KSA revealed

Strong growth, aggressive business attitudes, limited budgets and a focus on disaster recovery - just some of the key findings as ACN reveals the results of its Saudi IT survey.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  April 18, 2008

Strong growth, aggressive business attitudes, limited budgets and a focus on disaster recovery - just some of the key findings as ACN reveals the results of its Saudi IT survey.

Saudi Arabian businesses, it seems, are in a bullish mood; one of the biggest priorities (Chart 1) for the kingdom's enterprises is ‘eliminating competition', according to the results of the ACN Saudi IT survey.

This full-on approach is backed up by the importance our survey respondents placed on expansion to new markets and new territories - and, perhaps, by the fact that they apparently feel relatively unconcerned about the challenges posed to their businesses by competitors (Chart 2).

Perhaps the key reason for this unconcern is that - despite the apparent desire to take a bigger slice of the cake - the cake is actually growing for everyone (Chart 3a).

More than 70% of respondents said their organisation's turnover was growing at 10% or more year on year - 37% claimed growth of more than 20%. In contrast, only 12.5% said their turnover was falling - a reasonable number for a fast-developing and volatile economy.

When these larger business trends come down to the level of IT departments, however, the picture is somewhat less rosy (Chart 3b). Just under 35% of respondents said their IT budgets were growing at 10% or more, with 22% stating growth of up to 9%, and almost 44% saying their IT budgets were unchanged or being cut.

This suggests, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the dramatic growth being seen in the Saudi economy generally isn't filtering down to the country's IT departments as exactly as it could.

This fits the pattern of fast-growing organisations, though - unless there are specific reasons, investment in longer term infrastructure and systems projects is unlikely to be high on the immediate agenda.

It does mean that Saudi Arabia's IT decision makers do not have the - clearly mythical - unlimited budgets that many seem to ascribe to them. Instead, they are being forced to prioritise their IT projects - something that, in the long run, will mean higher-quality projects, and fewer frivolous investments.

Indeed, a quick glance at the projects completed by our sample (Chart 4) shows a strong focus on core IT projects and infrastructure. Almost 80% of respondents say they completed cabling and infrastructure deployments within the last 12 months, with 75% deploying servers.

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