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COVID-19 survey update: Cloud reliance grows

This piece is an update to our blog post in late March that looked at how IT organizations are being impacted by COVID-19, including insights from TBR’s survey of enterprise IT leaders. The blog discussed how we are experiencing the second wave of impacts from the outbreak, in which widespread business disruption is affecting demand for IT products and services.

In typical IT research, we tend to track trending on a quarterly, semiannual or annual basis. Given that nothing we are experiencing during this pandemic aligns with the typical way of doing business, we have decided to compare how sentiment has shifted among IT leaders over a roughly two-week span. During the first half of April, we refielded our March pulse survey questions, which yielded the following trends in sentiment.

Overarching IT projects remain in wait-and-see mode

A delay in IT initiatives is one of the clear emerging trends as companies ride out disruptions to employees’ workflows and gauge the financial impact of the pandemic. Compared to the second half of March, there has been no change in the status of existing projects in the first half of April, with 42% of respondents indicating they are delayed. Trends have also remained constant in regard to IT budgets, with about 32% of respondents indicating budgets are frozen and new spending is on hold.

Attention is increasingly shifting toward enabling remote work

While long-term projects may be slowing or paused, there is growth in IT teams’ spending on and delivering of remote work capabilities for end users. In the latter half of March, 34% of respondents reported increasing spending on remote productivity; by mid-April, nearly half of respondents indicated this was the case. TBR believes this trend is driven not only by extensions of stay-at-home orders but also by general acknowledgement that a reintroduction to “normal” life will likely be a slow process.

Reliance on cloud is increasing

SaaS and IaaS are among some of the few IT segments that may see increased demand in the first half of this year. Responses from IT experts reflect this trend, with a considerable increase in respondents indicating usage of cloud resources has grown compared to our survey fielded in March. Currently 30% of respondents are increasing cloud usage due to data center shortages while 19% are increasing cloud consumption to offset labor shortages related to social distancing.

The impacts of the pandemic will be lasting

Respondents have not wavered from their belief that the use of cloud technology at their company will increase in the long term due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as indicated by 48% of those surveyed. Further, a decrease in respondents indicating their use of cloud technology will diminish in the long term suggests that companies expect this wave of cloud adoption will be maintained in the future, rather than serving as a temporary fix for employees needing to conduct business remotely.

On the other hand, there are also simultaneous increases in optimism and uncertainty compared to responses from two weeks ago, as more respondents indicated that they intend to return to typical IT strategies post-pandemic or that they do not know how the pandemic will shape their IT strategy.

While the pandemic has a variety of implications across different types of businesses as well as the IT vendors that serve them, our survey data suggests that IT strategies and ways of working will change for many. Contact TBR to learn more from our analyst team.

IT budgets are shifting in HCI’s favor

Infographic discussing TBR's hyperconverged infrastructure research for 2H18

Key findings from TBR’s hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) customer survey

87% of respondents indicated that they were likely to make their next HCI purchase from their current HCI vendor.

80% of respondents are leveraging HCI for a cloud installment.

68% of respondents cited their desire to purchase hyperconverged directly from teh vendor rather than through channel partners or systems integrators — an increase from 59% in 1H18.

66% of respondents indicated software quality and reliability and 63% indicated hardware quality and reliability were important factors in their HCI purchasing decision.

 

For more information, contact Data Center Analyst Stephanie Long at [email protected].

Lenovo optimizes to gain share in a market poised for fragmentation by use case

TBR perspective

At Lenovo’s Transform 2.0 event, Chairman and CEO Yuanqing Yang (“YY”) laid out the Lenovo strategy crisply in his opening remarks, relying on multiple proof points from analyst firms in the process. The company has been gaining share in a market in the aftermath of consolidation, and it sees nothing but brighter days ahead. The source of Yang’s optimism rests on scale, a traditional lever that has pulled commodity component manufacturing to Asia for decades. How Yang believes Lenovo wins stems from the company’s supply chain best practices, where it can optimize the full stack of compute to serve the full stack of instances on the one hand and create a vast array of endpoint devices for humans and machines alike on the other.

The tight partnership with NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP) was the biggest news at the event. The venture essentially melds the Lenovo and NetApp product lines in a manner similar to the scale advantage amassed when the former Dell and EMC merged to form Dell Technologies (NYSE: DVMT). The two companies have also created a joint venture in China, with Lenovo having 51% ownership as required by Chinese law, and plan to develop a line of storage products to meet the unique requirements of customers in China while leveraging Lenovo’s scaled manufacturing footprint in region.

Supply chain alone cannot help vendors differentiate, as many past Asian manufacturing giants have come to learn as overlapping channels confused markets and compressed middleman margins in the bygone era of transaction selling. Services selling requires an equally as deft and varied set of commercial offers to fit the financial strategies of the business entities Lenovo targets, and the seeds of these early “as a Service” commercial offering wrappers have been in flight for several years.

Commercial flexibility, while lagging the supply chain competencies, remains far ahead of the professional services wrapper commodity components required in the pivot to selling outcomes or solutions. Lenovo’s partnerships with leading systems integrators will be imperative for enterprise adoption as the business translation and advisory services increasingly relegate the compute and device acquisition to a derived decision.