IT service specialists could be set to cash in next year, as businesses rush to migrate to Windows 7.
Gartner forecasts that demand for professionals to carry out migrations will outstrip supply, pushing up service rates.
The analyst claims most organisations will have to find extra funds or redirect budgets away from other projects in order to move away from Windows XP and 2000 before Microsoft stops supporting the older operating systems.
Charles Smulders, managing vice president at Gartner, said: “Microsoft will support Windows XP for four more years. With most migrations not starting until the fourth quarter of 2010 at the earliest, and PC hardware replacement cycles typically running at four to five years, most organisations will not be able to migrate to Windows 7 through usual planned hardware refresh before support for Windows XP ends.”
Gartner expects the cost of IT labour to increase during 2011 and 2012 as demand for Windows 7 migration services spikes, with price rises likely to continue into 2013.
Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, said: "Based on an accelerated upgrade, we expect that the proportion of the budget spent on PCs will need to increase between 20 per cent as a best-case scenario and 60 per cent at worst in 2011 and 2012.