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IDC COVID-19 Tech Index Shows IT Buyer Confidence Plunges in the US While Tentative Signs of Stabilization Appear in Asia/Pacific

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The recent data released by International Data Corporation’s COVID-19 Tech Index revealed that IT spending expectations will remain uneven, with significant differences across countries, industries, and companies.

Overall sentiment in the US has dropped in the past two weeks, as businesses adjust to bearish GDP forecasts for Q2, and confidence remains soft in Europe.

There are tentative signs of improvement in the Asia/Pacific region, however, with confidence levels showing gradual recovery in China and other countries.

Businesses continue to indicate likely cuts to spending on traditional IT products and services in the near term with deep cuts projected by companies that have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting economic shutdown.

While some firms point towards increased spending on specific technologies, all indicators point towards a significant overall contraction in the next few months with the pace of recovery highly dependent on the pace and stability of measures to reopen economies around the world in Q3.

Stephen Minton, program vice president in IDC’s Customer Insights & Analysis group said, “A month ago, overall spending projections by IT buyers were still positive in a few areas like artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital transformation projects.

“US companies were especially reluctant to impose delays on strategic IT projects and deployments, but the reality of a major economic contraction in Q2 appears to have caught up with CIOs and IT departments in the last few weeks.

“Where demand is still increasing, it is increasingly focused on a narrow range of technologies that are critical to support remote workers, such as videoconferencing and remote access solutions.”

The COVID-19 Tech Index uses a scale of 1000 to provide a directional indicator of changes in the outlook for IT spending and is updated every two weeks.

The index is based partly on a global survey of enterprise IT buyers and partly on a composite of market indicators, which are calibrated with country-level analyst inputs relating to medical infection rates, social distancing, travel restrictions, public life and government stimulus. A score above 1000 indicates that IT spending is expected to increase, while a score below 1000 points towards a likely decline.

IT buyer confidence in Europe seemed to stabilize in the first half of April, but then dipped again towards the end of the month.

This eb and flow in sentiment is likely to continue for a while as businesses react to uncertainty around the pace, effectiveness, and risks associated with scaling down the restrictive measures that have successfully slowed the spread of the virus but also have led to what most economists believe will be a huge GDP downturn in the current quarter.

“While US and European firms became a little more pessimistic in the second half of April, businesses in Asia/Pacific showed some signs of improving confidence, which reflects a general sense of optimism that the worst may be over in a few countries including China.

“The crisis began in China and it makes sense that it may end there soonest, although it’s too soon to be sure this isn’t a false dawn given that measures to open the economy will be carefully managed for any signs of a second wave of infections.

“The impact on IT spending will be continued uncertainty for some period with many firms lacking the visibility to make major strategic decisions or commit to short-term spending increases,” said Minton.

Market indicators are still more negative than buyer intent surveys with most economists now extremely pessimistic about the near term while restrictions remain in full force across many countries.

Early measures to begin relaxing lockdown measures in some European countries will be watched closely by other countries including the US, and any sign of returning strain on health services could lead to a more prolonged period of social distancing.

In this uncertain environment, businesses will continue funding mission-critical IT deployments including cloud services and will seek to support remote workers, but some new projects will inevitably be deferred.

“The cloud isn’t going anywhere, all of the data stored in the cloud isn’t going anywhere, and the need for companies to analyze and extract value from all of that information isn’t any less today than it was three months ago. said Minton.

“But decisions to fund new deployments will be hard to make for firms experiencing major declines in revenue and spending cycles will be longer while decision makers are spread around the world in remote locations.

“New tech products will come to market more slowly and upgrades to office networks or equipment are a low priority while offices remain closed.

“These headwinds will pass, but there are still milestones to clear before IT spending begins to grow again.”

The IDC COVID-19 Tech Index is a leading indicator for IT spending, which is designed to provide rapid updates to changes in buyer sentiment and underlying market indicators before these are factored into official market and macroeconomic forecasts.

The index is based on a scale whereby a score higher than 1000 indicates growth in IT spending, while a score below 1000 indicates a decline.

Complete results from the most recent index as well as additional research related to the pandemic can be found on IDC’s COVID-19 microsite at https://www.idc.com/covid19.

