SMBs predicted to leapfrog in 'new style of IT' adoption

The mid market is well positioned to adopt cloud, mobility, and big data as part of business operations, Hewlett-Packard's Raj Thakur told ZDNet.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor on

Some have dubbed the new wave of technology, which comprises social media, mobility, big data, and cloud, as the "third platform", while others call it the "nexus of forces". For Hewlett-Packard, it is referred to as the "new style of IT".

Raj Thakur, HP South-Pacific servers and converged systems general manager, has predicted that the so-called "new style of IT" will be more prominently adopted by the mid market, which has been more cautious and slower to move into the space, and will potentially leapfrog current trends if it can "get through all the noise".

"What they want for their business, and they'll move quickly because they don't have to deal with the bureaucracy or internal processes, is to likely consume technology as a service. They don't have the legacy compared to the large enterprises, and so they'll leapfrog. I think the minute they find the right solution, and in 2015 and 2016 you'll start see a big jump," he said.

Thakur said this trend will follow on from large enterprises that have already invested heavily in the new style of IT, mainly because they have larger IT expertise and the funds to do so.

Drawing on examples, without identifying any specific companies, Thakur said that HP is already working with an Australian telco that is using Hadoop to monitor its network towers in order to keep up to date with what is being transmitted. HP is also working with a major Australian bank running Hadoop to identify opportunities to create new services for customers.

He said the appeal for businesses to make the shift to adopt new technology is mainly because customers are no longer after individual products from multiple vendors in siloed environments. Instead, they want one simplified platform that can provide the same multiple services, and be up and running in as few as 20 days instead of three to six months.

Thakur explained that the drivers behind this shift are mainly business challenges, including customers looking to enhance productivity so they can be more competitive, reduce costs, create a leaner and more agile work environment, and improve customer and employee experience.

The amount of data that businesses are accumulating as a result of application usage has also influenced businesses, Thakur said.

"If you go back 15 years ago, you'd get a couple of new releases each year, if that, and now it's like 20 or 30 new releases each time. What that does is it puts a lot of stress on the network and on the back end, test/dev, and on the production of the systems that deliver this out.

"Imagine you make all these changes, and when you want to bang it out, what that is pushing is the demand for the back-end systems to cope with that growth and pressure.

"The prediction from us is that in the next five years, it will double or triple, so we're only at the start of this whole revolution."

Thakur continued, saying that with SMEs being ready to make the shift, it will be an opportunity for niche service providers to cater to their specific vertical needs, such as providing "high-value" application services.

"The smaller enterprises have been thinking about whether they should build their own infrastructure, because quite possibly it might be cheaper, or should they buy it as a service. But the real question lies with our service providers," he said.

"For example, service providers often start off providing generic services, such as analytics, but if you take it to another level, say with a retailer that is looking for a specific application, it's a big burden for current service providers. This is why I think we'll start seeing more niche service providers that may specialise in analytics for SMB retailers, for instance. I think that's probably the next big turning point and trend."

Despite all the movement by businesses to adopt new technologies, Thakur said there will always be room for traditional IT, with applications unique to a business requiring companies to build their own infrastructure. Thakur admitted that HP's traditional IT business has been shrinking, while on the other hand, its big data and service provider business has been growing "quite dramatically" over the last year.

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