The future of IT, and megatrends in particular (Cloud, Mobility, BYOD, Next Generation IT, Internet of Things), have been dominating industry discussions this year, with companies the likes of Citrix Systems and Dell – and, on a grass roots level, manufacturers at Computex 2014 – all paying notice-able attention to these areas. Reassuringly, a recent survey done by Cisco has shown that South African companies are certainly not far behind their developed nation counterparts when it comes to taking these trends seriously and preparing themselves for what is being billed by Cisco as the driving forces for the future of the IT sector.
The research found that BYOD is alive and well in the South African business context, with almost two-thirds (63%) of South African employees being allowed to use their own devices to access the company server or network. Further- more, more than half of all employees (52%) bring at least one of their own devices to work. Alpheus Mangale, the managing director for Cisco in South Africa, pointed out that BYOD is not just about catering to different smartphones, but rather encompasses enabling employees to use the workstations and operating systems of their choice in a corporate environment. According to the survey, more than half (56%) of companies are taking cognisance of the trend, with a BYOD plan already in place.
Cloud’s silver linings
Along with BYOD, cloud was yet again touted as being an essential component of this revolutionary change. Indeed, Mangale didn’t mince words about its importance, asserting that cloud computing is “the next big step in the evolution of computing and the internet in South Africa.” The ray of light in a local context is that 79% of those surveyed reported that companies in South Africa were aware of cloud and were actively “doing something about it,” while a full 90% of those surveyed identified cloud as being important to the future of their organisation.
Another piece of the puzzle was the rise of online video, which is largely expected to grow six-fold by 2018, while the preponderance of high definition video is also expected to increase. This has a potential for impacting on the enterprise, with 7 in 10 respondents agreeing that business-class video will save travel costs and smooth out any issues related to telecommuting, along with reinforcing relationships with dispersed colleagues.
Rising to the challenge
The study was based on 150 interviews with respondents who had to meet a comprehensive list of requirements, which included having to be involved in decision making and manage staff; have at least two years’ experience in their current job and be employed full time, and spend at least 50% of their work day in an office environment.
“Our research demonstrates that the biggest challenge South African organisations face today is adapting to the fast pace of change that the technology transitions that are enabling the IoE, such as increased mobility, increased use of video and cloud, are bringing,” explained Mangle. The Cisco study is slated to be explored in further detail at Cisco Connect, aptly themed Tomorrow Starts Here, and which will be held from 2nd to 4th November 2014 in Sun City.