Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Wind River shows how China and US IoT firms react to Covid-19

Steve Rogerson
May 20, 2020
Three-quarters of C-suite, IoT and devops leaders are modifying corporate strategies due to Covid-19, according to research by software firm Wind River, which also found that a third of executives in the USA and China were seeing Covid-19’s impact as an impetus to transform their businesses digitally.
Covid-19 is influencing which technologies will receive increased attention, with enterprises desiring transformation placing more than 50% extra focus on investment in areas such as 5G, containers and cloud-native technologies.
Seismic events can disrupt focus and thinking and force reassessment of drivers of future business success. The current Covid-19 pandemic is one of those major events producing a worldwide impact, especially given its reverberations on the two largest global economies, the USA and China.
“Prior to the pandemic, the vast majority of corporations were looking towards advancing their digital transformation,” said Kevin Dallas, president and chief executive officer at Wind River. “However, we’ve entered a different landscape that is triggering leaders in devops and IoT development to make profound decisions about the speed and nature of their technology investments. As we’ve seen from our study, in this Covid-19-shocked world, those most optimistic about the future of their business and the direction of their technology and development investments are the enterprises viewing this as a time to accelerate and even change the nature of that transformation.”
Looking inside the minds of technology executives in major sectors such as telecommunications, healthcare, automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing and industrial provides a view into how leaders are redirecting their focus and accelerating or delaying investments. The report surveyed 400 senior-level technology executives from the USA and China at enterprises with revenues ranging from $100m to $1bn.
With Covid-19-related challenges creating pressures, enterprises are rapidly falling into the categories of simply surviving, pivoting to adapt to new realities, or doing nothing. While the USA and China are in different phases of the pandemic, in several aspects the responses from each country split in similar ways. More than a third of executives – 39% of US and 43% of Chinese leaders – are focusing on surviving this crisis, while 35% in the USA and 33% in China are spurred to make a transformation due to Covid-19.
The enterprises focused on transforming have a much higher propensity to accelerate key technology investments compared with those who are merely surviving. Those with a desire to digitally transform are placing more than 50% extra focus on key investment areas such as 5G, containers and cloud native. The research findings among these leaders indicate they understand the core technology components that will be vital for digital transformation. For these enterprises, executives are increasing spend in the following areas:

  • 5G projects: by 63% in China, 37% in the USA
  • Cloud-based application development: by 62% in China, 35% in the USA
  • AI: by 61% in China, 37% in USA
  • Container-based development: by 56% in China, 38% in USA
  • IoT: by 60% in China, 33% in USA
  • Applications at the edge: by 57% in China, 25% in USA
As enterprises have had to implement changes to their business processes due to the pandemic, 98% in China and 90% in the USA note that their ability to meet customer demands has been impacted. Given recent needs, the interest in growing devops practices has risen across enterprises, with executives now placing more importance on devops (46% in USA, 36% in China).
Regardless of region, most enterprises realise that the road ahead will be tough. Half of enterprises in the USA and 77% in China are seeing heavier workloads across their teams. They also anticipate the need to implement major initiatives such as accelerating new business models (83% in USA, 89% in China) and building in more agile development (82% in USA, 86% in China).
To tackle these challenges, there is a recognition among leaders that they will require transformative focus and skills. Therefore, to lead a digital transformation, C-suite leaders and executives in devops, devsecops and IoT anticipate increased importance in their roles ranging from more than 60% in the USA to more than 73% in China, as their businesses exit Covid-19.
As the world grapples with the disruption caused by Covid-19 and enterprises begin to understand major gaps and the resources required to deliver on customer needs, they must identify the right strategies and experts to help them accelerate a digital transformation and realise long-term success beyond the pandemic, says the report.