IDC launches Gulf advisory council

International Data Corporation (IDC) has launched its Technology Advisory Council in the Arabian Gulf with the aim of advising governments, regulators and the private sector.

The newly formed committee comprises nine representatives and chief information officers (CIOs) from the private and public sectors, including Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), Abu Dhabi Ports and Saudi Arabia’s ministry of finance.

“The constantly evolving nature of the technology landscape is having a profound impact on the leadership challenges facing those tasked with managing it,” said Jyoti Lalchandani, the vice president and regional managing director at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey. “We want to have a council to bring together CIOs. We want to make it a representative council to talk to governments and other stakeholders to be the voice of certain changes we want to see.”

The council aims to become a forum to discuss topics such as research and development, innovation in technology and development of IT skills across the technology sector. Mr Lalchandani described the skills shortage as a “major challenge” in the growth of the industry.

“In the last couple of years things have drastically changed. The growth that has been happening in this region and the changes we have gone through necessitates having a council to discuss what is happening,” said Ahmed Al Mulla, the vice-president of Dubal and a member of the Technology Advisory Council. “[The council] will be an important element in bringing agenda and bringing CIOs together.”

Information communications and technology spending in the Middle East is expected to reach US$96 billion this year, according to IDC. IT spending in the Middle East is growing at about 7 per cent, faster than the worldwide growth of 5 per cent. Saudi Arabia is the region’s biggest market, accounting for almost $7bn of spending, while Qatar is one of the fastest-growing markets.