The IDC set out key predictions for the country at its IT Managers Forum 2010, themed 'the smart IT buyer', held in Johannesburg, last week.
Mark Walker, director of vertical industries and insights for the MEA region at IDC, outlined 12 predictions for SA that he called 'the new normality'. These predictions were:
The 'new normality'
This is all about reducing cost, alignment and risk management. Although the global economic uncertainty will continue to impact new investments this year, particularly in commodity hardware, new software applications and project-based services growth is expected to resume with a 7% to 8% increase in IT spending for 2010.
The downturn has changed the focus from top-line growth to process efficiency and cost savings. The role of the CIO is key in driving and positioning these IT investments, which are expected to have major business impact.
Data centre efficiency
This development will see consolidation, standardisation and automation driving improved utilisation rates of current assets. Virtualisation still remains the most important data centre issue, with 70% of surveyed CIOs having this on their short-term agenda.
A focus on sustainability is back on the agenda with political pressure and rising energy prices fuelling this initiative.
Some adoption of IT cloud services
CIO interest in adopting IT cloud services is being driven by the model's advantages of lower capital outlay and operating costs.
An increase in uptake will facilitate net-enabled services growth, such as managed services, on the back of more competitive broadband costs.
Wider adoption of unified communications (UC)
This will provide new ways of reaching customers and partners. These new work models together with the convergence happening across all aspects of the industry will provide a new class of UC-enabled solutions that will tie together human communications and business processes; enable cost savings, efficiency, agility, and productivity; enable business process redesign and new ways of working; and enable new business and procurement models, such as managed services.
Enterprise information integration
Greater integration will generate better access to critical business information to support management and the 'lines of business' of an organisation.
Application modernisation and consolidation
A further focus on application modernisation and consolidation follows the investment in packaged applications over recent years.
Governance and regulatory compliance
A continued drive towards compliance reflects its role as a growing and permanent part of IT strategy and operations.
A continued thrust regarding security
A continued focus on security remains, especially in the light of ongoing and growing threats.
This is creating a storage management crisis for both structured and unstructured information generated from the Internet, e-mail, video and images derived from the proliferation of devices such as cameras, cellphones and digital camcorders.
These industries will emerge from the recession with transformation agendas, such as healthcare, retail and transportation, which will create a raft of IT opportunities in terms of infrastructure services, networks and distribution automation.
It was interesting to note that although not specifically mentioned above, social media and its interaction and relevance to business cannot be ignored and will certainly be a dominant feature of many strategies going forward, and will also be a large data generator that will add to some of the 'headaches' mentioned above.