Forrester: Dell Still Dominates the Enterprise

A study of the third-quarter PC-buying choices shows that Dell is the preferred supplier of desktops and laptops.

If youre typing away in your cubicle, theres a good chance you are typing on a Dell.

A new study from Forrester Research shows that Dell, despite losing overall market to share to Hewlett-Packard in the worldwide PC market, continues to be the preferred choice when it comes to enterprise desktops and laptops. The study, released Nov. 12, looked at the PC buying habits of 565 enterprises in North America and Europe during the third quarter of 2007.

Overall, Forrester found that Dell supplied 54 percent of all notebooks and desktops to enterprises in both North America and Europe. HP was the second-most popular vendor, supplying 27 percent of desktops and 21 percent of all laptops. Lenovo, with its Think brand, supplied 16 percent of all desktops and 20 percent of notebooks.

The reason that Dell continues to dominate the enterprise market boils down to two issues, price and support, Benjamin Gray, the reports main author, wrote in the an e-mail to eWEEK.

"Dell does particularly well in this space primarily because large enterprises prefer to buy PCs directly and because Dell is very price competitive," Gray wrote. "Meanwhile, HP and Lenovo [fare] better across consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses, and in other regions, like Asia-Pacific, where buyers prefer to purchase from brick and mortar retailers or regional or national VARs or Sis [system integrators]."

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The report also found that those enterprises that standardize with one vendor, whether its HP, Dell, Lenovo or another OEM, tend to save money by cutting down on maintenance cost by choosing one supplier with one overall service contract. Enterprises with standardized hardware also have an easier time pushing out patches and updates since they have minimized the number of individual desktop images and applications that the IT department needs to maintain.

The report also found that enterprises are interested in moving desktop applications from the client to the data center through technology such as virtualization. While virtualization helps isolate applications for each other, which helps stabilize the operating system, the technology is not mature enough yet for most enterprises, outside call centers and trading room floors, to make a major investment in it just yet.

"I think as the vendors clarify their marketing and as prices come down due to economies of scale, adoption is going to pick up rapidly over the next two to three years," Gray wrote.

Finally, the Forrester report found that many enterprises continue to spend their IT dollars on desktops since 65 percent of all employees within these companies remain tied to their desks. While desktops account for 70 percent of all corporate PCs and notebooks 30 percent, those numbers could change in a few years as IT departments continue to invest in traditional notebooks, which give employees additional flexibility and increased productivity and allow for business continuity.

A separate IDC study found that worldwide shipments of notebooks will outstrip desktop shipments in 2009.

While cutting-edge technology such as ultralight laptops, ultramobile PCs and tablets have received significant press coverage, most IT departments stick to buying more traditional desktops and laptops, according to Forrester.

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