The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has had a mixed impact on the enterprise networking market. While most companies report downward pressure on their IT budgets, supporting a suddenly remote workforce and enabling contactless operations has created new demand for network capabilities.

A new study from International Data Corporation (IDC) looks at how investments in various networking technologies have changed since the global pandemic began and how investment priorities for the rest of the year will continue to shift.

“The novel coronavirus has forced enterprises across the globe to rapidly and dramatically shift their operations. In doing so, enterprises are relying more heavily on networking technology, from enabling secure connectivity to supporting increased demand for collaboration platforms,” says Rohit Mehra, vice-president: network infrastructure at IDC.

“At the same time, Covid-19 has forced enterprises to prioritize spending habits. IDC has conducted primary research to gain detailed insights into enterprise spending habits and buying criteria across key networking technologies.

“This data showcases how spending habits have changed in recent months and details enterprise priories for future investments.”

IDC’s network infrastructure team fielded a study of US-based enterprise networking leaders and decision makers in May and June of 2020 to assess the impact of Covid-19 and collect quantitative data on future spending habits.

The study focused on the following topics:

* How investments in key enterprise networking technologies have changed since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

* Top challenges enterprises face in managing employees working from home and analyzing what networking technologies enterprises have increasingly relied on to support remote workers.

* Which vendors are best positioned to address enterprise networking needs post-Covid-19.

* Technology-specific data across key enterprise networking domains including datacentre networking, enterprise campus networking (wired and wireless local area networking), wide area (including software-defined networking), network management, and unified communications and collaboration (UC&C).

* Enterprise networking investment trends across key verticals including education/government, finance, IT, health care/life sciences, manufacturing, transportation/utilities, retail and services.

Key findings from the study include:

* Enterprises report planned increased investments in UC&C tools, network management, and datacenter networking since the pandemic began. Respondents report decreased spending in the enterprise campus and wide area networking.

* Almost half of respondents (48%) reported they will be increasing investments in UC&C tools, compared to 32% reporting increased investments in datacentre networking, and 31% increasing investments in network management.

* More than half of respondents (51%) reported that employees cannot access applications from their home internet connection multiple times a week. A majority of respondents said employees do not primarily use a virtual private network (VPN) while working from home.