PC upgrades are number one with a bullet on both enterprise's and small business' to-do lists for the remainder of 2004, a research firm said Thursday.
According to Forrester Research senior analyst Nicholas Wilkoff, about one in four U.S. business PCs will be replaced or upgraded in the next 12 months.
That figure's in line with long-term trends of businesses investing in basic infrastructure such as desktops and laptops, often spurred by the need to replace aging systems purchased in the two-year run-up to 2000. At that time, many enterprises made sweeping replacements of PCs in anticipation of the Y2K problem.
"This isn't out of the ordinary or overly shocking," said Wilkoff. "Since the beginning of the year, we've been watching enterprises focus on getting back to the basics, such as upgrading security, upgrading Windows on the desktop, and upgrading PCs.
At the mid-year point, said Wilkoff, an overwhelming majority of both large and small companies said that they would replace or upgrade at least some of their systems. Nearly 90 percent of enterprises claimed they would cough up cash to update hardware, and 95 percent of small businesses said they would do the same.
Splitting the numbers into vertical market sectors, Wilkoff said that financial and insurance corporations were most likely to upgrade: 31 percent of those firms surveyed said they had PC replacement plans.
Increasingly, those replacement machines are portables. Twenty percent of the new PCs used by utilities and telecommunication firms will be laptops, Wilkoff said, while 17 percent of those updated in government will be notebooks.
It all should mean smiles in Round Rock, Texas. According to Wilkoff's survey, 79 percent of the small businesses and 57 percent of the enterprises planning to upgrade or replace end-user PCs will be purchasing them from Dell.
The minor buying spree is another indication of the cautious and conservative growth in IT spending that Forrester's been tracking, said Wilkoff. "I don't see this as an indication of any big turn-around, but it's certainly moving in the right direction."
Other indicators that companies are continuing to loosen the purse strings -- even in the face of some disappointing performances by some technology firms this quarter -- include an increase in the percentage of budgets going to new investments and a slight boost in research and development spending.
"There are some positive signs" of growth, said Wilkoff. "But it's conservative growth."
This story coutesy of TechWeb.