Jyoti Lalchandani, Group Vice President and Regional Managing Director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa at IDC, explains why cloud is the answer to the increasing demand for scalable, flexible and secure solutions.
IDC’s recent Middle East CIO Digital Transformation Survey for 2019 revealed that the region’s IT decision makers are coming under mounting pressure to meet the growing expectations and service needs of users while simultaneously spearheading their organisation’s quest for innovation.
This means they are increasingly on the lookout for technology solutions that offer flexibility, scalability, openness, security, and access to innovation. Ticking all these boxes, cloud presents itself as a viable answer. And perceptions around its use are beginning to shift across the Middle East.DC’s recent Middle East CIO Digital Transformation Survey for 2019 revealed that the region’s IT decision makers are coming under mounting pressure to meet the growing expectations and service needs of users while simultaneously spearheading their organisation’s quest for innovation.
Previously, cloud’s detractors would highlight security as a major weakness of the technology. However, as cloud use has spread across industries, so too has the idea that cloud can actually help improve an organisation’s security posture.
The reason for this shift in perception is simple – all the major cloud players have a strong incentive to place data protection at the very heart of their platforms, and they are continually evolving and improving their security practices.
The result is that, according to a global IDC survey of 5,740 respondents, security now ranks among the top three reasons for adopting cloud, regardless of whether the architecture is public, private, or hybrid in nature.
However, the shifting perceptions around cloud security have been accompanied by an increased focus on data sovereignty, with many governments and regulators in the Middle East requiring organisations to keep certain types of data in-country. In many cases, IT decision makers have indicated that their ability to use cloud would improve considerably if properly defined data regulations and data-classification standards were put in place.
A number of sectors, including government and banking, have shown a clear preference for using in-country datacenters from hyperscale providers. As such, the major cloud players have begun to invest heavily in the region so that CIOs in the Middle East are more at ease with where their data is stored. The likes of Microsoft, Oracle, AWS, SAP, and Alibaba have all launched – or are planning to launch – datacenters in the region to meet the growing demand for cloud services.
The scale of investment in these platforms will enable organisations across the region to leverage the very latest in innovation-accelerating technologies, including Big Data analytics, AI, IoT, and blockchain. In turn, these technologies will help facilitate the goals of broader national projects, such as Smart Dubai in the UAE and Neom in Saudi Arabia.
This is not to say that growth in the cloud market will be driven solely by public cloud adoption – or that this growth will be completely unfettered. Rather, as organisations around the world begin to acknowledge that no single architecture is built for all workloads, it is clear that the future lies in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud architectures.
Throughout 2019, we expect to see organisations spending large amounts of time and effort on cost-optimisation projects, ensuring OPEX is justified and delivering results and exercising caution in any further spending.
However, as digital transformation gathers pace, and the adoption of 3rd Platform technologies and innovation accelerators ramps up, so the demand for skills relating to these new technologies will increase. Similarly, new jobs and career paths will emerge; for example, organisations will require people to train AI or govern AI, and meeting these demands of tomorrow is a concern that must be addressed today.
Digital transformation and the adoption of cloud are interwoven and interdependent. As such, the increasing level of cloud adoption in the Middle East bodes well for cementing the region as a global leader in the digital transformation journey.
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