Deploying thin client technology across enterprises can cut costs by up to 70 per cent, according to analyst Bloor Research.
In a report entitled Thin Client Benefits In Practice, the analyst said key benefits include "massively reduced IT costs", typically in the area of 20 per cent to 30 per cent, but sometimes as much as 70 per cent.
Other benefits include improved data security, simplified business integration, greater access flexibility and easier scaling to cope with business expansion.
The analyst conducted interviews with six organisations in five countries who had used thin client for over two years, including the UK's National Blood Service (NBS).
A thin client accesses software directly from the server, so does not store local applications or data and therefore does not need local hard drives or large memory. As a result, thin clients may cost as little as a third of the price of desktops.
NBS programme manager Kevin Cartwright said NBS, the largest specialist health authority in England, took two and a half years to convert to thin clients across the country.
But results included hot-desking with users able to log on at any centre, access to a centralised document database replacing 15 regional servers, and remote support of desktops.
"A major benefit is a flexible approach that wouldn't have occurred otherwise," Cartwright told vnunet.com.
The strategic business benefits of thin clients include the ability to change business processes rapidly, the report found. Centralised applications and data meant easier legal conformance, business continuity and scalability.
Reduced downtime and licensing costs, tighter management and rapid deployment of new software without end-user action all provided savings.
Best practices for success with thin client projects, according to Bloor Research, include ensuring senior management commitment and reducing employee resistance by getting the IT department to 'charge' less for using a thin client desktop.
The analyst recommended removing client-server completely rather than leaving a mix, which it said would actually increase costs long term.
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