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Tue 21 Dec 2004 04:00 AM

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More consolidation expected for ERP market

Qatar and Saudi Arabia will be key Middle East markets in 2005. The region's service and retail sector will also be buoyant.

The enterprise resource planning (ERP) market in the Middle East is expected to see further consolidation in 2005 as vendors react to a series of mergers and acquisitions in the industry, says ERP vendor Exact Software.

Strong demand for ERP solutions from the service sector, and increased investment in software from the regional markets of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are also expected to be the key areas of growth in the next 12 months.

“This year has been dominated by the merger of the industry’s two largest players,” says Nizar Badwan, general manager of Exact Software Middle East. “There will inevitably be some fall out as other vendors assess what impact this will have on the market both internationally and regionally,” he adds.

“There have been suggestions in the market that other companies will merge, a trend I would expect to see continue in 2005. It is an interesting time for the ERP sector, and what happens over the next 12 months will determine the future direction of the industry.”

Badwan is also expecting that demand will continue to be strong for ERP solutions across the Middle East, as companies look to streamline their operations and reduce costs as small to medium sized business continue to grow.

Qatar, which will host the 2006 Asian Games, is expected to be strong investor in ERP applications, as the country prepares for the sporting event. Solid profits from Saudi Arabian businesses, coupled with high oil prices, produced good liquidity in both the private and public sectors, the first for many years, will also be ploughed back into IT investment.

In anticipation of the expected demand from Qatar and the Kingdom, the vendor has plans to start operations in both countries during the coming 2005. Its Exact Globe 2003 Enterprise Solution is localised for both markets.

“Exact Software is well placed to meet the needs of customers in both of these territories. Our direct sales and implementation model means we provide the highest levels of quality in implementation, technical support and training.”

ERP software for the retail sector will also feature prominently during 2005, as major shopping developments and hotels come online. “The scale and number of projects near completion in the Middle East means there will be a need for retail solutions,” adds Badwan.

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