First ICT White Paper for Mena commissioned
Dubai, October 15, 2008
Specific market opportunities for small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the IT sector have been identified, according to the region's first-ever ICT White Paper study, commissioned by Dubai Internet City.
Conducted by AT Kearney, one of the world's leading management consultancies in the ICT industry across IT and telecom segments, the study analyses the immense opportunities that lie in the IT service market for SMBs in the region today, especially in the hardware and packaged software segments.
Titled 'The IT Market – A Middle East Perspective: An Overview of Business Opportunities for Innovative New Companies', the White Paper identifies key success factors for SMBs operating in the region, providing an overview of the most common entry strategies and the general entrepreneurial environment.
It also explores emerging market opportunities within the GCC market including Egypt, Jordan and some areas of Africa.
Malek Al Malek, executive director of Dubai Internet City and Dan Starta, a partner at AT Kearney, jointly highlighted the findings from the study at a press conference on October 15.
Al Malek said: 'Through pioneering major initiatives and projects over the past eight years, Dubai Internet City has continuously played a vital role in driving the growth of the region's ICT industry. Dubai Internet City regards research and development as crucial to fostering continuing regional market growth.
'The industry White Paper is a milestone for the Middle East region. More than just headline numbers, this report identifies specific opportunities for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to capture part of the valuable IT Services market.
'By exploring the great number of unexplored opportunities that we believe exist in this market, our business partners will be able to grow and benefit from the financial strength of the region.'
Providing a number of key data findings, the White Paper throws light on the economic outlook and market growth in the region.
It also charts dynamic market trends, while providing recommendations for market entry strategies to attract SMBs for supporting the commercial interest of multinational companies.
With regards to the UAE, the growth of the Internet, the expansion of private equity investment, and the emergence of entrepreneurs are cited as key factors driving the country's economy that is no longer dependent on oil revenue.
According to the AT Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Index, the UAE has jumped from 23rd position globally to 8th position in FDI confidence ranking.
Dan Starta, Partner at AT Kearney, said: 'The IT market in the Middle East region continues to experience tremendous growth, with Dubai leading the charge in economic development and diversification.
'The level of sustained growth across the region presents unique opportunities for new businesses and entrepreneurship. The region is moving toward a more dynamic, agile business environment in which cutting edge solutions and creativity are sought after.
'Opportunities are there for the taking for organisations that bring to the table the best the international market has to offer and have the ability to create solutions specifically tailored for the Middle East market.
'Key success factors for a new entrant are local relationships, industry expertise, local presence, market commitment and competitive pricing.'
Starta added IT users in the Middle East are looking for specialised providers — industry leaders that may not be the biggest but are the best.
Pointing out that such companies are in short supply in the market, despite increasing demand for IT support services, he forecasted the telecommunications, finance and government sectors indicate the best opportunities for the next five years.
The White Paper study sets out