The task of driving innovation is now the biggest process-related challenge facing the region's CIOs, according to the results of IDC's Middle East CIO Summit Survey 2017.
The results were announced as Day 2 of the firm's 10th anniversary Middle East CIO Summit continued today aboard the luxury Royal Caribbean Cruise liner 'Vision of the Seas'. Running under the theme "Enabling Dynamic Change for the Digital Era", the event is playing host to 100 of the region's most influential ICT leaders as they embark on a seven-day cruise around the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
"Our findings suggest that the top three challenges facing the region's CIOs in 2017 are the need to drive greater innovation through IT, measure the ROI of IT investments, and manage growing expectations and service needs," says Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC's group vice president and regional managing director for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
"Meanwhile, cybersecurity/privacy solutions and mobile technologies are seen as the key technologies for supporting the quest for digital transformation, with the most valuable outcomes of undertaking this process identified as a superior customer experience, improved decision making based on timely analytical insights, and enhanced process optimization and/or automation."
IDC's senior vice president for EMEA and managing director for CEMA, Steven Frantzen, got the day's proceedings underway with by chairing a panel discussion on the need for CIOs to drive greater collaboration with their line-of-business counterparts in order to enable a smoother and more successful digital transformation process. Joining him on the panel were C. Krishna Kumar, COO of Qatar Islamic Bank, Dr. Arwa Al Aama, vice mayor for IT Affairs at Jeddah Municipality, Fuad Al Ansari, vice president of IT at TAKREER, and Ajay Rathi, head of IT, at Meraas.
Jonathan Duncan, ITD vice president for Schneider Electric's building and IT business in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, then took to the stage to highlight the key challenges and opportunities brought about by the uptake of cloud computing solutions. He was later joined by IDC's vice president of DevOps, Stephen Elliot, and Dr. Ayad Y Aldaijy, IT director for the UAE's Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture as they discussed the opportunities for driving innovation and enabling value-added services through cloud deployments.
The next session was hosted by Olivier Schaller, associate vice president of IDC's IT Executive Programs in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, who examined the ways in which the emergence of blockchain technologies will disrupt a wide range of industries, particularly in relation to financial services, payments, contracts, and supply-chain transactions. Chairing a panel with Anshul Srivastav, CIO of Union Insurance Company, and Zubair Ahmed, head of IT and business innovation at Emirates Islamic Bank, Schaller then explored a variety of emerging use cases and drove discussions on how organizations should begin the process of integrating blockchains into their plans.
Following an hour-long networking break, the delegates split into two parallel technology tracks. Chaired by Ranjit Rajan, IDC's associate vice president for research in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, the first session provided guidance on maximizing enterprise performance through the implementation of software-defined infrastructure, and featured insights from Gregg Petersen, regional director for MEA and SAARC at Veeam Software; Adrian Pickering, regional general manager at Red Hat; Paulo Pereira, systems engineering manager at Nutanix; Ismail Abed, CIO of Agility; and Mukta Arora, Group CIO of Aster DM Healthcare.
The second technology track was chaired by IDC's Pete Lindstrom, vice president of enterprise/next-gen security research, and sought to unveil the security realities and risks inherent in today's digital world. The session played host to two panel discussions featuring the thoughts of Rasheed Al Omari, principal business solutions strategist (SEMEA) at VMware; Roland Daccache, senior systems engineer at Fidelis Cybersecurity; Khaled Alateeq, senior systems engineer for defense and intelligence at Fire Eye; Edward Ganom, CISO at Commercial Bank of Qatar; Sajeev Menon, head of IT Security, Commercial Bank of Dubai; Adnan Qureshi, Head of Business Continuity at Riyad Bank; and Mohamed Mousa, Senior IT Security and Risk Management Consultant at SABIC.
The day ended with the completion of the Summit's popular CIO Workshops, leveraging IDC's groundbreaking IT Executive Programs to provide attendees with in-depth guidance on using strategic architecture as a tool for digital transformation and implementing effective cost-benefit analysis for digital security programs. Day 3 kicks off at 9.30am tomorrow with a series of intimate focus groups that will enable those in attendance to tailor their Summit experience to meet their own unique needs.
While tomorrow signals the end of the Middle East CIO Summit's agenda for 2017, the cruise will continue for a further three days before docking back in Dubai's Port Rashid on Sunday.