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APAC firms bullish on IT spending

More than half of organisations plan to spend more on key areas such as cyber security, generative AI and cloud in a sign of growing optimism across the region

Over half of organisations in Asia-Pacific (APAC) are increasing their IT budgets in areas such as generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), cyber security, cloud and automation in a sign of growing optimism across the region.

Organisations in financial and business services were the most bullish with IT spending, followed by those in manufacturing and retail to support digitalisation initiatives aimed at modernising their IT infrastructure, improving productivity and shoring up their cyber security posture.

Those were some of the key findings in this year’s 2024 TechTarget/Enterprise Strategy Group Technology Spending Intentions study, which polled more than 250 IT decision-makers in APAC from a variety of industries and company sizes.

According to the study, 56% of APAC respondents listed cyber security as their top initiative for driving IT spending as they cope with a growing number of cyber attacks that pose a significant threat to organisations and individuals.

Over the past year, cyber attacks against organisations such as Pizza Hut’s Australian business and India’s digital identity authority have led to data breaches and made the headlines, spurring more organisations to double down on their cyber security investments.

These include investments in cloud security where zero trust network access (ZTNA) topped the list of priorities as organisations accelerated their virtual private network (VPN) replacement strategies; penetration testing to test their defences against cyber attacks; and extended detection and response (XDR) to consolidate their security capabilities onto a single cloud-based platform.

Organisations in APAC continued to adopt a cloud-first approach when deploying new applications, but that does not mean they are only putting workloads on public cloud. They are also doing so in private cloud environments, giving rise to a more distributed IT landscape that can pose challenges to security, manageability and cost management. This has fuelled investments in hybrid cloud deployments and management, as cited by 37% of respondents.

There’s still room for on-premise infrastructure which about a quarter of respondents plan to invest in. That’s also being reflected in growing investments by co-location datacentre providers across the region. In India, for example, 40 more datacentres are expected to be built in the subcontinent in the next few years, adding to its current capacity of about 140 datacentres.

In terms of software development, organisations have been doubling down on DevOps practices to achieve agility. They are expected to leverage advancements in GenAI to streamline code generation, improve developer productivity as well as use low-code platforms to democratise software development, giving business users and citizen developers a chance to build their own software and automate processes.

At the same time, they are also reinvesting in core applications such as enterprise resource planning (50%) and customer relationship management (34%) to improve business resiliency and customer experience, respectively. Such applications are increasingly being enhanced with AI and GenAI capabilities to deliver differentiated experiences.

Having a strong data foundation is pivotal to the success of AI adoption, and this is reflected in efforts by organisations in the region to invest in data platforms. These include a groundswell in adoption of data lakes, particularly data lakehouses as organisations seek to manage data in a distributed manner. Moving forward, multimodel databases are expected to play a bigger role in simplifying database management and catering to diverse data needs.

Public cloud storage has been a top storage priority for some time now and continues to be the case, with over a third of APAC respondents planning investments in the technology. This year, more storage vendors are also expected to integrate AI capabilities into their storage management solutions to detect ransomware and optimise storage performance.

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