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Wednesday, 07 December 2011 02:14

ICT growth expected despite volatile market

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Australian businesses are expected to leverage ICT in more creative ways to deliver competitive advantage and to maintain growth in the face of market volatility at an all-time high and predictions of even more turbulent times next year.


The forecast of cautious, but increased spending on ICT in Australia comes from analysts IDC who say the only certainty is uncertainty in the IT market in 2012, but despite market volatility being at an all time high, companies still expect growth in the region.

IDC's comments come with the release of its annual Australian top 10 ICT Predictions for 2012.

"As we head into what looks to be a turbulent 2012, the only certainty is uncertainty. While this region is becoming increasingly resilient to the economic woes of other regions, companies are likely to hedge their bets when investing in ICT in 2012,' Matthew Oostveen, research director for IDC Australia said.

'As consumers and workforces are becoming smarter and more demanding companies will need to match their efforts with intelligent spending to avoid getting their fingers burnt in case another world-wide crisis hits."

However, although IDC acknowledges the risk of a global recession in 2012, it does not expect a major impact on ICT spending in Asia/Pacific, but does expects that companies in the region will have a somewhat cautious approach to ICT spending in the coming year.

Next year, IDC forecasts ICT spending in the APEJ region to reach US$653 billion, representing 10.4 percent growth over 2011, but makes the point that this growth will not be high as that experienced in 2011. Longer term, over the next four to five years, IDC expects growth rates to drop, but still remain above nine percent by 2015.

Here's IDC top 10 key ICT predictions and trends which it expects will have the biggest commercial impact on the Australian ICT market:

1.    Data variety will become a manageable entity ushering in a new set of decision platforms for organisations.

Big Data, BA and BI will converge to become knowledge and decision making strategies that reach beyond structured approaches of the past, to include data of all types. Organisations in Australia will begin to map the relative importance of all data sources and channels and look to tackle the complex technical challenge that this brings.

IDC expects a newer wave of platforms to emerge, combining both ends of the decision management model and bridging the gaps between the strategic, operational, and tactical decision management.

2. 2012 is the year mobility will come of age in Australia.

The mobile enterprise will eventually accelerate the pace of work-flow digitisation and increase the need for device management solutions in the workspace. As these strategies mature, CIOs will look for ways to effectively produce utilisation metrics for their mobile strategies.

3.The Mobile Enterprise will create the hottest security threats in 2012.

Whilst mobile enterprise strategies will come of age in 2012, the number of devices and the nature of their usage will come under scrutiny as data loss and leakage incidents rise rapidly and IT departments struggle to manage risks. As a result, securing and managing mobile devices within the enterprise will become a core focus for IT departments striving for visibility and control over devices to enforce policy via over the air upgrades and to disable, lock or wipe a device when lost or stolen. Mobile security will be prevalent in 2012, particularly pushing out antimalware to mobile devices to prevent different types of malicious attacks.

4. 2012 will be the year enterprises automate their environments en mass.

During 2010-2014, IT employment, now at 35 million, will grow by a factor of 1.3 worldwide. This is a constraint in an industry that will grow by a factor of 1.1 by spending but by more than 2 by devices managed, 5 by information created, and 8 by networked interactions between customers. IDC views this as a long-term structural constraint that will create an incentive for IT organisations to invest in automation to keep up with the increasing scale and complexity of operational IT environments.

5. The Carbon Tax will place energy use at the core of ICT decision making in 2012 for manufacturing, utilities and transport organisations.

The carbon tax will impact ICT spending. Those organisations impacted directly by the tax will face an increase in costs that will have to be either managed internally or passed on to customers. The capability of organisations to absorb another layer of cost will vary.

6. Opportunities in the mining sector for "high performance computing (HPC) in the cloud" will accelerate in 2012.

IDC believes there will be an accelerated deployment of HPC in the cloud by mining and oil and gas organisations in 2012. A fundamental requirement as part of the activities involved in exploration and discovery within the mining, and oil and gas sectors is the collection of data to inform investment decisions. This includes mapping and analysis for the ocean floor, carbon dioxide storage analysis and modelling, geothermal energy exploration and geospatial data to name a few.

7. Services contracts must demonstrate business value KPIs in 2012

Operating in a mature economy, Australian enterprises understand the dynamics of leveraging the full benefits of outsourcing. Indeed, for some time they have looked to derive greater business value out of these relationships as opposed to simply seeking cost reductions. However, in 2012, these relationships, will increasingly mandate business value outcomes be included as KPIs in commercial contracts.

8. Everything communication moves to the cloud.

2012 will be the year everything communications (e.g., IM, presence, collaboration, and conferencing, etc) moves to a cloud delivery model. In other words, services will be provisioned and deployed from the network through automated tools and priced by the seat to deliver a pay as you go (PAYG) commercial model.

9. A desire for simpler, flatter network architecture and bandwidth scalability, flexibility will drive carrier-grade WAN Ethernet Services in 2012

Ethernet technology has been successfully deployed for years, but awareness in Australia has been low. Ethernet services will not substitute MPLS, but will become part of the broader WAN strategy discussion. IDC forecast that Metro Ethernet services will grow by 13% in 2012 to reach in excess of $1.1 billion.  

10. Network separation in Australia will force operators to take on an entirely new identity unseen anywhere else in the world.

The agreement between Telstra and NBN Co (and the Federal Government) to turn off copper and cable access networks and transfer ownership of the sacred 'last mile' to NBN Co will make voice and data services become a true commodity. While the agreement has profound long-term implications, IDC predicts two specific outcomes in 2012.

Firstly, the agreement with NBN will accelerate the roll-out of next generation mobile broadband services, specifically LTE.
Secondly, as NBN Co sets to prove an equal playing field for all service providers, carriers will redouble their efforts on promoting IT services in areas such as cloud computing, security, and collaboration, with additional capabilities around professional services.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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