The Greatest ROI Comes From the Money You Don’t Have to Spend

Last month, we discussed how the often used “Return on Investment” statistic is one that is skewed by the data that is or is not used to determine initial cash layout of a proposed deployment.  However, one important part of that equation that has always been unavoidable when pricing out a proposed deployment is hardware.  When thin clients were first introduced, their initial cost savings over PCs was obvious.  But over the last decade, PC prices have continued to drop while thin client prices have, for the most part, stayed the same.  A quick review of new product press releases this month from manufacturers such as AIS, HP, Acer, and Ncomputing shows that while some thin clients can still be purchased at a very manageable price point, most of the current models on the market can cost up to $700 per unit.

It is our assertion, however, that even a $99 thin client may be an unnecessary expense when upgrading your network and operational systems.  After all, if you have a facility, a machine running Windows Server, and PCs on the floor, then you have everything you need to properly implement ThinManager as a complete solution for your system management needs.  Thanks to the development of the WinTMC function, which is now standard with the ThinManager 6.0 XLi licensing option, any PC can operate as, and be managed the same way as, a thin client.

WinTMC allows management of PCs and delivery of other ThinManager functions to PCs on any Terminal Server network.  Central configuration of the WinTMC function on a Terminal Server even allows administrators the ability to Shadow the PCs desktop from a remote location even when there is no active session.  WinTMC also gives you the ability to host applications on your Terminal Server that can be delivered to the PCs.  This makes sure you capitalize on the benefits of a Terminal Server environment.

The number one comment we receive from companies looking at the ThinManager solution is that at some point in the last few years they had purchased a number of PCs and don’t want to spend more money on thin clients while their PCs are still online and functioning properly.  That comment was the impetus to design and release such a flexible function.  Now, our customers don’t have to wait until their PCs start migrating to the PC graveyard.

With WinTMC you can set everything up on your Terminal Server and continue using your PCs.  Using them as clients immediately removes the cost associated with maintaining patches and updates while still being able to use your HMI and applications.  But the best part is that as those PCs age and eventually die, they can be replaced one at a time with ThinManager ready thin clients by simply plugging them in.  So rather than spending a lot of money on an initial purchase of multiple thin clients to replace your PCs which still function properly, you can now transition to a thin client environment over a period of months, or even years, as dictated by longevity of your last batch of PCs.

The absolute best “Return on Investment” you can realize comes from not having to invest in more hardware when the hardware you already have can be repurposed by a cutting edge management platform.


Tom Jordan

Marketing Lead for ThinManager - A Rockwell Automation Technology