written that the phased refresh cycle is the optimal. (Myself included in the past). The idea that disruption to the end user is mitigated, the resources can be leveraged, budgets are constrained, and a host of other valid considerations are still applicable, however, my opinion is that this perspective may be dated.
In the past 24 months while we were extending the useful life of the fleet, the technology footprint has dramtically changed. We could actually make a business case that suggests that the benefits lost in terms of operating expenses may well offset much of the budget required for this upcoming refresh.
If the conversation with leadership is solely about Capex it will be a short conversation. If you do not have the budget, then there is only so much you can replace. I understand that, but (and this is a big but) if it is all about the capital, at some point you will refresh the fleet, all we are doing is postponing the inevitable. Leasing, PC as a Service, consolidation of the PC budget to IT, all begin to play in this refresh cycle.
In providing guidance in this area, I would not be surprised if up to 40% of the Capex costs are offset by gains in Opex.
End users are seeking a better experience, if you are hiring new personnel attracting them with 5 year old technology (or greater) may prove to be interesting. How does a business justify more current technology to new hires and 5 year old technology to its existing staff? These are examples of some of the trade offs that you may need to consider.
Normal times the phased approach works, I am of the opinion that this refresh cycle has drivers that are unique. The fleets are so old by PC standards that we are almost left by default in a big bang scenario.
The recovery from this Recession, suggests that access to information is a competitive edge (for real this time).
What are you businesses doing to address this issue in your company?
I believe that going forward, it will be a challenge to go back to the phased refresh model.
There is an expression in New England that - "you can't get there from here". I am not so surre that we can return to the pure phased refresh approach in the near term without comprising end user experience, productivity, security, and access.