The latest COVID-19 variant has once again delayed corporate return to office dates across the US and beyond. At the same time, surveys of employees and managers have shown that many would like fully remote or hybrid work schedules to become permanent. Gallup data shows almost half of all full-time employees were working remotely in September.
Pandemic-induced disruptions boost the likelihood that even more jobs will not return to an office-oriented arrangement, increasing enterprise reliance and spending on the cloud. Many tech giants are already stepping up their investments into data centers and other infrastructure to support continually rising capacity and revenues flowing in from fast-growing cloud demand.
Related ETF, REITs, & Stocks: First Trust Cloud Computing ETF (SKYY), Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (DLR), Equinix, Inc. (EQIX), Oracle Corporation (ORCL), Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (ZM), Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)
Work From Home, Hybrid Scheduling Accelerates Enterprise Cloud Spend
Another resurgence of COVID-19, this time in the form of the new omicron variant, is disrupting many companies’ plans to bring workforces back into the office.
Apple made headlines last week, delaying its corporate return-to-office deadline from February 1 to a “date yet to be determined”. As Bloomberg notes, this marks the fifth time Apple has delayed its office-return plans, previously scheduling an end to remote work for many employees in June, September, October, and January.
The iPhone maker is one of just many firms to pull their latest return-to-office dates altogether, as Google did when it delayed its office re-openings previously set for January. Per CNBC, Lyft announced it will not require people to return in-person until 2023. Meta, Uber, Ford, DoorDash, DocuSign, and Fidelity are several other notable companies that have delayed returns to the office. Some have speculated that continual deferrals will turn into more permanent remote work arrangements.
In September, 45% of full-time employees were working remotely some or all of the time, with nine out of 10 remote workers wanting to continue that way, according to a Gallup poll. Even when a return to office is absolutely necessary for some staff, a “hybrid” schedule might be on the table for many workers.
Per an OECD study of workers in 25 countries, both employees and managers found working from home during the pandemic was positive for performance and well-being. According to respondents, the ideal amount of telework is two-to-three days per week.
Ricky Kapur, head of Asia Pacific at Zoom, told CNBC last week that “Employees are demanding flexible work arrangements and the ability to work frictionless, irrespective of where they are”. He added that Zoom’s “mobile and frictionless” business has grown “from zero to 2 million users in under two years. It’s one of the fastest-growing cloud services”.
The cloud continues to become an increasingly critical piece of IT for many employers.
A recent report from SWZD found that 64% of enterprises (500+ employees) are planning to raise IT budgets in the year ahead, along with 45% of small to midsize businesses (1-499 employees). One of the most significant drivers of these budget increases is the push for remote work. Multi-year modernization efforts are anticipated, as indicated by an elevated priority on IT projects in many organizations — the top driver of budget increases (49%) in 2022, up from 45% in 2021.
VentureBeat notes that SWZD cited recent research on cloud-buying collectives that found 50% of all business workloads are expected to run in the cloud by 2023, up from 40% in 2021. The budget for cloud-based technologies has increased significantly in tandem, accounting for 26% of IT spending in 2022, up from 22% in 2020.
Cloud Titans Up Spending, Expand Data Centers
Many tech giants are more committed than ever to expanding their cloud capacity and revenue going forward.
This week, Oracle went all in on expanding their cloud ambitions, announcing a blockbuster acquisition of electronic-medical-records company Cerner Corp. Per the Wall Street Journal, Oracle paid roughly $28.3 billion for their all-cash purchase – its largest deal ever. Just last week…
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