Budget sentiments 'fairly positive' among Asean biz

Organizations in Southeast Asia, particularly in tech sector, expecting increased IT budgets and expenditure in 2012 despite economic uncertainties globally, reveals new survey.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Businesses in the Southeast Asia region have "fairly positive" outlooks with regard to their IT budgets and are expecting to have more money to spend on IT projects next year even as economic uncertainties continue to persist globally, a new survey showed.

Released Monday, the IT Priorities Study 2011 by ZDNet Asia stated that 61.9 percent of respondents indicated there will be positive changes to their overall IT budgets in 2012, which highlights a bullish attitude toward IT spend across the region.

Furthermore, 21.4 percent of respondents believed their IT budgets will increase by more than 20 percent while another 18 percent said it will rise by 10 percent to 20 percent. Comparatively, only 8.4 percent said their budgets will decrease while 29.4 percent indicated that it will remain flat, the study stated.

"Despite ongoing financial volatilities, the region seems to be insulated as IT budgets are not mirroring the happenings on the global front. In short, expectations and spend on IT remain bullish with no massive costs cutting expected. The survey's result affirms IT investment is very much on an ascending trajectory right across the region," it stated.

The survey, conducted between August and October this year, was sent electronically to ZDNet Asia's Southeast Asia audience. It garnered a total of 378 respondents across 16 industry verticals, including IT and technology, education, government and manufacturing.

Increased budgets to cope with changing landscape
From an industry perspective, the IT and technology sector was more bullish toward IT budgets for the coming year compared with other verticals.

The survey showed that only 26.7 percent of respondents from the IT and technology sector indicated their budgets will remain flat. On the other hand, 42.4 percent, 35 percent and 34.8 percent of respondents from the education, finance and government verticals, respectively, had similar expectations.

In terms of an increase of IT budgets by more than 20 percent, only those in the government sector had more optimism than their IT counterparts, with 26.1 percent believing there will be a rise in funds allocated compared with 22.7 percent.

With regard to key IT priorities, survey participants noted that improving business process and efficiency was their topmost concern, with 75.6 percent identifying it as their No. 1 priority. Reduction in IT costs and aligning IT priorities with growth round off the top three IT priorities.

"Technology continues to challenge and change the competitive landscape and business models at large across the region. Undeniably, organizations large and small alike will need to change and adapt to this new competitive landscape," the report stated.

Addressing IT challenges
The report also stated that companies in the region are "taking the right steps" to address their key IT challenges.

Respondents noted that optimizing and controlling costs, protecting or securing the network and decreasing IT budget and costs remain the top concerns for organizations going into 2012. These were the same key challenges respondents indicated last year, too.

However, companies are making efforts to address these issues as the percentage of respondents that identified these three challenges have declined year on year, the report noted.

"We can interpret the results in a positive manner whereby organizations are taking the right steps to address these key challenges and hopefully making some good progress along the way. This general trend is not just confined to the top challenges but we are seeing a decline right across the board for both respondents' percentages and average scores respectively," it stated.

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