Digital transformation investment will continue in 2021

Software AG recently released the global ‘Situation Report’ based on responses from IT Leaders on their views around digital transformation investment strategies. The global COVID pandemic served as a dramatic backdrop for a year of innovation and digitalization in businesses around the globe.

Ahmad Salama, Vice President Software AG Middle East and Turkey

Almost all IT directors surveyed said their company went through digital transformation efforts in 2020, and they expect it to continue in 2021. The research highlighted some priorities and assumptions that companies have in common, and some areas where opinion is divided on the best way forward.

IT leaders were unanimous in their belief that digital transformation is expected to accelerate significantly over the next few years with entities set out to continue investing across data and analytics, simplified processes, customer experience and integration. The predicted growth is attributed to technology implementation strategies in line with goals that include cost efficiency, customer experience, security, employee safety and environmental policy.

The interviewee companies strongly believed that their IT infrastructure and business is resilient, with a split in companies that considered to diversify their technology portfolio and those that preferred consolidating on technologies. A large majority of experts also stated that innovation will play a key role and technologies such as Cloud computing, 5G, Integration, IoT will be vital in tackling challenges as economies move towards a more digital future. In terms of the beneficiary of digital investments, customers, employees and ‘the businesses were all cited as top priority. Simultaneously IT leaders also predicted customer expectations to rise in the next year, given the digital shift new technologies have caused, resulting in a new kind of modern customer.

Commenting on the report, Ahmad Salama, Vice President Software AG Middle East and Turkey said, “As the Middle East’s largest economy, KSA is all set to be the Silicon Valley of the Middle East, and beyond, with its young and educated population, that has the potential to make it a tech innovation hub in line with its Vision 2030. With the country’s ongoing agenda of innovation, we also work closely with key Saudi entities to support them to master their digital transformation goals and turning their data into value. Despite the unusual year in 2020, Software AG grew 60 percent in the country with its digital first approach, and while battling the pandemic simultaneously.”

Expressing views on the trends, Vijay Jaswal CTO Middle East and Turkey for Software AG stated, “While the research was carried out in some countries, these trends are prevalent and applicable in our region too. Unfortunately, it took some to face the pandemic to realize the value that digitalization brings, while many were already equipped to handle the storm. In fact, we must applaud all the government departments whose services were resilient due to their agile approach to business.

Additionally, they have factored in the upcoming generational change and therefore are already ahead of times. These trends are therefore to stay not only in 2021 but for the years to come.”

Of the technologies essential in 2021, global IT leaders listed the following as areas of focus: Cloud computing (67%), 5G (51%), AI (43%) and Integration (43%).

With this faith in technology from the country’s decision makers witnessed through the royal decrees mandating the establishment of the Digital Government Authority in the first half of this year following its predecessor the Saudi Data and AI Authority back in 2019, digital transformation is expected to form the foundation for economic growth in 2021 and beyond.

Neom, the land of dreams and innovation is another example, Joseph Bradley, Head of technology and digital said that “NEOM is not about building a smart city, it is about building the first cognitive city, where world-class technology is fuelled with data and intelligence to interact seamlessly with its population”.