Kcom Predicts for 2010…

Paul Renucci, Managing Director at Kcom, has predicted the following trends for the ICT market in 2010.

1. Innovation – key to getting out of recession: Innovation will be key next year, but it need not be exuberantly costly. Companies can take simple measures to innovate in niche areas to become more efficient and more competitive. For example many companies spent millions investing in new IP telephony systems but did not use the new technology to its full potential to create new ways of communicating. The end result was that customers and suppliers saw very little added value from the investment. However by integrating Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or unified communications (UC) to this IP infrastructure, companies can derive value from their investment that will help strengthen operations, efficiency and internal and external communications.

2. Video is back! The availability of high-end, corporate video conferencing solutions will see video make a comeback. Key reasons for this include the cost saving and green benefits that video conferencing enables compared to face-to-face meetings together with a genuine and renewed interest in video, largely driven by the popularity of YouTube.

– Video applications got off to a bad start in the nineties – solutions were immature, problematic to implement and produced poor quality images. But the solutions available today are high-resolution and user friendly.

– The interest in video is largely driven by the use of the technology by consumers. Once again we are seeing adoption of corporate IT driven by use of technology in the consumer space

3. Green IT – climbing the corporate agenda: Amidst the economic uncertainty, companies have primarily been focussed on surviving difficult times this year, and their green aspirations have tended to take a back seat. However, curtailing corporate travel in order to cut costs has forced many companies to re-evaluate their ways of working and become more amenable to green and sustainable practices. In recent months there has been increased focus on carbon reduction following the Copenhagen summit. As companies and organisations become both more dependent on virtual meetings and web 2.0 applications and more aware of their own responsibility to help combat climate change, we will next year see a gradual yet significant step towards adoption of sustainable IT practices.

– Conferencing and video-conferencing are being embraced as an alternative means of working and the increased availability of high-speed broadband is enabling more home working. These working practices will become increasingly entrenched in company culture next year

– Social networking and collaboration are gaining increasing popularity, and next year we will see use of these tools not only internally but also as a means of working and communicating with partners and suppliers.

4. Cost cutting and efficiency will continue to drive investment in and use of technology: Companies across sectors (and particularly in the public sector) will be under pressure to make cost savings and improve efficiencies. As a result, we will surely see more and more organisations opting to implement shared services, cloud computing and other hosted services – enabling companies to reap the benefits of more efficient means of working without heavy upfront investment costs. We will also see a greater veering towards managed and outsourced services.

– Hosted services in particular will appeal to companies that do not have the resources or expertise to manage certain applications, e.g. IP telephony, email, collaboration or web conferencing

– IT departments will downsize as companies find the greater cost incentive of outsourcing IT support – either as a managed, on-premise service or as a remotely managed cloud-based service

– The main difference between 2009 and 2010 will be that next year companies will begin spending again after a period of ‘frozen’ IT budgets, but they will be cautious to only spend their scarce budget on IT that can promise to deliver tangible value to the business.

5. IT will be more business-relevant: Companies will need to reap more value from existing infrastructure and provide new ways of working which will bring genuine benefits to business.

– The industry as a whole has already started to change the way it communicates the benefits of technology. While traditionally the industry was product-focused,
the new economic landscape has left businesses more results-driven, and IT must continue to prove that it is equally outcome-focussed.