Coronavirus fails to dim digital transformation ambitions of enterprise IT leaders, research shows

IT leaders are continuing to press ahead with their long-term, large-scale digital transformation projects, despite the short-term technology challenges posed by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, research suggests.

A survey, commissioned by managed cloud provider 2nd Watch, saw more than 100 enterprise IT professionals quizzed on their cloud usage habits, and how that may or may not have changed as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

All of the respondents work for companies which generate at least $500m in annual sales, with annual IT budgets in excess of $50m, with 93% of those questioned making use of at least two cloud platforms within their wider IT estate.

The resulting 2020 Enterprise cloud trends report saw the vast majority of respondents (82.2%) confirm they have run into cloud-related difficulties during the pandemic, with most (63.4%) reporting issues with remote workers trying to access corporate systems.

Other common cloud-related pain points that participants flagged included figuring out how best to provide remote workers with IT support (57.4%), dealing with issues pertaining to faulty collaboration and conferencing software (46.5%), and addressing cloud security concerns (45.5%).

For more than 77% of respondents, dealing with these challenges has prompted them to accelerate their take-up of cloud technologies in various ways, with 33.7% stating the pandemic has spurred them on to pick up the pace of their cloud migration plans.

A further 49.5% said they are accelerating their use of cloud to provide additional support to their remote workers, while 38.6% said they are doing the same to aid the delivery of digital products.

As the pandemic progresses, 79.2% admitted to having concerns about the impact Covid-19 might continue to have on their IT strategy in the future, but nearly half (49.5%) of participants said they feel “very confident” about their organisation’s ability to adjust to that.

Participants were also quizzed about the impact that Covid-19 is having on their long-term IT investment plans, with most of the IT executives questioned (60.4%) stating that they still plan to move ahead with any “big-picture” digital transformation initiatives they already had in the pipeline.

Out of the respondents who said large-scale digital transformation projects will remain a priority, 47% said this is because they feel doing so will position their companies better in the long-run.

Where IT budgets are concerned, 64% of respondents said their IT budgets have either remained the same or grown since the start of the pandemic. Furthermore, 59% said their cloud budgets would increase over the next 12 months, with 23% expecting they would do so “significantly” in that time.

Chris Garvey, enterprise vice-president of product at 2nd Watch, said the findings of the survey are in keeping with the trends it has seen play out within its client base over the course of the pandemic to date.

“What we’re seeing here is consistent with what our clients are telling us and the continued goals of our active cloud modernisation programs,” said Garvey.

“The pandemic may be causing IT leaders to adjust their priorities, but they’re not backing down from big-picture efforts that can transform and position their organisations for long-term success. As more businesses reopen, we expect demand for cloud modernisation services to increase further.”

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