Managed services for a new generation
Strong projections of growth for the South African managed services market are likely to materialise, given the inherent advantages offered by the model and the growing complexity of owning and operating information and communications technology infrastructure.
More than that, when the next generation reaches working age, they will bring with them a cloud computing mentality that will drive a new wave of innovation.
That's according to Ronald Laxton, MD of Computer Initiatives.
He points to analysis from Frost & Sullivan, which anticipates growth of above 100% in the South African managed services market, anticipating revenue of $4.25 billion by 2015 from the $1.92 billion of 2009.
“Frost & Sullivan indicates that the drivers behind this growth are the ever-increasing complexities in IT, the high-cost of managing certain services in-house, and anticipated improvements in bandwidth,” notes Laxton.
However, he believes there is another very good reason for accelerating growth - that of generational change. “Those of us who still remember typewriters have a harder time adapting to the concepts, delivery and consumption of managed services, especially those which are cloud-based. We tend to have an 'ownership' mentality, which is linked to our perceptions of security and accessibility of our information and applications.”
A generation that is growing up on a diet of Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and countless other cloud services has no such limitations, Laxton notes. “For them, cloud-based services, on-demand ICT and hosted content are second nature. So, while in the short term, the shift towards hosted solutions will continue steadily, in the longer term the consumption of the ultimate managed services - software as a service - is bound for exponential growth.”
While Frost & Sullivan raise valid points, Laxton says these are simply the precursors to more widespread adoption of cloud-based computing. “We're already at the point where improvements in bandwidth are no longer a driver, per se, but rather as more capacity becomes available, bandwidth will be less of an impediment to adoption of cloud computing.
“Rather, the real drivers are rooted in business efficiency and the facilitation of new business models - that is, not simply reducing costs and managing complexity, but rather in designing a new generation of software which transforms business processes, especially inter-company integration, and providing more pervasive computing, with the 'cloud' providing an enhanced communication infrastructure,” he says.
Longer term, Laxton believes the nature of the drivers will change as cloud-based computing enables this emergence of new paradigms for business models and systems. “That is likely something which will come with generational change, too. Without the limitations of 'old school' approaches to using technology and information in business, it is likely that we will see a new wave of innovation.”