Microsoft survey shows 62% of IT leaders in Asia Pacific expect to increase spending on new technologies in 2015

Singapore, October 28, 2014 – A Microsoft Asia Pacific survey of 291 IT decision makers of medium to large enterprises across 10 markets in Asia Pacific showed that IT leaders in the region are leading the charge to harness disruptive technologies enabling their transformation to a mobile-first and cloud-first world. More than half of CIOs (53%) polled allocated 11% to 30% of their budget towards using new technologies and another 27% of respondents allocated more than 30%.

Infographic: IT Leaders in APAC Drive Digital Transformation

In addition, majority of respondents no longer see the cloud as being new and disruptive. In fact, 71% expect to increase use of the cloud in the next three years, making it a necessary part of their IT strategy.

The survey also saw 62% of respondents highlighting the likelihood of increased IT spending on new technologies next year, indicating that IT leaders in the region are indeed pushing the envelope with new technologies to drive business transformation.

The Microsoft Asia Pacific CIO Survey was unveiled today at the Microsoft Asia Pacific Executive Leadership Forum 2014, held in Singapore on the 28th and 29th of October 2014. The event will be attended by more than 200 leading CIOs and business leaders across Asia Pacific and was designed to address the exact concerns and areas of interests cited by these CIOs.

“Technology is changing every aspect of our lives and it impacts the way businesses are interacting with their customers. Organizations today have to change how they operate to serve their customers at a whole new level. CIOs today have a critical role to play in this transformation,” said Alvaro Celis, Vice President, Microsoft Asia Pacific.

Prioritizing IT Needs in Asia Pacific
The CIOs in Asia are grappling with new demands from customers, employees and business stakeholders. Microsoft asked them how they were prioritizing in the following areas as part of their transformation. Interestingly, respondents placed equal importance on:

  • Enhancing customer experiences;
  • Transforming into a digital business; and
  • Becoming a more responsive organization.

Current IT priorities include managing a myriad of new devices, applications and services hosted on the cloud. The Microsoft survey showed that device management is the number one issue which IT leaders are addressing currently. 92% of respondents polled said that they have either implemented or are planning to implement device and management initiatives within their organization as a way to manage the growing number of laptops, tablets and smartphones which access company resources. The number two and three current initiatives are: putting in place a hybrid IT infrastructure (90%) and collaboration projects (86%).

CIOs today know that they have a unique opportunity with disruptive technologies. According to the survey, respondents ranked mobility (52%), IoT (44%), big data (41%) and social (38%) as the top four technology disruptors to the organization.

However, in the next three years, CIOs in Asia are prioritising the Cloud (71%), mobility (65%) and big data (61%) as the most important technologies for them to harness to drive their business goals.

Barriers to New Technology Adoption
While CIOs are planning to play a big role in business transformation, they do face challenges in being able to execute on their bold vision with new and disruptive technologies. The top 3 challenges are:

  • Budget – 81% ranked lacked of budget as a barrier to adopting new technologies.
  • Trust – 79% said that security, privacy, compliance and transparency of cloud-related solutions continue to be a concern
  • Influence – 72% of CIOs felt that they are having to deal with more stakeholders with budget and decision making power, slowing down decision making

Jeff Bullwinkel, Associate General Counsel and Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs for Microsoft Asia Pacific & Japan, said: “Microsoft sees security, privacy, compliance and transparency as essential elements in building trust between a technology provider and its customers. Microsoft has continued to invest in building its trust with customers by further strengthening encryption to protect customer data, continuously designing and maintaining services that meet government and industry compliance standards, and increasing protection against government snooping.”

Influence and the Changing role of CIOs
IT investment decisions no longer sit within the IT department. A Gartner study reports that CIOs have revealed that a quarter of IT spending will happen outside the IT budget in 2014 – and that is just the spending they know about. The reality may be significantly higher.

Of the key business stakeholders who are more influential today than three years ago, respondents polled said that the CEO is the most influential stakeholder in driving new technology trends (60%) in Asia Pacific, followed by the CFO (57%), the COO (55%) and CMO (38%).

When asked how they wish their roles to be perceived within the organization, it is clear that CIOs and IT leaders in Asia Pacific want to be viewed as innovators (69%) and growth enablers (62%). Respondents also hoped to be perceived as playing a key role in empowering the productivity of the next-generation of workers (64%).

Asia Pacific CIOs believe they are where they want to be, with more than two thirds of respondents saying that they are already viewed as key drivers of business innovation and growth and as enablers of new work styles by internal stakeholders.

Added Celis: “It is fascinating to see how cloud is everywhere today, and where mobility, IoT, social and big data are important technology disruptors for years to come. CIOs are indeed moving beyond keeping the lights on in IT to driving growth and business innovation. For Microsoft, it is an honour to be working with customers and partners to reimagine how business is done in the digital era.”