African countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, and Nigeria, in cooperation with international developmental agencies, academia, and ICT vendors, are making considerable investments in ICT infrastructure, presenting attractive opportunities for IT service providers in the process.
That’s the conclusion drawn from two studies released today by global advisory services firm International Data Corporation (IDC), which identified enterprise mobility as the main IT services investment priority for South African CIOs, and pinpointed business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) as the key focus area for their counterparts in East and West Africa.
“IDC believes that many of the African initiatives and growth opportunities rely heavily on the rollout of innovative technologies across the continent,” says Lise Hagen, IDC’s research manager for software and IT services in Africa. “Access to communications infrastructure and services has boosted economic opportunities across Africa, and, although late in adopting 3rd Platform technologies like mobile, cloud, big data, and social media, African CIOs are considering such technologies to enable further development across the continent.”
Evidence of careful and due consideration was apparent during IDC’s series of African CIO Summits held earlier in the year. And in preparation for the dedicated events for South Africa, West Africa, and East Africa, IDC issued a survey to CIOs and other senior IT decision makers in order to better ascertain their future ICT investment priorities. The resulting research documents provide highlights from the results of the survey, along with IDC analysis of questions that relate specifically to IT and cloud services. And in order to provide relevant insights, IDC has split South Africa (as a mature IT market) from East and West Africa (as rapidly developing IT markets).
“As the most mature ICT market in Africa, South African organizations are making increased use of IT and cloud services in order to retain existing clients or to attract new clients in what is a very competitive market,” says Hagen. “Although the pace of growth varies from country to country in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, considerable IT investments are being made across the continent. Savvy African CIOs are making informed decisions around technologies that will address issues pertinent to their markets. And as African organizations evolve, IT services providers must work to keep pace with the very latest technological trends, adapting them to the unique requirements of the local market while also bringing in global best practices.”
The varying emphasis placed on different technologies in the two studies highlights the disparate requirements of the continent, while also confirming a series of overarching trends. For example, when asked which key technologies would be incorporated into their IT budgetary planning priorities, South African CIOs responded that their investments would focus on mobility (in the form of mobilizing enterprise apps, BC/DR, and unified communications, in that order. Meanwhile, their counterparts in East and West Africa identified BC/DR, server virtualization, and advanced security solutions as their immediate priorities.
IDC’s two reports, ‘South African CIO’s 2014 Agenda: Opportunity for IT and Cloud Services’ and ‘The African CIO’s 2014 Agenda: Opportunity for IT and Cloud Services’ provide a view of African CIO opinions around IT and cloud services. These studies present insights into ICT budget outlooks and investment priorities in the areas of applications, tools, and technologies, datacenter solutions, and IT and cloud services. The analysis also includes analysis of the African CIOs’ investment roadmap, and examines the major technologies currently under consideration.