Asian end users expect IT budgets to rise significantly in 2004, but strategic IT focuses differ widely in countries across the region, according to Peter Hind, manager, end-user program, IDC South Pacific.

China will be the fastest growing IT market in Asia, with end-user spending growth of 18 per cent this year, Hind said. India’s IT market will grow 16 per cent this year, while other fast-growing markets include Malaysia (nine per cent), Thailand (eight per cent) and South Korea (seven per cent), according to IDC.

But, according to IT professionals in China, the biggest challenge they face is keeping up with increasing user needs, while IT executives in Australia, India, and Singapore see keeping abreast of technology changes the most challenging part of their jobs, according to IDC’s survey.

Differences between Asian countries are underlined by the different profiles of IT executives in Australia and Singapore. Almost 45 per cent of Australian IT professionals cited keeping up with technology trends as their most challenging task, followed by the need to keep up with the strategic business requirements of IT (30 per cent), keeping up with user needs (around 20 per cent) and finally, finding competent consultants.

But in Singapore, finding competent consultants was seen as almost as challenging as keeping up with technology trends and well ahead of keeping up with user needs and strategic business requirements, according to the IDC survey.

Similarly, optimism regarding IT budgets in 2004 varied widely between Asian countries.

Over 60 per cent of Indian IT professionals expected their budgets to rise this year, with almost none expecting a budget decrease. But less than 40 per cent of IT professionals in Singapore expected their budgets to rise this year, with 10 per cent expecting reduced budgets.

Across the region, IT professionals are much more optimistic about budgets than they were last year with over half expecting budgets to rise and less than five per cent expecting budgets to fall.



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