The Demise of the Desktop Computer

Today I was doing some research on enterprise mobility and came across an article on Tech Crunch about the death of the desktop computer. The article is a couple years old, but still highly relevant and interesting to consider. Is the desktop PC going the way of the dinosaur?

In my opinion, the short answer is no, but we can see a huge shift in workplace mobility. Tablets and smartphones have forever changed the definition of the workplace. Access to data and applications, anytime, anywhere have increased employee productivity. By one estimate, more than 240 hours per employee per year, have been gained. That's a lot of added work time.

Here is an interesting snapshot from a Gartner research piece on sales of PC vs. mobile devices:

Yes, this is now rather dated, as we are now at the far end of the sales estimates. But you can easily see that mobile phones and tablet sales have shot up, and the end of the growth is far from over. Almost 3 billion mobile devices will be sold in 2017. That is a 70% increase year-over-year. Astonishing to say the least. Seeing those numbers alone tell me that we are in the midst of a huge transition akin to the introduction of the desktop computer in the office back in the 1990s. The workplace will never be the same.

The PC desktop has transitioned from the sole access point to information and software, to one piece of the growing access points. The PC desktop has it's advantages and place in any work station matrix. With it's large screens, full size keyboard and mouse, for myself, there is just a place and time to use the desktop.

That said, mobile devices also have their place, and the Gartner illustration clearly shows that. Workers are on the move and are taking advantage of access to cloud hosted data and software. The idea behind Enterprise mobility is the opening up of the traditional office environment boundaries. While obviously the main office not going anywhere soon, the idea of the office is beginning to shift in real time. Staff is on the move which opens up the possibilities of new opportunities to gain business and increase efficiency.

I've gone over the benefits of bringing a business 100% mobile in previous website posts here. The brief is:

  • Cost efficiency

  • Reduction of maintenance requirements

  • Flexibility and scalability of resources

  • On demand user administration

  • 24/7 user support

  • Off-site backup of critical data

  • Regular maintenance and software upgrades

  • Employee mobility anywhere, anytime

  • Freedom to focus on core business

At this point, it is worth the time and effort for IT departments to take a hard look at this opportunity, and at a minimum do some cost/productivity comparisons. We are definitely past the days of early adoption, with many larger companies now taking the steps to move in the direction of cloud-based desktops, apps and file storage. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple of our client names that come to mind.

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