Most of my customers have a regular 3 year refresh cycle for the desktop. They don't really care what the new platform is they just refresh 1/3 of their fleet every year as part of a larger contract. That makes sense for the business from a depreciation point of view and saves them a lot of time on unnecessary decision making. This addresses about 80% of the businesses needs real needs and takes about 20% of the IT departments time. That's a good performance ratio for a cost centre like IT, but it generates little customer sat, even if the refresh goes off without a hitch. People expect that kind of thing to be 100% efficient, which might not be fair but that's the wau of the world.
There are always requirements from special projects or new applications that see some new kit being evaluated and some new technology being deployed. That takes care of about another 10 - 15% of the business, but takes IT about 50% of their time. That's a big hit for a cost centre but if you get it right then your customer sat pay back is very important. The whole IT departments (or consultants) credibility can hinge on your success with this 10 - 15% of the business.
The the last 5 - 10% is the real toys for the boys stuff. Broadband mobile data networks delivering video on demand to PDA smart phones across IPSec VPNs, that kind of thing. The cost of the system is very high and the return to the business is virtually zero. Politically you have to do it because the CEO / CIO want the new toy. By the same token the CFO hates the waste and thinks IT is a bunch of cowboys for delivering it. This kind of thing takes the last 30% of your time and the customer sat payback is doubtful, because there is always a better toy around the corner you know the customer will never be satisfied. And you are burning bridges with the bean counters who know projects like this are frivolous.
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