UAE is the technology hub for the Middle East and leads the region in adoption of advanced technologies that provides the ideal setting for organizations to identify where they can inject the greatest value into the customer and employee engagement lifecycles through the use of technology. UAE firms have invested in a unique combination of best-of-breed technology and domestically built apps in their drive to use industry-leading technologies.
The entire GCC nations are recalibrating their national policies for the post-COVID world in 2021 and beyond, re-initiating big events like Expo 2020, and rethinking industrial diversification plans to jumpstart economic growth. As “digital-first” policies become more prevalent in industry and government, technology has become the most dynamic component of the economy today.
The country’s vibrant economy, openness to foreign trade, and strategic position provide opportunities and make it a very appealing market. Expo 2020 Dubai, which will take place from October 1 2021, has the ability to drive growth and usher in a new era of business.
Though pandemic and Expo 2020 are known as the key factors that drove this demand for IT in the region, there are also other factors that need to be considered, one of the main being UAE’s vision of complete digitization and encouragement for digital transformation in all industries. For example, the country just launched its National Program for Coders, which intends to recruit 100,000 coders in the near future.
According to IDC, the UAE’s annual government ICT investment is anticipated to reach $1.6 billion by 2024, up from $1.3 billion in 2019. This is seen as the fourth industrial revolution and UAE is one of the forerunners in it.
When pandemic gave a direct market boost by encouraging touchless and digital technologies, it further opened new scope for cybersecurity companies as well due to the increase in cyber-attacks. “According to Check Point Software’s latest Threat Intelligence Report, an organization in the United Arab Emirates is attacked on average 305 times per week in the last 6 months. From this information, it is evident that organizations in UAE are gearing up to handle these threats effectively. Be it any industry, Banking, Retail or Hospitality, all of them are looking at tackling this threat with robust defence mechanisms. From that perspective the cyber security market in UAE definitely has place for all who can help meet an Organization’s security goal,” said Prashant Menon, Channel Manager – UAE, Check Point Software Technologies, Middle East.
With this increase in the industry, one of the key benefits is for the channel partners. The channel community plays a critical role in meeting customer demands. As technology usage increases in the UAE, partners have a great potential to reach out to many more new clients, assist them in using market-leading solutions, and extend their regional presence.
To establish a strong channel based in the region, Vaidy Panchabikesan, Regional Sales Director at Kissflow asks partners to laser focus on product, service, pricing, and collaboration differentiation. “Especially in this region, where relationships are key, and in-house IT teams are highly dependent on the technical expertise and guidance of their partners, being well connected with customers, and building a strong onsite and offshore delivery model for implementation services at affordable prices creates a strong value to the customers,” he added.
Building a successful channel company in the UAE requires a shared vision and strategy, mostly via partners that are ready to develop skills and experience and see the opportunity to generate new income streams and increase their client base. Always do a comprehensive qualification check when selecting a prospect partner, ensuring that they are enthusiastic and possess the industry knowledge and competence necessary to assist in expanding sales coverage and delivering products or services.
One of the most significant difficulties that businesses confront is pace. The market is changing quickly, and it needs to be ensured that channels and vendors are keeping up with it. This may necessitate extra expenditures to develop the necessary capability. Channels also need to understand that the traditional method of marketing and promoting solutions no longer provides customers with the confidence to invest with them. With digital transformation in all the sectors, IT channels are one that needs to go through it first to better reach their customers.
It is important to tackle the challenges as they arrive. Mohammad Alshare, Managing Director for Middle East and North Africa at Ivanti, comments on their way of overcoming challenges, “We enable and encourage our partners in the region, putting them in a better position to address our customers’ needs. We also continuously identify possible gaps and address them pre-emptively.”
Though there are challenges, there are lots of opportunities are hopes seen in the region. With the return of tourism due to Expo 2020, the UAE economy is expected to rebound and develop in late 2021 and early 2022. As businesses prepare for 100% paperless transactions in line with the government’s directive to make the UAE a paperless country, digital transformation initiatives are bound to increase.
“For the tech channel, we can expect to see a continued increase in sales, especially in software and cloud services. IDC predicts that spending on public cloud services will grow 26.7% to top $3.7 billion in META in 2021. In this transition to the public cloud, we see partners playing a significant role in fostering innovation and acting as trusted advisors to their clients, leading a smooth transformation journey,” said Ahmed Khalifa, Director, Head of Partners & Ecosystem MEA at Finastra.
Businesses are going through with their strategies and adopting digital transformation at a quicker speed in the post-pandemic environment. Organizations are relying on IT as an enabler, to ensure business continuity by providing the appropriate degree of access and protection across all of their assets. With the UAE government already moving forward with the execution of its countrywide digital transformation plans as countries across the world begin their recovery journeys, the hopes are high for the region.