What fiscally conservative companies do to stay ahead of the pack
Now, more than ever, companies and municipalities that rely on computer systems, but are constrained by their budget, are turning to creative cost-saving solutions. The answer for these financially smart organizations has been Open-Source, virtualization and server based (dumb-terminal) computing.
Users do more with the same or less
With more and more work being done at the Server level and the user interacting with programs via the Web Browser, high powered desktops and machines running ‘special’ software are no longer the norm. Some would argue that computer chip sales because people are not buying PC’s with more horsepower at the desktop. Many people have discovered that they can be just as productive on a $400 Netbook computer as they can be on their office Intel-Core 2 Duo X.x-ghz machine that cost them $2,200+. Current chip volume sales come from very specific computing-intensive industries and, of course, the server level.
Why has the iPhone outsold their competitors? Managers that had long switched from Outlook to the Blackberry for email, have opted for a little more functionality on the road. Today, many sales teams can access their entire lead and customer database from their phone’s browser or the iPhone application that talks directly to their hosted Salesforce, Netsuite, or SugarCRM applications.
Organizations have also started using their unused server processor cycles to run the additional servers that they need to grow their business or improve efficiency. They are able to install new servers without purchasing hardware by leveraging Virtualization. Why buy another server when the server that they are currently using is not fully utilizing the hardware that it’s sitting on. Instead, they run multiple virtualized servers on one hardware platform.
In shops where Windows is required, Windows servers deliver virtual desktops for office and remote users. This has been a boon to “work from home users” that help the company keep their infrastructure costs down. Less office space, more productivity and happier employees. With these remote desktops, workers have the same experience whether at work or at home on employees’ existing household systems (any Pentium PC with Windows XP Home/Professional as well as an Apple iMac/Macbook). With all the control on the office servers, companies can be sure that company files do not end up on their employees’ home computers where little Johnny can inadvertently invite all of his limewire friends to share his music and his parent’s confidential company information.
No More Upgrades
This trend has started to affect software as well. Software sales are dwindling because people prefer the features and functionality of their current operating system and software over any marginal or non-existent benefit to Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2007 upgrades. In fact, except for corporate sales, we predict that Microsoft will likely experience lackluster sales of Windows 7 and Microsoft’s flagship application Microsoft Office. In response, Microsoft has already devoted a lot of resources to publishing its Microsoft Office suite on the web and will offer it as a subscription service.
Many critical applications have been moved to the cloud and many more will follow. Salesforce.com, SageCRM, Netsuite, Google Apps, etc. have all proven that critical applications can live outside company walls and that the work can be done from any device with a decent web browser (even an iPhone).
Open-Source is the answer
The catalog of Open-Source software is booming and businesses have started turning down specialty vendors and resellers of ‘boxed software’ for Open-Source alternatives. Microsoft office is no longer a requirement when customers can use OpenOffice.org; Linux now replaces their Windows desktops; Firefox allows them to browse the web; MySQL (which Oracle is looking to acquire) runs their powerful database and if they absolutely need it, they’ll launch their reliable Windows XP desktop virtually using an Open-Source VMWare Player. They do all this on their existing server systems or that old Pentium 4 desktop.
From the Desktop to the applications that they use everyday, these frugal organizations are definitely benefitting from low-cost, feature-rich solutions. Organizations can now spend their dollars on that which they do best, their core business.
If you want to use your 2011-2012 budget IN your business rather than ON your business, you have many options to consider. Contact us with your questions, we are here to help!