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Business Technology Trends 2017: what businesses really want?

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The Business Technology Trends 2017 Survey details business technology requirements for a sample of corporates and SMEs in the UK Germany. The Survey looks at: technology buyers’ awareness of current and emerging technologies; sources of information and advice; purchase intentions; purchase routes and decision-making authority. Here is a summary and some key findings – plus an opportunity to register for a free download of the complete report.

Innovation and, in particular, the pace of change in AV/IT technologies, has exposed limitations on traditional ways of monitoring the adoption of new business solutions. Extrapolating trends from historical data sourced from manufacturers, developers and their channel partners can be problematic when applied to innovative new solutions and paradigms, and circumstances subject to sudden change.

The Business Technology Trends Survey is designed to forecast patterns of adoption based on business needs and the levels of knowledge held by those tasked with influencing and authorising investments in innovative business technologies. Furthermore, those involved in technology markets will know that it is just as important to know why prospective customers decided not to invest in a specific technology, as those who did invest. Was it a lack of knowledge, a lack of budget or compatibility issues with legacy solutions?

Timing and method

This first Business Technology Trends Survey was conducted among business end-users in the UK and Germany during December 2016 and January 2017. The structure of the sample is shown in charts 1 and 2. A detailed survey was distributed to a contact database developed by macom in Germany and Blue and Green (publishers of AV News) in the UK.

UK respondents were offered a small incentive (£20 of Amazon shopping vouchers). Those respondents taking part just for the incentive (for example, by filing the same combination of responses for every question) or failing to complete the mandatory questions were screened out).

The questions

Survey questions are concentrated in the following areas:

  1. How aware are B2B end-users of current and emerging business technologies?
  2. Which information sources do B2B end-users rely upon for information about current and emerging technologies?
  3. Which current and emerging business technologies are B2B end-users planning to adopt?
  4. Which sources of supply do B2B end-users plan to use to acquire business technology products and solutions?
  5. Which job functions and levels influence and approve B2B technology choices?
  6. Which of the following statements is most accurately describes the current situation in respect of the following B2B technologies?
  7. Does your organisation have a defined policy for User Adoption?
  8. How far along the adoption process is your organisation for the following B2B technologies?
  9. Does your company have a policy governing the use of personal devices by members of staff (BYOD)?

10. If your company uses or plans to use B2B technologies: What is the goal, what do they hope to gain with it?

11. If your company uses or plans to use B2B technologies: Are there any standards or guidelines for the technology or the usage?

12. What are the main barriers to the adoption of new business technologies?

Questions which asked respondents to rate levels of understanding, commitment to a specific technology or course of action, were scored on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is ‘worst’ or ‘least likely’ and 5 is ‘best’ or ‘most likely’.

In questions which address both respondents having adopted or ‘rolled out’ a specific service and those in various stages of assessment or evaluation, lines on the charts demarcate the assessment stages.

Executive summary

• The Business Technology Trends Survey has been designed to ascertain levels of awareness of specific technologies as an essential prerequisite to adoption. Those technologies rated as ‘Most aware’ included: ‘Interactive touchscreens; Videoconferencing, Collaborative software; and ‘Digital signage.

• Of the lowest ranked technologies, in terms of awareness, ‘AV control systems’ and ‘Presentation gateways’ both scored lowly. The emerging technologies of ‘Augmented reality’, ‘Virtual reality and ‘Drone video systems’ ranked a little higher.

• The Study explains where business users turn to for information and advice about new and existing business technologies. Colleagues were the most highly rated source of information and advice – scoring slightly higher than manufacturers. Magazines and Trade Shows returned similar scores but Web Sites produced a surprisingly poor result.

• The most adopted technologies by the business users represented in the Study were: Videoconferencing’ (with 45% describing themselves as ‘Existing users’) and ‘Collaborative software’ where 35% described themselves as ‘Existing users’. ‘Interactive touchscreens’ came next in the rankings.

• Where the use case for a business technology is evident, even those respondents not currently committed are in the process of evaluation.

• The influences on the choices of business technology stretches a long way up commercial organisations. The majority of respondents reported that the MD or CEO exerts an influence on the choice of business technologies deployed in their organisations.

• Approval of technology investments mirrors the pattern of influence revealed in the last question, with the MD / CEO taking a leading role.

• Respondents were asked about their evaluation processes for new and innovative business technologies. Some 50% of respondents said that their organisations had already rolled out ‘Videoconferencing’ and a further 20% were conducting Pilot trials.

• Respondents were asked to assess the relative importance of the benefits of their investments in technology. Those who scored the importance of each factor 4 or 5, out of 5, ranked Linking remote offices or employees as Most Important.

