Collaboration, cybersecurity & cloud tools – remote working’s winners?

Following closely with the current pandemic, companies are money-savvy with software investments.
7 April 2020

Videoconferencing is just one sector that could see a surge. Source: Shutterstock

For companies worldwide, the pandemic harbors waves of uncertainty, but disruption to the way we work is opening opportunity for others. 

Within a matter of days, businesses have been forced to adapt to a distributed workforce as remote working becomes necessary in most white-collar work. With a recession looming, the crisis has meant ‘survival mode’ for many – external spend will be freezed for some but, at the same time, calculated investments must be made to ensure businesses continue to function as normally as possible.

IDC experts worldwide predicted that worldwide IT spending will decline by 2.7 percent in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, software investments such as cloud solutions and specific tools that can cater for business continuity will see positive growth of close to 2 percent, as companies continue to outfit themselves with the tech to enable a remote workforce. 

The prediction coincides with a recent report by TrustRadius, that found spend on software will be largely determined by the organization’s readiness for remote working and own set of circumstances – certain companies may have been equipped to be largely or partially ‘remote’ already.

Based on responses from 1,600 IT buyers across businesses, the research found that more than a quarter (26 percent) of businesses have not needed to make any further investments.

A company like a digital marketing agency, for example, will likely already have a suite of collaboration tools, a VOIP system, a cloud-based CRM, VPNs, and other communications platforms allowing their team to quickly shift from the office without much disruption.

However, for 40 percent of business, increased spend on software is crucial.

Remote working winners

Many other businesses across industries are much less predisposed to a complete change in operating style, particularly if dealing with large amounts of sensitive data requiring high levels of security, such as a bank, for example, which would require highly-sophisticated endpoint security solutions.

Meanwhile, a company that’s reliant on services like designated call centers for customer service, such as in telecoms, may have to quickly invest in a cloud-based contact center solution.

Nearly a third (30 percent) of enterprise tech spend right now, however, is simply on video and web conferencing software.

Shares in sector-leader Zoom, for example, have surged 50 percent on the expectation that businesses and schools are increasingly experimenting with the company’s videoconferencing tools, and might stick around as paying customers after the public-health crisis subsides.

However, with Zoom in the firing line over privacy issues, and even Microsoft Teams buckling under some of the initial traffic surge, there is plenty of opportunity for smaller collaboration tools to come to the fore with competitive packages and functionality.

Another 15 percent were looking to consolidate and boost their remote cybersecurity infrastructure — with heightened interests VPNs, firewalls, endpoint security and more – as much of the workforce will be relying on their own devices and wifi connections.

Cybersecurity is especially important right now given a spike in COVID-19-related phishing attempts leveraging current concerns, with scams relating to the pandemic ‘the optimal psychological angle’

Recognizing the severity of the overall situation, about 18 percent of respondents believe tech budgets will shrink as businesses freeze new contracts and sales, and cut out non-mission-critical software and subscriptions to free up some monthly cashflow. 

However, a smaller chunk of software providers offering collaboration tools, endpoint cybersecurity, cloud services could have a lucrative few months as businesses bolster their remote workforces.

These spikes in business could translate into longer term earnings, as companies subsequently adapt and commit to new ways of working within the year.

Up to 86 percent of respondents across seniority levels predicted these current purchases will endure beyond the current crisis.