Windows 11: Not as big a priority in EMEA compared with North America

The latest TechTarget/Enterprise Strategy Group 2024 Technology spending intentions study shows that IT decision-makers are prioritising end user productivity tools.

Interestingly, while US IT leaders are prioritising spending on PCs and Windows 11 upgrades, Windows 11 deployments and migration projects only make 6th place on the list of end user computing priorities for EMEA leaders. Instead, EMEA IT decision-makers see desktop productivity as top priority and PC refresh projects as second for 2024.

While device refreshes may be extended, desktop and laptop hardware is still at the top for the most significant investments in organisations. With the end of support of Windows 10 due in October 2025, the survey data shows that while migration efforts to Windows 11 have begun, it is not the highest priority for IT decision-makers in EMEA.

Instead, 36% of the 1,432 IT decision-makers surveyed said they have made productivity suites such as Microsoft Office and Google G-Suite their top priority of 2024. This is likely to be a result of hybrid and the fact that productivity suites not only offer a unified platform that streamlines workflows, collaboration, and enhances overall performance among organisations, but also creates cost savings, improved management among IT, and bolsters security.

Thanks to embedding generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) capabilities over the past year, cloud-based productivity suites have become somewhat more productive. Not only does the AI help end users to create and summarise documents, data, videoconferencing meetings and presentation slide decks quickly, but these tools are being integrated with third-party services to create greater value. For instance, Thomson Reuters has integrated its Westlaw product with Microsoft 365 Copilot, expanding the plugins and apps it already builds on top of the Microsoft ecosystem. This can be used to help people find the correct wording when drafting a contract document in Microsoft Word.

The survey found that 34% of IT decision-makers in EMEA are planning to do a PC refresh in 2024, while 31% said they expect to refresh mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Remote desktop technology and desktop mobile security were the fourth largest areas of end user computing, each attaining 25% of the polling results among EMEA IT decision-makers.

While North American IT decision-makers regard the upgrade to Windows 11 as their second highest priority in end user computing during 2024, the polling in EMEA puts the migration down in 6th place.

Just under a quarter of EMEA IT decision-makers are prioritising virtual desktop infrastructure initiatives in 2023. Newer offerings such as desktop as a service (13%) and PC clients appear less popular in terms of priorities for 2024.

Gabe Knuth, principal analyst of Enterprise Strategy Group, said: “The role of EUC [end user computing] and UCC [unified collaboration and communications] have taken centre stage for most organisations, and the influx of technology coupled with disruption among traditional EUC vendors has created a hyper-competitive market with lots of opportunities.”

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