Future-proofing Canadian business success in the anywhere economy  

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by Andrew Eppich, Managing Director, Equinix Canada

Despite the anticipated economic headwinds that threaten business growth, Canadian businesses and IT decision-makers are embracing the surging “anywhere economy” by investing in digital infrastructure to help deliver on the increasing expectations of anything, anytime, anywhere.

To further understand the sentiments of IT decision-makers as they continue to navigate the anywhere economy, the most recent Equinix Global Tech Trends Survey (GTTS) sought out opinions on technology trends that will enable business opportunities and help solve the biggest challenges that 2,900 IT decision-makers, from diverse enterprises across Canada and the globe, are facing now and into the future

As Canadian organizations look to future-proof their businessesand achieve advantages in the anywhere economy, the survey findings revealed that they plan to invest in digital infrastructuresolutions that drive both cost and revenue benefits for their organizations, with a third of Canadian IT decision-maker respondents planning on geographically expanding within the next year and 39 per cent planning to expand via the cloud instead.

The global and regional insights from the GTTS reflect the views of IT decision-makers, including how:

• Everything as a Service (XaaS) enhances customer and employee experiences.

• Hybrid multicloud models enable maximum connectivity and agility.

• Interconnection empowers participation in the digital economy.

• Carrier-neutral colocation and interconnection spend are trending upward.

• Virtualization helps address supply chain disruptions and support the new hybrid work model.

• Sustainability plays a greater role in infrastructure choices and vendor selection.

64% of Canadian IT decision-makers are moving towardsan XaaS model for the anywhere economy

IT leaders shared that XaaS models are taking center stage in the anywhere economy. Delivering exceptional customer and employee experiences supported by a foundation of digital infrastructure—including cloud and interconnection—will be essential. IT leaders cited three key reasons for their attraction to the XaaS model:

• Simplifies IT infrastructure

• Increases flexibility

• Improves customer and employee experience

Other reasons cited were cost reduction and one-stop shopping—the ability to get every service from a single provider, with nearly a third of Canadian IT leaders stating that simplifying IT infrastructure is a key driver. 

Although there is an appeal to an XaaS model, respondents alsoreported some hesitation in adopting an XaaS model, citing worries like increased costs, adequate cybersecurity measures and the risk that a single provider’s service might go down. For verticals, such as finance, healthcare, transportation and the government sector that rely on service providers to provide critical infrastructure and remain operational 24/7, service interruptions can create significant issues, including lost revenue and more significant, loss of customers.

76% of IT decision-makers will move more functions to the cloud

As the digital economy continues to grow, companies report how leveraging cloud services, colocation and interconnection are key components of their business and IT strategies. IT decision-makers weighed in on cloud adoption models and how likely they would be to move more functions to the cloud. The report also found that interconnection to ecosystems is improving business outcomes.

Almost half Canadian IT decision-makers reported that hybrid cloud models are the most common component of a digital first deployment approach as they pivot to meet evolving demands, with 76 per cent of Canadian IT leaders stating they will movemore functions to the cloud, stating that improving network optimization and increasing flexibility of connectivity as the two main benefits of interconnection.

Labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and the new hybrid work dynamic are all driving the need for virtualization; 23% are deploying virtually for the foreseeable future. Virtualization also reduces the time required to enter new markets in the anytime economy; businesses can be up and running in new locations in a few days or even a few hours. 

67% of IT decision-makers measure and try to limit the environmental impact of equipment and infrastructure

As businesses implement digital infrastructure, it’s imperative that leaders consider and manage the potential impact these transformations can have on the environment. Over two thirds of IT decision-makers said that they measure, and try to limit, theenvironmental impact of their IT equipment and infrastructure, with 65 per cent sharing that their organizations have committed to Net-Zero or Science-Based—a clearly defined pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—targets.

Sustainability commitments can be made based on organizational capabilities. For example, as a digital and IT infrastructure provider, Equinix’s sustainability initiatives and commitments to reduce our environmental impact as global company are meant to have a longstanding impact. Initiatives such as green bonds, and commitments to being climate-neutral by 2030 – a renewable energy commitment which is already at 95% and projected to hit 100% by 2030 – are a few of the responsible, equitable, and accessible ways Equinix is reducing global businesses digital infrastructure’s environmental impact.

Although 63 per cent of Canadian IT decision-makers say reducing environmental impact is a priority for their organization’s technology strategy, organizational sustainability commitments should be made alongside a collective of initiatives and supports that provided through governing groupsor programs. Three quarters of respondents stressed just that, stating that the federal government should be actively working with leading internet service providers (ISPs) and digital infrastructure vendors to improve interconnectivity across Canada—including in rural and northern communities.

Make the anywhere economy a reality for your business

To succeed in a 24/7 anywhere economy, making the customer experience work and creating a satisfying employee experience requires a multi-faceted approach that starts with future-proofing digital infrastructure. Other core components include focusing on investing in innovation, XaaS, hybrid multicloud, interconnection, virtualized infrastructure, and sustainability.

IT decision-makers that choose to focus on futureproofing by using the wide range of available tools, emerging technologies and digital-first strategies will be instrumental in helping their companies achieve competitive advantage in the anywhere economy.

Andrew Eppich is the Managing Director of Equinix Canada.

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