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Networking prowess key to tapping 'mega upgrading cycle'

Channel partners will need to deepen their expertise in this area, which is the common underlying thread for many trends expected in 2013.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

BANGKOK--Improving networking-related expertise and offerings will be key to tapping the upcoming "mega upgrading cycle", which is the underlying thread for significant trends expected in 2013.

"The future will be focused on the way people find information, consume content, provide voice to it, purchase all kinds of stuff, and how money is exchanged," said Denise Sangster, president and CEO of IT consultancy Global Touch. She was speaking at the Cisco Systems Partner Led Network conference here Tuesday.  

Sangster noted the common thread to make all this happen lies in the power of networking. Channel partners and distributors will need to deepen their network skills because these will be the core foundation for most things over the next 18 months, she noted.

"However, the reality is most companies are not prepared for this," the CEO warned.

With other trends gaining further momentum such as cloud computing and mobility, there will be an increasing shift of revenues to software, with profitability moving to services, she added. The emerging new IT world order would see networking play an increasingly critical role which will only expand in future.

Mega trends in 2013
Denise Sangster, president and CEO of Global Touch, shares her view on 10 mega trends that will affect the IT industry in the next 18 months. (Credit: Ryan Huang)

For example, she pointed to how emerging markets were driving the use of mobile devices. "70 percent of the world have never owned a PC, meaning PC companies have only been targeting 30 percent of the world's population," she noted. And most of this 70 percent will probably never own a PC. Instead, mobile devices will be the preferred tools."

She also noted an evolution of personal computing among office workers going more mobile, as tasks are now performed across a variety of form factors to help accomplish jobs more easily. She cited the increased use of tablets and smartphones which she saw as particularly prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mega upgrade cycle coming
Companies will need to equip themselves to get ready to tap the upcoming "mega upgrade cycle", said Sangster. This will be driven by cloud computing, consumerization of IT, collaboration offerings, and the emerging importance of social enterprise media. For instance, many companies right now do not have powerful enough routers, she said, adding there will also be higher demand for virtualized servers.

Cloud computing will be the "biggest opportunity in your business lifetime", she noted.

"[Companies] must increasingly focus on services, software, recurring revenue, and expanded networking and collaboration tools," Sangster said, adding these would be the "new baseline" and prospects would be limited without a play on networking.

Not only is a new ecosystem of early-stage startups looking to carve out their own niches, big IT players have also started to make their own significant investments including acquiring such startups to stay relevant, she pointed out.

One such investment was by Cisco, which acquired cloud infrastructure startup Meraki for US$1.2 billion last month.

Sangster noted one big market opportunity to look out for will be in big data, particularly as business leaders find it increasingly difficult to make decisions due to the growing number of sources of information which they are unsure about trusting.

In fact, 90 percent of data in the world right now was created in the last two years, with over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created daily, she said.

There will be a massive opportunity in putting together "digital bread crumbs", Sansgter said, referring to the business of reverse engineering digital and cloud computing behavior of consumers on the Web.
Ryan Huang of ZDNet Asia reported from Cisco APJC Partner Led Network conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on the invitation of Cisco.

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