Business growth is a mixed bag for IT staff

At a press briefing a couple of years ago, a senior executive from a leading IT company in the region bemoaned the lack of big customers here in the Middle East.

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By  Administrator Published  March 14, 2007

At a press briefing a couple of years ago, a senior executive from a leading IT company in the region bemoaned the lack of big customers here in the Middle East. While his company provided large corporate solutions in other parts of the world, the demand was not here because there were just not enough big firms here, the executive said.

That executive has now left the company he was working for, so he may have missed events of the past week or so — which may or may not be a cause for regret on his part.

Following on from last week’s announcement that Emirates Bank and National Bank of Dubai are planning to merge to form the largest bank in the Gulf, US business giant Halliburton has now said it is setting up its corporate headquarters here.

The two events — although in very different industry sectors — are not entirely unrelated. The bank merger has been triggered by concerns that the local banking sector was insufficiently strong to compete with international competition; Dubai’s government is understood to be heavily pushing the move.

Meanwhile, Halliburton’s decision to locate here is yet another sign of international firms being encouraged to invest more in the Gulf. This week’s issue also contains a more detailed report of last week’s announcement by Energy City Qatar that it is building an ‘eCity” to attract more overseas companies.

Such moves are going to inevitably impact the IT market here, with organisations needing to invest in increasingly sophisticated solutions just to compete, and therefore IT managers getting the opportunity to work on bigger projects.

While that may be good news for some, others will be wary of the impact on their jobs: mergers and acquisitions tend to lead to job cuts and dismantling of existing systems, while stronger competition will hit some smaller firms.

But we warrant that very few IT executives will complain that the local market is boring in the near future.

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