Offering tech support can be expensive. Especially if you have to make on-site visits every time your customers have an issue.
One tech provider, BizTech Plus Inc., has gotten around that issue by specifying PCs based on the Intel vPro platform.
BizTech Plus offers tech support to small and medium businesses in and around Sacramento, Calif. Its services include backups, on-site administration and disaster-recovery planning.
By deploying PCs based on Intel vPro, BizTech Plus is providing some of those services a whole lot faster. For example, the time needed to resolve a PC hardware problem has been cut from 150 minutes to 60 minutes. That’s a 60% improvement.
Similarly, BizTech can now resolve an OS problem with Intel vPro in just 60 minutes on average, down from 180 minutes. That’s a 67% improvement.
Customers’ PCs stay up and running longer, too. BizTech says average PC downtime has dropped from 20 minutes a month without Intel vPro to just 3 minutes a month with. That’s 87% better.
To learn more, we spoke recently with Brent Lindke, VP, CFO and founder of BizTech Plus. This interview has been lightly edited for readability.
Q: What are the main benefits you’ve enjoyed with the Intel vPro platform?
Intel vPro helps to make our business more efficient. It does this by significantly reducing our travel time and enabling us to do more tasks remotely.
Intel vPro also lowers our clients’ costs. They can avoid downtime during working hours and keep running their business.
Q: How do you resolve hardware and software problems faster with Intel vPro?
Before vPro, we almost always had to go on-site to resolve issues. That meant a lot of travel, which slows us down and adds cost.
Now, using Intel vPro, we can resolve most issues remotely. Even when we do have to go on-site, Intel vPro allows us to get more information. That way, we can take along the right tools and hardware
We can also update drivers and BIOS remotely with Intel vPro and Intel EMA. That’s helped us cut our deskside visits from once a month to once every 4 months. That reduction in travel time delivers a huge cost savings for us.
Q: How about reducing PC downtime?
Our networks have been pretty bulletproof. But there are still times when computers have issues. With Intel vPro, we can get into the BIOS to make changes after hours. Nobody even knows we were there.
Q: You’re a big fan of Lenovo PCs. Why’s that?
When I started BizTech Plus, I considered several computer manufacturers and found their pricing was similar. But then I looked at how long it took to get help when there was a problem. I found that Lenovo is much faster.
My longest support call with Lenovo has been an hour. On average, I can talk with them for just 30 minutes, and then all the parts I need will be on the way.
Q: You also like working with D&H, right?
Yes, D&H has been our distributor of choice since we started in 2008. They have the products we need, they’re responsive and they’re personable.
Also, our D&H rep looks out for us and finds discounts. He’s personally involved in helping us make money.
MJP Technologies has been serving IT customers in the Ventura, Calif., area since 1993 with its one-stop tech solutions approach. One essential tool for the company is the Intel vPro platform.
This Intel vPro platform is built for business and designed for performance, security, manageability and stability. And it has helped MJP reduce the average time needed to resolve a customer hardware problem from a painful 2 hours to a quick 13 minutes.
Similarly, MJP has used the Intel vPro platform to cut the time it needs to resolve customer software problems from well over an hour (75 minutes) to just 20 minutes.
How? To get answers, we spoke recently with Jas Batra, MJP’s VP of new technologies.
Q: What do you see as the main benefits of the Intel vPro platform?
Intel vPro has always been something we want every customer to have. It’s so much more efficient, both for us and for them. It saves us a lot of time and money with the reduction in travel time, reduced staffing needs and other benefits.
Q: How does Intel vPro help you reduce the time needed to resolve hardware and software problems?
With Intel vPro’s remote out-of-band management, we can diagnose hardware issues with a quick remote session. That saves us massive amounts of on-site time.
Likewise, with “blue screen” and other non-functional OS errors, we can get systems up and running from error to user login without going on site.
Q: How about reducing PC downtime?
With vPro and scheduled boot-ups, when a user turns off their system, we can be assured that the system will fire up at night and do the tasks it needs to do. We can be preemptive instead of reactive.
Q: Does Intel vPro help you cut deskside visits?
Without vPro, many customers require one or two visits, sometimes every week.
Using vPro capabilities, we may only need to head in for the occasional “We exist, how are things going?” type of on-site visit. That saves us a lot.
