Two-thirds of European IT decision makers (65%) will have more budget available in the near future to facilitate telecommuting, mixed business formats and support business continuity. This is evidenced by the study “Hybrid transformation: managing an increasingly remote workforce” conducted by Dynabook Europe GmbH. In the Netherlands, 70% of IT decision-makers expect a bigger budget.
The survey was conducted by Dynabook by Walnut Unlimited among over 1,000 IT decision makers from medium to large companies in various sectors. Participants from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands were asked about IT spending, new work patterns, and device priorities over the next twelve months.
All regions recorded an increase in IT spending, with the highest increase in Spain. There, 71% of organizations expect an increase in technology investment next year. The Netherlands, at 70%, is not much inferior. Looking at individual sectors, it is striking that three-quarters (76%) of organizations expect a higher budget in financial services, while 73% in manufacturing have this expectation. The retail sector is unlikely to see an increase in the IT budget, although 54% expect an increase here as well.
Work from home is here to stay
Changing business patterns and locations is a major reason for growing IT budgets. The survey shows that two-thirds (67%) of employees expect to continue working from home or no longer have a stable workplace after the pandemic. For COVID-19 this proportion was 53%.
When asked how organizations ensure remote workers remain productive, just over half (51%) answered that they give more priority to remote support to employees. Compared to previous research conducted by Dynabook in 2018, this is a significant increase, when this was the case for 29% of organizations. Safe communication and collaboration tools are important to maintaining employee productivity – 41% of IT decision makers indicated that both are important. About a third (37%) consider IT training an important factor.
The study also shows that European companies are accelerating their digital transformation and selecting a robust IT infrastructure that can better support remote employees. Cloud solutions and remote IT support were mentioned as top priorities for organizations from all markets and sectors; Half of the respondents stated that both techniques were the most important. In the UK, remote IT support is the most important, with nearly two thirds (63%) citing it as a top priority.
Security infrastructure (48%) is a major investment in the coming year, followed by IT training for staff (40%) and equipping staff (37%).
Compared to the importance that was given to technologies before the pandemic, security programs are now more important by 77% of organizations, while 73% value collaboration tools more. Additionally, 70% see cloud platforms and 62% devices as more valuable than they were before the pandemic.
High demand for hardware
Laptops occupy an important place within organizations. Nearly three-quarters (74%) are spending more time in appliance purchase considerations than was the case before the pandemic. In the UK, the biggest difference can be distinguished between laptop and desktop use: 90% to 33%. In the Netherlands, 46% use a desktop computer when working from home, whether or not it is integrated with another device – only France (47%) and Spain (52%) score higher.
In addition, two-thirds (66%) of organizations expect to add more laptops to their infrastructure in the next 12 months, indicating that companies rely heavily on laptops throughout the remainder of 2021.
When asked what characteristics are important when purchasing a laptop, 81% of companies responded with safety. Other features that are often mentioned are connectivity (80%), performance (76%), battery life (72%), and portability (70%). When asked about the most important feature, 28% mentioned performance and 20% security.
“Over the past year we have seen unprecedented changes in the way we operate.” Damian Jaume, President of Dynabook Europe GmbH, said: “The survey shows that companies are still working hard to get their IT infrastructure to meet the requirements of employees who often work from home.” Armed with higher budgets, the hardware role is clearly becoming more and more important as organizations increasingly recognize the vital role that devices play – along with appropriate software – in ensuring employee safety, connectivity, and productivity in this new world.
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