MENA to witness tech boom in coming years

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Middle East and North Africa region is set to witness 14% growth in technology with multibillion dollar investment by Gulf companies this year, according to an assessment made by technology research firm.

Information Technology (IT) companies’ spending in the Middle East and North Africa countries is set to increase this year, in contrast with declining budgets in North America and Europe, Gartner said in its report.

The analysis firm projected the investment growth after conducting a worldwide survey of chief information officers who guaranteed IT investment in these countries.

Gulf is definitely a region to watch, said Mark McDonald, group VP for Gartner Executive Programmes. Theyre investing in new technology and companies based in Gulf are investing in technology to reach out the surrounding areas, Mark added.

There is a surge of growth in IT companies and many of the regional companies are looking to expand in neighbouring markets.
However, the research firm did not reveal the value of investment that will be done by IT Companies in the region.

A separate report from IDC research firm said IT spending in regions like Middle East, North Africa and Turkey is expected to surpass US$65 billion, a 12 percent increase compared to last year.

BACK STAGE

The Gartner report forecasted worldwide spending on IT industry is going to be around $3.8 trillion this year. However, McDonald still feared spending can suffer a setback due to two factors in Gulf region: shortage of skilled IT workers and low number of IT vendors.

Talent is a significant issue – the ability to attract it, the ability to build it locally as well. The technology vendor marketplace is not as developed as it needs to be to achieve those strategies, the report underlined.

The research company surveyed around 2,335 executives in 45 countries who handled an IT budget of $321 billion. The survey also found that global growth of IT industry is expected to rise by 2-3%.

SPENDING PREDICTION

International Data Corporation (IDC), an advisory firm for IT predicts that markets in Middle East, Turkey and North Africa, will be characterised by leveraging of disruptive technologies and operating models like cloud, virtualization, mobility and analytics.
Last month, IDC issued a report which said the regions main focus would be on investing in the IT industry and supporting business growth.

Arab Spring and political uprisings that marred the region last yearalso hampered growth for IT industry in the Middle East region. Stability in the political environment, especially in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, will spur IT spending this year, Gartner insisted in its report.

Qatar has been identified as the most promising country for IT industry in coming years with 14% of growth year on year.

If focused on technology, IDC expects virtualization in the region. Adoption is still slow in Gulf countries, where system and application availability is a big concern and often overrides the cost benefits offered by virtualization. Having said that, Greenfield IT projects now invariably have virtualization as a cornerstone and foundation for future expansion and possible cloud development,Jyoti Lalchandani, VP and MD of IDC, MENA and Turkey, said.

South Africa and Turkey, where cost is a major driver, are seeing a rapid increase in virtualization adoption, Lalchandani added.IDC said it also expects to see transformation in employees’ productivity in the region by the end of this year that can help in growth of IT industry.

According to IDC, field-force automation, service management, time and attendance management, business intelligence are examples of apps that could witness huge demand in 2012.

“IT market in Middle East will surely recover from Arab spring but will face global setback,” the report concluded.

Sources: The National, africanbrains

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