Hybrid approach to enterprise infrastructure prevails

The majority of local companies approach the purchasing of IT equipment with a 'do-it-yourself' attitude.

Who responded?

The 2019 ITWeb / Axiz Hardware Strategies Survey ran for two weeks on ITWeb, during the month of June. It was completed by 177 respondents from a cross-sector of local organisations.

Sixty-two percent of these are decision-makers: 37% are C-level executives and a further 25% are at mid-management level.

This is one of the findings of the 2019 Hardware Strategies Survey, conducted by ITWeb in partnership with ICT value-added distributor Axiz.

The online survey asked how South African organisations manage their hardware requirements and how satisfied they are with the performance and reliability of their current infrastructure.

Almost 70% of respondents said they rely on in-house resources when planning new IT infrastructure purchases, while about 30% enlist the help of a vendor or a distributor.

Asked what their current strategy is regarding enterprise-level hardware infrastructure, including servers, storage and equipment, most respondents (42%) reported they have a hybrid solution in place, while just over a third (35%) own their hardware, and another 17% said 'it’s all hosted in the '.

As advanced technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, automation, virtualisation and hybrid cloud continue to increase bandwidth demand, finding the right hardware vendor is essential.

When it comes to choosing the right vendor, companies are advised to do thorough research to ensure they select a provider that understands their vision, is compliant with industry standards and will be available to provide round-the-clock support.

According to the survey, the three key factors that determine the choice of a particular hardware infrastructure brand are: price (64%), after-sales support (55%) and the vendor’s end-to-end offering (49%).

The most popular vendors, the survey revealed, are Dell EMC, HPE and Cisco, followed by Lenovo and IBM. 

The most important deliverables considered by respondents when looking for a hardware vendor are service and support levels (23%); brand reputation (16%); products/solutions market leadership (16%); and technical features (14%).

In terms of satisfaction with the performance and reliability of their current infrastructure, 82% said they were happy, 9% were unhappy and another 9% were unsure.

Measuring returns

To reap good returns on investment (ROI), organisations need a hardware strategy that addresses both their short-term and long-term requirements. For the majority (71%) of respondents, ROI is measured through a discussion between the company’s finance manager and a relevant representative from the hardware partner, vendor or distributor. Another 29% prefer using a vendor-provided tool.

In terms of managing and monitoring their infrastructure, it’s encouraging to find that most respondents (45%) have a single view of their entire infrastructure. However, the combined percentage of those who have a siloed view (28%), do manual checks (16%) or are unsure (11%), is high.

When asked how often they rip and replace their hardware, 44% of respondents said they do so only when necessary, over a third do it every two to five years, and a quarter sweat it for more than five years. Unsurprisingly, storage capacity gets updated most often (60%), followed by server memory (18%) and warranties (16%).

Security issues

In the event of an infrastructure failure, 41% of respondents cited productivity loss as having the biggest impact on their organisation; reputational damage came in second at 28%; followed by sales losses or bottom-line impact at 20%.

Respondents said their biggest security concern with regards to their hardware infrastructure was loss of data due to hacking or ransomware (33%), potential theft/loss of client devices and data (25%), and lack of device security policies (20%). Management of mobile devices is a concern for 13% of respondents, while 8% worry about the virtualised infrastructure sprawl.  

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