Frost and Sullivan recently polled 3,000 IT and telecom decision-makers around the world, working within organizations that range from 10 employees up to 500+. The goal? To see how organizations plan to leverage technology to accelerate recovery and meet new business needs in the post-pandemic world.

Here’s what we learned: previous barriers and concerns that have long prevented some businesses from fully embracing the cloud have all but dissolved, while demands from consumers and employees alike are creating a heightened imperative for flexible new solutions. 

In a new RingCentral webinar, we sat down with Elka Popova, VP of Connected Work Research at Frost and Sullivan, to talk about key trends we’re seeing as we emerge from the recent social and economic disruption of COVID-19 and how businesses can maximize value as we move forward. 

Frost and Sullivan discuss their findings on IT priorities in the post-COVID world Watch the webinar

Here’s what global survey respondents said about their organization’s views on the cloud—and their changing business technology needs—as we head into the new normal.

80% say a cloud strategy is essential for staying competitive

  • 72% of organizations say their technology investment is accelerating post-COVID (or remains unchanged).
  • An equal number of businesses report that the top drivers for investing in communications and collaborations technologies are improving customer service, improving information management, improving teamwork, and improving remote productivity.
  • 27% say cutting-edge features and functionality are critical in selecting a cloud provider.

The pandemic exposed vulnerabilities within many organizations, as well as the extent to which cloud adoption was happening for the sake of it, without real thought towards aligning transformation to long-term business goals. 

But as we put the pandemic behind us, leaders are taking a more strategic view of the cloud. Leaders are now looking at tools and strategies that will drive better customer engagement, support long-term remote work, and improve overall business agility.

There’s increasing recognition that the cloud can deliver on these goals—and more—in ways that other solutions simply can’t. From an ability to quickly and easily adjust capacity to the ease of deploying new features, cloud solutions are a future-proof investment, helping businesses gain a competitive edge with flexible, scalable solutions that are capable of meeting shifting business needs, both immediately and in the long term.

Just 4% of companies have no plans to allow remote work

  • Enabling more productive remote work is a top driver for investment in cloud communications and collaboration solutions.
  • Allowing employees access to company data and applications, maintaining security and compliance, and supporting remote work technologies were the top three IT challenges in supporting remote work in 2020.
  • Cloud-based applications are the #1 technology that businesses plan to invest in to support remote workers post-COVID, followed by video conferencing solutions.

For the vast majority of businesses, a current IT priority is moving beyond the stop-gap solutions that kept operations running in 2020 and finding the right tools to accelerate growth and enable effective business transformation for largely remote and hybrid workforces. 

Where people work from isn’t just a matter of location. As remote and hybrid work replace purely office-bound employment, workers need new tools that overcome the real-life challenges IT had to address in 2020. 

But these new solutions have to do more than merely enable remote work. With more workers expected to flow in and out of the office, depending on the day of the week or the task at hand, cloud solutions need to work harder to bridge the gaps. They must be able to offer a consistent, secure experience regardless of the user’s location or device, providing the fluidity that will allow employees to seamlessly shift between work modes.  

One-stop solutions are becoming a differentiator

  • In the next two years, end-to-end single-vendor communications solutions will steal share from tightly integrated multi-vendor solutions and non-integrated best-of-breed standalone tools.
  • 43% of workers are provided between 11 and 49 mobile apps by their employers (and 82% of businesses say they’ll be introducing even more!).
  • 81% of IT leaders prefer to deploy out-of-the-box mobile solutions (more than two-thirds want those pre-packaged solutions to allow for back-office integration and customization).

If a key goal for businesses is to improve remote productivity, then reducing the friction of using multiple mobile tools will be an important strategy for doing so. To that effect, respondents indicated that end-to-end solutions are a growing trend, allowing employees to perform multiple functions—and to securely access more information—within a single app. This can reduce wasted time, data silos, and other challenges that arise as the result of having to use many different solutions to get the job done. 

Don’t get caught behind the curve

What does the new cloud imperative mean for your business? How can cloud adoption improve competitiveness on all fronts? Together with Frost and Sullivan’s Elka Popova; Grant Leathers, Chief Information Officer at SC Fuels; and RingCentral’s Chief Information Officer, Trevor Schulze, we unpack this new report and discuss actionable strategies for gaining a cloud advantage.

Watch the new on-demand webinar now.