Q: And patching?
Some customers have had ransomware, and phishing is a major problem. So we talk with them about how vPro can minimize their security issues.
We can run patches outside business hours, without downtime. And without user intervention or interference, there's less risk of patching being skipped.
Q: Everyone’s looking to get more done without adding headcount. How about you?
Staffing is a struggle, so it’s been helpful to us to enable our employees to sit in one spot and work on 4 or 5 systems at one time. Plus, with Intel vPro and EMA [Intel Endpoint Management Assistant], most actions can be done in the background or after hours.
Q: Have you tapped into Intel Partner Alliance?
Yes, we’ve been Intel Partners since the late 1990s. In addition to access to our rep, we really appreciate how easy it is to access roadmaps and technical information online, including Intel Partner University and Partner Marketing Studio.
For MESHD MSP of Knoxville, Tenn., building IT systems for healthcare compliance is a top job.
For another top job, keeping customers’ PCs up and running, MESHD relies on the Intel vPro platform.
MESHD focuses almost exclusively on providing solutions that help healthcare providers in its region achieve, manage and maintain HIPAA compliancy.
If you’re unfamiliar with HIPAA, that’s short for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Passed in 1996, it’s a U.S. law that aims to modernize the flow of healthcare information while also protecting that information against fraud and theft.
To help its customers with HIPAA compliance, MESHD MSP offers services including email encryption, cloud server compliance, secured network access and electronic records.
Specifying PCs with the Intel vPro platform has helped MESHD reduce the average time it needs to resolve a hardware problem by nearly 65%, increase by 2.5x the number of PCs each of its technicians can manage, and nearly cut in half the time it needs to get a customer to 95% patch saturation.
To learn more, we spoke with David Vu, a MESHD account executive.
How is remote diagnosis with the Intel vPro platform and Intel EMA helping your business?
Being able to remotely diagnosis hardware issues is really helpful to us. Before, we needed to send out techs just to find out what was going on. That’s a huge waste of resources—especially with high gas prices.
Every truck roll we avoid with remote management is a savings to our bottom line. It means we can take care of more tickets because our techs aren’t stuck in their trucks or on-site with clients. It’s a huge value add, because hiring and training techs is expensive. This way, our existing staff can do more in less time.
How does the Intel vPro platform help you to lower customers’ PC downtime?
Downtime is critical for our healthcare customers, so it’s super-helpful for us to be able to push repairs after hours, even if end users shut down their computers at the end of the day.
Also, in the event a repair has to be done during office hours, we now can send a shutdown command remotely. That’s instead of instructing users to hold down the power button.
How does it help with patching?
Our clients are frustrated when we have to ask them to shut down their PCs for us. So with Intel vPro and EMA, we’re able to instead force reboots and power-on PCs to patch devices right away. We don’t have to wait for users to do anything manually.
Your company selects PCs from Lenovo. Why’s that?
Lenovo has always been more reliable than other manufacturers, and they send replacement parts quickly. Inventory-wise, they’ve also been the best option. They provide a better margin for us, too.
You also like working with distributor D&H?
Yes, D&H has always been a hands-on firm. They really care about customer service.
We also have customers who use their DaaS offering. It’s easier on us financially, and it means customers are already in the mindset of paying monthly for their hardware, and having it taken care of for them.
By Jason Kimrey
Welcome to the summer 2022 edition of my Partner Market Insights!
We’re seeing some areas of the business heating up while others show signs of cooling.
PC shipment decline: Worldwide shipments of PCs are expected to decline by 9.5% this year. Gartner is attributing the decline to inflation, geopolitical unrest and supply-chain disruptions. Business PC shipments are expected to drop less than consumer PCs.
IDC is also projecting PC shipments will be down, but by 8% year-over-year, to about 321 million units. Tablet unit shipments are expected to drop roughly 6%. Despite the declines, IDC notes that shipments will remain above pre-pandemic levels and should return to positive annual growth levels next year.
IDC also reported that demand for PCs declined 15% in the second quarter. Despite the recent decline and weakening demand, total PC volume is still comparable to that at the beginning of the pandemic.
