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October 01, 2010

Strategic Planning Helps IT Stretch Budget Dollars: Doing More With Less

By TMCnet Special Guest
Chris Fey, North American Channel Chief of Lenovo

The economic downturn has forced IT decision makers to modify their objectives. In many cases, reducing costs, improving workforce productivity and making business processes more robust in light of tighter industry regulation replaced focus on planning for growth. “Doing more with less” has become a popular theme over the past few years in IT planning/budgeting.

Many IT decision makers are seriously focusing on total cost of ownership. It started with remote PC management and has now grown into a mature sub-industry of toolset vendors that can significantly lower operating costs and optimize IT staff to the most critical projects. IT managers are looking to hardware vendors for innovation in PC management and to provide tools built inside the PC solution. The old adage of the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of the cost of computing comes after the purchase price still rings true. Using these proprietary vendor tools can knock more than 50 percent off the total cost of ownership.

Another way to drive better bottom line results comes from improving workforce productivity. As mobility becomes more important, the number of portable devices has exploded over the past few years. New options for mobile connectivity are being combined with improved cloud applications. This is driving the need for thinner and lighter PC devices that can roam around the workplace. As the number of device options grows, IT managers must manage, secure and provide adequate support. In the near future, users may have twenty or more devices with Internet capability that likely demand access to critical corporate data. IT decision makers are working with thought leaders in the hardware industry to set minimum guidelines around what is an acceptable device. Technologies such as security chips, biometrics and anti-theft are key features driving solutions in this area.

The healthcare industry provides an excellent example of the growth of mobility. The move to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) for doctors necessitates having mobile solutions like tablet PCs around a clinic or hospital. In this case, legislation is mandating the meaningful use of technology. IT decision makers are looking to companies that provide durable and secure devices built for the business or government environment as opposed to consumer devices intended for home networks. As more devices come on the market, the risks for IT managers are evolving at the same pace. The damage caused by a lost or stolen device if not properly secured can be significant, especially if patient, intelligence or financial information can be accessed on the device.

The planning and budget cycle is a real time of change for IT decision makers. While budget dollars are shrinking, the complexity of building a robust IT infrastructure is growing exponential. This makes deploying tested, trusted and bullet-proof PC’s more critical than ever.

Chris Frey is North American Channel Chief of Lenovo (News - Alert).


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