Why Workstation Sales Might Be About To Pick Up

A decent workstation is an expensive piece of gear, so it's not surprising that in times of economic austerity sales tend to drop off. However, it appears that trend may finally be at an end.

Workstation picture from Shutterstock

Research firm IDC highlights a number of issues which have impacted on workstation purchases over the last two years. While much of IDC's specific analysis is related to the European market, the broad trends it discusses also apply to the Australian and Asia-Pacific landscape,

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The key factors?

  • The flattening of general PC sales — which have been impacted by the rise of tablets as an alternative — has also dampened enthusiasm for workstations.
  • Windows XP reaching the end of its life has also gobbled up hardware budgets in many workplaces, since shifting from XP to Windows 7 or 8 has often required a hardware refresh. Workstation users are much less likely to be running XP, and hence are unlikely to be at the front of the queue for upgrades.
  • Economic uncertainty and the global financial crisis have continued to impact IT budgets. (That particular issue is arguably more applicable to Europe than Australia.

With XP upgrades likely to finish within the next 12 months if they haven't already, space for workstation expenditure may open up. IDC also points to improvements in technology as a reason why sales might improve:

The next generation of workstation platforms will support more powerful processors with up to fourteen (14) cores and faster DDR4 RAM, which will make them more appealing to high-end users. Operating system migration and budget leftovers will drive strong enterprise refreshments in the last quarter of the calendar year, which should largely feature the next-generation models. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will likewise take advantage of the decreasing ASPs of entry-level machines, due to strong price competition between the four leading vendors: Dell, HP, Fujitsu, and Lenovo.

That said, workstation purchases will continue to compete with other enterprise projects. ""Large and medium-sized businesses are expected to remain cautious regarding infrastructure purchases, especially when it comes to mobile workstations," said IDC Mohamed Hefny. "Enterprises are also giving priority to cloud, virtual desktop infrastructure, and mobile apps, as the boom in smartphones and tablets make it imperative to provide services such as online banking on these platforms."

Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.


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