IDC says economic recovery needs tech partners that contribute to the bottom line
We are right now in the grips of an economic slowdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery from which will continue to see emerging technology play a vital and accelerated role.
That was the thrust of the message from IDC at the webinar and panel discussion called: "Adjusting to the new normal", hosted by Nexio and partners, Dell Technologies and IoT.nxt, on 27 August.
“The journey to recovery will not be quick and it will require adaptation, partnerships will be important, and ensuring we know what technology contributes to the bottom line and business output,” says Mark Walker, associate VP of IDC in sub-Sahara Africa.
IDC has identified trends that South African CIOs report are key to shaping the recovery process in the near term.
The top six are security (91%) followed by creating and enabling new applications to drive digital experiences for customers and employees (60%), stronger disaster recovery and business continuity (57%), more technology-enabled collaboration (57%), and providing customers with secure access to information and services (45%).
“Many companies were unprepared for the scale of what would be required of them,” says Mickey Mashale, CEO of Nexio. “Mark mentioned a business scaling from 500 to 11 500 VPNs in one weekend. We saw organisations suddenly move anywhere from 500 to 20 000 employees off the LAN and into distributed home office environments. Scaling at that type of magnitude in the given timeframes highlighted the shortcomings in the systems and processes in many organisations. It also raised serious questions around related issues such as security, collaboration, availability and continued access to data, systems and information.”
Greg McDonald, director of Systems Engineering at Dell Technologies, says: “Security was always a conversation in the back of many CIOs’ minds, but it was propelled forward at an alarming rate. We’ve subsequently seen incidents such as what happened to Experian and similar in healthcare, small businesses, the legal and financial services industries. The rapid pace at which companies shifted gear to cope with the effects of the pandemic left many vulnerable. It really highlighted the necessity to consider digitalisation, collaboration, data and distributed work environments holistically. That means including considerations such as partners that future-proof customer operations, provide the requisite level of support and managed services, and have the ability to work alongside customers’ financial requirements during these tough times.”
Brian Tarr, chief product and solutions officer at Nexio South Africa, says: “Transformation has been radical and we subsequently face a catch-22. Data volumes have exploded, we need more remote and secure access, yet budgets are constrained and CFOs are redirecting spend. The effect is that IT shops and solutions providers are pressured to prove value through pilots and proofs of concept more than ever. Having the technology, solutions and skills are important to be able to achieve that, as is the backing of the support of the vendors like Dell, to create specific value for customer environments. Customers right now are looking for value in data management, business continuity, disaster recovery and security because they have moved beyond ‘keeping the lights on’ and they realise that, if ransomware hits, it could smash them.”
Constrained budgets, agrees Nico Steyn, CEO of IoT.nxt, are causing organisations to reprioritise activities.
“There has been a lot of movement around bringing the operations environment into the mature enterprise systems landscape that gives executives the transparency they need to run the business,” he says. “Now the focus is shifting to remote, automated remediation to maximise the productivity, savings and efficiencies that are possible in more competitive markets and this period characterised by constrained budgets.”
Mashale says forward-looking partners such as Dell and IoT.nxt make it easier for managed service providers to meet these rapidly evolving customer requirements today.
“CIOs are looking for a one-stop ecosystem of partners that delivers solutions relevant to their growing requirements as they move forward,” she says. “The technologies and concepts that we see emerging today will develop critical mass in many organisations in the next year. They will increasingly rely on data to feed software solutions that provide the competitive differentiators of the future and seek reliable, turnkey services partners to walk beside them.”
If you missed the webinar, view it on demand here: 'Planning for The New Normal Webinar'