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IT Priorities 2019: ASEAN organisations lay digital foundations

Organisations in Southeast Asia are planning to shore up their IT infrastructure to speed up application development and become more customer focused

IT decision-makers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are laying the foundations for their digital transformation initiatives in a bid to become more nimble and customer focused.

According to the 2019 TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities survey, four in 10 respondents plan to upgrade their on-premise infrastructure, while about a third expect to speed up application development and invest in technologies to improve productivity.

These priorities bode well for the state of digital transformation in the ASEAN region, where many organisations are increasingly charged with doing more with less, given their limited resources and shortage of skills.

Financially, IT decision-makers appear to have secured buy-in from senior management and boards for their digital transformation efforts, with eight in 10 expecting their IT budgets to increase in 2019. Just 6% of those polled in the survey expect a smaller budget.

Even as on-premise infrastructure is being upgraded across ASEAN, 45% of organisations plan to invest more on cloud services, notably cloud infrastructure services, as well as security management and software.

These priorities underscore the growing hybrid cloud trend, where organisations are compelled to use a mix of public and private cloud workloads, against the backdrop of intensifying cyber threats and software-led innovation.

In the datacentre, ASEAN enterprises are increasingly drawn to the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), which promises to simplify infrastructure management along with its ability to scale with the growth of the business.

According to the study, 79% of respondents plan to spend more on composable infrastructure in 2019, while 76% want to increase their HCI footprint.

The growing use of cloud services demands improvements to the network, particularly around the use of software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) to speed up the delivery of cloud-based applications without extra hops while ensuring security.

Not surprisingly, SD-WAN and WAN acceleration emerged as the top networking-related IT priority in the study, along with application performance management and open source networking. Other networking priorities include the internet of things (IoT), for which 26% of respondents said they were laying the groundwork in 2019.

As for storage, about one in four are counting on HCI for their primary storage needs, while about one in five plan to spend more on storage virtualisation, indicating efforts by organisations to ensure their digitisation efforts can scale in tandem with their business.

The cloud is also fast becoming a preferred backup destination while serving as secondary storage. A third of respondents plan to spend more on backup as a service, while just 3% plan to invest in new tape technologies in 2019.

In the applications space, some 44% plan to spend more on enterprise resource planning (ERP), which remains the backbone for many enterprises and will need to be upgraded to support digital transformation. About a third expect more investment in customer relationship management (CRM) in an effort to improve customer experience and drive brand loyalty.

With artificial intelligence (AI) technologies beginning to mature, more organisations have also started to focus more on big data to pave the way for AI deployments. Some 43% of respondents in the study plan to invest more in big data platforms, data warehouses and data lakes.

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