Covid-19 Has Accelerated The Digitization Of Companies Because It Has Impacted People



Jose Antonio Cano, director of analysis and consulting at IDC Research Spain

The effect that the health crisis unleashed by the coronavirus will have on technological investment remains to be seen. IDC has been one of the first analysis houses to advance forecasts for this year. In this interview, Jose Antonio Cano, director of analysis at IDC , talks about the product families that are having the greatest demand due to confinement, and also those that are suffering. And he also lets it fall that smart work, that is, the digitization that is making mass telework possible, has come to stay in the productive fabric of this country.

Some say that Covid-19 has done more for the digitization of companies and the economy in general than years of awareness by manufacturers and other agents in the sector. Do you agree?

The nature of Covid-19 as a black swan (understood as an event that has a very small probability of happening, but that, if it does, the impact it has is very high) inevitably entails radical changes. And it is necessary to carry them out very quickly. Covid-19 has accelerated the digitization process of organizations in an extraordinary way because it has impacted on the most important element: people. Accelerating digital culture is what has allowed organizations agility in incorporating technology, digitizing processes and establishing a more horizontal, collaborative digital culture, using mobility and virtualization as a basis.

What ranges of technology products and services have been performing well in terms of demand and business since mid-March, when the lockdown was declared? And which ones are suffering from the pandemic?

Here we must clarify, because as in the evolution of the pandemic we have had stages, the same has happened in the IT market and the type of technological products and services. In the early days of confinement, the purchase of PCs, laptops, communication, and collaboration tools were the fastest growing products and services. Business continuity was key and, therefore, everything that provided this continuity was the priority (securing the remote environment, etc.).

Guaranteed business continuity, VDI, IaaS, security, collaborative social networks and everything related to digital first have been the segments that have grown the most . I’m talking about cloud software, collaboration tools, IaaS or PaaS, compared to what have been business services, external IT services or hardware. 

By sectors, which ones will increase their demand for technology, and which ones will there be drops due to the pandemic and the consequent crisis?

In general, personal and consumer services, transport and, visibly, tourism, have been those industries in Spain where the impact of the pandemic has been most visible. To a large extent because they are tractor sectors of the economy. On the contrary, other industries, such as healthcare or even the public administration itself, will have to accelerate their digital investments as we overcome the pandemic, with a foreseeable increase in infrastructure, the incorporation of process automation and the incorporation of intelligence. artificial or heavy use of collaboration tools. In the last two months we have been able to see different solutions and use cases, such as videoconferencing and learning platforms, among others, that have allowed companies to have business continuity, cushioning the effect that the pandemic has had on the economy and society. in general.

Now everyone talks about smart work. Do you think that the changes that confinement has brought to the processes and organization of companies are going to be maintained after the pandemic or will we largely return to the pre-Covid scenario?

According to the data from the IDC Research Spain survey “Impact of COVID-19 on the IT market in Spain”, the measures adopted by companies regarding smart work during the pandemic have come to stay. As stated by 47% of companies, given the benefits they have brought with them.

What are the pending subjects of Spanish companies to achieve a good implementation of smart work policies?

The pandemic has meant that many organizations (more than 70%) have adopted smart work policies in an accelerated manner , so the pending issue for organizations is to adapt and make processes more efficient, so that it is possible to transform into an agile organization. An organization that is capable of responding to the market flexibly and quickly to any change in it. 

The rate of advance of IT spending will fall by half this year

IDC has interviewed 130 IT CEOs and decision-makers in this country to find out how the pandemic will affect technology investment plans for this year. Well, if before the health crisis the forecast for IT spending growth in Spain was 1.9%, now it is set at 0.9%. In Europe, the growth rate of this parameter also fell by half (from 2.8% to 1.4%). The study confirms that external IT services, hardware, and business services have been the spending areas that have been negatively impacted by Covid-19. And that, on the contrary, collaboration tools, cloud services, and devices have benefited, especially laptops. 

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