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2012 Trend: Grow at Limited Costs

Jack Loo & T.C. Seow | Feb. 1, 2012
Many are saying in 2012, CIOs will be looking to reduce overall costs, while investing in new things that can give overall competitive advantage. Some thoughts from industry players.


The economies of Southeast Asia are not going to shielded from the turmoil taking place in the Europe and elsewhere. Already, market slowdowns have been observed particularly in the IT sector, caused by supply disruption and softened demands.  So what will be the spending focus of CIOs this year? According to Trent Mayberry, managing director for technology growth platform, ASEAN, at Accenture, the ASEAN region will continued focused on growth. "That will require investment in new areas - expanding services through new channels, empowering mobile and social-network enabled employees to get out there where the customers are," he said. "Cost management will continue to be a necessary discipline to help organisations maximise the impact of their dollars."

"That said, there are still substantial investments in infrastructure and enterprise solutions - including capacity and version upgrades, which bring better Total-Cost-of-Ownership, so we anticipate continued investment in this space. We do believe that SaaS and Cloud will also offer some levers to defray up-front cash and drive real savings through reuse and efficiency."

According to Accenture's global IT performance research, high performing organisations have already achieved a ratio of 40:60 (maintenance versus new services) and are continuing to work on ways to approach a ratio of 35:65.

"Although not all organisations perform that well, we certainly believe that a 5 per cent shift is possible without heroic efforts," said Mayberry. "Greater shifts in a single year usually require a transformation agenda. CIOs also need to rethink about investing in their people - securing the best talent and equipping them for success.  This will see some of the innovations of the consumer world entering the corporate world at some speed - mobility, social collaboration, predictive analytics and simplification of user experience."

Certainly, global organisations will remain cautious about over-extending themselves in uncertain times, he said, but that does not mean being flippant in spending habits. "During uncertainty, the best organisations use that as an opportunity to become more lean and agile and will use the dollars to invest in their growth - thereby accelerating past their competitors," he advised. "In Asia, we are still in growth mode, so a higher emphasis will be placed on such investments over the next few years."

2011 witnessed a real shift in technology - with cloud, data, social and mobility - all making technology sexy again, said Mayberry. "In 2012, we expect to see CIOs focusing to shift these initiatives out of 'pilot' and into even more impactful areas. These areas will provide an avenue to invest in growth that also reduces the cost of continued maintenance."

When asked what projects involving mobile devices will CIOs be deploying, Mayberry had this to say: "Mobility is very hot right now. Organisations are looking at mobility to help their employees become more productive, with more timely access to decision making tools supported by data, with eLearning solutions designed to use those precious minutes of down-time."


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