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CompTIA: Tech firms expecting return to normalcy in three months following COVID-19 crisis

By Shannon Williams
Thu 21 May 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Technology solutions companies are expecting a return to normalcy within the next three months after the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic saw the sector thrown into crisis. 

According to a survey by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the global technology industry, there is a real mix of business challenges and new opportunities ahead for the sector.

Almost two-thirds of CompTIA member company executives surveyed believe that business may start to get back on track by August. Firms in the United States have a more positive view compared to their international counterparts, the majority of whom cite a time frame of September or later.

Close to one-half of executives (46%) said they remain generally upbeat and optimistic, while the same percentage are “hanging in there.” The remaining 8% said their firms are in a very difficult situation.

“While no wants to see any business struggle, it is encouraging to see that the great majority of companies in the business of technology have shown the resilience to maintain a solid level of activity during this uncertain time,” explains Nancy Hammervik, CompTIA’s executive vice president for industry relations.

In April, 83% of tech firms surveyed reported receiving new customer inquiries, up from 76% in March. Communications, collaboration and A/V technologies (40%), cybersecurity (36%), general consulting (35%), and cloud computing (33%) led the product and service categories that generated customer interest.

Customer cancellations or postponements impacted 58% of business in April, a 15% increase over the prior month. Firms also reported experiencing customer requests to restructure contracts or payment terms (58%), disruptions due to shortages of finished products (34%), disruptions with key partners (21%), cancellation or postponement of financial arrangements with partners and vendors (19%), shortages of components (18%), and requests from investors or lending institutions for updated sustainability plans (11%).

Nine in 10 firms have responded to the spending challenges faced by customers. The most common responses include offering customers flexibility with product orders and payments (58%), and working with vendors, distributors and other partners to come up with creative solutions to support customers (50%).

According to the research, about 4 in 10 companies (42%) entered the month of May with a “wait and see” approach to staffing and hiring, reporting that they had not made any staffing moves. Among companies that had acted, 13% hired new staff to support increased demand for remote workers, cybersecurity and other essential services.

The survey also reveals that 32% of firms have postponed interviews and recruiting for new positions; 21% have reduced the hours for full- or part-time staff; 18% have laid off contractors or suspended their work; and 17% have laid off full- or part-time staff.

About 7 in 10 members said their firm is training at least some employees during this time or planning to increase training within one to two months. Companies are focusing their technical training on cybersecurity, networking, programming and technical support. About one-third of firms are helping employees build their professional skills, “soft” skills and business skills, such as communication, customer service, presentation, problem solving, management, marketing, operations, and sales.

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