End users are desperate to bring some order to their out of control desktop infrastructures, but looking to the network computer (NC) to cut costs is not the answer, according to a panel of experts at the Dataquest Service Trends conference in San Francisco this week.
Controlling the total cost of desktop ownership is the major challenge facing companies, said Stephen Clancy, principal analyst with Dataquest?s IT Services Group, with most of the costs hidden beneath the surface. "It?s the iceberg cost factor," he explained, citing invisible costs such as under-use, administration and downtime as adding to the inital purchase price.
Many users are likely to fall in with the idea of implementing supposedly lower cost NCs as a way of cutting their desktop spending, but this is a fallacy, according to a panel of suppliers of desktop management services.
Rick Nathanson, senior vice president for network professional services at consultancy Entex Information Services, was dismissive of the notion that NCs were cheaper. "Our research has shown that there is only about $49 dollars difference in the cost of an NC and a PC," he claimed.
Gordon Reilley, president of asset management specialist Asset Software, said NCs displaced rather than cut costs. "How much investment do you have to put in a network backbone?" he asked. "Putting in NCs is like shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic to the benefit of Oracle and Sun."
Sherri Davis, marketing manager at Hewlett-Packard?s desktop outsourcing division, said there were operational issues with NCs that could impact on the day to day running of a business. "You?re handcuffing yourself to the network," she said. "If the network goes down, it will hamstring the entire operation. With ?thin? PCs, you can at least continue to work on some things while you wait for the network to be restored."
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