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Fri 2 Aug 2019 12:29 AM

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How UAE firms compare globally in embracing the digital age

New survey says the UAE performs better than the global average on most capabilities related to digitalisation

How UAE firms compare globally in embracing the digital age

UAE companies are ahead of their global peers when it comes to embracing the digital age, according to a new survey.

The 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG Chief Information Officer Survey said the UAE performs better than the global average in four out of five technology-related capabilities, including using suitable internal and external resources to access the right technology skills and changing ways of working to maximise value from technology.

It added that the UAE is also on a par with global organisations when it comes to investing in digital strategies, with nearly half of UAE-based firms employing a chief digital officer or someone similar serving in that capacity.

Farhan Syed, partner, Digital & Innovation at KPMG Lower Gulf, said: “Our study shows that UAE companies tend to be more effective than their global peers across a range of digital-related capabilities. This is very encouraging, especially as the UAE has embarked on a long-term mission to transform the public and private sectors by adopting innovative digital strategies that improve the customer experience and drive business efficiency.”

When it comes to data security and trust, only 14 percent of UAE CIOs reported cyber attacks in the past two years compared with 32 percent of global CIOs. Nearly all UAE CIOs said they feel their organisation is capable of dealing with cyber attacks now and in the near future.

In terms of technology adoption, UAE CIOs are widely embracing cloud technologies (67 percent) and are increasingly implementing more emerging technologies such as robotic process automation (29 percent), and artificial intelligence/machine learning (24 percent).

Albert Ellis, CEO, Harvey Nash said: “The fact that UAE CIOs are implementing more emerging technologies such as AI and Machine Learning is very significant - as both are accelerants which when added to the normal evolution of automation are exponentially changing the pace of change and shortening the life of each separate and incremental innovation.

"It’s therefore important that the CIO and their IT team remains at the heart of these new technologies, working with the business and helping shape the AI strategy. Innovation will be the lifeblood of any business, and IT will be its enabler."

Approximately half of UAE CIOs (49 percent) surveyed expect their IT budget to increase over the next 12 months, slightly lower than the result globally (52 percent).

The survey also showed that CEOs in the UAE are significantly more interested in IT projects which save money (53 percent in the UAE versus 36 percent globally) rather than make money.

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