According to research*, the South African IT services market experienced healthy growth throughout 2010, growing 8% year-on-year, with the IDC expecting this market to exceed $5 billion in 2012. While the figures are evident that IT spend is on the increase, post the economic recession, software development experts Dariel Solutions shed some light on what businesses should really be focusing on from a technology services point of view in 2012.
“Without a doubt IT spend is on the up, however, in my opinion, companies should remain frugal and ensure that IT spend in 2012 is not only about investing in new and innovative technology products and services, but rather, we strongly believe that businesses should pay attention to (and thus spend a larger portion of their budgets on) integrating their existing technology systems,” says Malcolm Rabson; managing director of Dariel Solutions. “Through the integration of technology, businesses can gain a clear understanding of which technology platforms are in place, what gaps currently exist in these systems, what as a result needs to be done to close these gaps and determine the required technology for their business models. This not only can save businesses costs, but also streamlines and optimises processes, where information is better consolidated through the use of technology.”
This can certainly be seen as a more viable and cost effective option when looking at technology investments for 2012 and considering all the talk around the possibility of another economic crisis, businesses still need to remain conscious around cost-saving and economic business management. Adds Rabson; “While certainly businesses cannot wait for the market to pick up to invest in technology, as this can result in being ‘left behind’, decision makers should audit their business from a technology perspective, weigh up the innovative technologies coming through (there are many) and decide on the course of action for that competitive edge.”
Dariel Solutions, recommend that businesses look at and pay attention to, the following technology trends that they feel will shape the year:
• Automated processes – 2012 will see more businesses turning to automated processes, as software becomes the electricity of an organisation. Such processes allow for the creation of a more efficient business, as well as save costs.
• Business Intelligence – in line with the trend of automated processes, 2012 will likely see more spend in areas such as Business Intelligence (BI), where businesses owners will be turning to data extracted from automated processes to make more strategic business decisions.
• The move towards everything as a service – although this was a prominent trend towards the end of 2011, it will remain a journey that the IT services industry takes throughout 2012. Yet it will be a technology concept that is evolutionary and not revolutionary as it is often projected. As technologies such as virtualisation and cloud computing continue to grow, so the industry will slowly start to migrate to everything becoming a service, however what will be important to take note of in 2012 will be the finer issues that arise as this concept sees growth, such as the impact it will have on business productivity.
“2012 will be a cautionary year for business in terms of spend in general, but it should also be a year that businesses look to invest in the right technology, to ensure their strategies align with the results they want to achieve throughout the year and beyond – especially given the competitive market currently. It is for this reason that businesses should now – at the beginning of the New Year – re-look at current technology infrastructures. Smart companies will do just this. It’s not always about new, but rather the integration of new and old – and this is the key to achieving continuous success,” concludes Rabson.
*IT spending to rise in South Africa, IT News Africa, January 2012, http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2012/01/it-spending-to-rise-in-south-africa/