By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
Patama Chantaruck, vice president for Indochina Expansion and managing director of IBM Thailand, said the Thai market narrative is increasingly influenced by emerging technologies (hybrid cloud, AI, blockchain) and evolving customer preferences that are driving industry and digital disruption. The rising importance of data-driven business models, security-aware IT architectures and hyper-connected ecosystems puts an increasingly diverse set of players into competition to ensure relevancy and success.
IDC has unveiled its top predictions for Thailand’s IT industry for 2019 and beyond, saying that by 2022, over 61 per cent of the country’s GDP will be digitalised. Growth in industries driven by digitally enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships will lead to US$72 billion (Bt2.217 trillion) in IT-related spending from 2019 through 2022. IDC believes that a digitalised economy will create more intense competition, especially when digital disruptors are heavily penetrating the local market.
According to Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa), Thailand’s IT market will grow by more than 13 per cent year on year in 2019, and will be worth Bt527 billion by the end of this year. Hardware will be the biggest contributor with Bt234 billion while digital services will have the highest growth at 34 per cent.
IDC predicted that, by 2024, AI-enabled user interfaces and process automation will replace one-third of today's screen-based apps in Thailand. By 2022, 20 per cent of enterprises will use conversational speech tech for customer engagement.
According to Forrester’s Asia Pacific Tech Market Outlook for 2019 to 2020, business and government purchases of tech good and services in Thailand is expected to grow 5 per cent annually this year and the next.
Anothai Wettayakorn, vice president of Dell EMC Indochina, said the world has been moving towards the digital era in the past few years with data as the most valuable asset at the centre of an organisation, supported by new technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
Organisations in both the private and public sectors need to adopt advanced technologies in the process of digital transformation. With data at the core and applications running in multi-cloud, companies can develop insights that allow them to deliver the best experience to customers while creating new business models to beat the competitions.
Private companies and state agencies have been striving to improve their IT infrastructure to cope with the progress in technology. Apart from investing in new technology architecture, companies are also focusing on application developments supporting multi-cloud-based operations, especially mobile applications that create more value for their businesses.
Technology development and improvement play a vital role in encouraging young workers, allowing them to work anywhere at any time with any device and application. This includes advanced security systems to protect and prevent organisations from cybersecurity threats.
Anothai said Thailand has adopted advanced technologies at a high acceleration rate, backed by the government's strong support, clear direction and policies, such as the Thailand 4.0 initiative.
More private and public investments are expected in five key technologies: cybersecurity, IoT, AI, multi-cloud and compute-centric approach data centre.
A Forrester survey showed that 100 per cent of the respondents were using multiple cloud infrastructure and/or cloud application platforms while 99 per cent believed the use of combined infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service platforms improve performance.
According to IDC, as Thailand embraces the digital path for its economy, as much as 61 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product will come from industries driven by digitally enhanced products and services by 2022. IDC predicted that Thailand’s transformation would drive $72 billion in IT-related spending from 2019 to 2022.
The Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index indicates that businesses in Thailand plan to invest more in the next two to three years in security and emerging technologies, including multi-cloud, AI, IoT, VR/AR.
In the digital era, data is considered an organisation’s most valuable asset, Anothai said.
To reap the most benefits from data, it’s necessary to bring together advanced technologies, such as using IoT to retrieve huge amounts of data into the system for further analytics while AI works to provide users' in-depth information, which when used with advanced applications would increase an organisation’s competitiveness. It’s believed that investment in the next five years will be in these areas.
Anothai said companies and organisations must embrace changes to stay relevant in the digital era. Even IT businesses need to adapt to emerging technologies to meet customers’ demand. It’s also necessary to retrain workers to enhance their ability to keep pace with the changes.
Kaival Boonsaith, head of digital solutions at Fujitsu (Thailand), said that Data Analytics, AI and machine learning will lead the market from fiscal year 2019 to fiscal 2022 while new business model over new platforms will be more and more visible in Thai businesses.
AI and Big Data allow corporates know more about their customers’ behaviour and preferences, whereas robotics reduce workplace risk and shorten the production process. Blockchain will lessen risk in loan approvals.
He added that the new IT startup companies, with their own platform, stand out as they will be more dynamic in their new approach.
Supak Lailert, executive director and chief operating officer at Yip In Tsoi, said organisations must cope with the digital disruption through new technologies. Companies should also equip their workers with in-depth expertise, able to change and learn new things faster and more diverse.
Moreover, businesses will utilise cloud services to increase business activities and streamline operation process while cloud security will have an important role in driving cloud efficiency and support market demand. He added that Yip In Tsoi had transformed itself from being a system integrator to a provider of digital services to the market.
Meanwhile, technologies that will lead the IT market in the next three to five years are cloud computing, Big Data, AI, blockchain and cybersecurity, he said.
Organisations adopting these technologies will have an advantage over their rivals in an economy driven by data innovation, AI and automation.
Nuttaporn Voonklinhom, an executive at Thailand e-Business Centre (TeC), said the development and growth of mobile technology was the key driver for the creation of Big Data.
Meanwhile, artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) will enter into the daily life of consumers, providing more convenience in the areas of smart home appliances and devices.
He said Forrester Research expected global technology market spending to reach $3.36 trillion by the end of this year, compared to $2.859 trillion in 2014. Companies will continue to invest in new hardware and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, related innovations and technologies such as Big Data and digitalised software to boost operational efficiency.
Vatsun Thirapatarapong, managing director at Cisco Systems (Thailand), said enterprise marketing saw high growth in the past few years as corporates prepare for transition. Growth will continue in the Thai IT market with companies making further investments in information technology to create added value to their services and products.
In the process digitalisation, technologies with the highest growth potential are social, mobile, analytics and the cloud while AI, blockchain, automation and IoT help facilitate the transition, he said.
Vatsun said, in the digital era, customers and businesses could participate and utilise various services to meet their demands and requirements.