South Africa has faced a variety of challenges from 2020 to 2021, which have had a massive effect on the economy, such as the decrease in revenue and the increase in the unemployment rate. The ICT sector has faced a variety of challenges itself. The demand on infrastructure and services have shown a remarkable increase due to a reliance on cloud services to work remotely.
The ultimate trend that we foresee for 2021 is a focus on automation, which in turn puts additional pressure on the ICT sector. The problem that this trend will present is the demand for additional sophisticated infrastructure that South Africa, in general, has a lack of.
Besides the lack of infrastructure needed to support automation, there are several factors specific to South Africa that hinders this industry. An example would be unreliable sources of electricity and also a prevalent ideology of doing work traditionally.
If you look at automation internationally, it is a $221 billion business. In South Africa, automation is a $130 million business. Despite the clear difference between the revenue generation internationally and in South Africa, we are expected to see a 50% growth rate per annum in ICT Automation. Globally, the growth rate in this industry is around 7%. This immense growth rate allows us to confidently say that automation is going to become king in South Africa.
Despite the factors hindering the full adoption of automation, the drive to begin implementing automation infrastructure is high and we recommend businesses begin putting tools in place within their companies to support this drive.
Consumer behaviour is also showing a trend towards personalised and customisable customer experiences, which automation makes possible. Consumers want to be involved in the purchasing process and do things themselves. Automated software allows these consumers to personalise their experience and streamline the ordering and purchasing process.
With an expected 50% growth rate in the ICT industry, there is a clear indication that automation will become the norm in South Africa. South Africa still has a lot to learn to facilitate an automated environment, but there is an eagerness to catch up to the overseas countries in terms of the ICT industry.