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Technology investment and management ‘critical’ to ongoing development of Middle East industries

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, February 20 - 2008 @ 11:18

According to studies from international research group IDC, the enterprise applications market in the Middle East is expected to grow by 28% this year, reflecting the extent to which companies are looking to technology to increase competitiveness.

Internationally, while spending on IT has doubled as a percentage of revenue over the last 15 years, there has been increasing demand for return on investment and greater efficiency gains from the implementations made so far, according to IDC.

“In his job, a Chief Information Officer faces more management challenges than technology challenges,” says Jyoti Lalchandani, Vice President and Regional Managing Director of IDC MEA.

Some of the world’s leading thought and IT business leaders are heading to the Middle East to take part in IDC’s CIO Summit on March 16 and 17 in Dubai to discuss the issues surrounding the Middle East’s technology boom.

A full range of technology leaders in almost every sector will be present at the event, including Cisco, Dell, Etisalat, Intel, Nokia, SAP, Symantec, Injazat Data Systems, IBM, Alcatel Lucent, Fujitsu Siemens, ITS2, McAfee, APC-MGE, and Trend Micro. Dubai Internet City is the technology partner for the summit.

Increasing investment in technology speaks to the fact that many senior executives understand the connection between corporate profits and advanced IT functionality – and the need to manage it. Nevertheless, there is considerable pressure on CIOs to refrain from investing more, even if that may be essential for mid- and long-term planning.

The need to adapt IT systems to changing business needs is spurring dramatic growth in investment in enterprise software solutions. “All CIOs across the region have one thing in common: the requirement to immediately translate IT spend into increased organizational profitability,” says Sergio Maccotta, managing director of SAP’s Middle East and North Africa operations. “By supporting IDC’s CIO Summit in Dubai, SAP is further strengthening its position as the world’s leading provider of business software because we are demonstrating to our key stakeholders how SAP is delivering products and services that help accelerate business innovation for our customers.”

One of the most notable changes in the enterprise that affects the IT infrastructure and brings new requirements is the move towards mobility.

“Business mobility solutions must not only support the changing nature of business and allow flexibility to successfully adapt to competitive pressures, but also support changes in work patterns, most notably a shift towards working out of the office,” says Joe Devassy, Manager – B2B Operator Solutions, Nokia MENA & SSA.

“Today’s business workforce is more mobile than ever – and demanding access to corporate data, documents and email. What is needed is a holistic approach to business mobility, which we have translated into our Nokia for Business program. It encompasses not only handheld devices that are optimized for business, easy to use, deploy, and manage over-the-air, but also mobile software for wireless email and workforce management as well as firewalls and mobile VPNs for multiple layers of security.”

Indeed, external as well as internal security has become a major concern not only because of business continuity and value of data, but also due to regulatory requirements.

“Security remains high on the list of CIO priorities, having continued to move up the boardroom agenda as focus extends beyond keeping the bad guys out of an organization to also looking at how to keep intellectual property, data, and other company crown jewels within the company walls,” says Patrick Hayati, Regional Director, Middle East, McAfee. “Organizations across the Middle East – and indeed globally – are responding to the much-discussed need to adopt a security strategy, rather than a series of tactical approaches, and to take into account the ever-evolving nature of security threats as well as the fundamental role of people and processes.”

From leadership to accountability, from IT expertise to negotiation, from change management to performance measurement – new demands for the CIO and evolution of skills necessary for the position are reflected throughout the agenda of the conference. IDC thought leaders and ICT industry experts will offer their insight in keynotes and panel discussions on both session days. Among them:
• Frank Gens, Senior VP Research, IDC who will focus on the contradictory challenges that CIOs face in their roles as business enablers.
• John Gantz, Chief Research Officer and Senior Vice President, IDC, who will speak about the continual transformation of the ICT industry and markets
• Pim Bilderbeek, Vice President, Consulting, Telecommunications and Networking Research Europe, IDC EMEA, whose presentation is devoted to the aspect of mobility in corporate systems.
• Steven Frantzen, Group VP of IDC CEMA and General Manager for Research, IDC EMEA, who will provide a summary of ICT market developments and predictions.
• Martin Canning, Vice President, European Software & Services Research, IDC UK, will discuss how IT infrastructure can help achieve operational excellence and facilitate business agility for sustainable business success.

“The CIO Summit brings to Dubai recognized international experts to combine vision and practical advice to help CIOs successfully support the business goals of their organizations,” says Lalchandani.

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Wednesday, February 20- 2008 @ 11:18 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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