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Cloud, AI - and the meta. Those will need to be high-priority investments for companies seeking to get it right on their tech needs. Image Credit: Shutterstock

As constant innovators, tech companies are constructing the future, achieving remarkable progress in such areas as AI and the emerging metaverse. The tech industry in the GCC has grown from, a highly fragmented market of resellers, systems integration, and consulting service firms, to a lucrative ecosystem of product, service, and solution providers offering data analytics and smart solutions.

In the 2016-21 period analyzed for the BCG 2022 TMT Value Creators rankings, the market value of some of the largest tech companies increased more than threefold as the industry reaped the benefits of equipping their customers across industries to help modernize operations, improve efficiencies, and bolster customer experience.

The TSR (total shareholder performance) since January has suffered sharp reversals compared with the average annual TSR return from 2017 through 2021. Tech companies are well-positioned to retain or add value if they take steps to capitalize on the following opportunities.

Adopt mature digital capabilities

Companies of all sizes are now adopting cloud technology and services readily. In fact, 77 per cent of CIOs surveyed in the UAE claim that they are investing in cloud technology, while 44 per cent claim that they are doing so ‘aggressively’. Although many tech companies adopted these capabilities early on, others lagged.

Redefine excellence in CX

To improve customer experience, companies must make bold moves rather than incremental updates to the status quo. One way is to take what we call the ‘MIDAS’ approach to creating an operating model that puts customers at the center of the business:

  • Measure customer behaviors and business impact;
  • Innovate better customer experiences;
  • Deliver customer journeys that replace functionally focused projects with integrated frontline and backline teams;
  • Activate a customer-first culture; and
  • Synchronize and unify customer engagement across existing and emerging channels.

Employ next-gen personalization and AI

Tailoring products to what customers want can help tech companies of all types minimize churn and improve price realization by developing more effective discounting structures and price management. Adopting advanced personalization and AI is one way to provide more customized offerings and improve customer service. This especially true in the public sector, as AI could automate common tasks associated with licensing and registration, tax filings, and more.

Use partnerships for synergies

For media and telecom companies, teaming up with a tech partner is a way to speed up that process. For example, telecom operators can partner with tech players to deliver on the potential benefits of 5G networks, network modernization, and edge computing. Operators are already starting to do that by partnering with hyperscalers to launch Edge-based services.

Clear gameplan for M&A

As tech companies look for ways to increase returns, we expect to see more consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, particularly in media industry market segments such as gaming. Tech giants have acquired game properties to bulk up their pipeline of future titles and, presumably, to strategically position themselves for a metaverse-focused future.

Metaverse strategy

By some estimates, the size of the metaverse as a market could reach $1 trillion by 2030. The metaverse market represents a merging of three areas of existing technology whose capabilities are rapidly evolving: platforms enabled by increased computing capacity and connectivity; AR, VR, and mixed reality (MR); and digital and web3 assets enabled by blockchain.

While the GCC region has welcomed an upsurge in tech, it could benefit from hosting an innovation hub that incentivizes participation and actively engage young professionals in workshops, mentorship programs, and networking opportunities.

These centers could package resources and information and make them readily available for people who aspire to start or expand their careers or businesses in tech. For tech companies, it is an opportunity to help shape standards and platforms. Media companies—and video-game companies in particular—are in the best position to produce metaverse content, including VR- and AR-based immersive experiences. And telecoms are the obvious choice to build next-generation connectivity in the form of 5G and wi-fi 6.