IT leaders are now investing more in cloud-based and AI-powered networking technologies as business recovery plans take shape.
A global survey of 2,400 IT decision-makers (ITDMs) commissioned by Aruba revealed that IT leaders are investing more in cloud-based (38%) and AI-powered networking (35%) technologies as business recovery plans take shape.
The average proportion of IT services consumed via subscription will accelerate by 38% in the next two years, from 34% of the total today to 46% in 2022, and the share of organizations that consume a majority (over 50%) of their IT solutions ‘as a service’ will increase by approximately 72% in that time.
Partha Narasimhan, CTO and HPE senior fellow for Aruba says every part of the workplace needs to evolve: the campus must be embedded with technology to support social distancing and contactless experiences, and the home office must offer enterprise-level connectivity, security and support.
“It’s increasingly clear that, to support these new needs in a financially challenging environment, IT decision-makers are attracted to the reduced risk and cost advantages offered by a subscription model,” he added.
- 22% describing the impact on their employees as ‘significant’ (widespread furlough or layoffs), while 52% considered it ‘moderate’ (temporary reductions in some functions), and 19% ‘low’ (very few jobs impacted).
- ITDMs in India (57%) were most likely to cite a significant impact on their employees, while those in Hong Kong (12%) reported the least, highlighting a massive swing in experiences between regions.
- 77% said that investments in networking projects had been postponed or delayed since the onset of COVID-19, and 28% indicated that projects had been cancelled altogether.
- The APAC region was the global leader with 45% stating increased investment in cloud-based networking, rising to 59% among ITDMs in India. With cloud solutions allowing for remote network management at large scale, these capabilities are particularly enticing for IT teams when being on-premises is not possible or challenging.
- ITDMs are also seeking improved tools for network monitoring and insight, with 34% globally planning to increase their investment in analytics and assurance, 48% indicating that they will maintain their level of investment and 15% reducing it. This allows IT organizations to troubleshoot and fine-tune the network more efficiently, as demands on it are augmented by a distributed workforce.
- There is also an emphasis on innovative technologies that simplify the lives of IT teams by automating repetitive tasks. We found 35% of ITDMs globally are planning to increase their investment in AI-based networking technologies, with the APAC region leading the charge at 44% (including 60% of ITDMs in India and 54% in Hong Kong).
- 55% globally say they will explore new subscription models for hardware and/or software, 53% managed services for turnkey hardware/software and 30% financial leasing – all as a result of the impact of COVID-19. This reflects the increased need for more financially flexible models in a challenging environment.
- Networking subscription models are more popular in APAC (61%), and at a country level the highest demands are in India (70%) and China (65%).
- The industries most likely to be considering the subscription model are hotels/hospitality (66%), technology and telecom (58%) and education (57%). The impact of COVID-19 on IT behaviour has made the desire for flexibility and predictability in spending, while reducing risk from initial capital costs, greater than before.
Narasimhan said enterprises are having to adapt fast and ensure that more complex, distributed networks can securely support the experiences users demand. The need for agility and flexibility in network management is now greater than ever.
While the pandemic has clearly negatively impacted ongoing projects, this research suggests it will also catalyze medium-term investment into advancing networking technologies, and a shift to more flexible models of consumption that limit up-front capital demands.
Trends that were already taking hold will now accelerate, including the move to the Edge and the adoption of cloud-based and AI-driven intelligent networks.