In the cloud: According to Forrester, nearly all (94%) U.S. companies are using at least 1 type of cloud deployment, and the majority are using hybrid or many cloud environments. Nearly three quarters (74%) are adopting containers within a platform as a service model.
Compute & storage infrastructure spending rises: Spending on compute and storage infrastructure products for cloud deployments, including dedicated and shared environments, increased 17% year-over-year in the first quarter, to $18.3 billion, according to IDC. Investments in non-cloud infrastructure increased nearly 10% year-over-year in Q1, rising to $14.8 billion.
Infrastructure as a Service grows: The infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market grew 41% in 2021, for a total of $90.9 billion worldwide. That was up from $64.3 billion in the previous year, according to Gartner.
Software sales surge: Software sales in the first quarter recorded a 14% increase, IDC says. March was the largest single month for software sales in the last 4 years.
IT spending trends: TechCrunch expects overall IT spending to increase nearly 7% this year. The energy sector is forecast to show the highest budget increases by sector.
Government IT spending: Worldwide, governments are expected to spend $565.7 billion on IT this year, up 5% over 2021. One interesting note in this report is the growing popularity of Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) across government organizations for its better ROI and the fact that it helps governments avoid the accrual of more technical debt. By 2026, Gartner predicts, most government agencies’ new IT investments will be made in XaaS solutions.
AI and business-process automation: Half of current finance artificial intelligence (AI) deployments will be either delayed or cancelled by 2024, Gartner expects. Meanwhile, the use of business-process outsourcing (BPO) for AI will rise from 6% to 40% in just 2 years.
Sustainability service spending: Environmental, social and governance (ESG) business services spending will grow to $158 billion by 2025, enjoying a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32% as companies look to improve sustainability, predicts IDC.
Spotlight on Inflation
You can’t get away from news about the impact of inflation, and our industry is no exception.
CFOs are expected to look at cost-reduction strategies if high inflation continues, Gartner says. In addition, automation is seen as an important strategy to help CIOs combat higher costs.
IDC expects 18 to 24 more months of elevated rates of IT inflation of 7% to 8% across all IT categories. That should be followed by a moderation to slightly below-average rates in the following 2 to 3 years.
CIO adviser Marc Dowd shared some good thoughts in this post:
“If you have laid the foundation by becoming a partner in the growth and success of the organization and have led the charge as IT becomes integral to the delivery of goods and services to customers, chances are the budget will get approved, and the impact of IT inflation on your organization can be absorbed and offset by the increased value you are providing to customers.”
Sales, Marketing and E-commerce Trends:
Business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce sales are expected to exceed $2 trillion by 2023 and grow at a 5-year CAGR of nearly 11%, predicts Forrester. Last year, B2B ecommerce sales in the United States saw record-breaking growth. Looking ahead, Forrester expects ecommerce will account for nearly a quarter of total U.S. B2B sales by 2027.
More than 8 in 10 B2B buyers (83%) prefer ordering or paying through digital commerce, says Craig Riley, chief of research in the Gartner Sales practice. A new approach is needed, he says, one that combines digital and human engagements to help buyers feel more confident in their decisions and drives high-quality deals. Gartner’s B2B buyer survey found that close to three-quarters of B2B buyers (72%) completed a recent significant purchase transaction by ordering or paying online.
Marketing budgets are on the rise. They’ve increased to 9.5% of company revenue this year, up from 6.4% last year, notes Gartner.
Data matters: We’ve talked about how important data is to business. Well, Gartner reports that 65% of organizations are transitioning to data-driven decision-making.
To wrap up this summer edition of Partner Market Insights, I wanted to share 2 final articles about our ecosystem:
Jay McBain of market watchers Canalys shared this article from Nuzoo’s Christine Horton about how and why the channel is increasingly being replaced by IT ecosystem. As McBain explains, “An ecosystem is 10X larger in size than a channel at most companies.”
What do customers want from their partners? We often talk about trusted advisors. In an environment that’s so complex and changing rapidly, expertise and proactivity are key. The Channelist highlights what CIOs want—proactive partners.
The article includes a quote from Heather Hinton, CISO of cloud-based communications provider RingCentral:
“We have to make decisions much, much faster. I am really reliant on my channel partners to make sure that they’re giving me the right information. For vendors, that means being able to solve a problem, not merely selling what they have in stock.”
