ASEAN enterprises’ managed services buying criteria has evolved since the onset of COVID-19, with skills shortages and the ease of migration, along with organisational-driven initiatives now the top three drivers for organisations considering managed ICT services.
“The COVID-19 pandemic not only has accelerated managed service adoption in ASEAN, including the SMB [small- to medium-sized business] segment, but also changed enterprises’ buying behavior while considering new ICT solutions,” said Alfie Amir, principal analyst at industry research firm GlobalData. “Scalability, cost-savings and product lifecycle are no longer the top drivers for managed services.”
According to GlobalData’s analysis, some previously must-have criteria like local presence and vertical capabilities are no longer the top priority for buyers, while new areas such as a broad ICT portfolio, brand reputation and pricing flexibility have become more critical than the others.
The evolution of buying IT criteria in the region has emerged as rapid deployments of new technologies enable remote working in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which, in turn, has created new challenges for enterprises across ASEAN, the analyst added.
These changes have arrived against a backdrop of increased technology complexity as well as the growing need for outcome-based solutions driving enterprises to outsource parts of their IT and focus on the results and innovations.
As such, the managed service deployment model has been gaining traction over the last few years, especially among large and medium-sized enterprises.
However, low ICT adoption among ASEAN enterprises pre-COVID and rapid deployments of new technologies since early last year have widened enterprises’ skillset gap and increased complexity to manage services across different ICT domains, according to the analyst firm.
This lack of internal skillsets and the urgency to get new systems up and running have further pushed enterprises to consider managed solutions from service providers. Beyond the skills shortage, system migration has become one of the key drivers, GlobalData noted.
Moreover, as more ICT projects move from standalone technical implementations to outcome-led deployments, there is a growing need for professional service capabilities. These include consultancy, advisory and management, all of which can help enterprises achieve their desired business objectives.
“While the wider adoption of managed services indicates a positive step in driving ASEAN digital transformation, it is important for service providers to re-align their value propositions and enhance capabilities to address the new market requirements,” Amir said. “Despite all the changes in the past 18 months from enterprises, most ASEAN providers still focus on the transactional and product-led selling.”
In January this year, fellow analyst firm IDC suggested the IT and business services industry was set for a shake-up after a tumultuous 2020, with the firm flagging five key trends to keep a note of from 2021 until 2025.
“Senior line-of-business and IT leaders are learning how buyer requirements are shifting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and placing greater pressure on services firms and providers to meet critical needs in areas,” IDC research manager Laura Becker said.
The trends, which revolve around employees, transformation, multicloud, automation and portfolios, have the potential to shape the five-year business plans of organisations around the world, according to the firm.