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Malaysia faces serious challenges in the Third Platform transformation

Analysts and pundits call the computing period that we are in today as the third platform or the third phase in the IT evolution. The first platform was the mainframe computer followed by the PC. The third platform is an ecosystem comprised of social networking, cloud computing, mobile computing and Big Data analytics. IDC says the prospects for the Malaysian IT market in 2014 remains buoyant anticipating it to cross the US$10 billion market.

Roger Ling, ASEAN research manager of Software and Services at IDC cautions that whilst “we are third Platform ready, but the building blocks are not necessarily grounded firmly or arranged strategically. This will be the case for 2014 as organizations look to research, explore, and deploy intelligently.”

IDC lists the top 10 ICT predictions in 2014 for Malaysia as follows:

  1. IT Spending Back on Track Surpassing the US$10 Billion Mark
  2. Data Revenue Takes Poll Position
  3. Adoption of cloud solutions moves from conceptual to practical. Increased hand holding and cloud provider innovations will align better with customer business cases in 2014
  4. Enterprise IT to remain unconvinced about achieving 'Returns on Mobility'
  5. Malaysia’s Big Data market anticipated to hit US$24.2 million but remains tactical in nature
  6. Enterprise social networking: Sandbox for peak internal collaboration will be a priority
  7. Channel transformation in the third platform will be a key agenda
  8. BYOD is real and happening now, and organizations will need to make a stand on what it means
  9. Government to connect to citizens via mobile devices and social media, accelerating a new type of citizen/government relationship
  10. Innovation in the third platform will create unique mash-up opportunities but may also create a Perfect Storm for Project Failure

IDC also predicts that the telecom services market will enjoy a steady eight percent year-on-year growth at the close of 2014, a rise of one percent from the previous year. Key to this growth is revenue from data services surpassing voice for the first time. This data growth is fundamental to the third platform prediction as it provides connection ubiquity necessary for proliferation.

IDC believes that spending on Big Data technologies to reach US$18 million at the end of 2013 registering a year-on-year growth of 33.9 percent. The analyst remains confident of further growth in 2014 generating US$24.2 million with a five year CAGR (2012 to 2017) estimated at 32.1 percent. The tactical use of Big Data will be evident among leading enterprises in the country. IDC predicts that unless a wave of transformation occurs this will also be the case for the coming year. However, to move into the next stage of maturity (repeatable stage), organizations need to adopt a strategic approach to Big Data adoption as opposed to being siloed as is currently commonly seen.

According to Liew Siew Choon, market analyst of Software Research at IDC Malaysia, “the Big Data market will grow bigger and enter into the next stage only when the issue of skillsets and resources are resolved. This in turn will lead to a complete ecosystem whereby channel partners with the right skills will have the capability to deliver end-to-end Big Data solutions, including consultancy and other services.”
The wave of transformation is in reference to game changers that need to be in place to allow for the proliferation of Big Data in Malaysia. Liew cautions that not all are apparent.

IDC sees three key areas that stand out with regards to a necessary wave of transformation. These include infrastructure and systems represented by technology that already exists; skillsets that represent the ability to not just implement but also to capitalize on the technology for specific business use cases; and policies and legislation that function as a catalyst for growth. The transformation that cuts across all three key areas will create the necessary fundamentals for Big Data adoption.

IDC warns that the skill set gap for enabling Big Data adaption is real and threatening. Liew explains that “although there are collaborative efforts from vendors and education institutions to address the IT talent issues, it will only alleviate the supply of labor resources in the long term. Certain skillsets particularly in analytics including data warehouse, Hadoop, real-time infrastructures, and scale-out infrastructures need focused efforts to hit peak maturity to support the growing demand for Big Data and analytics. Should this remain the status quo, the skills gap will continue to hinder the adoption of Big Data.”

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