Network services top on Asian firms' minds

New IDC study shows seven in 10 IT heads say services around the network, and business continuity and recovery, are important to their organizations.

Asia's network infrastructure services market is expected to be worth twice as much in 2012, driven by an increased emphasis placed by IT heads in this field.

According to a recent study by IDC, IT professionals in Asia ranked network infrastructure consulting, integration and management services as the top priority for their organization. Over 70 percent of the 1,100 decision makers surveyed indicated that such services were either important or very important.

Eugene Wee, IDC Asia-Pacific's research manager for IT services, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail Friday that there has been "a visible increase in spending for network infrastructure services over the past few years", and added the trend is expected to continue.

In a statement Thursday, IDC said the network services market in the Asia-Pacific region is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.7 percent to reach US$9.1 billion in 2012, up from US$4.7 billion in 2007.

Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), was ranked a close second in the study, said IDC. The survey respondents indicated that overall security concerns in the industry as well as past experience with security threats, have prompted an increased emphasis on BCDR.

However, Wee pointed out that while there is an "air of excitement" about such services and technologies, uptake has not been consistent. Businesses need to rethink their approach toward BCDR, he said, adding that root causes including lack of governance were often not addressed.

"Currently, most of the needs assessments and process improvement around BCDR occurs as an afterthought to threats arising," explained Wee. "What the end-user organizations need to be aware of, are the potential losses which could occur when the problems arise."

Indian IT professionals, in particular, placed greater emphasis in the area of BCDR, said Wee. Respondents in India were also concerned with unified communications and business intelligence.

Over in Hong Kong, architectural offerings which include service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Green IT featured strongly on the agenda of IT decision makers. For respondents in Singapore, IT service management was a key area of focus.

Ranked in the order of importance to businesses, the areas of IT services covered in the IDC survey are:

1. Network infrastructure/lifecycle
2. Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)
3. IT service management
4. Identity and access management
5. Data center transformation
6. Analytics/business intelligence
7. Remote systems management
8. Unified communications
9. Architectural solutions (including service-oriented architecture)
10. Green IT

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