UPFRONT Tech talk

If it’s true that the road to disaster is paved with good intentions, recent report by specialist technology media company iStart should make worrying reading. The 567 local companies that responded to iStart’s inaugural survey of IT investment intentions collectively predicted they will be pumping cool $443 million into the IT industry this year.
Marty Verry, iStart’s managing director, says he was impressed with “solid intentions” to invest in new and emerging technologies, picking radio frequency identifier devices (RFID) as an area to watch with 11 percent of respondents saying they may not have the technology now but they expect to have put cash that way by the end of this year.
Since most of these respondents are manufacturers, it looks as though they are thinking ahead of the game and preparing for the time when their partners further down the supply chain start demanding the technology.
Expect too to see hike in investments in the twin areas of voice over internet protocol (VoIP)/IP/telephony and wireless networks/WiFi systems, with almost fifth of iStart’s respondents saying they don’t have these now but will buy new before the close of the year. Read this, says Verry, as sure sign that companies are starting to understand the benefits these technologies can bring to their business.
Not all the drama will play out in the new technologies sector. Forty-three percent of all the companies that shared their IT capex plans with iStart report they will be investing in traditional must-have technologies such as printers, copiers and fax machines.
If that’s the case, current preparations by local integrated document solutions company U-Bix and global giant Konica Minolta to team up from April 1 as Konica Minolta Business Solutions New Zealand are well timed.
Josh Byers, marketing communications manager for both companies, says the move will meld the two sales, service and operations teams into one unit, resulting in locally owned and operated company backed by the research and development grunt of the international Konica Minolta group.
Byers says this will make the local organisation New Zealand’s largest printer technology company with solid one third-plus of the local business printing technology market – “number one market share by long shot”.
Interestingly, there’s still room for growth in the much-maligned CRM sector with 13 percent of iStart’s respondents saying they may have nothing now but will by the end of the year.
While Verry acknowledges that companies filling in his survey forms may indeed be more technologically inclined than the average Kiwi company, he also points out that extrapolated across iStart’s total subscriber database of 1958 companies he would expect to see investments closer to $1.5 billion.
We won’t have long to wait. Verry plans to run the survey at the end of each year to build insight into patterns of behaviour and establish trends. It will soon become obvious whether this talk of techno-spending has turned into action or remains just that: talk.

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