Global Tech Hot Spots: A country-level look at big data & analytics, cloud, mobile and social

WorldMapOur recently launched IBM Business Tech Trends study affirmed that big data and analytics, cloud, mobile and social are imperatives for today’s enterprises, with nearly three-quarters of IT and business decision makers regarding these technologies as strategically important for their business success.  This post examines the adoption, investment, and skills gaps by country for the four technology areas.

In a recent blog post, I wrote about the lightning speed of adoption: seven in ten enterprises are now deploying each of the big four technologies. And enterprises are continuing to put their money behind them too: Three-quarters project increased investments in big data and analytics, cloud and mobile over the next two years, while two-thirds plan to spend more on social business.

The Business Tech Trends study surveyed decision makers in 13 countries. To get a view of how enthusiastically – or cautiously – businesses across the world are adopting and investing, we examined levels by country. Here are the percentages of enterprises deploying each technology, and the percentages planning to increase investment over the next two years – worldwide, and within each country studied:

Adoption & investment by country for the four technology areas
Adoption & investment by country for the four technology areas

Here are some of my initial observations:

  • Mobile adoption in Brazil, China and India (three of the “BRIC” countries) surpasses worldwide mobile deployment levels.
  • Relative to mobile adoption worldwide and in other European countries, mobile adoption in Italy appears to be lagging somewhat.
  • Russia, Germany and Japan are slower adopters of social business than other countries – and, they’re not as enthusiastic about increasing their investments in this area.
  • Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Japan are lagging behind on cloud adoption.
  • Germany and Japan are considerably behind the worldwide adoption level of big data and analytics.
  • Even though Spain is currently on par with worldwide adoption levels of all four, the planned investment increases aren’t on pace with other countries – which could spell a slowdown in these tech areas for Spain.
  • Across all four technologies, adoption levels in Japan are not keeping pace with the rest of the world. Perhaps more worrisome, planned investment increases are also lagging well behind that of other countries.
  • In India and China, planned investment increases in all four tech areas outstrip the worldwide percentages.
Skills by country for the four technology areas
Skills gaps by country for the four technology areas

Across the four areas, skills remain a thorny issue, with roughly 4 in 10 enterprises reporting moderate-to-major skill gaps in each area. As I’ve written previously, skills are a moving target – what suffices today may not be enough for an enterprise’s needs tomorrow. Skill levels are also relative to what an enterprise is aiming to achieve in each tech area: if the target is less ambitious, current skills may be sufficient.

There’s quite a bit of variation in skill gaps from country to country. One thing to keep in mind: Having a lower percentage of enterprises reporting skill gaps doesn’t necessarily translate to greater skills maturity. Instead, it may mean that more enterprises feel their skills are “good enough” to meet their current needs:

Some of my observations about the global skill gaps:

  • Compared to worldwide levels, a much greater percentage of enterprises in Japan are reporting moderate-to-major skill gaps in each tech area. Given the lagging deployment in Japan, one has to wonder whether the skill gaps are presenting a major obstacle to adoption there.
  • In South Africa, the skill gaps in big data and analytics, mobile and social appear to be a bigger issue than they are worldwide.
  • In Italy, skill gaps in all four areas surpass the worldwide levels.
  • In Germany – a slower adopter of social business – a lower percentage of enterprises report skill gaps than worldwide. This suggests that a lack of skills isn’t what’s holding Germany back in the social arena.
  • Spain is reporting smaller skill gaps than the worldwide average. Paired with their less enthusiastic investment plans, this could also indicate that more Spanish enterprises feel they have already enough skills to accomplish what they want in these tech areas.

What do you see in this country-specific data? Does your knowledge of a particular country help explain why it’s higher or lower on adoption, investment, skills?

We welcome you to discover your own insights and share your thoughts in the comments area below!

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