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The forced transition to distance working has changed companies’ approaches to IT consumption

According to Softline experts, the experience gained during the emergency transition to home-office work will remarkably accelerate the development of the cloud market and the IT services market in general. In countries with low cloud penetration, the restrictive measures have created a steady trend of transition to the cloud, and it is not a temporary solution, but a new business framework. In particular, Softline forecasts annual business growth in the cloud segment that is ahead of plan. The services and software for teamwork and remote access security also continue to demonstrate high growth rates.

Softline Holding plc began trading under the brand name Noventiq after divesting part of its business in October 2022.

‘Softline annually increases its cloud segment volume by 50% on average. In two quarters of 2020, we doubled our performance indicators as compared to last year. Due to a large influx of new customers, and the changing needs of existing customers, we have had to increase the capacity of our existing data centres ahead of schedule, and this is taking into account the fact that we were already preparing for a growth in requests,’ Yuri Novikov, Head of Cloud Business Development at Softline, says.

‘In countries where increasingly stringent measures have been taken against the background of a sharp increase in COVID-19 incidences, the demand for Microsoft services is growing. In some European countries, Latin America, India and Russia, there has been explosive growth in the use of Microsoft collaboration tools, primarily Teams, cloud storage and Microsoft Remote Workplace tools in general. In the first quarter, Microsoft sales increased by 30 per cent due to demand for cloud solutions. In the second half of the year, we also observed a significant growth. In September 2020, Softline received Microsoft's expanded specialisation in digital transformation and change management – Adoption and Change Management Advanced Specialisation (ACM). Today we are able to significantly transform the customer's business processes within three to four months, to increase the efficiency of communication and collaboration within the company,’ says Andrey Blagorazumov, Director of Microsoft Business at Softline.

Predominantly, new customers have increased the demand for computing capacity rental, virtual workstation services and Virtual Office. Globally, we have noticed an increase in the consumption of existing online subscriptions and investment in platforms that are already being used by customers, against the background of increased load on online tools.

‘When it comes to existing Softline customers, they have now been able to fully experience the benefits of cloud services, especially cloud infrastructure flexibility. In Latin America, quarantine has dealt a severe blow to the economy, and some companies are still in crisis. Those companies that have transferred infrastructure services to Softline in the private cloud format have been able to save on existing infrastructure operating costs. A small share of our clients (no more than 5%) suspended their work for the period of quarantine measures and reduced capacity consumption while maintaining their infrastructure ready for operation. We preserved those partnerships, and as soon as they decided to resume their activities, we were able to do it without time and data losses,’ Yuri Novikov adds.

There is still an increased demand for software and services to connect to remote workstations and teamwork. According to Softline, the use of Microsoft Teams in March has quadrupled as compared to February, and it is expected that this dynamic will continue in the coming months. The number of orders for remote workstation, Windows Remote Desktop, as well as other popular applications, Google Workspace, Slack and Zoom, has changed in similar way.

‘It should be noted that under the new conditions, the terms of decision-making on the part of the customer have been significantly reduced. If previously it might take several weeks from the moment the application was submitted to the moment the transaction was completed, now customers expect rapid implementation: just a few days of testing are enough to finally decide on the product and move on to implementation,’ says Alexander Ivlev, Head of Cloud Solutions at Softline.

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