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Mon 18 Jan 2010 07:21 AM

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UAE eyes $5bn IT spend amid rapid Gulf growth

Saudi Arabia, Qatar also predicted to see big growth in tech investments - report.

UAE eyes $5bn IT spend amid rapid Gulf growth
TECH SPEND: IT investment in the UAE is forecast to rise by 12 percent in 2010. (Getty Images)

The UAE is set to spend almost $5bn on technology this year, as the Gulf becomes one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for IT expenditure.Significant growth is also predicted in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to a new report by the US-based global technology consultancy IDC.

“The UAE stands out as a key hub in the Middle Eastern and Africa region,” said Jyoti Lalchandani, vice president and regional managing director at IDC’s Middle East office, in comments published by UAE daily The National.

The UAE leads the way in the MENA region and is forecast to spend $4.79bn on IT this year, an increase of 12.4 percent on last year.

Companies in the Middle East and Africa are set to spend $49.77bn this year, with the Gulf region expected to contribute about 25 percent of the total, Lalchandani told the paper.

“It will be the fastest growth region worldwide,” he said.

He noted that regional spending fell last year by about 5 per cent to $44bn due to the impact of the global financial crisis, adding that technology spending appears to be on the rebound.

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Curious 10 years ago

I would be interested to know which all companies in UAE are planning to put so much money in IT investment for 2010... I was of assumption that they are just surviving on the current business and unless that improves, IT investment takes a back seat.

Michael H Williams 10 years ago

We endorse your report that the Gulf is one of the world’s fastest growing regions for IT expenditure, and share the view that there is a strong commitment to build a new business infrastructure that will place the region in pole position when the global economic situation improves. But commentators overlook the fact that there are challenges in building this infrastructure on such a large scale, and from a fairly basic starting point. Not least, companies need to understand the basics at the very outset, and make sure their IT plan is aligned with their business plans for growth and development. Key areas such as business continuity and data management represent a huge learning curve for organisations unused to the rigours of international compliance requirements and the massive volumes of data that will be generated in this fast growing market. And while organisations are increasingly looking at using data centres in other regions such as London, the poor communications infrastructure across the Gulf creates serious challenges in achieving that goal. Furthermore, there has been a tendency to assume that mere investment in market leading hardware, software and networking will, by default, deliver a state of the art IT infrastructure. Shunning the perceived cost of internationally experienced IT employees, many Gulf organisations have looked locally or regionally for consultants to implement and support these projects. Whilst a number of these individuals offer excellent technical skills they do not have the hands-on experience of implementing leading applications within a fast growing business environment; and few understand the need to define the underlying business processes to ensure the applications’ functionality is both maximised and reflects business requirements. Organisations need rapidly to look for suitable partners who can offer broad experience in implementing these key solutions and who understand local needs, to avoid losing momentum in this time of unprecedented economic opportunity. Michael H Williams Chairman Sovereign Business Integration