2014 was about getting big data infra in place, 2015 will be about delivering ROI
Clear divide between those who invest in digital transformation and those who don’t
WITH new technologies emerging and dominating the way organisations and the workforce function, businesses can no longer afford to remain behind the curve.
The past year has seen greater adoption of trends like big data, cloud computing and BYOD (bring your own device). Moving into 2015, harnessing the benefits of big data will still be at the centre of most organisations’ IT strategy.
Analyst group IDC is projecting big data spending to grow by 34.7% in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) in 2015.
IDC also predicted that Malaysia’s big data market is anticipated to hit not less than RM75 million (US$21 million) this year.
On top of the big data jigsaw, security, mobility, private cloud adoption and IT modernisation are the other top IT trends to look out for in Malaysia and the region.
1) Leveraging big data benefits
Big data is at a stage where everyone has already acknowledged the opportunities it can offer, but not as many know how to get the most out of it.
By now, through investments in Hadoop or other big data platforms, the infrastructure required to handle big data is largely in place.
Users are expecting more insights. Enterprises will have to either ensure they have strong, viable analytics in place, or deal with any fallout as users give up on IT’s promises and turn to software as a service (SaaS) offerings.
Organisations that are the most effective in deriving business insights from big data are, just as with cloud and mobility adopters, seeing much higher growth rates than those that are not.
2015 will be all about leveraging analytics to deliver real ROI (return on investment) to businesses. IT leaders will shift from thinking about the possibility of making investments in big data platforms to thinking about how to get more out of the investments already made – applying advanced analytics in order to derive actual business value from data, for example.
Whereas 2014 was about getting the infrastructure in place, 2015 will be about leveraging it through analytics to deliver real ROI to the business.
Business intelligence, visualisation, dashboarding and ad hoc query tools – currently marketed and sold as separate product categories – will begin to merge as these are all means through which predictive and prescriptive analytics are delivered.
To fully realise the benefits of big data, enterprises must first overcome the biggest barrier to big data adoption: Security.
2) Deeper security integration to take centrestage
According to the Global Technology Adoption Index (GTAI), about 35% of IT decision-makers worldwide, including Asia Pacific, have yet to leverage the potential of big data as a result of concerns over security issues.
Data from the study shows that organisations feel less confident about security due to a lack of readily available information about potential future security threats.
Across the board, organisations say they do not have access to the insights they need, with only under a third of respondents from Asia Pacific stating that they have the right information to mitigate against security risks.
While the IT security market is currently highly fragmented, with dozens of ‘best-of-breed’ solutions addressing narrow aspects of security, 2015 will see more integration of security platforms to protect the full IT spectrum, from the endpoint to the network.
To streamline operations and avoid security gaps, companies will turn towards integrated and consolidated security platforms that protect all aspects of the infrastructure.
3) Overcoming barriers and expanding mobility
Data from the Dell-Intel Global Evolving Workforce Study highlights that employees find efficiency and productivity as the two biggest mobility benefits.
According to the study, employees in emerging markets like China and India show higher preference for using mobile devices to do work, given the mobile-first environment in these markets. However, for the enterprise, security concerns top the list of challenges with mobility.
To bridge the gap between employees’ demands for mobility and IT’s responsibility to protect critical data, BYOD policies will have to become more comprehensive to cover more scenarios where employees work outside of the office, and yet stay within the corporate firewall.
Data loss prevention strategies such as remote wiping of a lost or stolen device will also become more common.
On the devices front, end-users can expect products that can do more with less. The PC market will continue to generate momentum as PCs continue to be thinner and lighter based on commercial customer demand, with devices having even longer battery lives.
The 2015 release of Windows 10 will be sure to excite customers and will span numerous devices. Additionally, these new devices will pack all the security features that fit the enterprise IT requirements.
4) Agility of private cloud comes to light
As more organisations better understand the value proposition of cloud computing, private clouds will continue to be the most popular initial cloud adoption platform in 2015.
Agility will be a highlight for private cloud's continued success. The rise of converged infrastructure technologies and increased flexibility in customising private clouds should make this type of cloud an even more attractive option for CIOs (chief information officers) looking to reap the other benefits of cloud computing.
5) Transforming infrastructures
Customers who are still running their business on legacy platforms are experiencing several pain points, including:
Increased costs due to running legacy assets compared to distributed assets;
Limited availability of skilled resources compared to those found in the distributed market, making it difficult to grow; and
Business agility issues and delayed ability to address business needs
In 2015, more companies will opt for a more modern infrastructure that transforms and improves their business instead.
Potential benefits could include lower operating costs, better response times as well as increased manageability, availability, reliability and scalability.
Organisations will see more clearly how application modernisation and services can help them harness the power of apps to deliver time and cost-saving functionalities.
Initial rounds of modernisation often lead to further opportunities for infrastructure cost reductions through streamlining operations and re-hosting to more modern mainframes.
In 2015, businesses that take advantage of digital technology and services will outpace their competitors.
There will be a clear divide between those who aggressively invest in digital transformation focusing on social, analytics, cloud and mobile technologies, and those who don’t.
Ng Tian Beng is managing director of Dell South Asia & Korea; and vice president of Commercial Channels at Dell Asia Pacific & Japan.
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