Spending on ICT products and services in the Middle East and Africa will cross the $270 billion mark in 2015 and the IT market expected to grow 9% year on year in 2015, according to IDC. This makes MEA the second-fastest growing market with the SaaS segment set to perform particularly strongly, expanding 29% year on year to total. Converged systems will be another key area of growth as more organizations look to leverage the agility, productivity, flexibility, and cost-saving benefits presented by such solutions.
"Converged systems will gain prominence in 2015 and serve as the building blocks to software-defined environments across the MEA region in 2016 and beyond," says Megha Kumar, research manager for software at IDC Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. "In the Middle East, demand will be strong from Smart City initiatives and the implementation of large-scale transportation projects, while in Africa the lack of legacy systems will enable organizations to leapfrog to the latest converged technologies as they strive to ease the pressures of ongoing skills shortages."
The analyst firm expects SaaS uptake to be focused on non-critical workloads such as sales, marketing, CRM, and talent management, with public cloud adoption growing in the region. However, private cloud will continue to be used for critical apps and to provision shared services. "Analytics uptake will also rise in 2015, since organizations consider it easier to comprehend than Big Data, both in terms of technology and the value derived from the solution," continues Kumar. "Big Data will predominantly remain an opportunistic buy in 2015 for a select band of large enterprises, and vendors will need to increase their focus on educating end users and showcasing the value gained from successful deployments if they wish this scenario to change."
The year 2015 is also expected to see the rise of the executive buyer, with the MEA region set to follow the worldwide trend of growing line-of-business (LoB) influence over IT spending.” Says Jyoti Lalchandani, group vice president and regional MD at IDC Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. "Globally, 60% of enterprises plan to structure their IT initiatives into core IT projects and LoB IT projects," explains Lalchandani. "The CIO will remain in control of the purse strings for the former, but the latter will be at the mercy of the relevant departmental heads. This presents a whole new target audience for the region's vendor community and raises the prospect of even more shadow IT projects taking place, particularly around the 3rd Platform technologies of cloud, big data, mobility, and social."
10 ICT predictions for MEA in 2015:
1. MEA ICT Spending to cross $270 billion in 2015
2. IaaS & SaaS will begin to cannibalize & disrupt traditional software & services base
3. The need for agility will drive demand for converged systems
4. Open Data will begin to drive MEA Smart Cities to Innovate
5. Telecommunication firms in MEA will transform to become IT & Digital services players
6. Security investments will remain reactive due to 3rd Platform uptake
7. The 3rd platform will fuel sector-wide technology innovation
8. Big Data will remain an opportunistic buy in MEA for 2015
9. Mobile will continue to drive innovation in 2015
10. Line of business will impact IT spending; the rise of the executive buyer