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By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2007-03-07 Print this article Print

Business process improvements, customer relationship management and business analytics are high on CIOs' to-do lists this year.

#4: Desktop/Laptop Upgrades">

Project #4: Desktop/Laptop Upgrades

Participants: I.T. sets the policies; business pays the freight.

Price tag: Varies with configuration. The decline in PC prices is being mitigated somewhat by the arrival of Microsoft's new Vista operating system.

The shift toward laptop computers will continue this year; IDC says that more than two of every five new computers bought by companies will be laptops, up from one in three in 2005.

The improved quality and ever-shrinking footprint of laptops themselves is one factor. Another is the increasing availability of wireless Internet service. Wireless local-area networks (the phenomenon enabled by WiFi) have given users a first taste of freedom; even more freedom is coming in the form of cellular wide-area service.

Companies like laptops because they extend the workday. "Let's say you leave the office at 5 p.m. to beat traffic," says IDC analyst Richard Shim. "If you have a desktop and you can't access e-mail, you're done for the day." That isn't the case with a worker who carries a laptop home with him.

Companies "want to make sure their users have the tools to be not only competitive but productive," Shim points out.

By contrast, many companies have slowed their purchases of desktops, and some manufacturers have seen their sales shrink. Still, the desktops that are getting bought tend to be very robust, particularly at companies that are upgrading to Vista, Microsoft's new operating system. That is mitigating the loss in revenue that desktop manufacturers are experiencing from any decline in unit shipments, Shim says.

Next page: Project #5: Web Services

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