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Why change (IT perspective)?

This section extends the three organizational scenarios from the previous piece to discuss the risks and benefits associated with the decision to adopt a smart display architecture.

Part one looks at what happens if you use Sun Rays as thin clients - i.e. change your desktops but don't change your management style or software. In effect this becomes a recital of thin client benefits including:

Part two looks at what happens if you adopt the full architecture. In particular the focus is on what this does for the user and therefore on what it looks like to senior, middle, and line management.

The difference is this: using the Sun Ray as a thin client generally nets out as making IT more productive while using it in a smart display architecture generally nets out as making users more productive.

User productivity trumps all non security, non corporate risk, issues - and it doesn't take much to make a big difference: a 1% user productivity gain trumps a 50% IT cost decrease at most companies.

The productivity benefits to thin clients come from easily measured things like reliability and systems performance - those from smart display use tend to be much larger but also much more nebulous. For example:

The key to the change is that combining unified applications with the distributed management architecture turns IT into an "always on" shared information resource - and that, in turn, removes the social and organizational impediments to productivity that go with Wintel client-server.

Bottom line for smart display: improved user satisfaction, greater application usage effectiveness; improved effectiveness per IT dollar; and, the potential for IT driven revenue growth.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.