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Reader survey results: The burning NC question -- who needs it and why?

Find out whether your fellow readers plan to implement network computers and what they think are NCs' most and least attractive features

By Carolyn W.C. Wong

March  1997
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While the majority of SunWorld readers who responded to our survey on NCs agree that network computers will benefit their companies, immediate plans for implementation aren't quite on the horizon yet. 64 percent of the 67 readers who answered our January questionnaire say NCs will be useful in their companies. 73 percent of these respondents, however, say they have no immediate plans to use them. So do NCs still represent a significant technological step forward? 58 percent say yes, while 36 percent disagree.

According to the readers, simplicity of hardware and the resulting reduction in maintenance (63 percent), the inexpensive, anticipated price (63 percent), and the simplicity of hardware making configuration easier (55 percent) were the top three features they found most attractive about NCs. On the flip side, the lack of users' ability to alter configuration (37 percent), fewer user capabilities (33 percent), and the fact that company management may require the purchase of NCs before bugs are fixed or applications are fully defined (29 percent) were the most troubling issues for our respondents.

Interestingly, the number of readers who say they will purchase NCs within a year and those who have absolutely no plans to buy NCs are almost identical. 23 percent of the readers think their companies will start to purchase NCs in the next six to 12 months. 22 percent say NCs are not in their plans at all. But overall the number of respondents who will eventually buy NCs (52 percent) outnumber those who will not (31 percent -- including those who answered: "Never if I have my way.") 17 percent aren't sure about their NC purchasing plans.

For more detailed statistics, see the complete results below and also be sure to read what these readers have on their NC feature wish list in "Readers comment on NCs".

--Carolyn W.C. Wong


SunWorld January 1997 Reader Survey

The burning NC question: Who needs it and why?

Number of respondents: 67
as of March 6, 1997

  1. Do you have immediate plans to use NCs?
        Yes:                                                        26.9%
        No:                                                         73.1% 
  2. Based on your current knowledge of NCs, do you believe that NCs are a significant step forward?
        Yes:                                                        58.2% 
        No:                                                         35.8% 
        I don't know:                                                6.0%
  3. Based on your current knowledge of NCs, do you think they will be useful in your company?
        Yes:                                                        63.6% 
        No:                                                         27.3% 
        I don't know:                                                9.1% 
  4. What features of NCs do you find most attractive?
        Size:                                                       16.9% 
        Anticipated price (sub-$750):                               63.1% 
        Ability to connect to the Internet sans PC:                 36.9% 
        Lack of users' ability to alter configuration:              52.3% 
        IT department retains control over users' hardware:         44.6% 
        Return of the `glass house':                                18.5% 
        Simplicity of hardware should reduce maintenance:           63.1% 
        Simplicity of hardware should make config easier:           55.4% 
  5. What features of NC do you find least attractive?
        Size -- too small to be my everyday computer:               22.4% 
        Anticipated price -- at this price, management will want
        everyone to have one, whether they need it or not:          10.2% 
        Ability to connect to the Internet without need for a PC
        means fewer user capabilities:                              32.7%
        Lack of users' ability to alter configuration:              36.7% 
        IT department retains control over users' hardware:          6.1%
        Return of the `glass house':                                12.2%
        Potential for users/departments to lose control of their
        desktop systems and possibly their minds, no, LANS:         16.3% 
        Company management will require IT to buy NCs before the
        bugs are worked out or applications fully defined:          28.6% 
  6. What kinds of features would you like to see included in NCs?
        (Responses included in "Readers comment on NCs")
  7. How soon do you think your company will begin purchasing NCs?
        0-6 months:                                                 12.3%
        6-12 months:                                                23.1% 
        12-18 months:                                                9.2% 
        18-24 months:                                                4.6% 
        24-36 months:                                                3.1% 
        I don't know:                                               16.9% 
        NCs are not in our plans:                                   21.5% 
        Never if I have my way:                                      9.2% 
  8. If you do plan to buy NCs, how many do you plan to deploy?
        0-25:                                                       46.3% 
        25-50:                                                      12.2% 
        50-100:                                                      7.3%
        100-500:                                                    14.6% 
        500-1,000:                                                  12.2% 
        More than 1,000:                                             7.3% 
  9. How many people are employed by your department?
        1 - 9:                                                      20.0% 
        10 - 29:                                                    29.2% 
        30 - 99:                                                    16.9% 
        100 - 499:                                                  26.2% 
        Not applicable:                                              7.7% 
  10. How many people are employed by your entire organization?
        1 - 9:                                                       0.0% 
        10 - 29:                                                     9.1% 
        30 - 99:                                                    12.1% 
        100 - 499:                                                  10.6% 
        500 - 1999:                                                 13.6% 
        2000 - 9999:                                                30.3%
        more than 10,000:                                           18.2% 
        Not applicable:                                              3.0% 
        I don't know:                                                3.0% 
  11. Which best describes your primary job duties?
        Systems administrator:                                      30.3%
        Programmer or developer:                                    24.2% 
        Network administrator:                                       6.1% 
        Database administrator:                                      0.0% 
        Systems analyst:                                             6.1% 
        Webmaster:                                                   0.0% 
        Consultant:                                                 10.6% 
        Systems integrator:                                         12.1% 
        Other technical professional:                               3.0% 
        Other manager:                                               4.5% 
        Student:                                                     1.5% 
        Other:                                                       1.5% 

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