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IT Priorities 2018: ANZ ups ante on cloud services and software

Organisations in Australia and New Zealand are bullish on IT spending, particularly in cloud infrastructure services, cloud applications and all-flash storage arrays

In an increasingly software-driven IT landscape, organisations in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) are looking to invest more in software and cloud services to buttress their digital transformation efforts in 2018, a new survey has found.

According to TechTarget’s IT Priorities 2018 survey, more than half of respondents plan to spend more on a range of cloud services including infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings and business applications, while 47.8% of them plan to increase their budgets for software.

In addition, two-thirds of respondents comprising CIOs and IT managers in ANZ said their organisations would increase overall IT spending in 2018. The number of respondents who indicated a more than 10% increase in IT budgets grew by 81% year-on-year, while those expecting an increase of less than 5% grew by a whopping 191%.

The growth in IT spending in ANZ dovetails with similar trends across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, which is in the midst of a digital gold rush buoyed by a rising middle class, growing internet penetration and a tech-savvy populace. More organisations are thus looking to transform themselves digitally to reach new customers and cope with business challenges.

For many, cloud applications remain the keystone for digital transformation. According to the survey, 45% of ANZ respondents plan to implement cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) applications while 35% expect to look to the cloud to fulfil their enterprise resource planning (ERP) needs.

Among those who have already moved to the cloud, nearly 30% are looking at consolidating their cloud workloads, which topped the list of datacentre infrastructure projects reported in ANZ. This was followed by Windows Server 2016 migration, reported by 28% of respondents.

When it comes to deploying datacentre infrastructure technologies, 50% of ANZ respondents earmarked server virtualisation as the top priority despite being in a mature market with relatively high virtualisation rates. This was coupled with the growing adoption of IaaS offerings in ANZ, where 37.5% of respondents said they would focus on in 2018.

Growing interest in software-defined networking

There was also growing interest in software-defined networking, which 27% of ANZ respondents said their organisations would deploy later this year, higher than those in Southeast Asia (25%). ANZ respondents, however, placed composable infrastructure and container management on a lower priority (11%) compared to their Southeast Asian counterparts.

In the storage arena, the demand for all-flash storage arrays in ANZ continues to be bullish, driven by the falling cost of flash storage and availability of cloud-based options. Some 19% of respondents are planning to roll out all-flash arrays this year – higher than the APAC and Southeast Asian average of 14%.

Such infrastructure improvements will go a long way in laying the foundation for key software initiatives, especially those that involve artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics for which the number of respondents said their organisations would deploy grew 131% year-on-year.

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To reach their software development goals, 49% of ANZ respondents will be going all out to adopt agile development methods, higher than the APAC and Southeast Asian averages of 33% and 28% respectively. Some 40% are also looking to implement application programming interfaces (APIs) more than others across the region.

Amid cyber attacks have hit organisations such as Perth Airport in 2017, nearly 70% of ANZ respondents plan to invest more in endpoint security products, followed by e-mail security (58.7%) and data loss prevention (56.5%). With people being the weakest link in cyber security, 41% of ANZ respondents also expect to see end-user security training as a top priority in 2018.

The annual survey polled nearly 2,000 IT professionals across the APAC region, including Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. In ANZ, 190 respondents across industries such as education, government and financial services participated in the survey.

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