by Rebecca Merrett

Organisations to rethink old desktops and apps in 2016

Dec 01, 2015
IT ManagementMobileSmall and Medium Business

It might seem simple, but many organisations haven’t determined if they are wasting money on underutilised apps and ageing desktops.

IBRS analyst, Joe Sweeney, believes more organisations next year will look at how they are deploying computing resources and realise the majority of their workforces are not using the Microsoft Office desktop tools that they thought they were.

“Utilisation is actually low of these products,” he told CIO. “What this means is the way we’ve traditionally managed PCs is defunct. The key to it is there’s a major desktop refresh going on, and it’s not going to be business as normal. It’s going to be a substantial rethink of what it means to do office work, what sort of applications you have, and how they are delivered,” he said.

The modern workforce needs only the right tools – not everything – for the right job they do, wherever they need to do it, Sweeney said. In the past, it was common to standardise all staff on the same desktops and apps, making support easy. But those days are long gone, he said.

“I have seen estimates where the savings on the total end-user compute environment, the PC, software, Windows, Office has been around 40 per cent [on average]. So if you are looking at that as a percentage of your total IT budget, you are looking at 5 per cent or even 7 per cent savings.

“It’s certainly top of mind for many organisations. Given that end-user compute represents anywhere from 12-15 per cent of your total IT budget year on year, is a big number.”

Many organisations are wasting money by not monitoring their app usage and optimising licenses. Sweeney said the very few organisations that do this in Australia are finding apps like Microsoft Word, for example, are used 40-50 per cent less by staff than what CIOs or senior management had thought.

“A lot of organisations have no clue what people are actually using.”

He said retailers Coles and Woolworths are examples of organisations that are taking a more pragmatic approach of delivering only relevant, high use tools to staff on mostly devices, not predominantly desktops, and tracking their savings.

The issue for many organisations, however, is that when they start to make substantial savings in the business as usual side of things they often don’t see that get put back into innovation.

“Let’s say you are a CIO and you save $10 million from $100 million annual spend. You do a great job, you save money. Next year your budget is $90 million. Australia has a very long track record in technology, but also other areas, of any savings made are not put back as dividends for innovation,” he said.

“Most CIOs who are experienced understand that it’s probably better to maintain a status quo than it is to try and get big savings in business as usual costs, because all you are going to do is drive down your budget rather than having new budget to invest elsewhere.

“Many organisations, but not all, are not incentivised to take on new risks and so forth. The rise of the chief digital officer is a response to this problem, because they have new budget of their own. But wouldn’t it have been better to have given that to the CIO to begin with?”