CenturionStudio.it - Fotolia

IT Priorities 2023: Balancing end user productivity and IT budgets

End user computing is being driven by future of work initiatives to support hybrid work patterns

Post-pandemic IT requires a rethink of end user computing. The 2023 IT Priorities survey from TechTarget/Computer Weekly found that 87% of EMEA organisations are investing in “the future of work”. This represents the highest of any region. Looking at the UK, the IT leaders polled said they have an average of four planned projects relating to the future of work.

But at the same time, sales of new PCs are at an all-time low. Analyst Gartner’s latest market data for PC shipments showed a significant 35.9% decline in EMEA compared with a year ago. Other research showed that there is less appetite to migrate from Windows 10 to Windows 11, even though support for Windows 10 officially ends in October 2025.

In October 2022, Lansweeper reported that only 57.26% of CPUs for workstations it audited met the system requirements for upgrading to Windows 11 – 42.74% did not. Although the majority passed the RAM test (92.85%), a fifth failed due to the lack of a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which Microsoft has made a prerequisite for the installation of Windows 11.

While industry data shows that organisations are deferring their purchases of new PCs, looking at the broad initiatives driving spending in 2023, the TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities 2023 survey found digital workspaces, mobility and end-user computing to be in the top five areas of investment, behind data management (46%), cloud computing (50%) and security (57%).

When compared with 2022, the survey showed a 38% drop in digital workplace, mobility and end user computing projects.

Across the EMEA region, 84% of IT decision-makers said they were investing in future work initiatives to support hybrid work. Looking more closely at the number, 22% were investing aggressively, 23% moderately and 39% only as needed.

PC sales figures show that PC refreshes are being deferred. Businesses that bought new PCs for staff to enable them to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic are unlikely to renew devices. The general consensus from industry analysts is that the cost-of-living crisis and general economic slowdown has curbed enthusiasm to upgrade to the latest devices.

Gartner research director Annette Zimmerman noted that extending the life of devices was one of the themes to come out of this year’s Mobile World Congress. “We saw some interesting new initiatives,” she said. “When people talk about circularity, the first thought is often just recycling, but it’s so much more than recycling. It’s about reuse, remanufacture and refurbishment.”

While some people may benefit from the higher levels of productivity offered by the latest devices, the majority of users are finding they can continue to work effectively using existing devices. These will need replacing eventually, but IT leaders have plenty of options, such as desktop virtualisation (VDI) or desktop as a service (DaaS), where the PC is delivered as a virtual device in the cloud.

Gabe Knuth, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said: “With all the focus on remote work via VDI or DaaS, organisations need to pay proper attention to the endpoints. On one hand, organisations want to give their users freedom of choice for devices to improve employee satisfaction and retention, or even to attract new employees. On the other hand, IT would love to deliver a ‘dumb’ device that does not increase the security footprint of the user.”

Read more IT Priorities 2023 stories

  • Cloud storage still the biggest project planned in data storage in 2023, with disaster recovery the most important area in data protection cited by TechTarget/Computer Weekly survey respondents.
  • IT leaders across the EMEA region are optimistic that their budgets will increase over the coming year.

Read more on PC hardware

Data Center
Data Management