THERE is no denying that 2011 was another challenging year for businesses. The current economic uncertainties in the United States and Europe have been casting a gloom over all global markets this year, and Malaysia is not spared.
Although Malaysia has been relatively shielded from the brunt of the global uncertainties, aided by the ongoing efforts of the Government to sustain the country's growth through these testy times, the outlook for the Malaysian economy has the potential to swing either way next year.
This is precisely why organisations need to take a good hard look at their business to ensure that it is innovative and flexible enough to weather through the potential storm.
If organisations want to remain competitive - even in the good times, the onus is on them to transform themselves to deal with the volatile and dynamic business landscape that is increasingly susceptible to global uncertainties.
Many will find it counter-intuitive to change and spend during uncertain times, but history has shown that during downturns or recessions, organisations that are innovative and continue to stay innovative get back on their feet much quicker than those that are afraid to do so.
A key enabler of change and innovation is technology. Organisations should be evaluating technologies such as cloud computing that can help them ensure that their business is more efficient, cost effective and agile to be better prepared for whatever that lies ahead.
Research firm Gartner reported that spending on IT products and services by enterprises in Asia Pacific is expected to grow 8% to exceed US$367bil (RM1.01 trillion) in 2012.
In Malaysia, enterprise IT spending is forecast to reach RM31.5bil (RM94.5bil) in 2012, up 6.1% over 2011.
The report validates that despite the continued global economic uncertainties, businesses are still investing in IT because it continues to be a primary driver for business growth.
The journey ahead next year will be one filled with challenges and roadblocks. On top of the glum economic outlook, businesses are also facing disruptive IT challenges such as the unabated growth of data and the proliferation of trends such as mobility, social/digital media and cloud computing.
So we foresee that technology vendors will be playing an integral role in helping businesses get more out of their IT systems.
(Andy Khoo is country manager for NetApp Malaysia & Brunei, a computer storage and data management company.)