Jason Kimrey is vice president of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.
Honolulu is a great place for a vacation, but a lot of work gets done there, too. Keeping the IT of local businesses up and running is the task of Mobile IT Force.
Founded in 2009, the company originally served local government and education customers. Today Mobile IT Force also resells computer systems and provides related services to small businesses and consumers.
Mobile IT Force has recently started deploying PCs based on the Intel vPro platform, and the resulting benefits have been impressive.
They include a 75% reduction in the average time needed to solve an OS problem, a 67% reduction in the average monthly PC downtime, and a nearly 70% reduction in the number of monthly deskside visits.
To learn more, we spoke with the company’s president, William Chang, and senior tech support engineer, Danny Weng.
William Chang, president of Mobile IT Force
What’s your overall impressions of the Intel vPro platform?
William Chang: After trying it out, we’ll definitely be promoting vPro and EMA more to our customers. In fact, our customers are already requesting that they want vPro, so we don’t really need to be promoting it.
Danny Weng: Intel vPro is a game-changer for us.
How has Intel vPro helped you resolve OS problem faster?
Danny Weng: Being able to access the BIOS and the power-state options is a really big deal for us. We’ll use it at least a few times a day, and likely more than that. Having access to out-of-band KVM [keyboard, video, mouse] options was really useful, too, and it saved us a lot of time.
And how has Intel vPro help you lower you monthly PC downtime so dramatically?
Danny Weng: A major issue for us is when we leave updates and patches running overnight and an error occurs. The next day, the end user suffers downtime. In cases where we need to shut down PCs or enter the BIOS remotely, Intel EMA technology is very useful, cutting our time from three or four hours to just one.
And reducing patch saturation times?
Danny Weng: [With Intel vPro] some updates that used to require deskside visits are now fully performed remotely. We’re able to be more efficient with our updates and resolve any issues before end users get back in the morning.
Usually, the end users leave their machines on for us. But when they forget, we can turn the systems on and get the patches deployed without delay.
You like working with Lenovo. Why’s that?
William Chang: I really like the team we work with at Lenovo. We’ve been with them over 14 years, and they always stand with us to make sure issues get resolves. We’re also big fans of ThinkPads.
You’re also fans of D&H?
William Chang: I like D&H as our distributor because of the pricing. Plus, I had a great sales rep who was very responsive. We have a new person now, and they’re great too.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? For over 45 years CBM Technology has been providing IT solutions to customers in and around its home state of Louisiana. Now the IT service provider has discovered the benefits of the Intel vPro Platform.
Those benefits from the Intel vPro platform include a nearly 90% lowering of monthly PC downtime among CBM’s customers. And a 33% reduction in the time CBM needs to achieve 95% patch saturation.
To find out how, we spoke recently with 2 members of the CBM staff: Emile Oliver, a young computer technician, and the company’s VP, Tye Miller.
Tye Miller, VP of CBM Technology
How did the Intel vPro platform help you lower monthly PC downtime by nearly 90%?
Emile Oliver: We used to have to schedule out deskside visits, which sometimes led to extended downtime. Now, right away we’re able to start looking at issues remotely. Obviously, this reduces downtime. But it also strengthens the relationship with our clients from a sales perspective because it really proves our value.
And lowering the time you need to achieve 95% patch saturation by 33%?
Emile Oliver: The main advantage of Intel vPro is that you can power on a PC and apply patches right away. There’s no delay while we wait to see whether the client goes back online. Also, we know immediately if a PC has been decommissioned or is out for warranty repair.
How does that support CBM’s business growth?
Emile Oliver: As we expand our business to serve clients nationwide, the remote capabilities of the Intel vPro platform are helping us reduce both the number of boots on the ground and the need to ship units.
We had a smooth deployment of Intel EMA [Intel Endpoint Management Assistant] and have been taking advantage of the remote on/off capabilities and the patching efficiencies. Also, being able to simplify the learning curve for our new technicians with the easy-to-learn tools and automations has been really valuable.
Intel vPro is also helping you reduce truck rolls for lower costs and better service, right?
Emile Oliver: Intel vPro’s out-of-band management has been very useful for Windows resets, where now we can easily re-image computers for clients with high employee turnover. It’s saving us a lot of time by eliminating truck rolls. And it helps us to serve clients with lower service levels that don’t want to pay for on-site support.
