IT seen as key enabler of Malaysia's growth and development in 2012

Research firm IDC sees 2012 as the year that Malaysia will witness the emergence of disruptive IT technologies, which will become mainstream and play a critical role in the development of the country.

"ICT still presents itself as a compelling platform for many Malaysian enterprises wanting to pursue a potential cost-beneficial delivery model of products and services. The smokescreen on the exact role ICT will play in the future of the Malaysian economy will blow-over in 2012, and IDC expects pockets of opportunities to emerge for both local and foreign organizations and this will shape the future of ICT,” said Sudev Bangah, Senior Research Manager, IDC Asia-Pacific.

Since 1996, Malaysia has identified Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a key enabler for traditional economies. The MSC Malaysia concept was introduced as a manner to encourage and support the development and adoption of ICT within the country. Significant measures have also been undertaken by the government via the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP) to ensure ICT remains a significant tool for the future development of the country.

In 2012, IDC predicts that traditional sectors will strategically utilize IT as a way to reach out to a wider target market by intensifying competition and expanding geographically. The continuous interest in cloud computing from both end-users and vendors will cause a shift towards further exploration and understanding of the platform's value proposition.

"Public cloud will remain a more popular choice for a market like Malaysia due to the high composition of SMBs within the market. Of late, understanding of the technology has drastically improved and targeted effort by the Malaysian government will see key concerns addressed in the coming year," IDC said.

The introduction of smart mobile devices coupled with the bundling of data plans by service providers with these devices have also caused a surge in smartphone adoption across Malaysia and IDC predicts that mobile commerce applications will gain ground in 2012.

"The government is working towards the creation of a poll of talent equipped with adequate knowledge in developing innovative and creative content for eventual global monetization. The government, via several government agencies, has embarked on a concerted effort to groom local applications developers by equipping these individuals with the skills and means to create "world-class" content, fit for both domestic and international consumption," IDC said.

Moreover, as consumer demand for PCs was stifled by the abundance of alternatives, PC vendors are searching for ideas to revive the business. IDC believes that the Ultrabook will fill the void between a full-sized laptop and the tablet.

With the economy a major concern of governments worldwide, a cautious approach to IT investment is seen in Malaysia, with enterprises focusing more on customer engagement.
In spite of the relatively positive view on ICT spending for 2012, results of IDC's recent Asia-Pacific CIO Barometer survey reveals that majority of enterprises in ASEAN will still be cost conscious when pursuing their business strategies in 2012. While majority of CIOs cited increased ICT spending for 2012 in areas of on-demand services, mobility and social media tools, focus is still placed on how enterprises can reduce their overall cost structure within the organization," IDC said.

"Although CFOs have lightened their scrutiny on IT spending in recent years, they are still more watchful as compared to pre-crisis when ubiquitous spending on IT infrastructure was seen," it added.

Lastly, IDC predicts that 2012 is the year the IT Services industry in Malaysia will hit a tipping point and the government must adequately address the local talent supply and demand issue.