26/10/2010

By Bob Bennett, Client Product Manager, Dell

In today’s corporate world the proliferation of innovative client technology is more prevalent than ever — and follows growing workforce demand to have greater choices and flexibility from the technologies provided by employers. Yet the reality is that many businesses ‘make do’ with existing computers and infrastructures, thus missing the benefits — from increased worker productivity to decreased infrastructure management costs — offered by the newest generation of products and client management solutions. The latest preliminary PC shipment forecast by Gartner discovered that the age of business PCs is at an all time high, and in delaying replacement of these aged PCs, businesses risk increasing support and Windows 7 migration costs as well as alienating employees. Even the hardiest of business PCs can lose performance as new multiple system upgrades and patches are installed, and older systems can be frustrating as well as costly to manage. Aging computers can also have a serious impact on office morale, worker productivity and the future development of a company — right down to attracting the best and brightest talent.

In this article, Bob Bennett, Client Product Manager, Dell, discusses how important the right technology is in creating a successful office environment.

The most successful and entrepreneurial office environment is one that allows its staff to flourish, providing the technological support needed for employees to do their jobs effectively and achieve the bottom line. Businesses who want to recruit the best talent need to adapt and cater to the requirements of a generation that is highly tech-savvy and keen transfer the utility and function-rich technology they enjoy in their personal life to their professional environments. The rising trend of the ‘consumerisation’ of enterprise technology requires IT to acknowledge the demand for hardware which addresses user preferences both at an individual level and for the greater good of the business. With this in mind, the demand for a flexible infrastructure which can accommodate a range of client devices for both office-based and mobile working in physical and virtual environments is a challenge that faces businesses from start-up to blue-chip level.

The first step towards ensuring a successful office environment should be to consider the business needs. Both small and large businesses should evaluate their existing IT infrastructure and the respective requirements that this imposes on their client technology. For example, whilst only a minority of businesses already work with virtualized desktops, current trends unveiled through the number of businesses evaluating virtualized desktops, particularly in light of intended migration to Windows 7, implies that many more plan to move towards virtualization in the coming years. This means that when upgrading client PCs, employing virtualization-ready technology will allow businesses the freedom to move towards virtualization as and when they are prepared.

The individual data security requirements of a company should also play a role when making decisions around client technology. As roughly 60% of employees work away from their company headquarters at some time, businesses need to employ client products that adequately protect their most valuable commodity: its data. Many good business devices come with contactless smartcard readers, fingerprint readers and provide data encryption services as standard to ensure that companies remain compliant with stringent data protection regulations. Remote working also raises the question of how to deal with the management of remote devices. Distributed Device Management services help businesses track dispersed assets, distribute software and manage patches all over the internet, no matter where PC clients are physically located.

Another step towards ensuring a successful office environment is to consider the preferences of the user. Allowing users choice over small details such as colour and features like integrated webcams can help them feel in control of their office technology. What is more, each user will have specific individual role-based requirements. Clearly, someone working in artistic or design departments will have a preference for a computer that has a high-level graphics card, lots of RAM and a fast processor to allow them to use large and cumbersome design programmes with ease. The ability to make full use of the technology available to them will in turn allow employees to truly make the most out of their roles — and achieve top results for the business.

Whilst many businesses have delayed replacing their aging machines due to fear of the initial expenditure, the long term savings that could be made on maintenance alongside the boost that new machines give to employee morale, means that finding the right client devices for your workforce is a highly worthwhile investment to make. The right technology with the right people will go a long way towards ensuring a successful office environment, both now and in the future.


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