By Jason Kimrey
I had a different introduction to this news update, but updated as I started seeing increasing news about internet outages impacting airlines and banks. This is on the heels of major websites around the world displaying 503 errors when “the internet broke.” This latest news is another reminder of just how important cloud computing has become.
According to IDC’s semi-annual cloud service tracker, the cloud services market grew 24.1% in 2020 and is expected to continue to show strong growth through the coming years. If you didn’t catch IDC’s semi-annual tracker presentation, it’s worth taking in the replay — there’s a lot of good data and commentary about the importance of resiliency, including support for remote work.
The pandemic removed barriers or resistance to remote work, and I don’t think we’re going back to the old ways. Reports out of the White House indicate remote work is being endorsed for U.S. government workers — a move that will undoubtedly have a ripple effect. Forrester is reporting 70% of U.S. companies will pivot to a hybrid work model post-pandemic.
If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at David Allen’s piece on the new way of working and the tools your team needs for success.
But it’s not all good news on the remote-work front. Gartner is reporting workforce health has been adversely impacted. This is something we, as leaders, need to be aware of and address within our teams.
In other news highlights:
Accounting Firms Invest in Tech: PWC plans to invest $12 billion and hire 100,000 new people in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity by 2026.
Bright Outlook for IT Jobs: We’re seeing good news on the job front. U.S. IT jobs at the end of May were higher than before the pandemic hit, and salaries are rising.
PC Shipments Surge: The PC market continues to surge with expected growth of 18% in 2021. Research, though, is pointing to a growth drop in 2022.
Citizen Developers Are Here to Stay: By 2024, 80% of technology products and services will be built by those who are not technology professionals, predicts Gartner.
Expanding Demand for Storage: Solid growth is forecast for both hard-disk and solid-state drive markets to meet demand for storage.
What CIOs are Thinking: Although I try to avoid sharing gated content, this IDC roadmap shares insights from discussions with CIOs — and their priorities, the pressures they face to make up for lost time, and the push to reinvent IT. It’s worth a read.
Technology Challenges to Follow: Amid all the positive news about the economy, there are challenges facing IT. This CompTIA piece does an exceptional job highlighting the challenges we are facing as an industry including cybersecurity, privacy, skills gaps, supporting remote work, the impact of services and solutions and much more.
Top Supply-Chain Themes: With so many interconnected businesses, supply chain remains a top focus. Gartner looks at the top themes for 2021 including hyper-automation, digital twins, edge ecosystems and security.
Software-Defined Infrastructure Growing: The market reached $12.17 billion in 2020, an increase of 5% over the previous year, according to IDC.
AR’s Growing Importance: Nearly three-quarters of consumers expect augmented reality to be even more important in their lives in the next 5 years, according to Deloitte.
Small Wide Data Trend: By 2025, 70% of organizations will shift their focus from big to small and wide data, providing more context for analytics and making AI less data-hungry. It is also a reflection on how quickly data can become obsolete.
Cybersecurity & ransomware headlines
Once again, we’re seeing more and more reports of ransomware attacks and major security breaches.
On the good-news front, the U.S. federal government was able to track and recover a majority of the $4.3 million of the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline to Darkside hackers.
New threats, technologies and business models are emerging because of increasing threats. See CRN’s top cybersecurity trends to watch.
CSO is reminding us that data breaches can’t be viewed in isolation. The stolen data doesn’t live in a silo so breach impacts could be more far-reaching.
Merger and IPO action continues
By 2022 mergers and acquisition activity involving technology providers will surpass previous highs, according the Gartner. We’re seeing evidence of these mergers all the time, including:
Private-equity firms Bain Capital and Crosspoint Capital purchased network-detection and response firm ExtraHop for $900 million.
Delioitte has acquired CloudQuest, a cloud security posture management company.
Microsoft is buying IoT’s ReFirm Labs to enhance its firmware analysis and security capabilities from servers to IoT.
IBM is buying Turbonomic’s AI-powered application resource management software for a reported $1.52 million.
CIO’s report of the biggest enterprise technology M&A deals is a great summary.
Softchoice successfully completed its IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with 17.5 million common shares sold for gross proceeds of about $249 million. It’s positioning itself as Microsoft’s largest cloud-deployment partner.
Sales and marketing to tech decision-makers
As a follow-on to my last blog about the changing routes to market, these research findings are showing how marketing and sales strategies are shifting.
Buying scenarios are getting more complex. Forrester reports more than 80% of purchases involve complex buying scenarios, and 75% of B2B marketing efforts now focus on customer retention and enrichment activities.
Gartner suggests digital experiences aren’t having the impact on purchasing decisions we think. Nearly 60% of customers say it doesn’t impact buying, and more than half say they can’t tell the different between brands’ digital experiences. The article also offers key lessons. This research could be seen as running contrary to the AR research released by Deloitte mentioned above.
IDG’s 2021 customer-engagement research finds 90% of IT decision-makers struggle to get enough high-quality information on IT products.
One of the most interesting elements of this study was: When considering a new technology from an emerging vendor, tech decision-makers would like the vendor to provide case studies/proof of concept (cited by 51%), show evidence that the product/service stands out from the competition and provide direct comparisons (48%), and offer reassurance/proof that the new product easily integrates with existing technology (49%).
Companies that focused on customer experience and engaged empathetically with customers during the pandemic built goodwill and outperformed the competition, according to Forrester’s U.S. Customer Experience Index, 2021.
Gartner predicts net promotor scores will be abandoned by 2025 as companies move to customer-experience metrics.
That’s all for this round of market insights. There can be no doubt that change is continuing a rapid pace. I hope this helps to keep you in the loop of changing market conditions and trends.
Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.