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Almost seven in 10 (69%) digital leaders in the UK expect long-term changes to where and how people work

Almost seven in 10 (69%) digital leaders in the UK expect long-term changes to where and how people work

Digital TransformationResearchTop StoriesUnited Kingdom

The world of work has changed irrevocably since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with businesses globally having to rearchitect their IT infrastructure almost overnight, to cater to remote workforces. Here, Equinix explores everything from the impact of COVID-19 and resulting new demands from employees, perceptions of cloud and 5G, to viewpoints on sustainability issues around Digital Transformation.

Equinix, the world’s digital infrastructure company, has announced the findings of its annual global study of the views of IT decision-makers on the biggest technology trends affecting businesses worldwide and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on digital infrastructure plans.

Surveying 2,600 IT decision-makers from diverse enterprises across 26 countries in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions, the study reveals that, in the UK: 

  • 44% of businesses have rearchitected their IT infrastructure to meet new remote and hybrid working demands, with tech budgets increasing to accelerate Digital Transformation.
  • 69% of digital leaders believe there will be long-term changes to where and how people work within their organisation.
  • Half of companies (50%) still intend to expand into new regions, countries or metros, despite the disruption experienced as a result of COVID-19 and Brexit.

Digital Transformation in the post-pandemic future

Digitisation and business investment in digital infrastructure have increased as a result of COVID-19. Almost half (48%) of digital leaders surveyed in the UK, compared to 47% of those surveyed globally, said they have accelerated Digital Transformation plans because of the pandemic. Almost half (45%) of those in the UK also said their budgets have been increased to satisfy the rapid growth in digital demands.

There has also been a major overhaul of IT strategies to meet the challenges emerging from the pandemic. In the UK, more than two-thirds (67%) of digital leaders said they have revised their IT strategy as a result of COVID-19, while 55% said they want to invest in technology to be more agile post-COVID.

Asked about their biggest priorities for their organisation’s digital strategy, 86% of respondents in the UK (compared to 80% globally) reported digitising their IT infrastructure was a top priority, with 61% saying they see interconnection as a key facilitator of Digital Transformation — twice as many as last year.

Concerns that the pandemic will have put the brakes on companies’ expansion plans lessened

  • Half of businesses in the UK (50%) still have plans to expand into new regions, countries or metros, according to the digital leaders surveyed.
  • Of that 50%, over two-thirds (68%) plan to achieve this virtually, rather than by investing in physical IT infrastructure in-market.

Utilising interconnection for success

  • 70% of IT leaders in the UK (58% globally) said they believe interconnection — the direct and private exchange of data between organisations — will help them to navigate the challenges they face due to COVID-19.
  • Those stating interconnection was key to their organisation’s survival increased to 60%, up from 33% last year.

Claire Macland, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing at Equinix, said: “Digital leaders around the world were clearly already working to accelerate their organisations’ Digital Transformation. This effort has been supercharged by COVID-19, as this study clearly relays.

“Many companies are now investing more in their digital infrastructure to enable them embrace a hybrid working model and thrive in the new world of work we all find ourselves in. Despite headwinds in many sectors, many organisations are continuing to expand physically and virtually into new markets and regions around the world.

“This increasing focus on digitisation and expansion is one of the reasons why Equinix has continued to invest in its own growth. We completed 16 new expansions in 2020 — our most active build year ever — and expect to continue to evolve Platform Equinix to support our customers as they continue on their Digital Transformation journey.”

The Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 4, a market study recently published by Equinix, forecasts that overall interconnection bandwidth — the measure of private connectivity for the transfer of data between organisations — will achieve a 45% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2019 to 2023, globally. The expected growth is driven by Digital Transformation and specifically by greater demands from enterprises extending their digital infrastructure from centralised locations to distributed Edge locations.

Eugene Bergen Henegouwen, President, EMEA, Equinix, said: “As digital leaders around the world are focused on digitising their organisations to respond to the challenges created by the pandemic, it’s clear from this study that interconnection is very important to this transformation. The fact that over half of IT decision-makers in EMEA said interconnection will help them to navigate the challenges faced as a result of COVID-19, with almost half believing it to be key to their organisation’s survival, shows interconnection has become business-critical to many enterprises and we believe it will continue to be as we recover and rebuild following this terrible pandemic.”

Russell Poole, Managing Director, UK, Equinix, said: “For several years now, businesses in the UK have been rearchitecting their legacy IT infrastructures and adopting new and agile technologies in order to give them increased flexibility and scalability. The findings of this survey demonstrate the way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated their Digital Transformation journeys, with enterprises having to double-down on their efforts to cater to a dispersed workforce. It’s clear the pandemic has changed the way we work, across industries, both in the UK and further afield, challenging traditional notions of workplace collaboration.”

The independent study, commissioned by Equinix, surveyed 2,600 IT decision-makers in diverse enterprises across the Americas (Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, US), Asia-Pacific (Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore) and EMEA (Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK). Respondents were selected for participation from Dynata’s online panel. The survey was conducted online between December 17, 2020 and January 8, 2021.

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