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IDC’s Crystal Ball Predicts 2004 Hot Market Trends

  • 01 March, 2004 14:57

<p>NORTH SYDNEY, March 1st, 2004 - There is little doubt that the IT industry has just passed through one of its most challenging times. Economies and businesses are regularly exposed to cyclical variations, however this time a number of well-documented factors combined to deepen and extend the downturn.</p>
<p>As 2004 begins, IDC sees the following three key areas that will affect and impact the general Australian business and IT markets.</p>
<p>* Genuine improvement from the enterprise space, overall economy and a sustained positive outlook for Australia
* Rapid movement to extreme operational efficiency resulting in more packaging of off-the-shelf technologies and services
* Emergence of a customer oriented IT world – a world tightly bound to the business priorities of customers, a world still very much in its infancy</p>
<p>IDC believes that the sustained improvement in business confidence will translate into an improved period of spending on IT products and services. The annual Forecast for Management Survey from IDC has revealed that growth for the next operating period is expected to be 3.0%. Additionally IDC's latest Black Book Market sizing numbers have the market growing at a CAGR of 2.9%.</p>
<p>Some of the top ten market technologies and trends IDC Australia expects to see for 2004 are:</p>
<p>Watershed Year for 3G
2004 is shaping up to be a watershed year for Australian 3G players as it will determine whether a widely anticipated nationwide 3G market of 2005 will become a reality. 2004 will be a crucial year for Hutchison as it gets to further test its "if you build it, they will come" theory and whether mass market momentum will be achieved – a test that will be closely watched by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone as they strategise their 3G plans for 2005. With the launches of multiple 3G and related services by their parent, subsidiary and/or sister companies worldwide set for next year, 2004 will also be critical for the other three carriers as they learn and adapt from those international experiences.</p>
<p>Offshore Services Will Become a Disruptive Force
There is little doubt that offshore services will increasingly influence the direction of the Australian IT services market. The timing on the types of offshore services that customers are looking to purchase, as well as the magnitude of the expected change over the coming year are uncertain. This issue does present a clear threat to the local IT services industry in the coming years, however, despite all the associated hype, the reality is that today less than 1% of the IT services market is delivered from offshore. Opportunities abound for service providers that can effectively position themselves to address the needs of the marketplace.</p>
<p>The offshore issue is today being hotly debated by vendors, client organisations and government alike. Enterprises are focusing on which vendors should be considered, the decision to use a direct or indirect model as well as identifying the criteria used to select a provider and the geographic preference. Vendors need to have a strategy in place, offer choice and be prepared for the race to build and embed global sourcing capabilities across their services portfolio. In the short term there are two key challenges. First, vendors need to hire the right skills offshore while minimising the impact on employee morale in Australia. Second, vendors need to refine their global delivery framework to offer offshore as a seamless component for any new engagement. Regardless, 2004 will be a year where organisations debate and assess the viability of offshore services, making it a disruptive force in the local IT market.</p>
<p>Converged Devices Take Off
Converged devices, which include cellular voice-enabled PDAs and smartphones (mobile phones with PDA functionality), have begun their onslaught at the expense of both conventional PDAs and traditional mobile phones.
“The skyrocketing popularity of converged devices is confirmed by recent IDC research, which finds that although PDAs will remain the most common mobile data devices used by Australian businesses, converged devices are showing great promise as the future mobile data form factor of choice”, commented Landry Fevre, IDC ANZ Telecommunications Research Program Manager.</p>
<p>Of the 185,000 handheld devices expected to be shipped in Australia in 2003, one-third will be converged devices – up from only 5% last year. By 2007, converged devices will make up almost half (45%) of all handheld device shipments in this country. From a mobile phone market perspective, converged devices currently make up one in ten mobile phones sold but that proportion is forecast to double within the next five years.</p>
<p>Everyone "loves" SMEs
”SME formation and exits will continue at the traditional level, despite the current global economic situation. After years of belt tightening by some firms, many smaller businesses in particular will be forced to replace obsolete technologies and invest in new ones in order to remain competitive. This replacement process will represent an opportunity for technology providers to educate the SME market; smaller businesses in particular about the advanced solutions that can enhance business efficiencies within their organisations”, said Kourosh Ghassemi, IDC’s Research Manager.</p>
<p>As competitive pressures increase, technology providers will be tempted to define their markets narrowly by individual product categories or subcategories. In fact, Australian SME customers are moving in the opposite direction in the way they view technology, seeking more comprehensive solutions rather than specific product specification benchmarks. PCs, peripherals, and LANs can be viewed as the comprehensive IT environment maintained by a small business to support an increasingly diverse mix of applications. By viewing a product purchase decision in this larger context, technology suppliers can distinguish themselves from competitors. To this end, channel partners can play an important role both before and after purchase to ensure that SMEs understand how expanding their portfolio of advanced technologies will deliver new benefits.</p>
<p>For Press Enquires please contact:
Kourosh Ghassemi
Program Manager, SME's,Vertical Markets &amp; Infrastructure
Phone: 61 2 9925 2221

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