• The Study asked respondents to report their organisation’s BYOD policy. Of those organisations with a BYOD policy, the largest group permit the use of specific devices.

• Respondents were asked to rate the importance of a variety of barriers to the adoption of business technology. Lack of Awareness of new technologies was rated one of the two most important factors

 

About the Syndicate Members

AV News

AV News logo v3 Bryan

Europe’s leading information resource for manufacturers and service providers for AV / IT solutions. AV News publishes magazines, reports and newsletters and organises the annual AV News Awards at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) event each February.

Macom

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The name macom is synonymous with technically high-end and creative communications solutions. macom is setting new trends and always uses new developments and technology in the field of communications technology in client projects. As an independent engineering consultancy, macom offers integrated and future-proof solutions that meet the most exacting standards of quality, take into account the aesthetic link between interior architecture and AV technology, and focus on the user.”

Maverick

maverick transparent

Maverick prides itself on the specialist support and services we offer to help your business grow and succeed. “We work with the world’s leading AV brands to provide you with complete solutions which meet all your audio-visual needs. We support your business through the knowledge and expertise of our dedicated AV team but as a specialist division of Tech Data we are able to provide you with logistical and financial backing which is second to none within the AV industry. Maverick not only offers the specialist support of a dedicated AV distributor but also has the ability to support your IT integration needs through our associated distribution business areas.”

SET as a boxout:

Selected conclusions

Business technologies scoring highest and lowest for awareness

The Study has been designed to ascertain levels of awareness of specific technologies as an essential prerequisite to adoption. Those technologies rated as ‘Most aware’ included: ‘Interactive touchscreens (with 74% of respondents rating their levels of awareness at 4 or 5 out of 5); Videoconferencing’ (with 55% of respondents rating their levels of awareness at 4 or 5 out of 5); next came ‘Collaborative software’ (with 55% of respondents rating their levels of awareness at 4 or 5 out of 5); ‘Digital signage’ achieved 44% on a similar comparison.

Of the lowest ranked technologies, in terms of awareness, and ‘AV control systems’ and ‘Presentation gateways’ both scored 29%. The emerging technologies of ‘Augmented reality’, ‘Virtual reality and ‘Drone video systems’ ranked a little higher, with scores of 36%, 36% and 31% respectively. The authors of the study believe that part of the issue around the awareness of ‘AV control systems’ and ‘Presentation gateways’ are associated with variations in the terms used to describe the technology.

While there is still tremendous potential in the more established business technologies the lower ranked technologies offer even greater potential.

BTT 2017 Chart 3

Most and least useful sources of information and advice

The Study deals with the issue of where business users turn to for information and advice about new and existing business technologies. With 69% of respondents scoring them 4 or 5 out of 5, ‘Colleagues’ were the most highly rated source of information and advice – scoring slightly higher than manufacturers at 68%. We suspect that these well-informed colleagues utilise the other information sourced revealed by the Study. ‘Consultants’ and ‘System integrators’ scored most highly with 58% and 57% respectively rating the categories 4 or 5 out of 5. ‘Magazines’ and ‘Trade shows’ both scored 56%. ‘Websites’ however scored a relatively lowly 31% and ‘IT dealers’ just 25%.

The study reveals the crucial role of consultants and systems integrators in supporting manufacturers, but highlights the ongoing need to train and support other partners.

BTT 2017 Chart 5

Most and least adopted business technologies

The core of the Business Technology Trends Study is to establish the existing level of adoption for a range of business technologies, and, further, to establish the stage of evaluation among those respondents yet to adopt these technologies in their businesses.

The most adopted technologies by the business users represented in the Study were ‘Videoconferencing’ (with 45% describing themselves as ‘Existing users’) and ‘Collaborative software’ where 35% described themselves as ‘Existing users’. ‘Interactive touchscreens’ came next in the rankings, with 34% describing themselves as ‘Existing users’ – a figure that points to the huge potential left in the business and corporate market for the technology.

Some 23% of respondents felt that the adoption of ‘Presentation gateways’ by their businesses was ‘Unlikely’ which might again point to a lack of understanding of what the technology has to offer. Compare this to just 5% who rate their use of ‘Interactive touchscreens’ as ‘Unlikely’, where the application might well be similar.

Where the use case for a business technology is evident, even those respondents not currently committed are in the process of evaluation. For example, in addition to the 45% already having adopted ‘Videoconferencing’ a further 16% say that its adoption is ‘Certain’, 18% ‘Probable’ and 15% ‘Possible’.

Interactive touchscreens’, ‘Collaborative software; and ‘Augmented Reality’ show similar patterns of latent demand with ‘Drone video systems’ showing the greatest of disinterest in adoption by businesses.