You specify Lenovo PCs. Why’s that?
Tye Miller: We’re really satisfied with Lenovo and its quality. The company’s products are very reputable, and we don’t see much hardware failure. That makes us feel confident in putting our name behind them.
You also work with ConnectWise for certain tools, right?
Tye Miller: ConnectWise is the company we really use daily, hourly, and by the minute. They offer powerful RMM [remote monitoring & management) tools that we’ve relied on for years.
Your preferred distributor?
Tye Miller: Our sales team is really happy and satisfied with TD SYNNEX, which is our primary distributor. They bend over backward to get us the best deal and to win our business. They provide the personal touch, and they continually reach out to find out how they can improve.
For GRIT Technologies, a managed services provider based in Grand Rapids, Mich., helping small and midsized businesses (SMBs) get the most from their technologies is Job 1.
And one way GRIT does that is with Intel technology. GRIT’s customers throughout Michigan have deployed over 500 PCs based on Intel Core vPro technology, which includes Intel Active Management Technology (Intel AMT).
The Intel advantage for GRIT? Better functionality and lower cost of delivering service. The company has found that on PCs based on Intel Core vPro technology, compared with non-vPro PCs, hardware problems take 50% less time while resolving software issues take 75% less time.
To learn more, we spoke recently with GRIT’s network operations center manager, Jason Zurro (pictured below), who’s been with the company since 2016.
How does the Intel vPro platform help you deliver value to your customers?
About 5 years ago, I saw how powerful the Intel vPro platform was, and we made it a standard. We have a lot of tools in our remote toolkit, but there are some tasks—like getting into the BIOS or turning on systems for patching—that only Intel AMT can handle for us.
Without the Intel vPro platform, if there were 20 systems that did not get patched over a weekend because they were inadvertently shut off, then I’d have to chase those patches on a Monday morning once users booted their PCs.
Downloading a patch before launching a task can slow down a user’s productivity, but it can also affect the speed of the entire network when twenty systems are all downloading patches at the same time. Instead, the Intel vPro platform saves me from installing patches during business hours and makes my job less challenging.”
How about getting more bandwidth from your staff?
The Intel vPro platform helps our technicians at GRIT as they begin to update customer PCs to Windows 11. The new OS requires activation of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) before we can install the update.
With Intel AMT, we can remotely access the BIOS, turn on TPM, and then install Windows 11. So instead of a technician going to a client site and physically activating TPM on each system, we can manage it remotely. That’s huge. We can update a whole company in a single night.
Imagine you’re provisioning 100 PCs for a refresh. The Intel vPro platform would make that so much easier. Quite simply, it accelerates our ability to scale, and it frees our technicians from running desk-to-desk. It’s another powerful tool that gives us remote visibility into a system.
Everyone wants to improve productivity. Does Intel vPro technology help with that?
Some of our technicians bill out at almost $200 per hour. If they had to drive 90 minutes to a client site and then 90 minutes back to the office, that would be a significant dollar impact for our company, and a productivity impact for our clients and technicians.
While there are some PCs that might never need remote access, the fact that it’s there with the Intel vPro platform means that when I do need it, we can remote in. Instead of rolling a truck, we can look like heroes.
You recommend Lenovo PCs. Why’s that?
We typically sell the Lenovo Mini. It’s small, so it fits on a desk or the back of a monitor. Our customers love the compact size.
Plus, Lenovo’s support is phenomenal. It gives us 24x7 support that’s easy to navigate. Within my first call, I’m usually speaking with an engineer.
Not yet an Intel Partner Alliance member? Discover the benefits and register to join.
Bleu Jour is a leading European provider of mini PCs built with Intel NUC Element products. Based in Toulouse, France (the company’s name means “blue day”), Bleu Jour needed to serve its German solution provider, OCTO IT, with a robust, fanless design for a powerful and stylish mini PC.
Bleu Jour chose modular Intel NUC Element products. They feature interchangeable, prequalified building blocks that Bleu Jour built into a uniquely stylish, fanless mini PC product line called WAVE.
Bleu Jour WAVE: Intel NUC Elements inside
Bleu Jour’s president, Jean-Christophe Agobert, calls the Intel NUC Compute Element “yet another great innovation.”
