Gartner is predicting “the most fundamental changes to PC architectures for 20 years”, driven by users’ demand for a more consumer feel to the technology they use at work.
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The analyst firm has identified three key phases for the next five years that IT chiefs must plan for today.
First up is a major infrastructure shift as Vista and Intel’s new Core architecture processes force firms to focus more keenly on technical desktop issues than they’ve needed to since the late 1990s.
“Organisations will discover that Vista cannot be adopted without a careful examination of its impact on their overall end-user management processes,” suggests Stephen Kleynhans, research vice-president at Gartner.
At the same time, spending on notebooks will rival that of desktops.
More people will be using personally owned mobile equipment regularly by 2009, forcing IT to adopt virtualisation to ensure security and compliance issues aren’t compromised.
Most companies will begin to phase out Windows XP by 2009.
All these changes will create a workplace where the lines between corporate and consumer technology have blurred. In this so-called 'user-centric era' users will carry their digital persona between environments and devices.
“Users will move seamlessly among the devices carrying their settings, as well as transferring the state of their session as they move,” says Kleynhans.
IT departments must accept that users will want consumer-style technologies in the workplace and should expect to make significant design changes to accommodate their demands. Users will be in the driving seat, while IT’s role will shift to that of an enabler.