IT Priorities 2019: IT professionals plan a big push to migrate off Windows 7

With the clock ticking to Windows 7 end of support, more than half of the IT professionals who took part in a survey have a Windows 10 migration as their top IT project this year

With less than a year to go before Microsoft ends support for Windows 7, IT professionals have named upgrading to Windows 10 as their main desktop IT priority for 2019.

In the Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities survey, 52% of the 134 people interviewed in the UK said they would migrate to Windows 10 this year. The figures for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are similar, with 44% of the 762 respondents planning a desktop migration to Windows 10.

Migrating off Windows 7 has topped the Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities survey of desktop initiatives for the past few years as businesses continue to upgrade their desktop IT.

What is surprising about this year’s results is that more than half of IT professionals rated the upgrade from Windows 7 as their top desktop IT project, which suggests many still have a lot of work to do to get onto Windows 10.

According to Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal, the end of support for Windows 7 at the start of 2020 should provide an incentive for businesses and even governments to upgrade to Windows 10. If Gartner’s figures are any indication, this is likely to occur as enterprises replace old PCs with new Windows 10 devices.

But Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities also shows that IT professionals do not have much of an appetite for alternative desktop IT strategies. Just 20% said they are running desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) projects this year, and 20% said they will deploy thin clients. The results suggest IT professionals are not convinced that DaaS or thin clients are good enough to replace a traditional Windows desktop environment.

Read more about migrating to Windows 10

  • With a year to go before Windows 7 reaches end of life, IT departments have more than just the operating system upgrade to consider.
  • MSIX aims to finally wrangle Win32 apps into submission, potentially making emerging technologies like co-management redundant.

As Atwal pointed out in a recent Computer Weekly article, many IT departments depend on third-party application, and often these are not being rewritten for other operating system platforms. Given that a growing number of enterprise applications are browser-based or available as software-as-a-service (SaaS), the fact that IT professionals are not looking at alternative ways to deliver Windows suggests that their desktop strategy remains a traditional desktop environment, based on thick-client Windows.

Their choices may be restricted because some application software providers are unwilling to allow their application to be hosted in the cloud so that they can be delivered via DaaS.

Given that Windows 10 offers backwards compatibility with Windows 7, the challenge IT departments face is that, unless they exert pressure on their desktop applications providers, there is no incentive for application software providers to adapt the applications to new approaches to desktop IT, or even take advantage of the new application programming interfaces (APIs) and the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) available in Windows 10.

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