IDC & KPMG: Where Bulgaria was on the ICT map in 2013 and where it is heading by 2020
The Bulgarian ICT market in 2013 was marked by several positive growing trends that had been gaining momentum during the previous years, as well as by a couple of serious problems, one of of which will become even more threatening in the future.
According to Nikola Nyagolov, Management and IT Senior Manager at KPMG Bulgaria, 2013 was not too different from the several previous years in terms of the ICT trends in Bulgaria. The growth of the IT market was mainly attributable to the software companies, while harware sales suffered.
There was a clearly growing trend in
outsourcing and shared services centers,
the latter being opened by large international companies. This has made Bulgaria a top outsourcing destination both in Europe and globally, and has made the segment the greatest pretender for the fastest growing ICT segment in Bulgaria, he pointed out, adding that this will be a huge trend in at least the next three years.
Offering infrastructure and software as a service in the cloud with local support will also be big, Nikola Nyagolov expects.
There is also a hope for considerable development in
e-government and e-health,
two areas that need a lot of action to integrate all existing systems, as well as to implement new ones. In 2013, there was very high interest towards e-administration projects by the government and the municipalities. The effect of these initiatives is yet to be evaluated.
In the meantime, the market will need to pay some serious attention to developing own software products and stimulate that. This perspective could keep and even further boost the market momentum gained so far, according to Nikola Nyagolov.
Another positive trend was the growing interest of small businesses towards complete technology solutions, he added.
Neli Vacheva, Country Manager of IDC Bulgaria, saw 2013 full of contradictions, obscurity and tense for the business, mostly because of the political crisis. The most positive things seems to be the gradually gworing awareness of the corporate segment regarding good IT process organization and looking for more complex solutions for long-term benefits.
The mobile hype
was also representative of 2013. „Mobile apps development got a big boost in 2013'”, Neli Vacheva said. “The market is still very fragmented though, and the usage of mobile versions of enterprise applications is still low. In the following years, I expect that mobile apps penetration in the enterprise will continue, and more attention will be paid to integrating mobile and existing systems, as well as security. On the other hand, developers will have trouble making enough revenue from mobile apps.“
„Mobile devices – smartphones and tablets – also had a strong momentum on the Bulgarian market in 2013. Despite this having some negative impact over the mobile computers market, I expect it will recover along with the improving economy,“ she added.
Moreover, in 2013 the financial sector offered various mobile services to its customers, and this will continue in 2014.
Content will also play a more significant role in the future. We will see both global and local content creators compete in this race.
IaaS, storage, SMB
IDC also sees the business with infrastructure as a service growing bigger in Bulgaria. „The IaaS business in Bulgaria doubled and I expect it to grow further in 2014 with the help of new vendors,“ Neli Vacheva noted.
Storage was another impotant business, and still is, and in 2013 organizations paid more attention to software-based storage/software-designed storage. „It is clear that we are heading to the opportunities to store data on any physical or logical resource, as well as to move them without any effort. IaaS will offer more improvements in terms of creating an abstract layer that can facilitate the management of systems by different providers and will make it easier to scale and dedicate resources according to the current or planned needs,“ Neli Vacheva explained.
The storage business in 2013 in Bulgaria was also interesting for the emergence of new solutions targeted at SMBs which come with features that were previously typical to higher-end solutions. This helped vendors increase their sales revenues.
Looking fruther into 2020,
the Internet of Things will get more important. We need to pay attention to events like Google bying Nest – a deal that will relatively quickly clear the path for home intelligent systems. We cannot expect miracles, but such technologies are very likely to enter our homes by 2020. „I expect that many of these solutions will use geolocation, despite its privacy-related ambivalence,“ Neli Vacheva said.
More and more efforts will be put into securing IT resources. There will most probably be accidents that will lead to more control over data and system protection. A second line of defense will be continuously developed, which will analyze systems for unusual behavior. Their task will be to shorten the time between problem identification and reaction.
Small and medium businesses will feel a higher need to use more than the basic defense mechanisms and will more often rely on cloud security services.
Mobile security will also be a growing trend, especially in the Android ecosystem.
„I would also like to say that smart grid technologies be among the hits in the near future but the ambiguous signs make me think we can expect some more serious movement around 2020. We must not forget that the real benefit of smart grid technologies is when there is an entire ecosystem, not just isolated smart islands, which means the trend will go along with the usual interests and lobbying,“ Neli Vacheva pointed out.
„I also believe more and more companies will take advantage ot analytics technologies, including regarding bid data. In Bulgaria, big data analytics will become a reality within 1-2 years,“ added Neli Vacheva.
The two main problems
for the ICT sector in 2013 were the political crisis, which nearly knocked the newly elected government down, and the shortage of technical specialists.
Now, as the political crisis is moslty gone, the market needs to deal with finding enough good employees.
„The ICT market has been suffering from a hunger for qualified people and this issue will become eve more serious in the future,“, pointed out Nikola Nyagolov.