Delivering value

Saudi Arabia remains at the forefront of developments in the Middle East ICT market. The future is bright for vendors, channel partners and service providers operating in the Kingdom as long as they continue to deliver the one thing that matters most to consumers and businesses in the market: value.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  April 22, 2006

|~||~||~|Saudi Arabia remains at the forefront of developments in the Middle East ICT market. The future is bright for vendors, channel partners and service providers operating in the Kingdom as long as they continue to deliver the one thing that matters most to consumers and businesses in the market: value. This point cannot be stressed enough during this year’s Gitex Saudi Arabia. Have no doubt that massive IT budgets have been allocated for 2006 and beyond but businesses of all sizes have moved to a new level of sophistication where clear return on investment and a compelling total cost of ownership argument are prerequisites for suppliers attempting to grab a slice of the market. In recent years, many vendors have lauded Saudi customers for their propensity to embark on radical ‘rip and replace’ projects, where legacy systems are removed and cutting-edge infrastructure and software is deployed instead. We are now entering a phase of market development where customers will also look to invest in solutions that help to maximise their return on past investments, while simultaneously creating the platform for future growth and business process improvement. Vendors need to respond to this paradigm shift and introduce the sophisticated sales techniques that they have employed in other markets around the world. This means working hand-in-hand with the customers to understand their pain points and recommending a solution that fits with their existing infrastructure. For this to truly happen, the development of the indigenous ICT industry within Saudi itself takes on massive importance. This requires genuine investment in building up the skill sets present within the national ICT market. Some vendors have started to make moves in this direction, building up their in-country teams, recruiting locally and ensuring that their staff are on the same wavelength as the customers and partners they work through. For those that have chosen this path, the positive results are clear. Every vendor that has increased its commitment to Saudi Arabia is now looking to deploy even more resources on the ground, encouraged by the positive business results their investment generated. This week’s show highlights the positive sentiment sweeping the Saudi market across all customer segments. Retail chains cannot open new stores fast enough as consumers rush to purchase the latest IT equipment and become part of the developing knowledge-based economy in the Kingdom. Talking to the exhibitors at this year’s show, you start to understand that the market has come a long way in a short space of time, but there is still massive potential for further development. To truly take advantage, vendors, partners and customers need to work together to deliver the solutions and products that will position Saudi Arabia as a market characterised by innovation and excellence in the wider global context. ||**||

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