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Slow Hong Kong business growth hampers IT budgets

Carol Ko (Computerworld HK) | Feb. 7, 2014
Hong Kong enterprises are on par with their regional counterparts in terms of their cautious business outlook for 2014, but available IT resources may not fully support such growth.

Thirty-six percent of companies in the IT and technology sectors should also receive IT budget rises this year, though this dropped from 45% in 2013. It is worth noting that a large percentage (7%) of companies in the IT and technology sectors were uncertain about the prospect of their IT budgets.

This survey was conducted during the final month leading up to the delivery of the Chief Executive Policy Address 2014, with debates on the possible establishment of the Tech Bureau—thereby casting doubt on the weight that the CE would give to the IT industry.

Mobility the top priority
With limited IT budgets and staff to support anticipated growth, spending priorities among Hong Kong enterprises are expected to focus on technologies that will help streamline communication, collaboration, and generate business insight 

The need to increase efficiency and productivity ("doing more with less") will be the central theme for local IT shops and the major driver for tech investment priorities in 2014.

This year, Hong Kong enterprises have given their highest priority to mobile technologies in terms of tech investment rankings (37%). This contrasts with last year, when only 29% of local IT shops considered it a more important investment priority.

"Since Apple transformed mobile phones into powerful mobile computers for entertainment and social media, mobile devices have become indispensable for both business and consumer," said Taylor Man, executive VP, Cloud Business Division, NTT Com Asia.

Analysing the datastream
The next big thing on the local IT leaders' agenda is the deployment of business intelligence and analytics, where regional BI/analytics investment (33%) leads Hong Kong (32%) by a few percentage points.

When big data entered the IT scene, some thought that big data equated to BI/analytics. Vincent Kwok, director, Global Services, EMC Hong Kong said this is a misconception. "Business intelligence is a study of past business performance and related information used to make strategic recommendations and suggestions," he said. "Big data analytics collects and processes the data in real time and then provides valuable insights and practicable forecasts, leading to more reliable business decisions."

Partly cloudy
Cloud computing, which transcended the "hype" on the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2013, has gained further acceptance and traction among local enterprise IT leaders. This year, cloud slid down the tech investment priority to the third place at 30%, down from 39% in 2013.

Moving forward, Gartner sees the potential of some "limited" open-source cloud solutions adoption by local enterprises, but expects this to be a slow uptake. "I think it will be taken up as the base is still small today," said Gartner Research Director, Matthew Cheung. "But enterprises tend to be more conservative and I doubt if they are ready for using open source cloud solutions."


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