Stock - Microsoft at Gitex
Microsoft UAE is betting big on its cloud solutions turning out to be a revenue generator and job creator. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The news emerging out of the US on anything to do with Big Tech can be chilling for industry insiders. The biggest tech companies putting on hiring freezes, quarterly revenues that disappoint investors, and dire warnings about what a global recession could do to tech spending worldwide.

Sure, much of those concerns relate to what’s happening in the US, but can’t the same forces apply to other regions as well? Or is it the case that spending by organisations in the UAE are way too into their spending cycles – whether it’s on cloud, digital makeovers or cyber security – that they can’t pull back?

Put these to Naim Yazbeck, General Manager of Microsoft UAE, and he isn’t too overly concerned about any blowback from the US. Or from anywhere else, for that matter.

Talk about recession is giving rise to doubts whether Gulf economies will keep spending at current levels on tech in 2023. Your thoughts.

Technology allows us to do more with less – cutting costs while boosting productivity. We believe spending on technology is prudent and will continue in the long run.

Cloud technologies will continue supporting the economy in the UAE and beyond: according to an IDC study we released this week, Microsoft Cloud will generate almost $40 billion over four years and generate close to 100,000 jobs.

IDC’s ‘Microsoft Cloud Dividend Snapshot’ report for the UAE shows between now and 2026, the four-year accumulated total for new revenue from the Microsoft Cloud will be $39 billion, with 16.6 per cent accumulated benefit emanating from our cloud data centre regions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This revenue will be generated by the Microsoft Cloud ecosystem, made up of Microsoft, its partners, and its cloud customers.

Microsoft and its partner ecosystem, in support of growing local businesses, will spend about $3.4 billion in the UAE data centre regions for services and products in local economies. The new regions will also help eliminate some of the barriers to cloud adoption within the region.

Microsoft partners in 2023 can expect to make $6.40 for every dollar generated by Microsoft through its UAE cloud locations. By 2026, this figure is expected to be $8.49.

- Naim Yazbeck, General Manager of Microsoft UAE

Microsoft, its partners, and its customers will add 97,150 jobs to the UAE economy, either through direct employment or through the indirect generation of jobs in other organizations. This will include an estimated 29,430 new skilled IT jobs, highlighting the ongoing need for collaboration between public and private entities on skilling programmes to ensure that qualified professionals are on hand to assume these roles.

Based on your project wins this year, was cloud and data centre related contracts the biggest part of your books so far this year?

While I cannot comment on specifics, I can tell you that the cloud is a growth area everywhere because of the demand for next-generation technologies such as mixed reality and AI infused solutions for example. Cloud has long represented the best way to consume these technologies.

It also makes them more cost efficient for organisations: you can invest in a capability, and you can expand and contract that capability easily, to suit the needs of your enterprise. And because the calibration of your computing needs is relatively easy, you can experiment with new technologies before committing to scaling them.

Do you think the first wave of digitisation-related investments are already gone through by the Gulf government and businesses? What’s going to be the likely tech industry revenue generator in ‘23?

Gitex is an opportunity for future-gazing. And we remain excited about the role technology can play in solving some our most challenging problems. Water conservation, habitat preservation, and carbon emission reductions are just three sustainability issues we reckon will be significant focuses for regional organisations.

Metaverse technologies are developing fast, and I think you will start to see more businesses embracing them. Apart from that, expect to see yet more movement on the hybrid workplace, the employee experience, digital twins, mixed reality, IoT, and blockchain.