59% of Businesses in Bulgaria Forge Ahead with Expansions Despite Economic Concerns and Supply Chain Challenges

More than one third of businesses in Bulgaria expanding into new markets virtually via the cloud

Businesses in Bulgaria and around the world are planning major investments in digital technologies to support ambitious expansion plans following lessons learned from the pandemic. New findings from an annual survey of technology decision-makers, by Equinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), suggest a movement toward a less connected world could not be further from the plans of digital leaders across industries and geographies. Despite concerns of a potential looming recession and talk at the World Economic Forum in Davos about the end of globalization, businesses appear to remain bullish about their plans for further global expansion.

Of the 2,900 IT decision-makers surveyed globally in the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey, 72% of global respondents indicated their organization is planning to expand in the next 12 months, into either a new city (31%), a new country (33%), or a new region entirely (38%).

In Bulgaria, 59% of IT leaders, who took part in the survey, said that they are planning to expand into new markets. The highest percentage (29%) are aiming for a new country. In addition, 26% are looking to expand to a new city and 15% to a new region.

In comparison to the global average, tech decision-makers in EMEA were more cautious in terms of expansion plans, with 59% planning to expand into a new market in the next year. In comparison, 82% of those surveyed in APAC and 78% of those surveyed in the Americas have indicated the same plans.

A number of potentially limiting factors were identified by businesses when it came to global growth, with supply chain challenges highlighted as a particular area of concern. 59% of respondents globally and 45% of respondents in Bulgaria said their business was plagued by global supply chain issues and shortages, while 58% all over the world and 43% in Bulgaria specified the global microchip shortage as a threat to their business.

These continued supply chain issues appear to be driving a need for more virtualization, with growth aspirations underpinned by significant planned investment in digital infrastructure. Almost half (47%) of respondents said they plan to facilitate global expansion plans by deploying virtually via the cloud, with over a quarter (26%) doing so using a bare metal solution. In Bulgaria, the results are lower – 37% plan to use cloud solutions for virtual deployments while 12% intend to use a bare metal solution.

Meanwhile, 47% of businesses globally, but only 11% in Bulgaria, said they expect increased spending on carrier-neutral colocation solutions to facilitate the planned rise in digital deployments. Even more global respondents (59%) said they intend to increase investment in interconnection services as they plan to progress digital transformation and build resilience, compared to just 22% in Bulgaria.

The pandemic also continues to have a significant impact on businesses’ digital strategies, although it seems that businesses in Bulgaria are less affected. More than half of global IT leaders (52%) and 38% of their counterparts in Bulgaria say they are accelerating their company’s digital evolution because of the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, globally over half (54%) confirm their IT budgets have increased as a direct outcome of its legacy—an insight into the now broadly acknowledged necessity for robust digital infrastructure to pivot to evolving business needs in an instant. In Bulgaria just 28% confirm the same. Furthermore, the majority of global respondents (61%) and around half of those in Bulgaria (49%) believe the technology changes and investments implemented during the pandemic are here to stay.

According to Zdravko Nikolov, Managing Director at Equinix, Bulgaria: “The study shows that a majority of IT leaders in Bulgaria are planning to expand into new markets, with many opting to do so by deploying cloud solutions. Bulgarian respondents confirmed that the two biggest threats for their businesses are cybersecurity (68%) and security breaches and data leaks (64%). Data centers offer a reliable and secure solution for those businesses looking to utilize cloud solutions. We provide an interconnected platform which allows for the direct and secure exchange of data between businesses. Equinix Fabric is available in Bulgaria and enables connectivity to global digital business ecosystems and a myriad of cloud service providers.”

Ensuring expansions are supported by resilient digital models is business-critical, particularly at a time of increasing volatility and emerging global threats. As part of their digital-first strategies, 85% of global respondents and 81% of those in Bulgaria confirmed a key priority is improving cybersecurity. Globally, 84% said complying with local market data regulations is critical while 86% in Bulgaria confirmed this was their biggest priority. The same percentage of respondents (83%) globally and in Bulgaria highlighted the need to futureproof their businesses. According to IT specialists worldwide, the most feared threats were cyberattacks, security breaches and data leaks (all 70%).

In addition, the survey revealed that in Bulgaria:

  • Customer and employee experience prioritized: Recognizing digital adoption affects end users, 84% of IT leaders said enhancing customer experience was a priority. Companies also acknowledged improving employee experience is critical to their transformation journey and retention of talent, with 72% citing this.
  • Cloud migration continues: 50% of IT leaders in Bulgaria said they plan to move more business functions to the cloud. Of those respondents, 38% plan to move more of their business-critical applications to the cloud.
  • Hybrid cloud dominates: Hybrid cloud models were the preferred approach for 38% of respondents in Bulgaria, but 38% of them still rely on a single cloud provider or none at all. Interconnection may step in to help here, with 41% of respondents believing it increases flexibility of connectivity, and 22% reporting they use it to enable hybrid multicloud.
  • Investing in innovation: Many IT leaders in Bulgaria are looking to futureproof their businesses and take full advantage of evolving technologies, such as 5G, the internet of things (IoT), and Web3. Over half of respondents (52%) said they are moving to an everything as a service (XaaS) model, citing the flexibility (58%), simplification of IT infrastructure (54%) and improved user experience (42%) as the key reasons for doing so.
  • Focusing on sustainability: While innovating, digital leaders in Bulgaria are keeping a close eye on the sustainability of their IT infrastructure. In total, 43% say they are measuring and actively trying to limit the environmental impact of their IT equipment, with 54% reporting that sustainability is now one of their organization’s most important drivers with commitments made to science-based targets.