Scaling the digital enterprise

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Agility, scalability, and security aren’t buzz words, they’re imperatives in the realm of digital transformation

By Irene von Buddenbrock

The global demand for scalability hasn’t ebbed, if anything it’s being pushed harder by flagging economic conditions, complex markets, and demanding customers.  It is important to have agile, scalable and secure enterprises to ensure consistent growth and development in 2020. Without these foundations, organisations will struggle to maintain the status quo while competitors fast track themselves into customer markets and minds. According to Mark Walker, associate vice president for sub-Saharan Africa at International Data Corporation (IDC), the face of enterprise IT is changing as digital IT takes the lead.

“Enterprise spend within the META region of Middle East, Turkey and Africa is forecast to reach $US41.3 billion, an increase of 5.1%, in 2020,” he adds. “This will be powered by the third platform and innovation accelerators while traditional IT spending slows down.”

The third platform is, essentially, the digitisation of the physical world. Empowered by the first platform of the internet and conversationally evolved by the second platform of social media, the third platform is data, automation and devices that are interpreted by algorithms and analysed by machines. It’s the arrival of artificial intelligence, automation, spatial simulation, and real-time solutions into the physical realm, blending the potential of technology with the reality of living. The third platform is growing significantly as enterprises recognise the applications for the business and the potential to grab a slice of this very lucrative pie. With Google dominating the first platform and Facebook the second, the road lies open for the next big name to emerge and dominate the third platform.

“The biggest spenders in this market in the META region are South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey, and Kenya, in order of market size,” says Walker. “South Africa has only 4.1% growth but has a solid market size of $9, 498 Million over its closest contender, Saudi Arabia, at $6, 995 Million. This does show a South Africa that isn’t quite as crippled as perhaps the hype claims, but with plenty of contenders vying for the throne.”

As the enterprise moves into a complex and mercurial 2020, IDC believes that spend and market share will reflect the changing priorities of the CIO. Digital transformation remains a key priority, despite lacklustre results in some quarters and a growing awareness of its limitations as a mature perspective develops outside of the hype and starts to deliver tangible results to organisations that approach implementation with an intelligent roadmap and vision.

“According to research undertaken by the IDC META CIO Survey in 2019, 15% of organisations are planning digital initiatives in 2021/2022 with 27% embarking on digital initiatives in 2020,” explains Walker. “There are still some companies that have no plans for digital transformation any time soon, but 54% have either implemented digital transformation or are about to embark on it.

For most companies, customer excellence is a priority. Around 61% of CIOs interviewed are using digital transformation to develop products and services designed with the customer in mind while 58% are using digital transformation to strengthen engagement. Operational improvement of systems and processes represents is cited as a priority by 49% of South African CIOs while, while data capitalisation and monetisation are prioritised by 47% of the CIO’s interviewed. 

“IDC believes that the public cloud explosion will lead to cloud spend reaching $5.4 billion by 2023 in the META region while managing digital trust will drive security spending to $3.6 billion by 2023 in the region,” says Walker.

In addition, there has been significant growth in the core and edge cloud platforms across public cloud, hybrid and multi-cloud, and application transformation. For around 56% of CIOs, the cloud has taken priority with 26% looking to hyperscale and local platform investments to drive momentum towards 2023.

“Organisations’ success is dependent on strong investment in robust platforms coupled with integrated cloud-based ecosystem partnerships and development of new revenue streams based on monetisation of data,” concludes Walker. The goal is to ensure that any digital transformation strategy is scalable, agile and, most importantly, secure, to ensure long-term success and business growth.”

Irene von Buddenbrock is Account Director at McD2

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