DUBAI — The Middle East and Africa is expected to spend 91 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 for information technology, up from 71 billion U.S. dollars this year, with cloud computing being a key growth driver, the Dubai daily Khaleej Times reported Saturday.
According to Jyoti Lalchandani, vice president and regional managing director for Middle East, Africa and Turkey at global IT and marketing research firm IDC, the four largest regional IT markets are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa and Turkey. “They account for over 60 percent of total IT spending.”
Regarding the political instability resulting from the Arab turmoil, Lalchandani said the unrest has no doubt dampened — albeit moderately — the soaring growth prospects of the IT markets in the Middle East.
Lalchandani identified four trends as growth drivers in the Middle East and Africa: “Cloud computing, mobility, big data and social technologies.”
Cloud computing is a data platform which combined resources of a network of servers, mobile devices, laptops and data warehouses. The cloud can be a platform of an internal institution like a company or a joint field of different external corporations. Cloud technology allows firms to outsource server costs onsite and to share non-sensitive information with other market participants.
An IDC survey among chief information officers in the region published last Thursday revealed that the vast majority, namely 85 percent of respondents, believe that cloud computing remains an immature or developing technology, although 74 percent of respondents acknowledge that it has the ability to offer significant and tangible benefits. However, there are widespread concerns regarding cost and its inherent security risks.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are amongst the countries most vulnerable for hacker attacks and cyber crimes. However, the underdeveloped field of software security also offers chances.
“No longer is security an isolated area of IT endeavor, but it has become central to decision-making processes required to confront new market realities,” said Thomas Vavra, research director at IDC Central Europe, Middle East and Africa. “As such, the relationship between security practitioners and business shareholders is strengthening.”