British IT managers would rather manage their existing PC installations better than try out alternatives like the NC or NetPC to reduce the total cost of ownership. Despite the efforts of vendors to hype network computers, almost three in four users prefer to find traditional solutions to the cost of ownership problem, a new survey conducted by Benchmark Research for Compaq, has found. Benchmark surveyed 384 UK IT directors and managers working in finance, services and the public sectors, at the end of 1997. Seventy-two per cent of respondents said they were unlikely to replace PCs with NCs over the next two years. Among the reasons given is the lack of applications for the NC, because it runs Java rather than Windows applications. James Griffith, senior product manager at Compaq, commented: "Java is not here. Today there are probably 50 or so Java applications compared to the thousands of Windows applications available." But while IT managers gave the NC the cold shoulder, they were also sceptical of Windows-based NetPC technology. Over 68% said they would not be replacing their existing PCs with NetPCs. The survey found that most people believe the cost of ownership (TCO) can be reduced by better managing their existing systems than implementing something new. Respondents believe costs could be reduced by deploying management tools. Griffith said that the report highlighted users' concerns over throwing away existing PC infrastructures which can be a risky and expensive proposition. "IT managers can realise substantial cost savings if they are able to spend more time proactively managing their current PC networks," commented Griffith. Almost half the respondents believed that in the long run, NCs and NetPCs can help reduce TCO because they involve giving control back to centralised IT. However, a significant proportion believed client costs would remain the same. The survey showed that 36% expected costs to remain the same if they moved to the NC. For the NetPC, 46% of respondents said that client costs would remain the same. Griffith added that Compaq plans to improve the manageability of its PCs by integrating features from its DeskPro 4000N NetPC, such as Wake On LAN, into its other desktop PC ranges.
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