Feeds

Just how special are Power Users?

Standard kit will do them just fine

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

Workshop Power users are often at the cutting edge of an organisation’s revenue generation, product development, operational excellence or strategic core, and as such they require excellent IT systems to support their role. In years gone by, the needs of these specialist workers often necessitated that their PCs be customised and configured precisely to their needs.

Advances in technology raise the question as to whether desktop systems have now become so powerful in terms of processing power, memory, networking and storage capacities or bandwidth, that the demands of these high performance users can be met by “standard” equipment - or at least a common base with manageable options?

Where power workers are responsible, critical or important business functions, it is important to understand not only the “physical’ requirements of the PC kit in terms of performance, but also to factor in the entire working environment, including the licensing costs of the applications, business risk exposure, time constraints or the cost of lost productivity when something goes awry.

The cost to the business of each of these could easily outweigh the cost advantages of trying to run common machines and support processes across high performance users and less critical ones. This factor alone may justify making use of specialist hardware, but only if this kit is demonstrably more reliable than that of the standard issue equipment.

It is likely that modified, or even dedicated, support processes will be required, not only for the customised workstations but potentially for application packages or other software tools.

If it is decided that power users require special equipment, it needs to be remembered that the support team may also have to implement specialist hardware recovery or break/fix processes. Clearly, such customised support requirements, potentially making use of dedicated “hot spares”, will come with additional costs.

Companies where over 50 per cent of users are classified as “demanding” are far from rare, as seen in the figure above. For these organisations, the question posed at the start of this article needs to be inverted - it becomes one of whether there are economic benefits to be realised in supplying the minority of non-demanding users with PCs or laptops of a lower specification.

Instead of buying dedicated new machines, this could be achieved by phased refreshes where high performance users receive the newest machines, and older kit moves to the more “casual” users. This approach needs to be balanced against other options, such as dividing the user base into a few “pools” with a standard configuration for each use case.

Whichever way it happens, the process of device selection is rarely straightforward. There is also another factor to be considered beyond the normal cost of acquisition and support. This is the “personal” component that is always involved in PC selection.

If the organisation does decide to “downgrade” power users to the same devices supplied to the rest of the user base, it may well have to take a diplomatic approach when explaining its decision to those who previously utilised specialist kit.

The culture of users is still to regard the PCs they use as their personal device rather than as equipment supplied by the business for productivity enhancement. Perceptions of being “downgraded” are likely to lead to a degree of discontent, something that often results in friction. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.