Note: I was recently honored to be a panelist at the Cloud Communication Alliance’s 2020 wrap up virtual meeting. This blog post is based on my remarks at that session.

As we come to the end of 2020, I wanted to share some thoughts and observations about what we’ve seen and learned from our perspective as a provider of IT and telecom lifecycle management solutions to business.  I think they’re relevant to anyone who’s interested in where the enterprise IT market is going, post COVID-19.

The rapid shift to remote working has driven major changes.  Internet Bandwidth and VPN Demand Has Surged.  Many businesses saw a huge spike in internet demand and use of VPN services caused by the overnight migration of workers from office settings to home.  Some of this increase may fade away once a vaccine is widely available in 2021, but many expect that most of this surge is permanent.  Many analysts are predicting that roughly 25% of workers will work mainly from home even after COVID-19 is no longer an issue.  That would be a 5X increase over pre-COVID levels and in some industries, the percentage will be higher.

A related trend is a growing demand for SD-WAN to support remote and branch enterprise networks.   Businesses are migrating to SD-WAN to replace big carrier MPLS solutions, and while install timeframes for SD-WAN went up initially, they seem to be trending downward.   And not surprisingly, voice traffic is moving heavily to mobile and unified communication platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, where calling is just one of many features offered to users.  We think this trend is only going to accelerate.

It is easy to see that business’ “rush to the cloud” continued, and accelerated, in 2020.  Over the past 12 months, many businesses have integrated cloud endpoints (private connections) into their networks.  Many are using the direct connect services of the major cloud computing providers; others are using niche transport players such as Megaport or interconnection facilities such as Equinix to access direct connections with multiple cloud providers.

Businesses Have an Increased Focus on Technology Expense Management. A shift to remote working, SD-WAN, and cloud computing takes money.  This need for new investment, together with the economic uncertainty created by COVID-19 means that executives are laser-focused on cost-control and are very interested in tools that help them achieve it.  We’ve seen this firsthand with the success of gpxcloud, our IT lifecycle, and telecom management SaaS – and all signs are that this is a permanent shift that will last well after COVID-19 is under control.

In short, we may remember 2020 as the year when, with the changes brought about by COVID and the move to the cloud, businesses fully embraced the need to focus on technology expense management.

Like this post? Check out our post on how to avoid voice fraud.