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IT spending on the up in MEA

CIO IT budgets expected to increase 14.3% in Middle East and Africa region

IT spending on the up in MEA
IT spending is increasing in the Middle East and Africa according to Gartner.

IT spending is increasing in the Middle East and Africa following an increase in CIO IT budgets, which are expected to rise14.3%, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner, Inc.'s Executive Programs.

"Enterprises in the Middle East, particularly in the Gulf region, are building business capability in support of regional and global growth. As reflected in the 2012 CIO Agenda survey findings, effective leaders see customers as the key factor in both of these strategic components, with the customer experience their focal point in reconciling potentially conflicting goals," said Mark McDonald, group vice president for Gartner Executive Programs and Gartner Fellow.

However, IT budgets in North America and Europe are continuing to decline, or are remaining flat.

CIO's are increasingly seeing technologies such as analytics/business intelligence, mobility, cloud and social media in combination rather than isolation to address business priorities.

"Technology's role in the enterprise is increasing. This does not mean, however, that the role of the IT organisation is increasing," said McDonald. "CIOs concentrating on IT as a force of operational automation, integration and control are losing ground to executives who see technology as a business amplifier and source of innovation. Effective leaders use technology, which includes IT, to strengthen the customer experience and eliminate costly internal distortions. They are using technology to 'amplify' the enterprise."

According to Gartner, analytics/business intelligence was the top-ranked technology for 2012 as CIOs in the Middle East are combining analytics with other technologies to create new capabilities. For example, analytics plus supply chain for process management and improvement, analytics plus mobility for field sales and operations, and analytics plus social for customer engagement and acquisition.

For CIOs, improving enterprise mobility capabilities is a significant focus over the next three years and most rank growth as their top priority. CIOs in the region expect more local growth, as most report on average generating only 20% of their revenue outside their home country.

"As business executives see the potential of technology to transform customer channels and the customer experience, their view of technology has leapfrogged conventional ideas of IT. The 2012 Gartner CIO Agenda survey results show that CIOs believe that the customer experience is the greatest opportunity for IT-enabled innovation," said McDonald.

In the global survey, 46% of CIOs reported that their CIO IT budget would increase from 2011 to 2012 in terms of actual spending. The average firm in this year's global survey will see a modest budget increase of between 2 and 3%.

The worldwide CIO survey was conducted in Q4 2011, and it included 2,335 CIOs, representing more than $321 billion in CIO IT budgets and covering 37 industries in 45 countries. There were 98 firms from the Middle East and Africa responding to the survey representing $6 billion in CIO IT budgets.

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