Close to three in four global businesses (72%) are forging ahead with digital expansion, despite economic concerns, supply chain challenges, and skills issues. And, at least half of executives are looking at Web3 — Web3!! — as a viable option moving forward.
That’s the word from Equinix, which released a survey of 2,900 IT executives across the world, showing no letup in plans for major investments in digital technologies to support ambitious expansion plans.
Many executives intend to take advantage of emerging technologies such as 5G, the internet of things (IoT), and, yes, Web3. Almost two-thirds (62%) said their business has already put a Web3 strategy in place, while 34% said they do not have a Web3 strategy yet. A plurality of executives (44%) even expect Web3 to replace the current infrastructure within the next one to five years, and 16% even believe it will happen in the next year.
Factors potentially limiting growth include security breaches and data leaks (73%), cyberattacks (68%), changing regulatory requirements around data privacy (67%), an explosion of data from adopting new technologies (67%), and downtime caused by infrastructure issues (65%).
The majority of respondents in the US, 63%, cite global supply chain issues and shortages, while 64% specify global microchip shortages as challenges to growth. This only translates to more reliance on digital resources, the survey’s authors state. “Continued supply chain issues appear to be driving a need for more virtualization, with growth aspirations underpinned by significant planned investment in digital infrastructure.” More than one-third of respondents, 34%, say they plan to facilitate global expansion plans by deploying virtually via the cloud.
The lingering effects of the pandemic also continues to have a significant impact on businesses’ digital strategies, the survey shows . Almost (46%) say they are accelerating their company’s digital evolution wrought by the Covid-19 crisis, and more than half (54%) confirm their IT budgets have increased as a direct outcome of its legacy. Furthermore, the majority of respondents (57%) believe the technology changes and investments implemented during the pandemic are here to stay.
Hybrid workplaces, another outcome of the Covid crisis, are also here to stay. At the same time, the majority (60%) of executives report their companies are encouraging people to come into the office more
The skills gap also looms as a top-of-mind issue, as expressed by 61% of executives. Digital leaders report the main gaps in technology skills are IT technicians (27%), cloud computing (26%) and AI/machine learning (26%). Looking to the future, executives globally anticipate the main gaps in tech skills are going to remain similar to those seen today, with AI/machine learning topping the list at 26%.
Finding workers overall to run and support companies is also a challenge in a digital economy. While 62% indicate they draw employees with digital skills from technology disciplines, more than a third (34%) are also looking beyond the tech pool. These workers are coming from administration and business support (36%), finance and insurance (33%), and those returning to work after a period of absence (30%).