I recently read an interesting book on economics (that is possible) called The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford. In this book he describes how Starbucks manipulates (by lack of a better word) their customers. They offer regular coffee for a nearly justifiable price and a whole range of products for a premium price. These whole range of products are mostly regular coffee with a little add-on, like cream, chocolate-powder or vanilla-syrup. Sometimes they are also treated in a slightly different matter, like blending regular coffee with ice-cubes. Of course, these premium products are marketed in such a way that it justifies the much higher prices. A strategy that is called price-targeting. It only works when there are people willing to pay the price: the followers of fashion and the people who do not care about their money.
In a way this principle can work in IT as well. As long as the IT department is willing to take a risk. A regular standard desktop will costs a reasonable price covering the costs of maintaining the desktop by the IT department. And there is also so much more choice. For instance, the IT department can market the IPhone for double the cost as a device only for marketing executives. Or the Extra Wide double LCD Monitors for the controllers, for which they have to pay three times as much. It is all about marketing. How the IT deparment sells the specials the Starbucks way.
The great thing is, that the IT department doesn’t have to do a lot extra in work, it is all about the feel of the product. Supporting an Iphone or extra wide LCD Monitors are not more difficult and do not take more time than supporting the standard desktop. But the customer will gladly pay more, financing product and service innovation. No doubt.