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CompTIA Survey: Business May Be Stabilizing for Tech Companies

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A new CompTIA survey shows good news in the channel as technology companies continue to see customer interest in cybersecurity, cloud computing and other areas.

CompTIA surveyed 231 executives from its member advisory councils and communities. It asked how COVID-19 has impacted their companies. The results perhaps show the business environment is stabilizing, it said.

The CompTIA survey was conducted between June 1-5. This is the third monthly member poll since the pandemic caused disruptions to life and business.

CompTIA's Nancy Hammervik

CompTIA’s Nancy Hammervik

Nancy Hammervik is CompTIA’s executive vice president for industry relations. She said her organization is encouraged by some of the signs indicated in the latest CompTIA survey, with more new customer inquiries, more business opportunities and some stabilization in staffing.

“But we are not suggesting that the industry will be back to business as usual any time soon,” she said. “The positive trends identified are offset by other cautionary indicators. For example, tech firms are still dealing with canceled or delayed orders, requests to restructure contracts and payment terms, product shortages and supply chain challenges.”

Business Opportunities Up

The percentage of tech firms receiving new customer inquiries and business opportunities was 84% in June and 83% in April, up from 76% in March.

Customers are most interested in cybersecurity-related products and services (cited by 42%), shifting on-premise infrastructure or applications to the cloud (42%), managed and outsourced IT services (40%), and general consulting help on how to go virtual (40%).

“Cybersecurity has been trending up for a number of years, but the pandemic forced many more organizations to evaluate and, in many cases, upgrade their cyber readiness,” Hammervik said. “When virtually all work turned into remote work, companies had to quickly act to support more staff employing a massive diversity of devices in a remote work environment. When brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants shut down, their e-commerce and online presences became critically important, and with it, a heightened need for cybersecurity. And when the pandemic hit, cybercriminals and hackers who are always on the prowl for vulnerabilities to exploit, became even more aggressive, from ‘Zoom bombing’ to social engineering attempts via e-mail and phone to ransomware attacks.”

Leveling Off

Another potentially positive indicator is in the area of staffing. The percentage of companies making staffing changes has leveled off to 56% in June compared to 58% in the last survey.

Among firms that have acted:

  • Twenty-five percent postponed interviewing and recruiting for new positions (versus 32% in April).
  • Eighteen percent cut back on hours of full-or part-time staff (21% in April).
  • Fourteen percent laid off contractors or suspended their work (18% in April).
  • Fourteen percent hired new staff to support increased customer demand in areas such as remote work support and cybersecurity (13% in April).
  • Thirteen percent laid off full-or part-time staff (17% in April).

In the latest survey, 52% of executives are feeling optimistic, 42% are hanging in there, and 6% are hurting and in a difficult situation. These results are unchanged from the previous survey.

More than 80% have been impacted by the pandemic. The most common scenarios include the cancellation or postponement of orders by some customers, or customers requesting a restructuring of contract or payment terms.

Companies are nearly unanimous in their belief that their business will change for the long term. The most frequently cited change is allowing more employees to continue to work remotely. Other anticipated shifts include relying more on social and digital marketing rather than traditional methods, and permanently reducing business travel.

A few weeks after the survey was conducted, major spikes in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations occurred in many states. This forced a slowdown or halt to reopening plans.

“So we ‘re likely to see a mix of positive news and not-so-positive news for the foreseeable future depending on how successful the country is in slowing the spread of the virus,” Hammervik said.

Among U.S. companies surveyed, 44% have applied for a Payment Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration. MSPs and technology solutions providers accounted for about three-quarters of the companies surveyed that sought financial assistance from the federal government.


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