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Saudi IT sector booms on back of huge investment, innovation
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 26 - 09 - 2012

JEDDAH – The IT sector in Saudi Arabia is booming on account of huge technology investments by the government and implementation of innovative practices, industry experts attending the Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2012 at the Hilton Hotel Jeddah said Tuesday. The event brings together the region's top CIOs, CTOs and IT business executives.
Abdul Nasser Bangcola, country manager, Saudi Arabia at Interactive Intelligence, said “the IT sector in Saudi Arabia is booming on account of the huge technology investments by the government, the Kingdom's powerful presence in the oil and gas and financial services sectors and constant innovation by the country's banks and telecom companies. The market presents a huge amount of business opportunities for Interactive Intelligence. The CIO Summit puts us in contact with a large number of top level IT decision makers across government and enterprises. It gives us a good platform to educate regional CIOs about the strengths and capabilities of our technology and build on our existing base of prestigious clients in the country.”
Interactive Intelligence Middle East is the regional arm of Interactive Intelligence, a global provider of unified IP business communications and contact center solutions.
International Data Corporation (IDC), the world's premier IT and communications market intelligence and events firm, brought together more than 80 of the top IT end users from across the Kingdom for the first day of its Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2012.
Under the theme “Driving the Agenda for Business Success”, the two-day conference offers a fascinating insight into the emerging ICT trends and technologies of today and tomorrow, as well as an unrivalled opportunity to network with industry leaders and CIOs.
Senior international IDC analysts and leading regional thought leaders from some of the world's most influential ICT vendors are on hand to deliver a series of pioneering presentations to the assembled CIOs, who hailed from all corners of Saudi Arabia. IDC's senior vice president of research for EMEA and managing director for CEMA, Steven Frantzen, and vice president and managing director for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, Jyoti Lalchandani, described the global ICT industry as being in the midst of the sort of technology shift that takes place only “once every 20-25 years”. The four forces that characterize this shift, they argued, are cloud, mobile, social, and big data analytics, and they predicted an explosion of new solutions built on this new platform, along with rapidly expanding consumption of all of the above in Saudi Arabia.
Against this backdrop, senior executives from Intel, Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC), and IBM, delved deeper into the impact of these emerging technologies on enterprise ICT strategies. Intel's general manager of IT, Abdulaziz Al Noghaither, analyzed the key trends shaping the future of enterprise IT and their impact, describing Intel's own internal IT strategy for the new technology paradigms, Hajar Al Badrany, general manager for infrastructure at STC, offered advice on developing a comprehensive services strategy that incorporates the benefits of emerging models such as datacenter-based services, managed services, and cloud, while Montassar BenMrad, an executive partner at IBM Global Business Services, acknowledged that CEOs are now looking beyond the benefits of connected supply chains and more integrated back-office systems by shifting their focus to the power and potential of recent advances in social media and analytics.
With a focus on enhancing communication and collaboration, improving sourcing, achieving value chain efficiencies, enriching customer relationships, and optimizing resource utilization, during the second session themed “The Innovative CIO: Technology and Process Innovations to Manage Costs and Drive Business Value”, experts from Cognizant, Riverbed, Hitachi Data Systems, and Citrix joined IDC's Mark Walker to discuss cutting-edge strategies that enable organizations to connect and collaborate in real time, leverage the very latest technology solutions to simplify data access and management, embrace mobile work styles while enhancing IT control, and implement virtualization, consolidation, cloud computing, and disaster recovery without fear of compromising performance. – SG/QJM

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