Early earnings indicators reveal ICT vendor ‘new normal’
The reality of COVID-19’s impact potential is clear. You do not have to be an analyst by trade to understand the pandemic will create new normals in our personal and professional lives, disrupting entire business sectors, including ICT, in the process. What remains unclear in many respects, however, is the quantification of that impact.
As of the publication of this report, approximately half of the vendors that TBR authors dedicated quarterly or semiannual reports on have released their 1Q20 earnings results. While earnings announcements and presentations are still rife with uncertainty, these releases, plus TBR’s ongoing vendor-centric financial modeling, provide some indicators of how to quantify the impacts yet to come.
Beginning with this report and continuing through this quarter’s earnings and benchmarking cycle, we will be aggregating some of our financial modeling data across our upcoming reports to assess the current state impact of COVID-19 on vendor performance and to predict next quarter and full-year outcomes.
TBR’s advice to vendors: Get predictive about benchmarking
These early results suggest the industry will be split on how to best set business performance expectations in the current environment but will increasingly err on the side of caution in terms of predicting the future. Stalwarts yet to release, such as Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE), have already announced that they, too, will suspend financial guidance. Now more than ever, understanding the trajectory of the ICT vendor peer ecosystem and aligning on industry best practices to navigate the effects of COVID-19 is critical for ICT players. Building, maintaining and updating line-of-business financial models on competitors enables vendors to better benchmark performance, predict quarterly and annual outcomes, and deploy tactics to optimize performance. Vendors should look at the context of peers’ earnings announcements for clues — while many are “going dark” in terms of providing revenue guidance, rich discussions are occurring in earnings calls regarding resource utilization, portfolio management, sales and go-to-market alignment that can be tapped for vendor insight to infuse into practices
In addition to this report, we are writing and reporting in depth on the COVID-19 impact in a dedicated special report series, webinars and our regular published analysis as vendors release earnings. Our published content is regularly updated on TBR’s website and can also be accessed through our client portals.