With the uncertain economic outlook for 2012, analyst house IDC expects companies in the region to take a cautious approach to ICT spending in the coming year.
"As consumers and workforces are becoming smarter, more affluent and demanding, companies will need to match their efforts with intelligent spending to avoid getting their fingers burnt in case another worldwide crisis hits," said Claus Mortensen, principal for emerging technology research, IDC Asia/Pacific.
Business leaders are likely to face difficult investment decisions; to maintain growth; organisations will be looking to leverage ICT in newer and more robust ways. And IDC expects ICT spending in the APEJ region to reach $US653 billion in 2012, which is a 10.4 per cent growth over 2011. The firm was quoting insights from its Predictions report for 2012.
The following 10 ICT predictions are what IDC believes will have the strongest impact on enterprise IT in the region:
1) The rise of what IDC terms as "Emerging Asian Enterprise"
Numbering some 2000 across the Asia-Pacific region except for Japan, these companies are not branches of MNCs, but "true-blue Asian companies," said Sandra Ng, GVP - ICT practice, IDC.
In these organisations, CIOs are looking at new ways to compete more effectively and shorten the time to market for their IT investments. Possible areas of investments include mobility, cloud, analytics and social media. Hungry for growth, these companies are all about speed in terms of time to market, Ng added, and their internal technology processes need to be wired to support fast-paced growth.
Another characteristic is that their IT demands can change or increase, even after deals have been signed with the vendor or service provider. "The vendor can have massive pre-sales work done up, but the customer might then decide to make changes to the project scope," Ng pointed out.
2) The Singular appeal
The complexity of the Asia/Pacific market has led to a need and appreciation of "singular" offerings and players where a single portfolio can generate a successful and sustainable business model for the vendor/provider.
One example is China-based BesTV, an IP-TV provider who is focused solely on offering family entertainment programmes. Its success has led to many TV stations wanting to approach the company as a case study subject.
3) Orchestrating the Cloud
Cloud service providers will be providing integrated management of disparate cloud services, or cloud orchestration in 2012 and beyond.
In 2011, IDC estimates that 80 per cent of new enterprise application development will be for the public cloud, and by 2015, 20 per cent of enterprise application spending will be cloud-sourced. As a result, cloud service buyers will have to manage a much larger number of services and vendors, adding another level of management difficulty.
4) The arrival of the Chief Data Scientist
With the emergence of "Big Data", the most useful insights will come though the high-end analytics that can be performed on the increasing volumes, velocity and variety of data organisations are generating.
This means that there will be requirements for new analyst skill sets, and the Chief Data Scientist will emerge in 2012 as a job title to help organisations define their "Big Data" strategies.
5) Automation in the Cloud
With uncertain economic conditions, the ability to quickly provision IT capabilities and resources will become a key differentiator for CIOs, according to IDC.
As the next wave of workloads move into the cloud, IDC believes it will become increasingly important to standardise and automate IT processes and that automation will be a key focus point for CIOs in 2012.
6) Innovation scouts from telcos
IDC believes that in 2012, forward-looking telcos will form dedicated innovation scout teams to find new and unique applications and content to their customers, as a key differentiator factor in the competitive telecommunications industry.
7) Virtualisation to deal with unpredictable systems
Instead of relying on redundancy, organisatons are expected to bank on virtualisation to allow them to build a margin of error into their IT platforms that permits failure. This concept is likely to become the preferred approach when deploying larger virtualised x86 environments within the next few years.
8) Companies look towards customer-centric IT
Due to the uncertain economic outlook, IDC expects "customer-centricity" to be on the top of the agenda for companies in Asia/Pacific in 2012, together with a focus on technologies that help companies increase customer focus, customer engagement, and increase their knowledge of those customers who contribute the most to their business.
9) New workspace architectures built around mobility, Cloud and data services
Consumerisation has created new demands on the work environment and IDC expects organisations to use desktop refreshes, green field deployments and remote/small site operations as opportunities to pilot new mobile services and solutions in 2012.
10) The middleclass smartphone
IDC expects the market to see the introduction of sub-US$100 smartphones in 2012, which will in turn create big opportunities for service providers in emerging Asia. IDC also believes consumers in these markets will soon demonstrate the same addictive nature to mobile applications as seen in mature markets.