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What should the technology stack look like for your business in 2013?

David So, Head of Vertical Markets, IDC Australia


With the uncertain economic outlook driven by the European crisis and the slowing down of the Chinese economy, Australian and New Zealand businesses are starting to take a cautionary stance when considering their technology investments in 2013.

IDC has identified five themes that will become a major focus for businesses to consider in the next 12 months. These are:


  1. Infrastructure optimisation
  2. Cloud: private, public, hybrid
  3. Mobility: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), mobile business applications
  4. Social business: social media, social software
  5. Big data

…mobile business applications were ranked as the top priority for the deployment of technology in the next 12 months.

By correctly implementing these technologies and strategies into your technology stack, IDC believes your organisation can achieve cost savings (via themes 1 to 3) and revenue growth (via themes 4 and 5) that is accretive to earnings in 2013 and beyond.

Cost savings: infrastructure optimisation, cloud and mobility

In IDC's view, implementing a cloud-based model is increasingly becoming a major part of a company's infrastructure optimisation strategy to realise cost savings. By reducing capital expenditure (capex), the cloud business model will result in higher cash flows that can be used to cut company borrowings or be reinvested in other parts of the IT structure. Apart from going towards the path of purchasing software and hardware infrastructure, businesses now have the option to set up their own private cloud networks, utilise a public cloud, or implement a hybrid approach of both structures. However, finding a fine balance between the two forms of cloud platforms can be a very complicated process as we must consider many variables (e.g. data security) that form part of the value equation.

The introduction of mobility in the form of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and mobile business applications into the workforce is also an emerging trend that will result in cost benefits for many businesses. First, BYOD terms are beginning to appear in the policy books of many firms due to the growing penetration of smart phones and tablets in the offices of many companies. These devices were personal items of the employees but have naturally evolved to become "thin clients" of the workplace. Second, mobile business applications are driving the productivity and cost efficiency of the workforce by streamlining its business processes. Combined with smart devices and high speed wireless networks, we are being liberated from our desks and in the process increasing our productivity. As a result, mobile business applications were ranked as the top priority for the deployment of technology in the next 12 months based on a recent IDC Survey with CIOs in Australia and New Zealand (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Of the technologies to be deployed in next 12 months, what are your top priorities?

Figure 1: Of the technologies to be deployed in next 12 months, what are your top priorities?

Figure 1: Of the technologies to be deployed in next 12 months, what are your top priorities?

Revenue generation: social business and big data

In the last couple of years, most social media initiatives are driven by the marketing departments of many companies where the employees were acting as brand ambassadors who facilitate internet word-of-mouth marketing of the customers in the major social media platforms.

However, we are starting to see social media applications appear in the agendas of IT managers in the form of enterprise social software and social CRM. This social business software captures the activities of employees (via enterprise social software) and the customers (via social CRM) to extract actionable insights for sales and marketing to drive revenue growth.

Given that big data technologies are able to form actionable insights from structured and unstructured data, they are becoming the main driver of business intelligence for many organisations going forwards.

As enterprise social software encourages employees to become more collaborative and synergistic with other employees by sharing of their activities, they are able to identify more cross-selling and up-selling opportunities for their customers. In relation to social CRM, the customer's activities are not only captured by the internal systems through purchasing transactions but also from the major social media platforms through the activities posted in the form of feedback and status updates on Facebook and Twitter. Given that Big Data technologies are able to form actionable insights from structured and unstructured data, they are becoming the main driver of business intelligence for many organisations going forward.

The path to profit growth in 2013

With social media and big data supporting revenue growth, combined with the cost reductions realised from the infrastructure optimisation strategies, cloud computing and mobility, cash flows and profit margins will increase.

To achieve this positive scenario under an uncertain macroeconomic environment, IDC recommends the following actions to be taken in this order:


  1. Choose a department in your company that is a profit center with a relatively high appetite in new ICT investments.
  2. Determine the "build vs buy" strategy for the applications in this department, especially related to social and mobile business applications.
  3. Find out the appropriate cloud structure for the chosen applications to be built.
  4. Implement infrastructure optimisation strategies and examine the cost-benefits of rolling out BYOD policies.
  5. Create the analytical backend for the applications by leveraging Big Data technologies with the potential integration of the unstructured data derived from the social media platforms.
  6. Repeat the above steps for the other departments of the company.

As these recommendations take a reasonable amount of time to implement, we advise companies to start rolling early before we enter the new year. Plus, careful planning with the right technology mix that suits the requirements of each department of your organisation are critical, especially to mitigate the risks of deploying these technologies that largely involve data security and privacy issues. As such, partnering with an IT service provider that has extensive experience in the domains of the five themes discussed in this article is the recommended approach in positioning your company for profit growth in 2013.


David So is the Head of Vertical Markets for IDC Australia and is responsible for covering ICT spending and investments for the 10 vertical markets including banking, financial services & insurance, communications & media, retail & wholesale, government, healthcare, education and utilities.

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INTEGRATION, BYOD, AVAILABILITY, CONSOLIDATION, FUTURE-PROOF, MULTI-DEVICE, CLIENT-CENTRIC, FLEXIBILITY, NEW MARKETS, OPTIMISATION, COLLABORATION, PURCHASING HABITS.

INTEGRATION, BYOD, AVAILABILITY, CONSOLIDATION, FUTURE-PROOF, MULTI-DEVICE, CLIENT-CENTRIC, FLEXIBILITY, NEW MARKETS, OPTIMISATION, COLLABORATION, PURCHASING HABITS.

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