> Rapid Time to Market: The modularity of Intel NUC Element products allows Bleu Jour to design innovative mini PC solutions in about four months.
> Powerful Performance: The Intel NUC 11 Compute Element offers boundary-breaking performance with up to 11th Gen Intel Core i7/i5 processors — with or without Intel vPro technology — and connects easily to an Intel NUC Assembly Element.
> Faster Refreshes: The Intel NUC Compute Element makes it easier, less costly, and more sustainable for customers to refresh to a next-gen processor without discarding the chassis and board.
> Reliable Performance: Intel offers ongoing support and extensive reliability testing, prequalifying, and standardizing Intel NUC Element components to streamline integration and sales.
Put it all together, and you can see why OCTO IT’s CEO, Carsten Huwer, says the Intel NUC is “the top product in its class.”
To read the full Bleu Jour/OCTO IT case study, click the PDF link below:
When PCs crash, a small business feels it every bit as much as a big enterprise, maybe even more. That’s why PCSS LLC of Covington, Va., a provider of IT services to local small businesses, is so keen on the Intel vPro Platform.
PCSS finds that PCs based on Intel vPro are inoperable 80% less often than other PCs — an average of 2 minutes of downtime per month compared with 10.
When OS problems occur, vPro-based PCs get resolved 55% faster than other PCs — in 20 minutes on average instead of 45. And they require PCSS to make 66% fewer deskside visits — just 1 a month compared with 3 for other PCs.
To learn more, we spoke with PCSS’s founder and president, Nick Moga.
Nick Moga, president of PCSS
How does the Intel vPro platform help you reduces OS repair times by 55%?
Almost 80% of the issues we deal with are OS problems. Using Intel Active Management Technology, we can get under the OS faster and resolve issues more quickly.
We’re on the S end of SMB, meaning we deal with a lot of mom-and-pop shops. They don’t always want to upgrade. But when we show them the time savings that new hardware delivers — because of our ability to manage issues remotely, as well as the reliability —they will often let go of their old hardware.
The Intel vPro platform has helped you cut deskside visits by two-thirds. Why is that so important?
During the pandemic, we’ve relied on being able to remote into a system, where maybe five years ago we weren’t. It’s had a huge impact on our business — and on our ability to reach clients.
The ability to remote into a PC makes us more efficient, so the time savings goes right to our bottom line. But we’re also serving customers faster, so it’s a win-win.
Many of our customers are government, education, and nonprofit. So when we’re more efficient, it helps everybody.
How have you sped patching by over 40%?
The Intel vPro platform frees up our techs to dig more deeply into systems, because they can handle more systems more efficiently.
One way is that they can make sure the systems are patched — especially with remote systems that are turned off. We can use Intel Endpoint Management Assistant to remote into a system, turn it on, and patch it. It’s really been a lifesaver with businesses that are keeping remote employees.
We’ve also adopted a zero trust security approach. Adapting PCs with the Intel vPro platform is a big deal for us — and a crucial part of our security stack.
You recommend Lenovo PCs. Why is that?
Lenovo makes good stuff, and we like their warranties. They’re good for us and our clients. Lenovo also has a very good support system.
By Jason Kimrey
Hot off the presses is IDC’s quarterly PC shipments report. After double-digit growth, spending is tapering. However, 80.5 million PCs were still shipped in the first quarter, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of 80+ million units!
The latest worldwide IT spending report is also out. Gartner says inflation, geopolitical disruptions and talent shortages will slow IT investments to $4.4 trillion in 2022, even though spending will still be up (by 4%) from 2021.
Digging into the report, growth is tapering across almost every segment down from double-digit spending in 2021. Gartner’s key projections include:
> Data center systems: 5.5% growth in 2022 and 5.4% in 2023
> Software: up 9.8% in 2022 and 11.8% in 2023
> Devices: rising 1.9% in 2022 and 1.6% in 2023
> IT services: up 6.8% in 2022 and 8.5% in 2023
This Gartner report also sheds interesting light on the challenges CIOs face as well as their priorities — which include investing in areas that give them the flexibility and agility to respond to disruption.
