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Disruptive technologies to support growth in 2012

IDC predicts Middle East, Africa and Turkey to see increased uptake of cloud, virtualisation, mobility and analytics

Virtualisation will become the norm in 2012, says Lalchandani.
Virtualisation will become the norm in 2012, says Lalchandani.

IDC expects to see disruptive technologies such as cloud, virtualisation, mobility and analytics making a stir in markets in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa during 2012.

The analyst firm predicts that companies will turn to these technologies to leverage and optimize their IT investments to support business growth, despite uncertain economic situations.

IT spending for the MEAT region will continue to grow in double-digits, up 12% to $65 billion for 2012, although the stability of the post-Arab Spring situation and the Eurozone could see this drop to less than 10%.

The largest markets in the region, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and South Africa will all continue to see IT spending grow by 7-12%, while Qatar will lead with 14% growth.

Egypt saw a contraction in growth in 2011, and IDC only expects to see a return to growth by Q2 2012 if political and economic stability returns after elections being held at present.

Virtualisation is likely to top IT agendas in 2012, according to IDC.

"Adoption is still slow in the Gulf countries, where system and application availability is a big concern and often overrides the cost benefits offered by virtualization," said Jyoti Lalchandani, vice president and managing director of IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. "Having said that, greenfield IT projects now invariably have virtualization as a cornerstone and foundation for future expansion and possible cloud deployment; we expect Saudi Arabia and the UAE to continue to be at the forefront of adoption.

"South Africa and Turkey, where cost is a major driver, are seeing a rapid increase in virtualization adoption," Lalchandani added. "Several medium-sized and large organizations, having proof tested virtualization in 2011 during data centre consolidation efforts, will move to more extensive adoption with greater confidence in 2012. Desktop, storage, and application virtualization initiatives will gain momentum, particularly within large organizations. The emerging African countries of Kenya and Nigeria will also see higher levels of adoption in 2012 as awareness spreads and users begin to realize the benefits."

Private cloud computing deployments are likely to suffer delays due to lack of technical skills, and may even result in some projects being abandoned as they cannot be justified in terms of costs, IDC expects. However, the region will see the launch of new cloud service providers, and existing ISVs and telcos introducing their own cloud-ready packages during the year.

Media tablets are likely to become more commonplace in 2012, particularly as education and healthcare organisations look to provision them for staff, although integration with existing applications is likely to remain too complex to be widespread. There will be adoption of less complex mobile applications, such as fieldforce automation, service management, time and attendance management, and business intelligence, but only among the more advanced regional organisations.

Overall, IDC has 10 Top Predictions for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey IT markets in 2012:

1. IT markets will recover from the Arab Spring but face global economic headwinds.

2. ‘Populist' governments will seek to accelerate eservice delivery to citizens.

3. Virtualization will move from ‘test' to ‘production' and will attain must-have status.

4. Cloud will receive more serious attention, but widespread adoption will be inhibited by insufficient infrastructure and skills.

5. NFC and LTE will drive the next level of mobile technology adoption.

6. Media tablets and enterprise mobile apps will transform employee productivity.

7. Unified communications and collaboration technologies such as videoconferencing and telepresence will take off.

8. Line-of-business demand will make analytics more pervasive.

9. ‘Big brother' initiatives will intensify in the Middle East as information security gains in importance.

10. Telcos will continue to extend their ICT portfolios, focusing on the ‘I' in ICT, with cloud as a major strategic direction.