The Survey shows considerable latent potential still to be fulfilled in the most widely adopted business technologies. Those where adoption is rated as ‘Unlikely’ are also those where awareness is low.

BTT 2017 Chart 6

Key influences on business technology choices

The influences on the choices of business technology stretches a long way up commercial organisations. Some 68% of respondents reported that the MD or CEO exerts an influence on the choice of business technologies deployed in their organisations. Other key players in the purchase decision are ‘Senior managers’ (68%), ‘Business unit managers’ (63%) and ‘Departmental heads’ (63%). Just over half of respondents (53%) say that their organisations ‘Board’ contributes to the decision-making process when new business technologies come up for discussion.

‘Technicians’ get an opportunity to express their opinions in 55% of opinions and ‘Line managers’ in a further 29%. Just 16% of respondents reported that ‘Technicians’ play no part in influencing technology choices.

Decisions about business technology investments are taken at a high level with in business organisations which has implications for the way that that technologies are introduced to end-users.

Approval of business technology choices

Approval of technology investments mirrors the pattern of influence revealed in the last question, with the MD / CEO taking a leading role. The task of signing the purchase order however is delegated to ‘Business unit’ or “Departmental heads’. The majority of ‘Technicians’ are not involved in the approval process.

While substantial business technology investments are now considered mission critical, and therefore worthy of attention at a senior level. It is. However, to consult all levels as part of the adoption process.

Evaluation processes for innovative business technologies

Respondents were asked about their evaluation processes for new and innovative business technologies. They were asked about progress in the evaluation of a variety of business technologies. Some 50% of respondents said that their organisations had already rolled out ‘Videoconferencing’ and a further 20% were conducting ‘Pilot trials’. This is the most widely adopted of all the business technologies, followed by ‘Interactive touchscreens’ (33% rolled out and 22% conducting pilot trials and ‘Collaborative software’(39% rolled out and 21 conducting pilot trials).

With a substantial proportion of the market for even the most widely adopted business technologies, there is huge potential for suppliers of AV/IT business solutions.

 

Comments by the Syndicate Members

Jon Sidwick
Vice President
Maverick Europe

jon sidwick

“The Business Technology Trends report has really validated the feedback we are getting from the market, the need for more focus on platform based collaboration and meeting technologies which deliver a simple to use user (familiar) interface is driving adoption more quickly than we anticipated.”

“The report shows a real need for the channel to be able to offer technologies and services aligned to changing user needs, as a leading collaboration technology distributor we have to work hard to ensure we have the right selection of technologies supported by a relevant service set to support our resellers.”

“What excites me about the report is the variety of requirements there is for the technology we sell, we are only just starting to equip the 5 million meeting spaces available to the channel, ensuring the industry is able to support the growing need and maintain high levels of user experience is critical. It will be the responsibility of resellers, distributors, vendors and Infocomm to ensure we focus on exceptional experiences in all areas not just pushing volumes.”

Bryan Denyer
Managing Editor
AV News

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“It is overwhelming apparent to me from the Business Technology Trends report the scale of the user education task that needs to be undertaken by the AV / IT sector if it is to realise the potential inherent in the commercial market. Even the most widely adopted and understood technologies – with these being interactive touchscreens – show 25% of respondent as having less than average knowledge of what interactive touchscreens have to offer their businesses and some 70% admit to their knowledge being less than comprehensive.”

“Even such widely appreciated technologies, at the consumer level, as video conferencing are not fully understood in terms of business applications. When it comes to meeting room technologies, such as wireless presentation gateways, ‘possible’ adoption is by far the leading response – showing a lack of understanding of how important this technology can be in a meeting room. Bear in mind that the Survey results reflect the trends for two of the most developed markets in the EMEA region. Others could be much worse.”

Oliver Mack
Managing Director
macom GmbH

Oliver_Mack_18072

“The survey has demonstrated that the gap between the users’ state of knowledge and the manufacturers’ expectations is to some extent still considerable. There is a huge need for advice. This is what we are also experiencing in our day-to-day work as Europe’s leading technology consultant and specialist planner for AV/IT.”

“Most of the time, digitalisation projects do not fail because of the lack of the necessary technological solutions. Often the reasons are obstacles with regard to usability or the missing operation processes and standards. Both these factors lead to the fact that acquired technology is not used.”

“This however prevents the Return on Invest. Here a sound planning with an operational concept focused on implementations is advisable before investing in any AV solutions. Only when the AV technology meets the actual usage requirements and is easy to use then it will be used.”

 

Register for your free PDF copy of the
Business Technology Trends Report 2017

Get all the Charts and Commentary pointing to the future of AV and IT in commercial enterprises by registering for your free PDF copy here:

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