09-Jun-2020 12:49 PM
Posted by Prashanth GJ, CEO, Technobind
When times are good, organizations go on a spending spree. IT budgets look flashy. Technology vendors and service providers are flooded with opportunities. 2020 was such a year. Predictions assured us that businesses would generously increase their tech spend in 2020 as they innovate and upgrade their infrastructure. We remained highly optimistic--till the Covid-19 pandemic turned our world upside down. As businesses grapple with the fear of another global recession, it’s critical to analyse what the future is going to be for the tech channel fraternity. Is the channel up against the wall? Or is there a silver lining behind this dark cloud called Covid-19?
If we go by mere numbers and predictions, times ahead are challenging. Analyst firms predict a substantial decline in global IT spending while India is estimated to follow suit. Experts are telling us that IT decision makers will have to make that tough choice between ‘running the business’ Vs ‘changing the business’. In the pre-pandemic scenario, a significant part of the IT budgets was estimated to be allocated towards the ‘change the business’ systems, which are basically technologies that facilitated innovation and business transformation.
Will Covid-19 tip this balance? Will CIOs be forced to optimize cost in such a way that transformation projects take a back seat? One thing is certain—in this time of rampant uncertainties and increasing risks, technology is emerging as the front-and-center of restart strategies. Business leaders are waking up to the new world realities that demand a completely new way of thinking. And, technology is going to be indispensable in navigating one of the worst crises in recent history.
IT’s role in post-Covid-19 world
Our recent interactions in the market have been quite encouraging. When the lockdown was imposed and the economy came to a standstill, we expected certain inevitable setbacks. Nevertheless, remote working and the new way of working gave rise to a plethora of new opportunities for the IT channel community. These included a spike in demand for solutions such as remote access, multi-factor authentication and end-point backup.
Our traditional solutions business definitely witnessed a slump, which was expected. As businesses started contemplating their restart strategy, many of these traditional offerings which were estimated to continue to be on low demand, witnessed a pleasant growth. This unexpected bounce-back points to some evolving trends in the market.
Firstly, the pandemic has compelled organizations to take a long hard look at transformation projects. For example, digital projects have become extremely critical for organizations in the post-pandemic economy to drive customer engagement, ease of working and collaborations. Business continuity and contingency plans drafted by organizations now go beyond the traditional parameters to incorporate aspects such as workforce, supply chains, insurance coverage, sustainability etc. In all of these areas, IT has become the keystone. Secondly, as CIOs and IT decisions makers are forced to do ‘more with less’ and in lesser time, they are looking at higher value from their investments. Technology now has to align quickly with business priorities. Technology vendors and channel now have to showcase better value proposition and business benefits for each dollar spent. Budgetary constraints should however not come in the way of innovation. Proposing the right solutions in the right way will be critical for every channel organization. Going beyond being an IT supplier that proposes generic products and brand-driven solutions is essential.
Outside of the initial surge in demand for remote working solutions, channels need to focus on long-term opportunities, such as:
· Faster migration to cloud
· Identifying and mitigating new security risks
· Automation of business processes and workflows
· Enhanced disaster recovery and redundancy protection
More than anything, channel needs to develop the right capabilities to be the right business consultant to help organizations thrive and innovate once the crisis is over. The post-Covid world is going to be about everything but conventionality. IT systems should be able to support the unprecedented innovation and agility in a world that will change constantly.