Attitudes towards IT must change, warns academic

The Middle East needs to change its attitudes to IT if it wants to compete in the global market, a leading academic warned last week.

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By  Diana Milne Published  November 13, 2005

The Middle East needs to change its attitudes to IT if it wants to compete in the global market, a leading academic warned last week. Dr Abdullah Abonamah, professor and director of Zayed University’s Institute of Technological Innovation, said that “the prevailing view here in the Middle East is of IT as a commodity.” “They use it like they use a telephone or electricity rather than thinking about how it can leverage their organisation and give it a unique position in the market,” he said. “They need to make the jump from using it to survive to using it to improve their business,” Dr Abonamah claimed. Abonamah was speaking to IT Weekly to discuss an initiative Zayed University has undertaken with software firm Computer Associates. Together, they are spearheading the launch of the region’s first IT Service Management Forum (itSMF). The itSMF is a global non-profit organisation. The aim of the itSMF will be to develop the concept of best practice in the field of IT service management thereby helping to ensure that the region’s end users are given the best possible products and services. Abonamah said the forming of the forum is a sure sign that the region’s technology industry has matured. “The fact that this forum has been set up is sign of the maturity of IT in the region and it is a very positive step,” he said. “But companies, government organisations and policy planners must understand that when you talk about technology deployment and penetration you need to keep in mind how it will be used in the workplace not just as a stand-alone department by itself.” he stated. The itSMF forum hopes to change attitudes in the region by giving end users and IT companies access to a network of industry experts and by launching an educ- ation programme.

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