Kathy Gibson is at IDC Directions 2020 in Sandton – The message from CIOs is very clear – there is money on the table as long as the industry offers value.

This is according to Wilson Xavier, research director – IT services: META at IDC, who adds that enterprise IT is shifting to the digital enterprise.

Organisations are shifting, realising the need to change their business models. This means that enterprise IT is shifting and this has an impact on IT spend.

In the META region, IT spending is going to hit $41,3-billion, a growth rate of 5,1%, in 2020. This will be led by IT infrastructure, IT software and IT services.

In terms of infrastructure, most of the traditional areas of spend are flat or negative – but infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is set for 25,3% growth.

In software, application development and deployment, applications, and system software are showing modest growth – but software as service is going to grow at 30,6%, and platform as a service will see 36,2% growth.

When it comes to services, support-based service, project-based service and outsource will see growth, but the bigger growth will be in cloud-based professional services, which will grow at 8,6%.

Overall, IT spending is shifting quickly from traditional IT to cloud, Xavier points out.

In South Africa, IDC is expecting increased IT spend of 4,1% to $9,49-billion, he adds, with the other major META markets also expecting solid growth.

Public cloud will lead to cloud spend touching $5,4-billion by 2023 across the META region. During the same period, managing digital trust will drive security spending to $3,6-billion.

Hyperscale availability is leading to the massive public cloud expansion and we will see broad adoption going forward, Xavier points out.

Hybrid- and multi-cloud are also going to gain traction, and both public and private cloud spend is going to grow.

Meanwhile, application transformation will go mainstream, with cloud native, containerisation and microservices architecture picking up pace.

CIOs are increasingly making cloud their priority – and data centre and network capacity will have to increase two-fold to meet these needs.

Security is going to grow rapidly, Xavier says. However, hardware-based solutions are set to decline while software-based offerings are growing. At the same time, cloud-based security is gaining momentum, as is trust and identity security.

As this comes together, there is a lot of traction for automation in the security world, Xavier adds. Services will also enjoy strong growth.

Skills are a perennial issue, but this also provides an opportunity for services players, he says.

Local providers will come to the fore when it comes to national cyber defence.

Allied to security, governance, risk and compliance, as well as sovereignty standards, are also creating opportunities.

Most CIOs are looking at AI currently, with just 21% without any current or planned projects.

AI is mostly used for IT automation, automated customer insights, automated threat intelligence and prevention systems, fraud analysis and investigation, ad defence, terrorism, investigation and government.

The industries doing the most work in AI are banking, government, retail and telecommunications.

Meanwhile, companies are continuing their data value journeys and, going forward, the most value will be from analytics and monetisation of the asset.

Robotic process automation (RPA) is still small in size, but IDC expects 35,8% growth across the region. Currently, RPA is replacing a lot of transaction-based systems.

The industries looking to benefit the most from RPA are retail, manufacturing, financial services, healthcare and government.

In the changing IT world, the partner model is also changing and a new ecosystem is coming into play, Xavier says.

VARs will shift to becoming service advisors, systems integrators will become service aggregators, distributors will have to shift to being a subscription brokerage platform, and solution builders will have to offer service design.

“The core element is to recognise that if you want to serve an enterprise today you have to have a certain model. To serve a digital enterprise what do you have to do?”

The bottom line in serving the digital enterprise, Xavier says, is to look at the platform options, the service models, channel models, and monetisation opportunities.