New figures released showing a fresh appetite for PCs on the desktop will surprise those who predicted the demise of the rich-PC diet within corporations. Worldwide PC shipments reached 82.9 million units in the second quarter of 2010, a 20% increase from the second quarter of 2009, according to the Gartner Group. By Helen Beckett [Published 20/07/2010]
"Businesses did not upgrade PCs in 2009, but we are now seeing a PC replacement cycle," said a principal research analyst at Gartner. The main driver for the upgrade is moving off unsupported Windows XP SP2 onto Windows 7.
Although XP will be supported until 2014, companies replacing PCs now will most likely be installing them with Windows 7. Support and change management specialist with the Alturos consultancy, David Crowfoot, confirmed that in his public sector consulting role, he sees an enormous variety of desktop devices and configurations.
"The thing that has surprised me is the lack of standardisation and hence the variety of support that is necessary. The greater the variety of devices and platforms and office applications running on them, the more complex the support requirement," points out Crowfoot.
"It's a bit like an old boiler. Things start out simply enough but over the years things get bolted together and this adds even more complexity into the support". All this means that anyone going into IT support will need to master a wide range of skills, with Macs going up the popularity list in businesses, according to Gartner.
But Crowfoot maintains that the most important attributes for the support specialist are a pleasant phone manner and unflappability. "Interpersonal skills are often underestimated in this arena. Often when people phone a support desk they are not happy. It’s down to that person to fix the problem, and, just as important, to convince the caller that they are getting a good service".
Predictions for the desktop:
- Desktop virtualisation is becoming increasingly prevalent. We expect that 60% of all enterprise PC configurations will use at least one piece of desktop virtualisation technology by the end of 2012.
- Organizations are developing a pattern of skipping "plumbing" releases of Windows, and we expect Windows 7 to be the last traditional operating system (OS) upgrade.
- Macs will continue to require some level of enterprise attention as users demand choice and bring them into the workplace.
Recommendations for end users:
- Examine alternative methods of client computing and weigh options against total cost of ownership (TCO). Carefully estimate migration costs.
- Plan for a Windows 7 migration and focus on settling on the OS as a key long-term platform.
- Prepare for an increasing demand in Macs. To support Macs, organisations have to add skills and improve the management of Macs, implementing security and support policies, processes and tools.
(Source: Gartner Predicts 2010)
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