CIO Asia asked Lenovo's top Asia IT partners what they foresee as the top trends in enterprise IT in 2018. A common theme? IT purchasing breaking out of the IT team and much shorter implementation timelines and a push toward high performance in-memory database systems.
IT implementation timelines shrinking
Clients are looking at better and faster ways to deliver their solutions to the internal and external users, says TG Falsis of Questronix Philippines, reflecting a broader trend in enterprise IT for radically improved IT service speed.
Questronix is a Lenovo Flex Systems provider with specialization in hyper converged infrastructure. It is also an SAP partner heavily involved in HANA database implementation.
"Traditional solutions are seldom valid these days - those that take 30-45 days to deliver are considered unacceptable. Speed and agility are foremost requirements and these include flexibility to adapt to unforeseen requirements by the organization mid-stream," Mr Falsis added.
"Clients are looking for solutions that can deliver multiple capabilities very quickly, and we see this trend continuing into 2018.
"Clients are also increasingly having requirements to outsource capabilities or augment in-house staff to enable their teams to quickly provide business requirements rather than developing skills internally or from the ground up," he said.
Faster time to market
Adoption of cloud computing continues to be a key trend driving enterprise IT into 2018, according to Mr Alvin See of AsiaPac, a key ICT and Cloud solution provider from Singapore.
"Fast paced adoption of machine learning - deep learning - enables business applications to serve customers directly, so there is an increasing emphasis on internal business units to always be cloud ready."
Enterprise resistance to adopting cloud due to security and compliance concerns is also starting to reduce, Mr See says.
"This year, enterprises have embraced public cloud services more openly and worked towards aligning their IT strategies and audit regulations towards the cloud journey. This includes ensuring security infrastructure addresses both on-premises DC and cloud infrastructure. Enterprises are looking to adopt predictive analysis and machine learning for ongoing threat analysis of these environments as well.
Mr See acknowledged that IT turnaround times are rapidly reducing. "Users are demanding faster turnaround response for resource allocation, which is propelling IT to look into orchestrating and automating IT services to meet these demands.
"IT requires their workloads and resources to be automatically allocated intelligently to fit user demands. This is driving the adoption of hybrid cloud environment (combination private & public) and an immediate priority for enterprise is to standardise hybrid management tools that address both environment."
IT purchasing breaking out of IT team
Ms Lingling Yo of Metrolink Kompudata in Malaysia says the biggest trend her company is seeing in 2017/18 is a shift in IT purchasers.
"It used to be CIO and IT staff only; it now starts to shift to individual head of departments," she says.
"Data is a competitive business advantage - companies that can leverage technology to harness data can get better insight to make better business decisions," Ms Yo explains.
"Cloud and virtualization will continue to be key enterprise trends," she continued. "More capacity without the need for additional hardware. Server virtualization has also been very successful now the trend is to virtualize everything including storage and networking."
Databases seeing industry-wide disruption
Migration to SAP's HANA in-memory database will be dominating 2018 workload for Tech-Trans Telecom (China) Limited. "SAP has already announced they will stop supporting the previous database architecture in 2025," explains Mr Machine Chan.
"We therefore expect that both existing and new SAP clients will need to have a plan to implement HANA database. Within the next one to two years, we will have teams on many, many HANA migration cases."
Clients are also exiting UNIX platforms and moving major databases to Linux. "It's not a matter of clients' willingness to continue to invest in UNIX, but rather that SAP HANA only supports Linux, and it's actually becoming hard to find in-house administrators to support UNIX anymore," he explains.
It's clear that the ASEAN IT sector will have a busy year in 2018 with ample growth opportunity around machine learning, in-memory database and cloud migrations, and a fundamental shift away from IT purchasing being controlled by IT teams.
Stay tuned to CIO Asia for further 2018 predictions from key IT vendors.
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