Enterprises want end-to-end 5G-IoT solutions and vendors who are partners, EY survey finds

Enterprises are looking for a “coherent 5G-IoT vision” from their suppliers and want them to be partners who can help deliver business outcomes, rather than just technology providers, according to a new 5G report from EY.

“The era of technology push and transactional interactions is disappearing,” the firm concluded, adding that “Enterprises want consultative dialogue that delivers business outcomes through end-to-end solutions.”

EY surveyed more than 1,000 executives across eight industries about their perspectives on 5G and IoT, their paths forward and what they want from vendors in a 5G world. These enterprises see 5G primarily through the lens of IoT and they may already have use cases in mind, but they are still grappling with the impact that 5G will have on their businesses, EY found. They are looking to their vendors to take a more comprehensive role in guiding them through leveraging the next generation of cellular technology.

“There are promising indicators of the critical role 5G will play in the next wave of IoT, but optimism is accompanied by anxiety. Organizations are looking for much more from their suppliers as 5G comes of age,” EY said.

EY expects to see significant growth in enterprise adoption of 5G. Currently, the company found, only about 15% of enterprises are investing in 5G, and just 3% of the surveyed companies have 5G operational within their organizations. But 67% are discussing 5G investments with suppliers or engaging in 5G trials, and another 28% are planning their 5G deployments.

“By the end of 2022, levels of 5G investment will be on par with IoT,” EY predicted.

Enterprises are, to some extent, aware of 5G’s transformative potential, and they anticipate having to make major overhauls to their operating models in a 5G world. Three-quarters of survey respondents agreed that overhauling their operating models would be a prerequisite for successfully implementing 5G, but less than half were confident that their organizations could successfully transition to 5G-based IoT, EY found.

Internal pain points for 5G adoption include budget limitations, low levels of organizational understanding and concerns about 5G’s strategic relevance, and the “perceived complexity of technology integration,” EY found.

As they think about tackling those issues, they are looking for new attributes in their suppliers.

“While competitive pricing and understanding of broader business or industry needs will endure, other attributes are gaining ground,” EY said. “Notably, the ability to provide end-to-end solutions will rise relative to others.” The company added that in spite of the increasing desire for those end-to-end solutions, “no single type of vendor dominates as a trusted provider across the different activities demanded by enterprises. Telcos rank ahead of other suppliers as trusted experts in IoT. However, IT services providers lead the way as digital transformation experts, with telcos ranking behind both these companies as well as equipment and application vendors.”

EY had three recommendations for 5G suppliers who want to be succeed in meeting enterprises’ 5G needs: to “prioritize the reimagining of industries” through educating and inspiring businesses to think big when it comes to 5G; to “adapt 5G to the enterprise transformation agenda” by taking a tech-holistic approach that acknowledges ongoing advances in other areas such as edge computing and artificial intelligence; and to “reinvent yourself as a partner, not just a provider,” by prioritizing access to an “ecosystem of competencies that can deliver 5G-IoT at scale over the next decade.”

Read the full report here. 

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