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Tech trends: ICT in the UK today

Two-thirds of global resellers expect improved performance next year 

Global IT resellers have mostly prospered during the pandemic and expect to do even better over the next 12 months, but there remain major opportunities for closer collaboration with distributors on cloud and digital initiatives, claims CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. 

The findings come from the annual CONTEXT ChannelWatch study, compiled from a survey of over 7,000 channel businesses. 

Despite unprecedented uncertainty and market upheaval during the pandemic, 49% of respondents said their business has performed well over the past 12 months, with only 10% faring badly. 

Most saw turnover increase (32%) or stay the same (33%) during the crisis, with only one third (32%) suffering a decrease. Over a quarter (28%) said business with their main distributor had increased over the period. 

Two thirds (67%) expect their business performance to improve further next year, with the business services (37%), energy (32%) and manufacturing (32%) sectors identified as the best prospects for growth. 

Mobile PC (68%), homeworking (47%) and smart home (26%) were the categories resellers expect to experience the highest demand going forward.

 The cloud and ‘as a service’ offerings are also seen as a major opportunity, cited by 94% of respondents, with 73% of resellers reporting an acceleration of customer digital transformation projects during the pandemic and 57% speeding up their own. 

CONTEXT Global Managing Director Adam Simon said: “A great deal of the optimism displayed by global resellers in our latest study comes from major end-customer investments in digital transformation driven by COVID-19. It’s reassuring to see their outlook for the next 12 months so positive, but to ensure opportunities aren’t missed, closer collaboration with distributors will be necessary to deliver the cloud services businesses are crying out for.” 

Marketing (51%), sales (47%) and training and education (45%) are the areas where resellers most need help. 

www.contextworld.com

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Only one third of telcos have 5G strategy 

Everyone agrees that 5G is transformative, but beyond that even those who have most to gain from the technology are unsure how to unlock its benefits. New research by IT services provider NTT DATA UK reveals that only one third of telcos (35%) have a clear strategy in place for 5G, with 46% still exploring the value it can offer. Only 10% of telcos expect to generate more than 20% of revenue from 5G over the next 5 years. Enterprises are equally unsure of how to proceed. Even though 52% plan to implement 5G solutions within the next year, only 34% have a clear implementation strategy. Obstacles to 5G adoption by telcos include data management (43%); reliance and compliance issues (35%); the talent shortage (31%); a limited pool of partners to support telcos (30%); legacy technology (28%); cultural challenges (24%); and uncertainty around the true benefits of the technology (23%). 

https://uk.nttdata.com/insights/ reports/building-the-business-case-for-5g

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Devices are top procurement priority 

The arrival of hybrid working and the ‘anywhere organisation’ has propelled Digital Workspace solutions, including devices, to become the number one tech priority for businesses. More than two thirds (69%) of 1,250 organisations surveyed for the 2021 Softcat Business Technology Priorities Report cited Digital Workspace solutions as a priority, putting them above cyber security (57%) and hybrid infrastructure – cloud and managed infrastructure (40%). www.softcat.com

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Risky business 

Almost half (49%) of small and medium sized businesses spend less than £1,000 a year on cybersecurity, with 24% spending nothing, reveals new research by Defense. com, provider of an all-in-one cybersecurity SaaS platform for SMEs. Over half (54%) of SMEs say their investors only care about growth, not cybersecurity; 34% say they don’t invest more in cybersecurity because their business is too small; 25% are put off by the cost; and 19% don’t believe their business data is a target.  Defense.com

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Paul Stobart – Chief Executive Officer

Move to cloud calls into question need for of on-premise data centres

Zen Internet is questioning the need for businesses to maintain or depend on onpremise data centres, following research showing that post-Covid only 11% of planned tech operations will be hosted on-premise.

Currently, 51% of UK businesses rely on on-premise data centres for technological infrastructure. However, Zen expects this to decline as almost all 200 business leaders it questioned have already adopted a hybrid working model, with many prioritising tech investment in off-premise tools such as SD-WAN (26%), artificial intelligence (25%), automation (24%) and application programming interface (24%). 

Despite a decreasing reliance on onpremise infrastructure, many businesses seem reluctant to relocate or remove existing data centres due to fears that doing so would be complicated (74%), expensive (77%) and time-consuming (82%). Three quarters believe they would need help to move their on-premise data centre off-premise. 

Paul Stobart, CEO at Zen Internet, said: “The emergence of the hybrid era means that dependence on onpremise infrastructure to support a full capacity office is no longer required. Moving infrastructure to the cloud through the deployment of SDWAN technology, together with proactive use of intelligent cloud and collaboration tools, is not only more efficient but serves to declutter the working environment and allows space to be re-utilised more creatively. For some, considering a move to the cloud may seem to be an undertaking fraught with risk. The truth is, though, that more and more businesses are making this move. The key is to select the right partner, with skills in cloudbased technologies as well as in project management, to ensure a successful migration.”

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Tender barriers must go 

Over 90% of British SMEs think the public sector needs to do more to remove the barriers they face when bidding for public sector contracts. Among the biggest cited by SMEs surveyed by tender training platform Ultimate Tender Coach for its Navigating the Public Procurement Minefield report are the overall complexity of the procurement process (44%) and a lack of publicity around opportunities (41%). Other complaints are that the process is too time-consuming (37%) and costly (34%) and that it is difficult to meet mandatory qualifying criteria (35%). The UK Government wants £1 in every £3 of public procurement spend to go to SMEs by 2022, up from the current rate of around 12%. 

www.ultimatetendercoach.com

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TechnologyReseller: 2021