As desktop environments move towards becoming computing utilities, users no longer simply require break and fix services, but are demanding that their vendors provide comprehensive infrastructure management.
The shift in requirements from discrete computing support and change management services to multiyear, multiservice integrated support is leading to a shake up in the desktop management market as users try to manage and control the chaos caused by distributed, heterogeneous environments.
Stephen Clancy, director and principal analyst of Dataquest's desktop services unit, said at the market research firm's Servicetrends 99 conference in San Francisco this week: "There are a lot of new entrants onto the market, which are displacing relationships with established players, especially resellers, and people are entering the market faster than it is consolidating. It's not hard for suppliers to generate revenues in this sector, but it is hard to make profits."
As a result, he said, the US market was expected to grow at a 20 per cent compound annual rate to nearly $20 billion by 2003 from $8 billion in 1998.
But by that date, 60 per cent of customers would primarily demand a return on investment and the ability to deliver on key end user productivity metrics or business plans rather than simply focus on cost control and PC commodity services.
Many users today, however, perceived that their desktop management suppliers did not provide them with value for money. Their expectations were raised by vendor promises, but because they often competed for deals on price, quality suffered.
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