Banks, mining lead Australian ICT spending: IDC

More education may be needed on big data
Banks, mining lead Australian ICT spending: IDC

The financial services sector will continue to be a bright spot for ICT spending growth in 2014, according to an IDC analyst.

“The banking, financial and insurance vertical is far and away the growth engine in the Australian marketplace,” IDC analyst Emilie Ditton said this morning at an IDC event in Sydney.

“Not only is it by far the largest single mega vertical ... but also it has the most significant growth.”

The financial sector is spending a significant amount on technology transformation programs and leads investments in the cloud, data and mobility, she said.

At the same time, government ICT spending has declined, Ditton said. This is in part due to budget constraints, she said, but also because there has been “a real shutdown in projects” over the last six months, which included the transition in the federal government from Labor to the Coalition.

Even so, Ditton said she expects to see “smart government” pilot projects proliferate in 2014. For example, the Victorian government is looking at how to use real-time monitoring of public transportation to increase the service’s efficiency, she said.

The resources sector, which has long been a leader in ICT spending, will continue high spending but in a reduced capacity compared to previous years, she said.

“Even with the commodity price declines that we’ve seen over the last few months, the resources sector is still a real area of growth in terms of ICT spending in Australia.”

Also, Ditton said she expects mobility will “explode” in the health sector.

For patients, she predicted more health and wellbeing apps, as well as greater use of mobile devices for telehealth and monitoring. In addition, the health sector will increasingly tap mobility to drive enterprise productivity, she said.

Australian organisations from many sectors are eyeing how they can tap big data to the benefit of the business, according to Sally Parker, another IDC analyst who spoke at the event.

“It’s not just about technology—big data is very much about the business,” she said. “It changes how people interact with an organisation. Big data initiatives should have very clear business outcomes.”

However, while organisations see potentially “massive value” in deciphering big data, Parker said more education is needed to show these organisations how to actually get that value.

In a recent survey of businesses, IDC found that while two-thirds of respondents said big data is importantly, only one third saw it as critical or essential, she said.

And some businesses that are taking advantage of big data have yet to master their technique, Parker said.

As an example, Parker told a story about buying a toothbrush at a Coles supermarket. About one week after she made the purchase, Parker received an email from Coles advertising a sale on toothbrushes.

“It’s kind of cool that they’re watching what I buy,” she said, “but we’re not quite there because I’m not going to buy a toothbrush every week.”

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