UAE firms consider digital know-how 'essential' to revenue growth - but some find it tough

Six in ten firms miss their business objectives due to a lack of technology skills

76% of UAE companies report measurable benefits from their digital strategies. AFP
76% of UAE companies report measurable benefits from their digital strategies. AFP

A lack of technological know-how is hindering UAE businesses from achieving revenue targets, a new survey found.

Sixty-four per cent of company heads admitted to missing business goals related to growth, talent acquisition and product quality because they lack digital skills, according to a survey of 500 business leaders by Economist Intelligent Unit, commissioned by US IT firm Riverbed.

“The establishment of dedicated centres focused on fostering [technology] competencies will go a long way in enhancing employee productivity, building better digital experiences for customers and consequently improving the bottom line,” Elie Dib, regional vice president for emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Riverbed, said.

Mr Dib added that enterprises also need to invest in improving in-house technology to ensure the long-term success of their business.

The UAE public and private sectors are investing massively in technology, with the country's IT market forecast to grow 20 per cent to $6.6 billion by 2021 from $5.5bn in 2018, according to Fitch Solutions.

The survey found UAE business leaders consider embracing new innovations to be the top skill they aim to foster in order to achieve targets (72 per cent), with workplace transformation and talent retention sharing the second spot (66 per cent).

Digital technologies include electronic tools, systems and resources that generate, store and process data into meaningful information related to customers’ behaviour and market trends.

The survey found that most UAE businesses that placed more importance on improved technical skills achieved meaningful results. Almost 76 per cent of companies reported measurable benefits from their digital strategies.

UAE respondents also believe a continued focus on evolving with technology is also critical, with 80 per cent of UAE respondents expressing keenness in improving digital competencies, against the global average of 74 per cent.

There is broader consensus among business leaders that improving digital competency is important for boosting organisational performance, even if some are not yet witnessing the results, said Robert Powell, editorial director of EIU thought leadership.

Published: June 12, 2019 08:00 AM


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