http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/0,2000061733,39187298,00.htm brings up an interesting issue. Part of the topic really is a lack of management at such places. The types of tasks which need to be done in the enterprise haven’t been analyzed, and thus employees are allowed to do basically anything they want with their machines. They consequently are encouraged to rely on any old application which comes their way, and get hooked to it.
SMEs really need to have a sense of what computers will do for their enterprise. Why do they have computers, and how do they add to the bottom line of the company? That reasoning then should have impacts with employee job roles and with information technology spends, no matter how small.
If an employee truly only needs to work with a web browser and with a spreadsheet, it is ridiculous to use a Windows machine. Technology choices should then go from there.
Employees will simply learn to copy, whatever the tasks. If Mozilla and OpenOffice are given for tasks, then the employees will cope. Once that is all they use, then if they show up one day and all their data is on a server of some sort (IMAP, shared backed up server, etc.), and they can still run Mozilla and OpenOffice, then there you go.
The “gravy” (media players, chat software, etc.) really can be duplicated for free on linux without incident. Be better, in fact.
This form of thinking can apply to lowering one’s Windows spend as well. There are open source alternatives on Windows, and they should be used as much as possible. Start with OpenOffice, Thunderbird, and Firefox. Gaim if you need chat. MS Access is still handy on Windows — a MySql/OpenOffice emulation is on its way.