IT spending to top $163bn by next year in Mena

Expenditure on enterprise software will see the biggest growth, researcher Gartner says

Jean Pierre "JP" Bolat demonstrates Movia Robotics educational software for children with autism on an Avatarmind iPal robot during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
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Overall spend on IT in the Middle East and North Africa is projected to reach $163.4 billion in 2020, a 4 per cent increase from 2018, according to a survey by US researcher Gartner.

Maximum expenditure, at 24 per cent, will be on enterprise software that support whole organisations, said the survey. “Most organisations in the region are implementing software systems that standardise and automate existing business processes,” said John Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner.

Miriam Burt, managing vice president at Gartner, said: "Spend on mobile devices will go down largely because of market saturation but expenditure on services, which consumers can get on mobile, will go up.

“It’s really about what you can do for customers to make their life simpler, easier, better and safer,” said Ms Burt.

The banking and securities industry will see the largest IT outlay among 11 industries in 2019, totalling $13.2bn, according to the report.

“Banks in Mena must keep investing in IT in order to participate in the international banking system. At the same time, IT security has always been on the radar and has now become the number one priority for senior banking executives,” said Ms Burt.

Industry experts say the ongoing digital transformation is increasing IT spend in the region.

"When you look at the Middle East, many organisations are doing a phenomenal job in migrating away from historical oil and gas investments. Organisations are testing ideas very quickly, adopting the best ones while discarding others. Locally, we have organisations such as Careem and Fetchr doing really well in this direction," Jonathan Allen, enterprise strategist and evangelist at Amazon Web Services, told The National.

This technological shift will gain further momentum in the coming years, he said.

The need to digitally transform has become a critical requirement for regional organisations of all types and sizes, said Mohamed Amin, senior vice president of Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Dell.