High-Growth Firms In The UAE And KSA Expect AI And GenAI To Transform Industries: Dell

The research suggests that while there is broad optimism for AI and GenAI, the extent to which organisations are prepared for the rapid pace of change varies greatly. Ninety percent in the UAE and a similar percent in KSA, say they are well positioned competitively and have a solid strategy. At the same time, half of the respondents (UAE: 51%, KSA: 49%) are uncertain what their industry will look like in the next three to five years and nearly eight in 10 (UAE:75%, KSA:78%) report struggling to keep pace. They cite the lack of the right talent (UAE:31%, KSA:27%), data privacy and cybersecurity concerns (UAE:27%, KSA:28%) and lack of budget (UAE:31%, KSA:31%) as challenges they face in driving innovation.

GenAI Moving from Ideation to Implementation

Respondents from UAE and Saudi Arabia cite GenAI’s transformative or significant potential to deliver value in improving IT security posture (UAE:62%, KSA:62%), productivity gains (UAE:60%, KSA:60%) and to improve customer experience (UAE:61%, KSA:59%). They are also aware of challenges to overcome – (UAE:75%, KSA:74%) fear GenAI will introduce new security and privacy issues and (UAE:89%, KSA:84%) agreed that their data and IP is too valuable to be placed in a GenAI tool where a third party may have access.

More broadly, responses suggest that organisations are working through GenAI practicalities as they transition from ideation to implementation, with more than half saying they have begun implementing GenAI. As organisations increase adoption, concern centers around understanding where risks reside and who is responsible for them. An overwhelming majority (UAE:80%, KSA:87%) agree that the organisation, rather than the machine, the user or the public, is responsible for any AI malfunction or undesired behaviour.

Mohammed Amin, Sr. Vice President, CEEMETA, Dell Technologies said:

“Organisations seeking to stand out in today’s disruptive market must pivot from innovation being a side project to it being deeply embedded into their corporate identity. At Dell, we believe tangible, positive change is achievable through innovation and action. By combining GenAI and other transformative innovations, businesses can augment their capabilities and raise their productivity levels to new heights.”

Organisations are Rising to the Challenge of Today’s Threat Landscape

Cybersecurity more broadly continues to be a pain point for organisations. These concerns are well-founded, as (UAE:93%, KSA:91%) of respondents say they have been impacted by a security attack in the past 12 months. majority (UAE:98%, KSA:94%) are pursuing a Zero Trust deployment strategy and (UAE: 85%, KSA:86%)say they have an Incident Response Plan in place to recover from a cyberattack or data leakage.

The top three cited issues included malware, phishing and data breaches. Issues with phishing are indicative of a wider problem highlighted in the report, which is the role employees play in the threat landscape. For example, (UAE:80%, KSA:75%) of respondents believe some employees go around IT security guidelines and practices because they delay efficiency and productivity, and (UAE:78%, KSA:71%) say that insider threats are a big concern. This indicates a need to focus on training as employees are the first line of defence.

The Right Technology Infrastructure will help Organisations to Succeed

The research also reveals modern data infrastructure’s critical role as technologies like GenAI gather pace and data volumes increase. Investing in a modern, scalable infrastructure was cited as the number one area of improvement for businesses to accelerate innovation. Most IT decision makers (UAE:87%, KSA:75%) say they prefer an on-prem or hybrid model, to address the challenges they foresee with implementing GenAI.

The ability to share data across the business is also a key part of the innovation puzzle, with only 1 in 3 (UAE:35%, KSA:31%) saying they can turn data into real-time insights today to support innovation efforts. However, responses suggest organisations are acting on this challenge, with (UAE:79%, KSA:91%) saying that data is the differentiator and their GenAI strategy must involve using and protecting that data. Almost half also claim they anticipate that the bulk of their data will come from the edge in the next five years.

Other research findings include:

  • Skills: Two-thirds (UAE:70%, KSA:65%) claim there is currently a shortage of talent required for innovation in their industry. Learning agility and desire, AI fluency, and creativity & creative thinking rank as the top skills and competencies for the next five years
  • Sustainability: Forty-two percent believe “driving environmentally sustainable innovations” is an important improvement area. Energy efficiency is high on the agenda, with 79% experimenting with as-a-Service solutions to manage their IT environment more efficiently and 73% actively moving AI inferencing to the edge to become more energy efficient (e.g., smart buildings)
  • Making IT a strategic partner: Currently, 81% of business decision makers have reasons to exclude IT decision makers from strategic conversations, yet both departments ranked a stronger relationship as the second most important improvement area.
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