New IDC Study Identifies PC Support And Management Costs, Reveals Strong Opportunities For Desktop Services Providers

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Jan. 28, 1998 — Organizations running PC LAN-based desktop environments suffer the greatest pain regarding desktop support and management costs, according to a new report published by International Data Corporation (IDC). These organizations can see an annual cost-per-PC of nearly $10,400 to provide support services such as help desk and hardware maintenance & repair, and operational services such as asset management and hardware & software upgrades.

Organizations that have moved to full-fledged enterprise-wide, client/server environments — in which the majority of heavily- used applications reside on a division or company server and company-wide servers — see lower support and management costs of around $3,300 annually per PC. Standalone environments, mainly because of their simpler configurations, see lower costs than PC LAN environments, at about $4,800 annually per PC. This is still higher, however, than organizations running enterprise-wide client server environments.

The study shows broad opportunities for outside service providers to sell and deliver desktop services to customer organizations, particularly those shops that are migrating from PC LAN to enterprise client/server environments. "Service providers have a great opportunity to help customers support and management their desktop environments, by delivering those services that internal IS and business-unit managers lack the bandwidth to provide," said Doug Chandler, senior analyst in IDC's Client/Server Support and Operational Services research program. "In particular, services such as help-desk and software technical support, as well as operational services such as asset management and backup & archiving, are ripe areas for outside providers."

IDC found that across most organizations, IS and business-unit managers have firm control over desktop hardware and software purchases. Although downloading of software from the Internet, for example, can subvert this control. On the other hand, few organizations have formalized asset management programs in place. With support resources often stretched thin, a significant percentage of end users turn to local "PC gurus" to help them with day-to-day software usage and other PC- related problems. When managers go to an outside provider for desktop services, they do so typically because specific in-house expertise is missing. "IS departments across all types of organizations are struggling to manage the desktop, as costs become more of the focus," said Chandler. "Outside providers can provide needed expertise or simply added resources to help organizations regain control and reduce overall costs."

The IDC study, PC Cost to Use: Drawing the Road Map for Desktop Life-Cycle Services Opportunities (IDC #B14764), identifies and validates opportunities for providing services in desktop PC computing environments. IDC surveyed 400

business-unit managers and 200 IS managers as part of its Desktop Cost-to-Use Survey. The study is also based on interviews and focus groups with business-unit and IS managers.

The report contains annual cost-per-PC data that focuses on the cost of supporting and operating desktop PCs. This data is presented across three different desktop IT environments that vary by level of network complexity. This data is also presented across four different installation sizes, according to how many PCs are being managed in these environments. In addition, the report contains a view of current desktop trends based on customer organizations practices and opinions regarding the purchase, management, and support of PCs. It also includes data that shows which support and operational services are being spent on most heavily, in dollars as well as time commitments, across the three IT environments and four installation sizes. It provides an analysis of this data and recommendations to service providers about the support and

operational services opportunities that currently exist in the desktop environment.

This report is available for purchase by contacting Cheryl Toffel at 508-935-4389 or by e-mail at For additional information on IDC's Client/Server Support and Operational Services research program, please contact Kara Murphy, group marketing manager, at 508-935-4136.

About IDC

Headquartered in Framingham, Mass., International Data Corporation provides ITmarket research and consulting to more than 3,900 high-technology customers around the world. With a global network of 300 analysts in more than 40 countries, IDC is the industry's most comprehensive resource on worldwide IT markets, products, vendors, and geographies.

IDC/LINK, an IDC subsidiary, researches and analyzes the home computing market, leading-edge technologies in telecommunications and new media, and the convergence of computing and consumer electronics.

IDC's World Wide Web site ( contains additional company information and recent news releases and offers full-text searching of recent research.

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.