Gartner Inc. believes that, while the ICT market will continue to grow, the nature of that growth is changing. No longer will it be exclusively driven by developed nations, such as the U.S. and Europe. Increasingly, it will be developing countries, such as China, India and South Africa (SA), that will power the industry through this next phase.
This is because nations have young populations ready to jump onto the consumer ladder and adopt new technologies, says Debra Logan, symposium chair of the Gartner Symposium Africa/Itxpo, to be held at the Cape Town International Convention center from August 2 -4.
As predicted, 2003 saw the ICT market experience its first upturn since the bubble burst, and Gartner believes that this growth should continue until 2008, and most probably beyond. This sustained level of economic certainty gives business leaders a chance to catch their breath, and return to long-term planning. This year's symposium is themed Today's Trends, Tomorrow's Vision, and the main objective is to impart knowledge to equip local executives with the information that they need to create robust and appropriate strategies to capitalize on the growth in the global and local markets.
Surveys of last year's Gartner symposium attendees revealed that over 40 percent use the knowledge gathered at the event to help to set strategic directions for their organizations' ICT programs. With this in mind, the agenda has been constructed around three high-level strategic considerations, namely: security, outsourcing and governance. For Logan, these three areas represent the most critical issues facing local business decision-makers this year. "Security remains one of the biggest challenges facing the ICT industry. Gartner security analyst, Rich Mogull, will lead a number of workshops and presentations to support businesses in selecting the most effective processes and technologies to protect their information and infrastructures.
"With new outsourcing relationships expected to increase by more than 30 percent this year, local businesses must find ways to take advantage of this to bring work to the country. Outsourcing presents an opportunity for SA to benefit from the global trend to transfer non-core services around the globe. India has successfully used call-center outsourcing as an engine for economic growth and social upliftment. Presentations covering off-shoring, financial services outsourcing and relationship management will be conducted by Kimberly Harris and Roger Cox," says Logan.
Globally, increased regulatory pressure is being felt by CIOs and ICT professionals. Financial legislation, empowerment mandates and corporate governance models require that, even as the business cycle swings up again, companies have an effective and well-conceived ICT governance model in place. "We have a number of presentations looking specifically at governance to assist companies to achieve transparency and compliance with international and national legislation without inhibiting growth and profitability," says Logan.
"In SA this growth needs to be achieved responsibly. ICT creates a world without barriers, and developing nations are really starting to take advantage of this to drive both growth and upliftment. SA business leaders have the perfect opportunity to develop ICT strategies that support and drive sustained business success while empowering both the country and its citizens," concludes Logan.
In addition to the specific agendas, there will also be a number of presentations on the CIO agenda, business intelligence, emerging technologies, procurement, infrastructure deployment, networking, Linux, mobile and financial services. The keynote speakers for this year are Clem Sunter of Anglo American and Peter Sondergaard, worldwide head of research at Gartner.
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