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Selling The IT Upgrade

The challenge is all too familiar for those selling servers and other IT equipment: How do you get CIOs thinking about upgrading systems across the enterprise, particularly if the ones they have are adequate and spending remains under scrutiny?

Take The Hartford, a global investment management and insurance firm, where the policy is to keep desktops running for four years and notebooks for three years. Even when upgrades are performed, many machines are redeployed to other employees, says Neil A. Boissonneau, senior vice president in The Hartford's infrastructure solutions department.

Fortunately, though overall IT spending during 2002 and 2003 was down, customers like The Hartford have invested in centralized management and standardized on newer software, including upgrading all desktops and notebooks to Windows XP. And most enterprise customers are still upgrading their PCs more often than The Hartford--typically in staged rollouts over multiple years. The average life span of a PC in most enterprises is still three years or less among 90 percent of all companies, according to VARBusiness' State of Enterprise Spending research. In fact, 68 percent said the average age of their PCs was two years or less.

There are six reasons enterprises are refreshing their PCs across the enterprise, as noted by customers and their VARs:

1. With Microsoft planning an end to support for Windows 9x or NT, enterprises have a perceived need to upgrade those machines to Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP on desktops, or to Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003 on other machines, by the end of the year.

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