MENA digital leaders to invest in big data & IoT in 2018

October 10, 2017 | By RetailME Bureau

More than three-quarters of the Middle East and North Africa’s (MENA) digital-leading organisations will invest in big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2018, driving disruptive business competitiveness. The region’s digital-leading organisations have started investing in innovative products and services – especially the “Big 3” of big data and analytics, cloud and IoT.

Digital leaders expect 23% more growth by 2019, and already have 85% of market share and 80% of profitability versus competitors. However, while 84% of organisations say that digital transformation is critical, only 3% have completed digital transformation, according to the new SAP and Oxford Economics Digital Transformation Executive Study.

“MENA digital leaders have a running start in the constantly-evolving digital economy. This is the decisive moment for all Middle East organisations to undergo digital transformation, and harness the power of big data and analytics, IoT and digital skills. Middle East CIOs need to treat digital transformation as an all-encompassing and knowledge-sharing business imperative to disrupt the competitive landscape,” says Gergi Abboud, managing director, Gulf, North Africa, Pakistan and Levant at the digital transformation enabler SAP.

The SAP survey, which interviewed more than 3,000 executives across 17 countries around the world, including in the Middle East with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, indicate the below findings:

  • Big data and analytics will see the biggest investment in the MENA region in 2018 – with 82% of the digital leaders investing in the field. These digital leaders will have a major competitive edge over the rest. Only 50% of total organisations are investing in big data and analytics in 2017, rising only to 68% in 2018.
  • Three-quarters, 76%, of MENA digital leaders rank the IoT as an investment priority in 2017. The rest of the region lags. Only half (52%) of all organisation view the IoT as an investment priority in 2017, inching up to 55% in 2018. However, digital leaders agree that IoT deployments cannot be done in isolation. Organisations need to reinvent processes to become digital businesses. For example, nearly half (48%) of digital leaders say that responsibility for digital transformation should be with a purpose-build digital transformation group, compared to only 14% of the rest of the region’s respondents.
  • The majority (58%) of digital leading-organisations in the region say that digital skills investment is the most important profit growth driver in 2018. This outpaces the region, with one-third (34%) ranking digital skills investment as a growth driver next year. Digital leaders also prize increasing speed to market (48%) and new products and services (46%).



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