A dimming hiring outlook
In addition to shrinking IT resources, IT staffing is another major challenge for Hong Kong's IT leaders in 2013. The enthusiastic hiring atmosphere seen in 2012 has changed considerably this year.
Only 29% of Hong Kong enterprises expect to hire more IT staff, a drop of more than half from 2012. The CWHK study last year showed 47% of the respondents were planning to hire immediately, with 18% of them expecting to hire within six to 12 months, meaning 65% of local IT managers indicated plans to hire more staff. (Figure 4)
This year, a majority of IT executives (59%) expect to maintain their current level of staff. The percentage is more than double from last year, when only 20% IT leaders expected a static headcount. Expectation of staff cuts also slightly increased from 3% last year to 4% in 2013.
Cloud becomes a viable option
With limited IT budgets and staff to support anticipated growth, spending priorities among Hong Kong enterprise are expected to focus on technologies that enable optimization.
The demand to do more with less is one of the major factors driving technology investment among local enterprises.
Cloud computing, which operates under a shared infrastructure to provide dynamic offerings and scalable pricing, matches the need for flexibility among many local enterprises. Unsurprisingly, cloud is the top investment priority.
Interestingly 39% of Hong Kong respondents in the CWHK study named cloud computing as one of their top three technology investment areas. The regional IT leaders also shared a similar view towards cloud computing investment, with 44% of them rating it as one of the top investment priorities. (Figure 5)
Cloud computing, in the past few years, has matured from being a market discussion topic into a viable technology option. According to Asia Cloud Forum's The Asian State of the Cloud 2012 online survey, 33% of respondents have adopted cloud computing. The survey indicates the momentum for cloud adoption is expected to continue in 2013.
Apart from cloud computing, other technology investment priorities remain different between Hong Kong and regional enterprises.
Hong Kong has a high mobile subscriber penetration rate--225% according to the Office of the Communication Authority (OFCA)--but investment plans in mobile technologies among local enterprises (29%) are not rated as high as those in the regional average (36%).
Another technology area where local enterprises lag behind is business intelligence and analytics. Only 22% of Hong Kong IT leaders rated these as top investment priorities, while 36% in the region prioritized BI and analytics.
Datacenters drive investments
Driven by the government's encouragement to turn Hong Kong into a regional datacenter hub, investment in datacenter infrastructure is rated at a much higher priority among Hong Kong enterprises (31%), as compared to those in the region (27%).
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