Kable Global ICT Intelligence specializes in customer and market insights tailored for the ICT industry. It undertakes comprehensive research into business ICT spending activity across numerous geographies and sectors, through an ongoing engagement with the most influential CIOs and ICT decision-makers. This enables Kable to understand and predict likely technology investments, and provide a wealth of insight into organizations’ approach to ICT budgeting and procurement.
By also monitoring the performance of technology vendors and services providers, Kable is able to assess and define market opportunities across the full range of ICT domains. Kable’s overall goal is to provide customers with the data and intelligence that will help them improve their customer engagement and sales enablement.
In this week’s edition of our analyst Q&A, Nishant Singh explains how legacy IT vendors are coping with the new dynamics of a much faster, pervasive, and Cloud-centric ICT world.
Q1. What are the most interesting developments in the global information and communications industry in 2016? How will these developments impact the industry during the next five years?
The ICT industry is betting heavily on Internet of Things (IoT) - these have been showing a very strong growth, and are expected to evolve into big money spinners and become the mainstays of the ICT industry. Not surprisingly, most of the interesting developments in the global information and communications industry are taking place in these areas in 2016.
The flexibility and affordability offered by the Cloud, coupled with the strong demand for solutions and services offerings that can aid in the enhancement, integration and management of their rapidly increasing technology portfolios is leading industries to shed their inhibitions and adopt the Cloud. For almost all industries, the Cloud is steadily emerging as the focal point of their long-term ICT strategy. Not surprisingly, most of the major Cloud service providers are expected to continue to increase the maturity of their current Cloud offerings while continuing to add new Cloud-centric products in a bid to capture a greater share of the market.
However, the rapid paradigm shift also means that in the next five years, most IT Vendors will not exist as we know them today: the entire spectrum of legacy vendors will have to make sure that their services and offerings evolve in order to stay relevant and meet the industry demands, while retaining the trust they have earned through their legacy products - this in turn means that vendors will have to bring more than a few changes to their legacy vision and values, and their own organizational structure.
Attempts by the vendors to innovate and transform themselves are there for all to see: the company formerly known as Google is now a conglomerate called Alphabet, in a bid to allow a degree of autonomy to its various divisions; Microsoft is now running with a "Mobile-first, Cloud-first" strategy as it attempts to reinvent itself to stay relevant; while Apple, faced with shrinking iPhone revenues, is dabbling with numerous options in order to find its next big growth driver. Quite a few other companies, including Intel and Citrix, are retrenching, and Dell is buying EMC in a bid to meet the challenges brought about by the changes in the way corporate customers are buying technology.
Towards the end of the next five years, the entire ICT industry as it stands today will have transformed.
Q2. What industries outside of ICT stand to benefit the most from the developments mentioned in Q1? How will these developments benefit consumers?
Enterprises across industries are aspiring to have an increased digital strategy at the core of their corporate structure, and are rapidly shedding their inhibitions towards the newer Cloud-centric products.
While, in general, it would be hard for any industry to remain aloof of the paradigm shift happening in ICT, the industries that are seeing the most immediate benefits are retail and automobile. As these industries embark on their next phase of an increased digital structure, they are relying on ICT to show the way forward. Advances around the Internet of Things (IoT) are bringing about most of the exciting developments in these industries - these industries are now witnessing the use of embedded sensors in wearables, healthcare devices, connected cars and industrial machines. These sensors form a grid of connected devices, linked to a network which provides the platform for assimilating and analyzing the data. While the platforms for IoT stand fragmented today, these are expected to be more cohesive and better integrated going forward. As IoT becomes more pervasive, the volumes of data generated will lead to a huge repository of data, and with data being shared more broadly, analytics in the IoT space will act as the major differentiator, with the near future seeing some interesting developments in this space.
From a consumer standpoint, the onset of Cloud and IoT has meant that companies are vying with each other to provide data in a more coherent, personalized and streamlined manner via ‘Personal Assistants’ that are adept at natural language user interfaces.
The battle for intelligent Personal Assistants has meant that nearly every large technology company has continued to invest in an intelligent personal assistant platform, which includes Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Echo service and Google’s Google Now. Even Baidu, the search giant in China has showcased Duer – its virtual assistant, in a bid to drive more traffic and merchants to its platform.
This space is expected to see further innovation with the introduction of Bots. These Bots are essentially intelligent virtual assistants, with the capability to handle a wide variety of daily tasks ranging from booking flights and hotels, to ordering lunch and booking appointments. For consumers, this development is especially interesting as this can disrupt the entire ‘App’ centric way of doing things. Not surprisingly, a few companies including Microsoft and Facebook are betting big on these Bots and are making significant investments in this space as they hope to establish their authority in the next-generation of wearables and personal devices.
As Nishant correctly points out, for many industries, cloud has become the focal point of their long-term ICT strategy. Enterprises are rapidly adopting cloud computing technologies to reduce their costs, manage enterprise IT infrastructure and business processes efficiently, and remain competitive. In part 2 of our Q&A, we’ll discuss why security will continue to be the biggest challenge facing the ICT industry over the next decade.
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