Have you ever wondered why your company’s desktop still has Windows 7 even though you use Windows 10 at home? Ask group chief information officer (CIO) of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Rajesh Batra, who faced a number of issues when upgrading the desktops at the hospital—from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

“Windows 10 was thrust upon us when we were buying PCs for the new hospital in Navi Mumbai. We had a number of issues with the migration from 7 to 10 such as browser compatibility. It was not compatible with the picture archival too, so we had to use a patch," he recalls. Having fixed those issues, Batra admits that the experience is better now.

Launched three years back, Windows 10 Enterprise has a worldwide installed base of more than 700 million active users but the figure is still short of the one billion target that Microsoft Corp. had in mind by end 2018. According to industry estimates, the Windows 10 installed base is growing at a rate of roughly 200 million new active users per year. At this pace, the target will be met only sometime around early 2020.

However, Microsoft will end all support for Windows 7 on 14 January 2020. Will this prompt the company’s enterprise customers to make the switch from 7 to 10?

According to analysts, the delay in enterprises migrating to Windows 10 is due to real-life challenges such as those faced by Batra. Migrating custom-built apps that enterprises built from XP to Windows 7, and then to Windows 10 is a formidable challenge. “Enterprises are waiting for Windows 10 to become stable, robust and have a critical mass of users globally, before they migrate," says Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst, founder and chief executive of Greyhound Research. However, he adds, that there are organizations such as Wipro Ltd that have migrated to Windows 10 and in fact, run a Wipro Elite Programme where users are invited to test the software and share feedback.

Cost is another hindrance to migrating to Windows 10. “There are multiple costs involved. There is the cost of the OS, then the cost of migration, of user change management and so on," adds Gogia. Costs for training staff also should be factored in, particularly for those moving from Windows 8, which never really took off.

Windows 10 Enterprise, meanwhile, comes in two models (E3 or E5) and is priced on a per-device, per-user basis but these are only available through the volume licensing plan, which allows organizations to buy longer-term licences (typically three-five years) and employ volumes of scale when purchasing multiple seats for Windows, and can redeploy those licences across devices and people accordingly. However, according to latest news reports, Microsoft is revamping its portfolio of Windows 10 subscriptions for enterprises.

Other issues with Windows 10 are around privacy and security. While Windows 7 is tried and tested in terms of security, “we don’t know the devil in the details", says Gogia about Windows 10. Batra, on his part, believes that “in terms of security, Windows 10 is better".

While the deadline for ending Windows support may seem far off, the migration process can often take 18 months, meaning the cut-off point is closer than many might imagine. And given all the data security breaches and ransomware attacks, customers may want to get the latest version of the OS, sooner rather than later.

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