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Enterprises like thin clients, but employees resent loss of PCs

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Survey People rather than technology are proving the major stumbling block for companies keen to roll-out thin client systems, a survey by DataPro has revealed. According to The Reality of Deploying Thing Clients in 1999, thin clients are proving their worth, with an estimated 80 per cent support cost saving over standard desktop PCs, particularly in data entry and data look-up roles. Upgrade, installation costs are much reduced too The snag is, while factors like these make a compelling case for IT managers, convincing users of the benefits is proving rather more tricky. The report highlights findings which suggest users tend to resent the imposition of thin clients because the perceive they are getting less powerful machines with fewer features, and that they dislike the lack of control over their own environment. Of the large enterprises the report's authors surveyed, almost half use thin clients on at least 50 per cent of their desktops. And the vast majority use Windows terminals hooked up to NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition. Java-based thin clients proved to be thin on the ground. The shift to that platform, which the report reckons would require significant changes to be made to a company's application and networking infrastructure, is proving too much for most businesses. Where Java terminals are installed, it tends to be part of a major strategic shift. Other enterprises are using Web-based applications, served from standard Web servers. Those business that have taken this route claim to have achieved better user performance than that provided by systems based on Terminal Server. ®

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