UAE businesses struggling with digital transition

Research shows country lagging behind rest of the world
UAE businesses struggling with digital transition
By Gavin Gibbon
Thu 13 Jun 2019 12:06 PM

Sixty-four percent of UAE organisations admit they are struggling to remain competitive because they lack digital competencies.

This compares to 54 percent in North America and 56 percent in EMEA, according to new research by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

In Benchmarking competencies for digital performance, commissioned by Riverbed, 83 percent of UAE respondents saw digital competencies as being either very or extremely important in achieving, among other things, organisational agility, employee satisfaction, and talent acquisition.

But 74 percent of UAE respondents said their digital-competency gaps have negatively affected user experience.

Elie Dib, Regional Vice President, EMEA Emerging Markets, at Riverbed said, “Based on the findings of the EIU survey, there is a call to action for enterprises in the region to invest in digital competencies to ensure the long-term success of their business transformation efforts.”

The research shows the importance companies place on improved digital competency is driven by the fact that the majority of businesses that do so are achieving meaningful results - 76 percent of UAE organisations surveyed reported measurable benefits from their digital strategies.

In terms of overcoming the capability gap, 72 percent cited digital product and service innovation as their top digital competency for achieving their goals, with digital workplace transformation and digital talent recruitment, retention and management tying for second in this priority list at 66 percent. In addition, enabling greater communication and collaboration between IT and the rest of the organisation (where digital competencies may be scarce) can significantly improve digital performance and user experience.

Globally, high performers believe a continual focus is also vital, with 74 percent of them keen to improve all digital competencies, compared with 80 percent of all UAE respondents, indicating a potentially greater scope for enhancement of digital competencies in the country.

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