The index is based on surveys of enterprise IT buyers around the world, who are asked to provide guidance on a variety of factors including general business confidence, overall IT spending plans and specific changes to budget allocations for individual technologies. Additionally, the index score is weighted with a composite of “market indicators” that include macroeconomic forecasts calibrated with inputs relating to medical data, social isolation measures, and the impact of government stimulus.

IDC will host a special COVID-19 Tech Index webinar on May 7th at 11:00 am U.S. Eastern time.

In the presentation, Stephen Minton and Jessica Goepfert will discuss the most recent index results, the outlook for technology spending by industry, and how the pandemic is impacting various organizations around the world. Details and registration for this webinar are available at https://bit.ly/3cjMm4w.

 

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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Phase3 Moves on Multilayer Network Technology Upgrade

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Phase3 Telecom, leading independent fiber optic network infrastructure and telecommunications services provider  has said that it is amplifying the scope of network technology upgrades to enhance its communications, cloud and connectivity solutions across business and enterprise segments in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

Phase3 Moves on Multilayer Network Technology Upgrade

This followed its ongoing Security Operation Centre (SOC) network capability upgrade.

This development, is targeted at expanding the scope of its enterprise solutions drive for its increasing user portfolio of small/large scale enterprises, institutions, corporates, services sector and multinational companies, contributing to the nation’s thriving broadband penetration drive.

According to Stanley Jegede, chairman, “the principal goal of Phase3 ongoing multilayer technology upgrade is to optimize “network infrastructure capabilities, scalability, interconnect operational capacity, resilience, service optimization and coverage that will enhance communications, cloud and connectivity projects across multiple locations to support more start-ups, growing businesses and institutions to boost economic growth and increase their successes.

He also added that this Phase3 technology upgrade is quite expansive in model, to accommodate the new digital realities and possibilities created by COVID-19.

Especially in the areas of amplified work-from-anywhere and dedicated remote connectivity solutions as well as service delivery that is targeted at increasing networks data handling capacity vis a vis making them faster and smarter as the current global clime demands.

In conclusion, he stated that beyond enhanced network backbone and bandwidth capabilities for point-to-multi point access, chief components such as network security and speed are the driving force of Phase3 new technology upgrade for secured and latency-free connections as well as growing network expansion plan.


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Unitellas Partners Zadara On Data Infrastructure Project

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Unitellas International Limited and its partner Zadara, have taken the bold initiative to save Nigeria from exposure to rising Cybercrime by making significant investment in data infrastructure in the country.

Unveiling the initiative in Lagos, Smith Osemeke, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Unitellas International Limited, revealed that Nigeria is hugely susceptible to cyber attacks due to failure to develop in-country data saving infrastructure.

Osemeke, observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments around the world to deliver vital Public Services in unprecedented ways and to experiment with Digital Technologies on an unforeseen scale.

According to him, In Nigeria, a lot of organizations had to turn to Local Service Providers and other Public Sector Organizations for help during the crisis, most of which are overburdened and challenged by outdated IT Systems.

As a result, a lot of organizations were forced to move their data to the Public Cloud through the services of AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.

This he continued had led many organizations in Nigeria to default on the guidelines on Local Content law i.e. all organizations operating within Nigeria should have their data stored within Nigeria.

Osemeke, alerted that Storing Data in the Public Cloud outside Nigeria creates the problem of Data Protection since data stored in the public cloud is exposed to Cyber and Ransomware attacks because the existing public cloud service providers do not provide Absolute Data Protection.

He noted that Sensitive Citizens data such as BVN, National Identity Numbers and other private and confidential details needs to be protected from such attacks and exposures.

“It becomes a challenge to uphold “Data sovereignty”- the concept of storing data within the Nation’s Borders. Since Local Service Providers are unable to effectively Store Data not to mention Protect Stored Data due to the fact that present Legacy Storage Infrastructures do not have the capabilities to offer the latest Data Protection Mechanism (DATA STORAGE IMMUTABILITY).”

He said that Local Service Providers in Nigeria cannot compete with international cloud service providers such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud in terms of Infrastructure, Pricing, Service Delivery and Management and as a result this has caused a lot of companies in Nigeria to patronize International Public Cloud Service Providers by Storing Data from Nigeria in other Countries thereby making it practically impossible to comply with the Local Content Law..

