By Matthew Southwell
As the rest of the world tightens its belt in the face of the economic downturn, the Middle East is ramping up its IT spending. Locally, SMB is looking to capitalise on this through its corporate sales division.
While the rest of the world tightens its belt in the face of the economic downturn, the Middle East is ramping up its IT spending. Evidence of this comes from Madar Research Group, which reveals that within the GCC alone the IT market will grow at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4% and will touch US$8 billion per annum over the next three years.“What is happening outside of the UAE has little effect here because it [the UAE] can sustain itself through tough periods. This means that there is growth here in terms of IT and companies are still spending on technology, whether it is the government unveiling new projects or other sectors, such as the airline, expanding,” comments Seyed Ibrahim Bukhary, director, SMB Group. “Companies are certainly not cutting down on their IT expenditure and if anything it is going up,” he adds.Within the UAE, SMB Group is looking to capitalise on this trend by ramping up the activities of its corporate sales division. Specialising in a variety of IT solutions, the 120 person strong team is focusing on delivering end-to-end solutions to the local government, aviation and oil & gas sectors. Furthermore, SMB is seeking long term engagements rather than one of implementations. “We are building up our base structure to [operate] as a solutions provider… We work with them [our customers] from the beginning and throughout projects so that we can take the pain on their behalf. This makes migrations or implementations much easier for users and avoids the creation of bottlenecks,” explains Bukhary. “For example, we have recently completed a hardware project at Dubai Municipality and we are now helping them test wireless [solutions],” he adds.The ability to offer a range of products and services is key for local IT companies as end users are increasingly turning to one supplier for a full solution rather than a multitude of vendors. “The trend [in the UAE] is for solutions. Local companies now like to have just one vendor, rather than a number, because it saves them time and money,” explains Bukhary. “At the same time, this is the way the industry is moving as there is a lot of convergence in IT and more and more companies are offering full solutions,” he adds.