Microsoft Azure is the preferred infrastructure and platform as a service vendor, topping Amazon Web Services and maintaining its lead over a three-year horizon, according to a Q1 2020 AlphaWise CIO survey from Morgan Stanley. Spotted by Business Insider, the report surveyed CIOs in the first quarter of this year and highlighted spending intentions and budget priorities.
Microsoft is also the preferred vendor for hybrid cloud environments, with 39% of CIOs choosing the platform compared to AWS, the next-closest vendor with 25%. Microsoft also stands to benefit from the coronavirus pandemic-related tech spend. It is "well positioned for many of these 'work from home' trends," according to Morgan Stanley.
The report showed a dip in IT spending, though results varied based on when CIOs responded. While February respondents projected an optimistic 3.6% overall IT budget growth, by March respondents said growth would dip to 3.2%. Half of CIOs "already cut budgets by an average of 2.6%," with a strong preference for further decreases in the future.
Spending will continue to change, reflecting the business climate brought on in recent weeks. As a recession looms, business leaders will ask technology executives to prioritize mission-critical spending, which allows business continuity and limits the exposure to risk.
Now, CIOs everywhere are rethinking spending, prioritizing technology that can enable and secure remote work. This is where Microsoft has the advantage. With a robust collaboration portfolio and a history of enterprise technology, Microsoft is an easy choice for businesses previously waffling on tool selection.
CIOs plan to increase spending most for cloud computing, security and collaboration projects, according to Morgan Stanley. "Security has become by far the most defensible IT project," critical to supporting remote work through collaboration, VPN or remote access and desktop virtualization.
In the next three years, Microsoft is expected to become the "top share gainer" of IT spend as workloads move to the cloud, leading AWS for the first time since Q3 2018. Key here is much of business at AWS is "net new," compared to Microsoft, which has legacy technology and a "positive" portfolio trait, according to Morgan Stanley.
Morgan Stanley's insights, which factor in the influence of the pandemic, echo similar vendor priority results from Goldman Sachs in January. The Goldman Sachs survey found more IT executives using Azure over AWS, though AWS had a larger portion of the cloud spend. Microsoft was slightly ahead of AWS as the "most popular choice."