“As a result, Financial Service Institutions (FSI) and other Key Organizations invest Millions of Dollars annually in acquiring and managing IT Infrastructures instead of focusing on their Core Businesses because they must have an IT department to build and manage their Data Storage Infrastructure – a service that is supposed to be handled by Local Service Providers in Nigeria.

“If this sad narrative is not corrected, sensitive Data from Nigeria will continue to be hosted outside Nigeria and inevitably leading to Data Insecurity. Unfortunately, Nigeria is one of the countries lacking Data Security due to the inability of Service Providers to effectively Store and Protect Data Locally.” he said.

To reverse this ugly situation, Unitellas International Limited in Partnership with ZADARA is empowering all Service Providers in Nigeria to meet up with International Standards with regards to Data Storage Infrastructure, Service, Pricing and Security.

Unitellas is the official distributor of Zadara Solution in Nigeria, while Zadara is a renowned World Leader in Infrastructure -as-a-service and Enterprise Data Storage-as-a-service.

Osemeke said that Unitellas in partnership with Zadara is willing to empower local service providers in Nigeria to meet up with International Managed Service Providers (MSP) standards by providing Local service providers with Infrastructure-as-a-service and Enterprise-Storage-as-a-service model which eliminates huge Capital Expenditure (CapEX) with minimum Operational Expenditure (OpEX).

By subscribing to Zadara Data Storage services with Compute Capability, Local Service Providers and MSPs can now offer Data Storage and Compute services with the latest Data Protection Mechanism competing effectively with renowned Public Cloud Providers in Infrastructure, Security, Pricing, Management and Service.


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ICTEL EXPO 2020: Stakeholders Urge Nigerians to Seize Opportunities Provided by Digital Economy

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Nigerians have been urged to seize the opportunities provided by the digital economy especially now, that the nation is seeking ways to overcome the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and are deploying technology needed for economic recovery and sustainability.

The Information and Communications Technology ICT, Stakeholders disclosed this at the virtual Information Communication Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition, ICTEL EXPO 2020 with theme: ‘Exploring Opportunity in the Digital Economy’, organized by Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry LCCI, speaking at the conference, said: “there is no better time to explore the opportunities provided by the digital economy than now when every nation is seeking ways to overcome the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. And as nations face dwindling growth, deployment of technology is key to economic recovery and sustainability.”

She explained that the new normal brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has ensured that virtually all sectors have now leveraged ICT for optimal performance.

According to her, “This is evident in the financial services sector, where almost all banking transactions are conducted through digital channels, the agriculture sector, where sophisticated technologies, such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images and global positioning systems, the GPS technologies, are largely employed.

“Nigeria has witnessed a phenomenal growth in its ICT sector over the past decade.

“The ICT sector remains one of the most resilient sectors of the Nigerian economy, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a foremost private sector body in Nigeria today, established since 1888, the Lagos Chamber is providing, through this expo, an incredible platform, to advance the opportunities and linkages in the world of ICT”, she concluded.

Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, while declaring the conference and exhibition open, said that globally, digital revolution is changing lives and societies, with unprecedented speed and scale, delivering immense opportunities, as well as associated challenges.

“As predicted by the World Economic Forum, over 60% of global Gross Domestic Product, (GDP), will be digitized, by 2022 and that, over the next decade, digital platforms, will be used to create, close to 70% of new value”, Pantami noted.

The Minister, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu, stressed that: “globally, businesses are shifting from brick and mortar form, to innovative enterprises driven by digital technologies and now is the time for business, enterprises and organisations, to reinvent and automate, to fit into the global digital economy.

“I want to congratulate the Director General and members of the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry for organising this Information Communication Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition, ICTEL EXPO 2020, to spotlight this national discourse, on how we can take advantage of digital technology for accelerating our economy”, he concluded.

Delivering her keynote address, Ms Funke Opeke, CEO/Managing Director, MainOne and Chairmperson, Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan, identified three activities that will enable digital economy to work well in our clime. These include connectivity, a device and a platform that enables one to connect with parties at the other end.

“When we look at private sector participation in Nigeria and the challenges we face as an economy, especially with the recession, with the dip growth rate and high inflation economy that we have and I think the recognition, globally, that growth across the world can only be fuelled by digital adoption in the years to come. I think it is important that our government provide more support to the ICT industry”, she concluded.

Some panel discussions also took place on the first day of the event, while some companies exhibited their products and solutions to the general populace, via the online virtual platform.


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