Asia Pacific business seen focused on achieving digital maturity

HITACHI Data Systems (HDS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., recently released its key Business and Technology Trends for Asia Pacific in 2017.

According to Hubert Yoshida, HDS chief technology officer, and Russell Skingsley, HDS Asia Pacific CTO, digital transformation will continue to dominate enterprise information-technology strategies in 2017, as trends in a number of areas emerge.

“With digital transformation rising up the agenda of chief information officers across the world in 2016, we expect to see an increasing number of organizations striving to reach digital maturity in 2017,” Skingsley was quoted in a statement as saying. According to the findings of an upcoming research survey sponsored by HDS, enterprises in Apac generally believe they are further ahead in their digital transformation journeys than their global counterparts. “A belief that is likely to be validated in 2017,” HDS said.

In line with the survey, Yoshida and Skingsley have identified five trends for the technology market in 2017.

1. Productivity gains will be more about people, process and business outcomes. Despite the explosion of new technology over the past decade, productivity has declined compared to the previous 10 years, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. According to Yoshida, this is because new processes have not kept up with new technologies.

In the hospitality business, Airbnb has had access to the same technology as traditional hotels, but it has created a new business model that has enabled it to grow to a market valuation of $30 billion in less than 10 years.

Digital transformation is about transforming the business through people and process, as well as through innovative use of technology. As a result, agile infrastructure, cloud and the benefits of development and operations (DevOps) will gain greater attention as a way to speed up the development and deployment of applications and services with less defects and wasted effort.

2. Accelerating transition to cloud.

Cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world, according to Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner. The Asian market has been quick to embrace this approach, with Asia leading the world in this year’s Cloud Readiness Index by Asia Cloud Computing Association.

“It is clear that the predominant cloud model for the foreseeable future will be hybrid, as most understand the agility benefits of cloud but are not willing to move entirely to public cloud at this point,” Skingsley said. “We expect this to continue throughout 2017.”

As a result, IT managers across Asia Pacific will be focused on developing skills in cloud monitoring, cloud workload performance and security management, and cloud capacity management. Instead of buying infrastructure from different vendors and knitting them together with management software, IT will want access to the converged systems required to deliver infrastructure-as-a-service.

3. Bimodal IT. In the same way that hybrid cloud will continue to be the predominant model for years to come, so, too, will bimodal IT continue to be necessary.

While many may wish for the ability to simply do away with legacy application stacks and start afresh, the reality of the need for business continuity built on well understood and supported mission-critical systems continues. IT must be able to manage both modes and implement systems that can bridge between them.

4. A centralized data hub. Data is becoming increasingly valuable. Recent research by the International Data Corp. (IDC) revealed that 53 percent of organizations in the region consider big data and analytics important and have adopted or plan to adopt it in the near future.

Companies are finding new ways to correlate and merge data from different sources to gain more insight, while repurposing old data for different uses.

“It is a clear lesson learnt from the highly disruptive Internet-based businesses that the ability to wield data effectively is extremely valuable,” Skingsley said. “Traditional enterprises realize now that they have not used their valuable data as effectively as they might have.”

5. Growing awareness of Internet of Things (IoT) in the data center.While the networking of things may not become a major trend for Apac next year, according to Yoshida, the decisions made in IT in 2017 should be made with an eye to IoT.

“The integration of IT and IoT with analytics is the first step,” Yoshida said. “Today, IoT requires data scientists and researchers with deep domain expertise and most projects are in the proof-of-concept stage.”

Yoshida added that by next year “we will be at the stage where we have the recipe for IoT projects, like train-as-a-service.”