Software spending in Mideast to grow 12.2% this year, say experts

Government-led initiatives aimed at ensuring the availability of citizen services on mobile platforms to spur investment

Gulf News

Dubai: Government-led initiatives aimed at ensuring the availability of citizen services on mobile platforms in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the initiation of infrastructure projects are likely to fuel software spending in the Middle East this year, industry experts said.

“Majority of the growth will come from governments in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. Egypt and Lebanon are expected to stay volatile until the dust settles down while Iraq and Libya will see an overall increase in IT spending,” Megha Kumar, software research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), told Gulf News.

The overall Mideast market is expected to grow by 12.2 per cent to $3.18 billion this year compared to $2.83 billion last year.

“The focus will be on how organisations in the region jointly manage the proliferation of different device form factors, tackle the complexity of the threat landscape, and address the inevitable IT infrastructure sprawl that will occur as technologies such as cloud, big data, mobility and social media explodes,” she said.

Mobile-first approach

She added that the coming year will be characterised by an extraordinary growth in enterprise mobility adoption as consumer mobility adoption continues to grow rapidly and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) mindset shifts to a mobile-first approach.

About 38 per cent of all government services in Dubai can now be accessed through its online channel while two-thirds of expatriates in Qatar and 80 per cent of its nationals are now paying traffic fines through e-government portal.

“The adoption of new technologies like big data, mobility and cloud-based services has pushed data centre consolidation to the top of the priority list for many businesses. Yet it is clear that security concerns combined with a lack of resources are hampering the progress of such transformations,” said Sébastien Pavie, regional sales director at SafeNet Mena.

“Encrypted data is only as secure and available as the keys used to encrypt it, so businesses need to ensure they are getting their key management strategies right. Security concerns are preventing businesses from unlocking the potential benefits of data centre consolidation and cloud migration,” Pavie said.

Significant traction is expected in the government and healthcare sectors as organisations increasingly look to put mobility at the heart of their IT environments.

The government sector investment in the Middle East is expected to grow by 7.67 per cent to $8 billion this year compared to $7.43 billion in 2013.

The need for identity and access management software will also rise as governments strive to secure and unify citizens’ identities in an attempt to provide a consistent and improved user experience. In the telecommunications, banking, healthcare and education sectors, adoption of identity and access management will be driven by the need to protect customers’ personal and financial information.

“Major software vendors will need to make significant investments to enhance and diversify their solutions offerings, while vendors and their channel partners will need to develop capabilities that will help minimize the existing skills gap. Automation, mobile content, and information security will become more critical than ever,” IDC’s Kumar said.

“This will encourage both public and private sector organisations to invest heavily in developing their mobile strategies and subsequently mobilising their employees,” she added.

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Trend: Gaining ground
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