View of IT role maturing in M'sia

Malaysian firms want their IT department to understand needs of the business and view enterprise applications as means to enhance operations, new study reveals.

KUALA LUMPUR--Enterprises in Malaysia have progressed in their use of business applications as a means to enhance their operations, according to a new Frost & Sullivan report released Friday.

Commissioned by Oracle, the study revealed that the top two business requirements for Malaysian enterprises are the ability to integrate multiple departments and business partners together, and the speed at which vendors solve problems.

The survey also revealed that local enterprises want their IT department to understand the needs of the business and deploy projects within the budgets they have been allocated.

Culled from interviews with 1,528 respondents across the Asia-Pacific region including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, the survey aimed to ascertain the current state of play for business applications users.

Of those surveyed in Malaysia, 50 percent were companies with 100 to 999 employees. Respondents were based in various vertical markets, including construction, professional services, education and financial services, with the largest pool respondents from industrial manufacturing.

Yasmin Handrich, consulting analyst for Frost & Sullivan, noted that Malaysian companies are currently in mid-level maturity in terms of their business and performance requirements.

"While not on par with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore or South Korean companies, Malaysia has progressed and is ahead of counterparts from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia," she said a media briefing here Friday.

Jasbir Singh, senior director of applications sales for Oracle Malaysia, added that local enterprises had in the past looked at quick returns on investment (ROI) and cost reduction as the most important benchmarks for IT projects.

This was because IT was driven primarily by IT departments and technical people, rather than business people, noted Jasbir who was at the same briefing.

"Business people tend to look at whether IT can meet the business requirements first," he said. "For example, they look at issues to do with agility, cross-department integration, while the IT guys think this can be achieved merely by streamlining workflow."

He noted that the survey findings were telling, adding that they provided a clear indication that local enterprises are gaining maturity as they are now more concerned with the business rather than the IT component.

"Board members and senior executives are looking at the business in terms of a platform view instead of a siloed view," he explained. "When considering investments today, the board would want to view things holistically rather than in parts." Jabir added that this is especially true in the procurement process.

According to the Frost & Sullivan survey, the top three business requirements in the six Asean countries are: speed of resolution by vendor, project development on budget, and timely project deployment.

Other key focus areas highlighted in the survey included the need for further ease of deployment of business applications, to have reliable and responsive after-sales support, lower total cost of ownership, and the ability to customize, scale and make applications do what they are meant to do.

Edwin Yapp is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.

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