The pandemic has led many organizations in the Middle East to shift towards a digital-first strategy. According to IDC’s group vice president and regional managing director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, Jyoti Lalchandani: “This means choosing digitalization options over non-digital options as a rule while implementing or enhancing new products, services, channels, customer/employee experiences, or operational processes.”

While many organizations in the Middle East region already had a digital-first strategy before the pandemic, over 40% of the CIOs of medium and large organizations IDC surveyed over the last month say they have shifted towards being “digital-first” because of the pandemic. A quarter of the respondents say they are now extending the digital-first strategies developed during the pandemic.
The Middle East is on the edge of a massive digital disruption. Companies and governments are aware of the benefits of new technologies and digitization: optimizing costs and operating resources, ensuring customer satisfaction, attracting new customers, and gaining a competitive advantage through digital adoption.

GCC countries are increasingly looking to invest in Digital. Saudi Arabia has created its Saudi Vision 2030 program and the United Arab Emirates is driving initiatives through its UAE Digital Government Strategy 2025.
UAE’s program aims to double the contribution of the digital economy to the country’s GDP from 9.7% to 19.4% over the next 10 years, and the strategy is already bearing fruit.

Jyoti Lalchandani highlights the flagship giga projects in Saudi such as NEOM, the Red Sea Project, AMAALA, and Ad Diriyah that will drive significant technology spending in 2023 and beyond as the Kingdom builds greenfield digital infrastructure and platforms, leveraging advanced technologies like AI/ML, IoT, edge, and 5G to create innovative use cases.

At the same time, as organizations across the region become more digitally mature, they must transition from enabling digital transformation to running a digital business. This requires them to derive a larger share of revenues from digital products, services, channels, and platforms, something that is now a priority for 50% of the Middle East CIOs surveyed by IDC.

“As their organizations make this transition over the coming 12-18 months, CIOs will be increasingly challenged to accelerate the digitalization of operations (process automation, reengineering, and productivity improvements) and deliver insights at scale across the organization by building capabilities in data and enterprise intelligence,” adds Lalchandani.

IDC says we can expect to see a considerable jump in interest around the metaverse over the course of 2023, IDC research shows that only 2% of CIOs in the Middle East currently have a commercial use for the metaverse, 20% of them are planning to develop one in the next 12 months.

LEAP and Gitex: Must-attend events in the region

LEAP is Saudi Arabia’s global tech event focused on bringing together leading tech corporations to inspire the next generation of start-ups and venture capitalists.
The first edition of the conference was held in February last year and attracted more than 100,000 visitors. This will be the second edition of the technology conference which has been launched with the theme of ‘Into New Worlds’. LEAP 2023 will be held from February 6-9 in Riyadh Front Expo Centre, Saudi Arabia.

During Gitex week, Dubai was the stage for Chinese company XPeng’s flying car to make its first public trip. Also last year at Gitex and Gisec (Gitex event focused on cybersecurity) the topic of women in IT came to the fore, with a full-day panel exploring initiatives to close the gender gap in technology. In terms of cybersecurity, much discussion was about how to increase the percentage of women in cybersecurity roles over the last decade, women make up only 25% of the global cybersecurity workforce, according to the latest (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study.

“Nowadays, only 25% of women are studying computer science. In 1985 that percentage was 37%. We are attracting fewer women to come to the university,” said Inass Farouk, marketing director at Microsoft UAE during the conference. At the same time, women are so underrepresented, the cybersecurity is woefully short of staff; (ISC)2 estimates that the cybersecurity industry urgently needs 2.5 million professionals.
This year, Gitex will take place from October 16-20, and for the first time in the MEA region, Morocco will host the Gitex Africa edition in June.

What will CIOs in the region be focusing on and why?

Cloud is undoubtedly becoming the de facto operating platform for digital business, and we can expect to see a greater number of CIOs across the region move beyond the initial stages of cloud adoption to focus more on the broader implementation of business apps in the cloud.

Hybrid multi-clouds will become the norm in 2023, with spending on both public and private clouds continuing to increase, and application modernization will accelerate as organizations look to transform their app estates leveraging the cloud, according to IDC’s Jyoti Lalchandani.

Sustainability will be another key theme throughout the year, with around one-third of the Middle East CIOs surveyed by IDC having already started the data discovery process to identify the internal systems that house the key data required to drive sustainability initiatives. This year COP28, the 28th session of the Conference of Parties will be held at Dubai Expo City from November 30 to December 12 to discuss and find solutions for climate change.

Technology Industry

Even as enterprises attempt to tackle economic headwinds with budget cutbacks, a research report from market research firm Gartner showed that end-user public cloud spending is expected to grow in 2023.

