Cheam Tat Inn, Managing Director, EMC Malaysia
It has been an interesting year for enterprise technology companies and the ICT industry in Malaysia. While technology companies such as EMC continued to gear up to understand and support the transformation process of Malaysian companies, the government extended further confidence and support to the country’s ICT ecosystem as a critical tool for economic growth.
Some of the major developments this year that I believe will go a long way in strengthening the ICT landscape in Malaysia are –
Launch of Malaysian Data Centre Alliance (MDCA): Transforming itself into a data centre hub is huge opportunity for Malaysia. Launch of MDCA will play an instrumental role in achieving this target. The organisation is working with the industry to elevate Malaysia’s standing in the robust global data centre sector. Such initiatives include understanding the needs of the industry through regular forums, creating the awareness of the importance of data centres in a business entity, catalysing the industry through incentives and programmes for data centre professionals, and providing comprehensive facilities, services, and expertise that would create conducive business environment for the sector. According to MDCA, this effort will be more streamlined and will attract more Domestic Direct Investments (DDIs) and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), and subsequently contribute to the country’s economic growth.
Budget 2014: This year’s budget outlined policy- and regulation-led government support to the ICT industry across companies, thus heralding the era of mature industry growth.
It is clear that the government and industry are coming together to give the ICT industry and its role in economic growth, its due credit. I believe this is a very exciting time to be part of this ecosystem in Malaysia.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Asia to remain as the world’s economic engine1 and expects Asia’s economy to grow at 5.3 percent in 2014, up from 5.1 percent in 2013. Chief Economist Bart van Ark includes ASEAN, India and China amongst the possible 'future states' of the economic and business environment and expects overall stability and growth across other Asian markets including Japan and Korea.2
With a positive growth outlook, Asian businesses will continue to invest in building resilient infrastructures with analyst firms like Gartner forecasting IT spends for the region to reach US$767 billion in 2014, a 5.5 percent increase from 20133.
As investments continue, EMC expects continuing momentum in the following areas:
IT TRANSFORMATION: The Internet is expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items such as cars and televisions. The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded internet and are not operationally or organisationally ready. Gartner identifies Manage; Monetize; Operate; Extend as the four basic models that can be applied to any of the four "internets” (people, things, information and places). Virtualization and cloud-based services form a large part of this transformational journey. 2014 will pave the way for a more mature IT environment where transforming applications, infrastructure and backup capabilities are critical for businesses moving in an era of mobility and business intelligence.
BIG DATA: In APJ, Big Data is being seen as giving rise to markedly improved decision making and is having a significant impact on companies’ competitive differentiation and ability to avert risk. In a recent survey conducted by EMC, 83 percent of businesses in APJ surveyed reported that better uses of Big Data will lead to better decision making. While 49 percent achieved competitive advantage using big data technology, 68 percent believed that Big Data will be a key factor in determining winners and losers in their industry. However, as big data becomes mainstream, EMC cautions culture as the biggest inhibitor to success as the EMC survey indicates 29 percent of respondents citing an unready business culture. In its efforts to make big data adoption easier, EMC and Pivotal will continue efforts to bring big data mainstream. The partnership with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) announced in 2013 will continue to bring more data scientists mainstream and enable customers to accelerate delivery of prototypes that prove the feasibility and return on investment of advanced analytics applications and Big Data platform technologies.
TRUSTED IT: 2013 saw an incremental increase in security breaches and targeted attacks. In a recent EMC commissioned survey, businesses in APJ estimated losses due to a data breach at USD 945,187 as compared to the worldwide average of USD 860,273. The survey further revealed the loss attributing to loss in revenue (42 percent); productivity (41 percent); customer loyalty (36 percent) and loss of business to competitor (35 percent).
For businesses to be successful in 2014, while budget continues to be the key deterrent, EMC indicates that the two other areas that will need focus will be planning (40%) and developing knowledge and skills (38 percent). In mature IT organisations, success against IT threats is not just accidental or attributable to good luck, but rather the result of mature processes and deployment of the correct IT tools that continuously monitor for new threats and adjust to new issues as they are revealed.
Driving for a higher level of maturity is not just for the Fortune 500 or the world’s largest companies. Every organisation needs to pursue greater maturity in IT to protect intellectual property and reputations with customers, shareholders, and other public stakeholders.
Against a challenging economic backdrop, EMC will continue to operate from a position of strength to innovate and accelerate customers’ journey to cloud computing, helping organisations store, manage, protect & analyze information in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way.