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IT Priorities 2020: AI, cloud to dominate IT spending in India

Indian organisations are expected to spend more on artificial intelligence and cloud this year in a bid gain an edge over rivals through key technology investments

As an IT powerhouse, India continues to be the pace setter for growth in Asia-Pacific’s IT industry.

According to the 2020 TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT Priorities survey, organisations in the subcontinent remain buoyant about their digital transformation efforts, with 71% expecting to spend more in key areas such as artificial intelligence (AI).

Just 6% of more than 200 Indian IT professionals polled in the survey expect their IT budgets to be slashed, underscoring the growing resolve of Indian companies to ramp up on technology investments to gain a competitive advantage.

Besides AI, which over half of respondents plan to spend more on this year, cloud services (38%) and network infrastructure (35%) have been allocated bigger budgets by Indian organisations, signalling their desire to shore up their digital foundation to propel a new wave of growth.

Increasingly, this foundation is likely to reside outside the datacentre in the form of multiple public cloud services (44%), more so than other respondents in the region, even as some organisations continue to favour a hybrid cloud (34%) setup.

Investments in automation tools (55%) to improve operational efficiency in the datacentre is also high on the agenda, along with cyber security (37%), which remains a hot-button issue for organisations that have been doubling up on digital transformation.

The penchant for cloud in India is most evident in storage deployments. According to the study, more than half of Indian organisations plan to deploy cloud-based storage in 2020, along with their growing preference for software-defined technologies.

A healthy proportion of respondents also see hyperconverged infrastructure (39%) as key to their storage strategy, driven by the need to modernise the datacentre and overcome the challenges of traditional legacy infrastructure.

As a software development powerhouse, India is naturally one of the region’s keenest adopters of DevOps (48%) and agile project management software (42%), according to the survey.

Indian organisations are also developing more internet of things (IoT) applications (39%) this year, while refactoring legacy applications (33%) for the cloud. These development efforts are pulling in bigger budgets for application programming interface management tools (60%) to support further development and co-creation initiatives.

Meanwhile, Indian organisations are not giving up core enterprise applications even as they ramp up on their own software development efforts. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) investment plans remain widespread (43%), followed by digital experience management (41%) and core HR software (38%).

Read more about IT in India

On the networking front, software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) remained at the top of the agenda, fuelled by the growing adoption of cloud services in India. Almost half of local firms also prefer to turn to managed service providers to supply SD-WAN services.

When it comes to security, a majority of survey respondents (63%) placed governance, risk and compliance tools as their top priority over end-user security training (56%) and fraud detection tools (46%). Along with more in-house development initiatives, they are also putting more money into container security (47%).

The security agenda extends to the edge of the network where the growing number of employee and IoT devices has greatly expanded an organisation’s attack surface. In 2020, more than half of Indian firms plan to spend more on virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) even as Microsoft Windows 10 migrations are not prioritised as highly (42%).

According to GlobalData, a market research firm, ICT spending in India is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.2% from around $101bn in 2018 to $144bn in 2023.

“With core industry verticals in India such as energy, manufacturing and construction aligning their business model with an IT driven approach, the spending is bound to grow in the coming years,” said Sunil Kumar Verma, lead ICT analyst at GlobalData.

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

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