The report, which covers categories such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) among other cloud services, showed that public cloud spending is slated to reach a total of $591.80 billion in 2023, a 20.7% increase from $490.30 billion in 2022.

The 20.7% growth in spending is higher than the 18.8% growth recorded in 2022.  

“Current inflationary pressures and macroeconomic conditions are having a push and pull effect on cloud spending. Cloud computing will continue to be a bastion of safety and innovation, supporting growth during uncertain times due to its agile, elastic and scalable nature,” said Sid Nag, a vice president and analyst at Gartner.

Infrastructure-as-a-service to outpace other services in growth

Out of all the public cloud services, IaaS is expected to see the highest growth in 2023 with spending expected to reach $150.25 billion, an increase of 29.8% from $115.74 billion in 2022.

The reason for the growth, according to Gartner, is continued migration of enterprises to the cloud.

“IaaS will naturally continue to grow as businesses accelerate IT modernization initiatives to minimize risk and optimize costs,” Nag said, adding that moving operations to the cloud also reduces capital expenditures by extending cash outlays over a subscription term.

This benefit will play a vital role during times of economic uncertainty as cash will be critical to maintaining operations for an enterprise, the analyst said.

PaaS and SaaS to grow despite challenges

SaaS is expected to grow but might see the most impact from an economic downturn due to staffing challenges and enterprises’ focus on margin protection because of inflation, according to Gartner.

“Higher-wage and more skilled staff are required to develop modern SaaS applications, so organizations will be challenged as hiring is reduced to control costs,” said Nag.

SaaS spending is expected to reach $195.20 billion in 2023, an increase of 16.8% from $167.10 billion in 2022. SaaS spending in 2021 was estimated at $146.32 billion.

Explaining the continued growth in SaaS services, Nag said that cloud spending will grow due to its “perpetual” usage.

“Once applications and workloads move to the cloud they generally stay there, and subscription models ensure that spending will continue through the term of the contract and most likely well beyond,” Nag said.

PaaS spending is expected to grow by 23.2% to reach $136.40 billion in 2023 compared to $110.67 billion in 2022.

The growth in PaaS services can be attributed to its ability to facilitate more efficient and automated code generation for SaaS applications, according to the market research firm.

However, despite the generally upbeat outlook, Gartner cautioned that if enterprises end up deciding to make large budget cuts, cloud spending could be affected since it forms the biggest chunk of any IT budget.

“Cloud spending could decrease if overall IT budgets shrink, given that cloud continues to be the largest chunk of IT spend and proportionate budget growth,” said Nag.

Other public cloud services such as security capabilities, business process services (BPaaS), and desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) are all expected to grow in 2023, the report showed.

Budgeting, Cloud Computing

By: Amrita Shergill, Account Manager, NaaS and Ecosystem Sales at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.

Post pandemic trends have accelerated the need for agility in IT, network procurement, and management. IT procurement cycles have accelerated and investments have increased – much more than pre-COVID. According to a IDC1, 71 percent of organizations report their long-term planning cycles have shortened due to COVID-19, with 82 percent of the same participants stating that long-term planning cycles have been reduced to two years or less. 

In addition, the post-COVID world has seen the hybrid workplace become the new norm. With a majority of employees splitting their time between the home office and workplace, managing and securing the enterprise inside and outside its boundaries in a flexible and scalable manner is a priority. 

To address this requirement and ensure seamless connectivity, organizations are rapidly adopting consumption-driven NaaS models to balance the cost of their network growth with the digital experience of their stakeholders.

Organizations are also looking to accelerate connectivity to edge locations while easing the burden of managing those new locales. They require simple platforms that enable rapid access to new technology to ensure the network meets the needs of their business. 

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) technology, and flexible consumption models like network-as-a-service (NaaS) make it possible for organizations to respond effectively to these challenges. IDC’s research also revealed that approximately one third of organizations have deployed NaaS and another 35 percent plan to deploy NaaS within the next one to two years.

Moving Towards an “Experience” Economy

Organizations are no longer looking to purchase just network hardware and software; rather, they are seeking to provide customers and users with an experience that offers:

A best-in-class agile network solution with richer levels of visibility and cross-platform control including centralized management and AI/ML capabilities for seamless and efficient network operation. Technology that minimizes operational risk and provides advanced data management and protection that spans the entire edge-to-core continuum.An optimized network planning experience along with scalability and sustainability built-in, and a simple monthly payment with no upfront capital expenditure. Additionally, the NaaS provider removes the traditional challenges of managing/operating networks. 

The traditional method of purchasing based on price and product features is outdated. Organizations should embrace value-based decision making that focuses on the business objectives and that benefits for the various stakeholders (technology, operations, procurement, finance, security, data analytics, environment, etc.) who all have a vested interest in the network.These stakeholders, primarily the C-suite, should measure investments in terms of money, risk, and time, as well as make decisions based on a solid understanding of the return on investment (ROI).

