Vendors of ICT solutions will need to rethink their approaches to market to reflect the harsh economic realities that will inevitably follow in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a leading analyst has warned.
Steve Schuchart, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Networking at GlobalData, said the post-pandemic period will require vendors to find new ways to connect with customers.
“It is clear that while there may be changes to business practices such as more work from home and fewer branch offices, the main impact [of the pandemic] is going to be economic,” he said. “The necessary shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic have and will create a deep economic downturn that is likely going to take a while to recover from. Vendors must learn again to sell into a down market, something they have not had to deal with in a decade.”
He said that vendors who are thoughtful, empathetic, and strategic with their customer pitches and relationships can still make sales, but need to lower expectations in light of economic realities.
“IT vendors for the last decade have been overdosing on positivity,” he added. “IT vendors have become accustomed to the idea that every problem has a technology solution and every problem is an opportunity: The opportunity to upgrade existing technology, move to cloud, or adopt the latest industry trend. Forgotten are the lessons of previous economic downturns. Customers want solid, reliable, and sober solutions that save or make actual money right now.”
There is evidence already that many vendors are actively developing solutions that reflect the COVID-19 crisis, some of them playing an active role in helping the healthcare sector to cope and others making special offers to facilitate home working.
- Cloud data platform Snowflake, for example, has worked with Starschema, a data services and technology company, on a free-of-charge public data set that serves as a single-source of truth on the incidence and mortality of COVID-19 cases. The list is available on Snowflake’s free-to-join marketplace, the Snowflake Data Exchange. The data can help organizations assess contingency plans and make informed, data-driven decisions in real-time as they respond to the global health emergency.
- NetFoundry, a cloud native networking company, has said it is offering complimentary services to businesses in locked down countries, or those that have implemented social isolation measures due to COVID-19. It is also offering charitable organisations, schools, universities, hospitals, medical professionals and law enforcement agencies complimentary use of its Cloud Native Networking Platform for at least three months.
- SASE platform developer Cato Networks has deployed its platform to help IT leaders rapidly deliver work-from-home solutions at scale worldwide. This includes a new clientless access option and application portal to Cato SDP.
- Multi-cloud start-up Alkira said it is targeting its brand-new Cloud Services Exchange (CSX) at cloud providers looking for a way to prioritize capacity to serve first responders and healthcare workers in the event of capacity issues. Alkira has just emerged from the shadows, with the launch of CSX and $30 million of Series A funding. Founded in 2018 by brothers Atif Khan and Amir Khan, former Viptela CEO, Alkira aims to automate and abstract away the complexity of multi-cloud deployments into a point and click service.
- Cloud networking software developer Aviatrix is offering to credit customers the cost of any use of its smart SAML Remote User VPN software, to help home workers stay secure.
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