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Jittery SA now ready to join global tech revolution

Jittery SA now ready to join global tech revolution

South Africa will soon experience the impact of the global IT revolution said Arthur Goldstuck, MD of independent technology market research organisation, World Wide Worx,

According to a new report launched by the company, in partnership with software development firm SYSPRO, "corporate South Africa has arrived at a high-tech watershed in how it uses technology to gain a competitive edge."

The study, based on telephonic interviews with IT decision makers at 400 large companies in South Africa, found low current usage but massive intended usage of cutting-edge technologies.

It further revealed that many large SA enterprises are poised to embrace technologies like robotics, the Internet of Things (IOT), big data and machine learning.

Goldstuck said in the past South Africa has been largely immune to technology disruption, "because we've been a little behind in the uptake of technology and that is about to change and we are about to see a massive uptake of new technologies in this country."

"The reason is simple," said Mark Wilson, Managing Director SYSPRO Africa. "They are all seeing their counterparts globally being disrupted by small, nimble newcomers or large companies that are willing to disrupt themselves. If they don't respond as part of their own strategic direction, someone will force them to respond. The result will be that these companies will find themselves performing crisis management instead of strategy management."

According to the research, while only 13% of enterprise IT decision-makers said that they currently use big data and machine learning, a further 55% said they would adopt these technologies in the near future.

"Robotics has been deployed in only 6% of companies, but a further 45% said they planned to do so. Almost all those who have no plans in this direction cited cost as the main reason to stay away."

"That is also the reason given by half of those who have no intention of exposing their companies to blockchain, the technology underpinning Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It is the only one of the major emerging technologies that are still being avoided by most corporates: only 3% are trying it out, while only another 39% of companies plan to use it."

In contrast, almost two-thirds of the respondents (66%) said they currently use technologies related to IOT. The majority of those not using it plan to do so (a further 28%), while all those currently using it plan to increase their usage.

Tech priorities

Technologies that come up highest in IT budgeting priorities, according to the report, tend to be related to cloud computing, which now dominates IT strategy.

Three of the top four are Software as a Service, or SAAS (69%), Cloud Computing in general (68.0%), and Virtualisation (62%).

The most important non-cloud technology is Virtual Private Networking, which comes in second, with 68.5% of large companies rating it as important.

The study showed that only 44% of large companies regard mobile solutions as important in their budgeting priorities. However, in industry sectors like IT Software and Services (65%), Health (67%) and Education (67%), which must keep up with the latest trends and technologies, no less than two-thirds of companies were embracing these solutions.

"When companies were asked about the importance of various priorities for mobile access: 82% of all companies saw mobile access as critical to receiving email out of the office. Being available in emergencies ranked second, at 72%, while both keeping up with office activity and organising time followed closely at 68%," the companies explained.

"It all comes down to efficiency and effectiveness," added Wilson. "If the technology makes the business as a whole more efficient, and its individual users more effective in doing their jobs, then it will make the business more competitive."

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