Softcat: Coronavirus impacting customer tech priorities

Firm’s research shines a light on where enterprise users are looking to shore up their IT capabilities

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: MicroScope: MicroScope: Reasons to be positive for 2021

Softcat has revealed that the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on customers’ technology priorities as many react to a shift to a remote workforce and increased cloud adoption.

The channel player has released its 2020 Business tech priorities report, which reveals the impact that Covid-19 has had on the topics at the forefront of buyers’ minds.

The firm has gained an insight into the enterprise landscape via the research that went into compiling the report, and revealed which areas are being given emphasis as customers look to ride out the pandemic and get ready for the new normal waiting on the other side.

For the fourth year in a row, security topped the list of user priorities, but there were signs that reacting to a home-working world had also given many customers plenty to think about. Many were now also looking for tools to help enhance the digital workspace and keep staff productive and happy.

The research found that 95% of respondents described remote working as the biggest technology challenge of the pandemic – a view that was shared across almost all vertical sectors.

Softcat found that the top five priorities were: security, end-user computing, cloud capabilities, emerging technologies and collaboration tools.

The survey found that when it came to security, users were clearly looking to ensure that workers, no matter where they were operating from, would be secure. The headline stat was that 86% of organisations viewed cyber security as their top focus for the year ahead. There were also indications of an appetite to standardise and consolidate security technologies.

The high ranking of end-user computing, covering the digital workspace, showed the impact of the past seven months, with Softcat echoing the views of many in the industry in expecting an element of remote working to become permanent, even after the pandemic clears up.

Covid-19 has also accelerated cloud deployments and many users are now looking to make their responses of the last few months more strategic, with investments in datacentres and cloud capabilities.

Another sign of the pandemic’s impact could be seen in the rise in the rankings of collaboration and communication technology. Tools that help keep people in touch climbed from seventh in the 2019 list of priorities to fifth this time around.  

“This year has been hugely challenging for every business,” said Richard Wyn Griffith, managing director of Softcat. “Despite each unprecedented twist and turn, organisations have shown agility, creativity and intelligence in the face of the disruption and pressure.

“It is clear from our 2020 Business tech priorities report that the importance of enterprise IT has truly been solidified, accelerating demand and giving rise to innovative use cases. The future of enterprise IT is looking brighter.”

Those comments about the future looking brighter chime with the views of Softcat CEO Graeme Watt, who spoke after the firm’s recent FY20 results.

“Technology has shown itself to be a business that has continued to be in strong demand in the pandemic,” said Watt. “The pandemic has focused the spotlight on how much people not just want technology, but need technology to survive and continue to make progress. We’re in a great industry.”

Read more on Sales and Customer Management