Windows 10 upgrade rollout costs companies dearly

Windows 10 screen

Windows 10 is causing businesses logistical headaches because it's so hard for them to keep up with the twice-a-year feature updates, a report by Gartner has revealed.

Gartner's research involved creating fake scenarios with 2,500-employee businesses. One of these simulators created a company policy where employees were able to download and install applications and adjust settings whenever and however they liked (an unmanaged business), while another was the polar opposite – a locked down network, with workers limited to what they could do (a managed business).

Gartner then applied a once-a-year update schedule and twice-yearly upgrades to both and compared these to six-year cycles. In the latter scenario, it would cost the unmanaged business $445 to upgrade each PC, while the managed business would be just $256 to upgrade per PC every six years.

When upgrades were applied once a year, it would cost the unmanaged business $462 over six years and $258 total for the managed business. Double this to twice a year and the unmanaged business would have a $792 bill to pay, with the managed business's totalling $504 over the lifetime.

"Organizations must move from running infrequent projects to upgrade Windows every six to eight years to having a continuous process to qualify and push out updates every six to 12 months," Gartner said in its report. "This results in a different pattern for staffing and budgeting. Tasks that used to be done in a separately funded project - possibly with help from a service provider - become a task that must be done continuously, probably by existing IT staff."

Gartner concluded that the impact on users would be greater too, as businesses will move towards a piloting system, where updates would be tested before being rolled out to the entire organisation at once. This is more labour intensive and could delay updates being implemented.