AI Spending to Double
Spending on artificial intelligence will grow to $120 billion by 2025, a CAGR of 25%, with retail and banking industries leading the investment, according to IDC.
The Augmented Customer Service Agents, and Expert Shopping Advisors & Product Recommendations use cases will account for almost 40% of spending, says IDC.
You can’t go into a store or fill up your tank without feeling the impact of inflation. We also need to recognize how inflation is impacting our customers and their spending strategies.
“Organizations have largely picked the low-hanging fruit in responding to input price inflation,” said Randeep Rathindran, a research VP in Gartner’s finance practice. “CFOs need strategies now that both adapt to a more persistent inflationary environment than originally anticipated, while also better preparing their organizations for growth in the next economic cycle.”
As trusted advisors and leaders, we have an important role to play in helping guide IT strategies and investments to help our customers gain or retain that competitive edge.
Time to Thrive
Expanding on IDC’s 2022 worldwide CEO survey, this article digs deeper into the priorities for business leaders. Here’s a hint: CEOs are focused on technology that helps their organizations thrive.
Among the most interesting findings: Every CEO, regardless of industry, must become a tech CEO in our digital world. There’s an IDC webinar on the subject on April 28, if you want to hear more.
“Everyone realizes that technology is significant—we’ve earned the seat at the table and have everyone’s ear,” says Jamie Holcombe, CIO of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
“You lose it by talking ‘geek speak’ or focusing on pet projects that have nothing to do with the business mission,” Holcombe adds. “Make sure you talk to colleagues in business terms, so they understand how you’re delivering for them.”
This is a great quote. It can be tempting to get excited about what technology can do and the key features you can’t live without. But what really matters is business outcomes and solving challenges.
Here’s a roundup of articles and news I’ve been reading:
Data Privacy: The United States and EU have reached a preliminary agreement on how European data could be stored in the U.S. If successful, it could once again permit trans-Atlantic data flow.
Data & Analytic Trends: Three key areas are highlighted by Gartner: activate dynamism and diversity; augment people and decisions; and institutionalize trust. It’s an interesting piece that builds on Gartner’s trends research.
Betting on Cloud: Flexera’s 2022 State of the Cloud report shows where enterprises and SMBs are spending cloud dollars. For enterprise spending, the report shows, AWS has a slight lead over both Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
Who’s Making Decisions? According to this Gartner report, the board of directors is coming out ahead of the CIOs and CTOs when it comes to deciding on emerging technology investments.
The good news highlighted in this report: 90% of respondents said their emerging-technology investments are either meeting or exceeding expectations.
Tech Deals Continue: There seems to be no slowing of M&A activity in tech. According to Computerworld’s roundup, cybersecurity and collaboration software are two especially hot areas.
The Great Resignation: We all know there’s a tech talent shortage. Only about one in three tech workers (29%) plan to stay in their current job, and that’s not welcome news to businesses. According to Gartner, the key to retention lies in rethinking outdated work assumptions.
The Great Rethink: As leaders we need to be aware of shifting sentiments about work and help ensure the momentum we have achieved in hybrid workplaces is not lost. While we embraced remote work during the pandemic, this report is a little troubling.
Nearly 60% of women knowledge workers think in-office workers will be seen as high performers, says Alexia Cambon, research director in Gartner’s HR practice. And more than 75% think in-office workers are more likely to be promoted.
Being physically in an office is an outdated measure of performance. It’s a misconception we must guard against.
Shed B2B Sales Myths: I highlight this Forrester piece because too often we get trapped in the way we’ve always done things …and sometimes those ideas and practices are outdated and limit success.
It’s Not You: Given our customer-centric world, it might seem counterintuitive that a business would willingly turn away sales. But Gartner’s research says that could be exactly what’s best. By 2025, the firm predicts, 75% of companies will break up with poor-fitting customers. The reason? Retaining those customers is too costly.
Smart Cities Awarded: These projects and cities are great examples of how municipalities can leverage technology and innovation. Congratulations to this year’s winners and innovators!
A little fun before I sign off: Have you tested your gaming skills yet? Get a little retro with Pixel Pat and go for the high score. Game on, Jay McBain, Rachel Mushahwar, Aletha Noonan, Gary Palenbaum, Jason Mitchell, and Bob Olwig!
Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.