Getting Rid of the PC: Nicholas Carr

Many people were up in arms when Nicholas Carr wrote that “IT doesn’t matter”. I think in many ways he was “wrong” – as IT does matter. But in some ways he was right. IT itself does not matter, but how you USE IT does matter.
Carr now writes The time may have arrived when personal and business computing merge, at the device level, and companies get out of the business of buying PCs and other end-user devices altogether. One CIO who is already adopting this new model, according to an article in Computerworld, is Bill Leo of the consulting firm Oliver Wyman Delta. He has put into place a program, so far voluntary, that encourages employees to use their own PCs for work. In addition to cutting capital expenses, the program would allow Leo to reduce IT labor costs and shift the IT department’s focus to higher-value work.
I’ve been reading quite a bit about virtualization and how companies are using it to a) reduce the number of servers they use and b) the number of Windows licenses they have as well. Virtualization, VMWare is a popular vendor of this technology, makes it possible to run multiple computing instances on one computer.
Carr’s vision is definitely happening for larger businesses as they have the infrastructure to maintain virtualization software. However, medium sized businesses can and will leverage this technology as well. Either their IT departments will do it or they’ll outsource it to someone who can do it for them.
eWeek had a good overview of virtualization here.
For small businesses the best way to use server/pc technology is as follows:

  • Manage as much of the PC experience as you can – backup, patches, drivers, etc so end users have to do as little management as possible
  • Push as much data storage as you can on a central server
  • Maximize the Internet as much as you can
  • Standardize on as much technology as you can
  • Have a technology road map in place