Transitioning to Business Value 

The transition from purchasing based on price and features requires a new approach, one that is focused on business challenges, outcomes, and value. This approach provides a variety of benefits, such as:

Receiving an integrated solution to address current and future business requirements, by having stakeholders work with teams they wouldn’t traditionally interact with.Obtaining more insight into hidden costs (e.g., planning and downtime, overtime, expedited freight) associated with your current network, along with specific business processes to be avoided.Developing a laser focus on business objectives, risks, and digital strategy with detailed contributions from the economic buyer and executivesSecuring investment validation and substantiation of solution by having the economic buyer and executives contribute to the process earlier

To learn more about NaaS, go to www.arubanetworks.com/naas

To learn more about Value Management, please contact valuemanagement@hpe.com

1Source: IDC InfoBrief sponsored by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, Network as a Service: State of the Market, Doc # US48894322, Mar 2022

IT Leadership

March 29, 2022

Source:  Jane Marsh, Editor-in-Chief at Environment.co | Manufacturing Tomorrow 

In the U.S., manufacturing new goods accounts for nearly a quarter of all carbon emissions. By keeping goods in use for as long as possible, businesses can both cut down on their emissions and create economic opportunity.

Circular economy practices that prevent goods from going to landfills – by encouraging reuse or recycling – can help. However, these practices aren’t always easy to implement. Right now, brands are experimenting with Industry 4.0 technology that may streamline the circular approach.

How Technology Can Help Businesses Build the Circular Economy

Developing a circular economy will require a variety of different practices and new business strategies. Technology may make these practices much easier to implement.

For example, design for reusability or recyclability is one way for businesses to keep goods in the economy. If a device or product is easy to reuse or break down into recyclable components, both individuals and businesses may be more likely to reuse or recycle.

Design for recycling isn’t a new concept, but it can be challenging to implement for some devices. New design tools and design automation technology may help make design for recycling much more practical.

Some recyclers and manufacturers are also using Industry 4.0 technology like AI to streamline recycling or the design process. The pattern-finding abilities of AI can help manufacturers create designs that are more recyclable.

In other cases, circular economic practices may look similar to the preventive maintenance that many businesses already perform. Vendors of yard equipment, for example, often recommend certain end-of-year maintenance practices that can keep tools working well.

In other industries, manufacturers can work with their customers to encourage preventive maintenance practices, which can keep tools and equipment running for much longer.

These practices can have benefits for both customers and manufacturers – customers get a product that lasts longer, and manufacturers can develop a reputation for creating reliable tools. Technology like maintenance scheduling tools and equipment management systems may help both manufacturers and customers keep on top of essential maintenance.

Put together, these circular economic practices and technologies may help a wide variety of businesses reduce their carbon footprint or adopt more environmentally responsible policies.

It’s no secret that many major corporations struggle with environmental stewardship. Businesses like Ikea, Apple, Walmart, and Microsoft have all come under fire for policies that generate excessive carbon emissions or exploit vulnerable ecosystems.

Circular economic practices can help these businesses – and businesses of all sizes – adopt greener, more sustainable practices.

These Businesses Are Already Using Technology to Create a Circular Economy

While ideas about the circular economy continue to develop, some businesses have already begun experimenting with advanced technology as a building block for the circular economy.

One major adoptee of the circular approach to manufacturing is Cisco, a multinational technology company best known for its networking and cybersecurity solutions.

Katie Schindall, leader for the circular economy at Cisco, recently spoke with the magazine Tech Monitor about how the company is using technology to develop its own circular economy. According to Schindall, the right systems can have a significant impact.

“Optimising manufacturing processes for maximum reuse and tracing the embedded emissions in components and materials are both information problems that data and automation can help to address.”

Cisco isn’t the only company using modern industrial technology to develop its circular economy.

Ikea, for example, has recently rolled out a new buyback program for used furniture – which could help offset some of the environmental impacts of manufacturing new furniture.

Many footwear brands, including Puma and Adidas, are beginning to experiment with shoes made from fully recycled polyester. Fashion company H&M is exploring both fully recycled clothing materials and the use of recycled food waste in manufacturing clothing.

New Technology May Help Drive the Circular Economy

Sustainability is likely to become even more important in the future – and younger consumers, in particular, want to shop with sustainable brands.

Because manufacturing new goods is typically a carbon-intensive process, businesses can make themselves much more sustainable by building a circular economy.

Almost any practice that keeps goods in the economy can help. Recycled materials, buyback programs, and even initiatives that encourage preventive maintenance can all help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and create new economic opportunities.

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