South African study examines country’s tech sector

Meta Group SA research services released the results of a study into the South African ICT sector that provides insight into ICT spending behaviour and investment decisions among small, medium and large businesses around the country.

Technologies and services purchased recently, as well as those planned for purchase in the near future, fell under the spotlight. There was also a thorough investigation of the leading infrastructure and service purchase decision-makers and influencers.

Johan Jacobs, enterprise applications and analytics senior research analyst, and author of this study, observes that: “One of the key findings of this report is the change in decision-making individuals. Final ICT purchase decisions are increasingly being made at the business executive level and no longer at the ICT executive level. Infrastructure decisions are still being made at ICT level. This change in buying behaviour will force vendors to change their sales approach and re-build their go-to-market strategies.”

The study surveyed over 200 local organizations on all aspects of their ICT service and product consumption. Findings underscored an expected increase in ICT budget spending in 2005, with the net increase expected to be more than 18 per cent. Nearly 45 per cent of every ICT-related Rand goes to staffing and/or outsource services, with just 30 per cent being spent on products and 25 per cent being spent on services.

Security is a high focus area but just 39 per cent of the companies interviewed had a dedicated team of security specialists, while less than 25 per cent had a chief information security officer with responsibility for ICT security.

Meta Group SA expects the ICT services market, especially in the public sector, to be one of ICT’s major growth areas — with above average growth rates — in the next few years. The local market is claimed to be highly innovative, and has led the way in the development of standards and good practices, says Jacobs.

The study notes that businesses see themselves facing multiple challenges in the coming years. Technical, organisational, strategic, economic and finance-related themes and criteria are placed in relation to ICT. In the coming years, the entire ICT infrastructure belonging to enterprises will be subjected to a critical revision from business, as the variety in the above subject areas indicates.

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