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TEKsystems: Despite the Promise of 5G, Most Organizations Still Facing Significant Roadblocks to Realize Value

Feb. 27, 2019 | HANOVER, MD

Business Leaders Aware of the New Opportunities 5G Can Create, but Enterprise IT Remains Cautious

TEKsystems®, a provider of IT services that address the pressing strategy, implementation and talent needs for more than 80% of the Fortune 500, today released findings of a study focused on the current status regarding 5G solution development in the enterprise. TEKsystems surveyed more than 300 IT leaders in a variety of business sectors in late 2018 to better understand their attitudes toward the impending 5G revolution, their concerns and what steps, if any, they are taking to prepare.

The buzz surrounding 5G and its implications for businesses around the world can’t be ignored. But beyond the noise, business leaders are faced with serious questions on how they intend to prepare for a 5G future. Among them are the potential opportunity and expected impact of 5G, the current state of the technology itself, expected business outcomes, current roadblocks to implementation and available resources.

Key highlights from the survey include:

Significant Optimism Regarding 5G’s Potential Opportunity, but Enterprise IT Timelines Lagging

Q: How would you characterize the level of potential opportunity that 5G will unlock for your business?
Significant opportunity 12%
Moderate opportunity 31%
Slight opportunity 46%
The level of opportunity available will not change because of 5G 4%
No new opportunity will be created from 5G 7%
Q: Which of the following best describes your organization’s status with regard to 5G?
  Line of Business Enterprise IT
Planning/Designing Phase 28% 17%
Selecting/Implementing 12% 4%
Refining 15% 8%
Nothing planned in the next 24 months 44% 70%

TEKsystems’ Take: TEKsystems notes that the optimism surrounding the business impact of 5G is being tempered by a more cautious attitude among the IT leaders who will have the responsibility for designing/testing/implementing 5G-enabled solutions or selecting the external partners that will provide the necessary expertise. Companies generating potential use cases must work with their IT partners to consider the potential impact to enterprise infrastructure, minimize duplication of efforts and realize economies of scale.

5G Implementations Face Many Challenges, Including an Inability to Define Use Cases and Accelerated Depreciation of Existing Technology Assets

Q: Which of the following will pose the biggest challenge to your 5G implementation strategies? [select only one]
Challenge Rank
Outdated enterprise technology landscape (i.e., legacy applications, infrastructure, etc.) 1
Measuring business impact / clearly defined use cases 2
Hardware deficiencies (i.e., devices that require upgrades to leverage 5G) 3
Lacking right skills/expertise 4
Geographic prioritization (i.e., where 5G will be available, rural markets vs. metro areas) 5
Delays in standardization 6
Managing risk, security and privacy 7
Regulatory compliance 8
Timing of enablement 9
Immature partnerships with vertical industries 10
Q: In your opinion, which of the following best describes 5G? [select all that apply]
Definition Engineering/Core
Network Teams
All Respondents
An evolution of existing infrastructure 69% 54%
An enabler for digital business 38% 34%
A replacement for 4G 29% 29%
A new business model enabler 50% 25%
A completely new network 13% 20%
An incremental revenue enabler 25% 10%
A cost-saving production platform 13% 9%
Q: How concerned are you that the onset of 5G will render your current technology landscape outdated? (i.e., applications, network infrastructure, systems, etc.) [select only one]
Level of Concern Percentage
Highly concerned 4%
Moderately concerned 21%
Somewhat concerned 25%
Slightly concerned 22%
Not at all concerned 28%

TEKsystems’ Take: 5G implementations face a litany of challenges, not the least of which are a lack of consensus on its actual definition and the fact that 5G implementations are expected to accelerate depreciation of existing technology. Even among core network teams—those likely to have the most insight into the impact of 5G—there is mixed opinion on how 5G is defined. TEKsystems believes that organizations’ lack of confidence that their teams are ready for 5G combined with an outdated enterprise technology landscape will drive organizations to consider full-stack 5G solutions versus simply exclusive 5G support.

Organizations Will Face a Lack of Resources Required to Capitalize on 5G Opportunities:

Q: How confident are you that your current workforce has the skills and expertise that will enable your organization to fully leverage the benefits of 5G? [select only one]
Level of Concern Percentage
Highly concerned 13%
Moderately concerned 31%
Somewhat concerned 27%
Slightly concerned 20%
Not at all concerned 10%

TEKsystems’ Take: TEKsystems notes that the majority of those surveyed are not particularly confident that they currently have the necessary 5G skills and expertise in-house. Not all companies will fully embrace 5G; uncertainty around use cases and how the technology provides value beyond their current network capabilities isn’t exactly clear. Organizations who wish to leverage the most prized features of 5G will need partners that understand the ecosystem and how 5G will enable their products and services.

“5G offers the promise of a technology that can support cutting-edge capabilities, empowering organizations to deliver innovation to their customers in new and exciting ways,” says TEKsystems Executive Director Chris Fisher. “Transformation is inevitable. It’s not a question of whether organizations will get there—it’s when. To arrive first, they need to initiate smarter, more epic strategies to gain speed, reliability and accessibility. But in terms of current product offerings and services, the added value of 5G is likely minimal today. Companies need to think about their specific needs and identify use cases to achieve their vision in a 5G world. Successful 5G implementations will hinge on strong partnerships and vendor/partner ecosystems.”

TEKsystems’ Chris Fisher is available for additional commentary. For more information about the survey or to schedule an interview, please contact TEKsystems@teamlewis.com.

About TEKsystems®

We’re partners in transformation. We help clients activate ideas and solutions to take advantage of a new world of opportunity. We are a team of 80,000 strong, working with over 6,000 clients, including 80% of the Fortune 500 across North America, Europe and Asia. As an industry leader in Full-Stack Technology Services, Talent Services and real-world application, we work with progressive leaders to drive change. That’s the power of true partnership. TEKsystems is an Allegis Group company.

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