Asia-Pacific becomes a major IT customer

The Asia Pacific region is emerging as a dominant economic force in the next decade, with a third of all IT spending is now sourced outside of Europe, North America and Japan.

In fact the IT industry reached a milestone in 2007 becoming a US$3 trillion dollar market.

Speaking at Gartner’s annual symposium in Sydney Tuesday, the research firm’s global head of research, Peter Sondergaard, said Asia is experiencing rapid growth while Europe and North America are in decline.

Sondergaard said while IT spending overall will grow at a rate of four percent in 2008, this rate will top nine percent in Asia for the next three years. Gartner research shows that IT budgets will increase to five percent in 2008 compared to three percent in 2007.

The APAC region remains unaffected by concerns of an economic downturn in the United States.

Sondergaard said enterprises need to ensure 2008 budgets support business growth but warned to also build in cost contingencies for rising labor costs. “Staffing costs will rise due to the skills shortage,” Sondergaard said.

In this climate, he said agility has become the norm and its the job of IT to come up with new ideas and innovations to sustain growth.

“The business is looking to technology to deliver and provide opportunities for growth; it’s a heavy responsibility,” Sondergaard added.

Describing delegates as digital immigrants, Sondergaard said the new generation of tech consumers who have grown up with IT throughout their lives are the digital natives.

“These digital natives are having a huge impact on corporate IT because they can exploit new Web 2.0 technologies and distribute content globally in an affordable manner,” he said.

“They do it better than business, they are no longer consumers but prosumers.”

With the advent of instant messaging, Skype, the Blackberry, mobile phones, e-mail and a myriad of other communication devices, Gartner Research Vice President Martin Gutberlet said these tools are creating a lot of employee stress.

“We now work in a taxi, at the airport, on the beach, during dinner and sometimes, even at the office,” he explained.

“But in spite of all these technologies executives are still asking, why can’t I get hold of somebody? Why does it take so long to get things done? Human response times have become the new bottleneck.”

The solution, according to Gutberlet, is “communication in context” and the use of technologies like Presence. Unified communications, he said, means a single number and inbox enabling contact at the right time and place.

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