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GCC CIOs looking to go mobile: Gartner

But barriers remain to creating sustainable IT initiatives, survey says

Regional CIOs want to move their customer-facing applications onto mobile platforms, Gartner said
Regional CIOs want to move their customer-facing applications onto mobile platforms, Gartner said

Mobility will remain a top concern for CIOs in the GCC during 2015, with many seeking to move their customer-facing applications onto mobile platforms, according to Gartner's recently released 2015 CIO Agenda survey results.

The global survey was based on information gleaned from 2,810 respondents in 84 countries, representing nearly $400bn in IT budgets, Gartner said. Of the GCC-based respondents, the research house found that, while the top four priorities - business intelligence, infrastructures, cloud, and ERP - remained the same as global priorities, there are interesting differences further down the list.

However, Gartner said that there were still barriers to turning these priorities into actionable IT initiatives.

"Adoption of cloud-based solutions in the GCC has been very low due to concerns with security, latency, availability of local cloud-based solutions, credibility of local cloud providers and maturity of internal IT teams," said Biswajeet Mahapatra, research director at Gartner.

"Despite increasing adoption of the latest SMART (sensors, maker machines, augmented humans, robotics and thinking machines) technologies, a lot more focus will be required to improve existing infrastructure and processes and the instances of actual implementations."

Specific industries in the GCC deviated most from the global norms, Gartner said. For example, in 2014, oil and gas and financial sectors in the region experienced vibrant opportunities, therefore there is a stronger focus this year on industry-specific applications.

Operational technologies and the Internet of Things featured in the GCC top 12, but not in the global top 12, Gartner said. The research house pointed out that oil and gas and utility organisations in the region are already engaged in the digital world through the convergence of IT and operational technology. For example, digital oil field programmes in this region are expanding the universe of connected things in upstream theaters of operations. Meanwhile, are investing heavily in smart city initiatives such as the Dubai Smart Government initiative, Gartner said.

Gartner also pointed out that GCC firms appear less constrained by legacy technologies.

"Legacy modernisation appears as the number 11 priority globally, but it is not in the top 12 for the GCC. As a rapidly developing market, with many new and rapidly growing businesses, this region is at an advantage by being less hampered with substantial legacy," said Mahapatra.

"However, we have to caution businesses in the region to remain aware of the changing technology landscape and relevant changes within their industries, and have a plan for modernisation in the near to midterm. Surviving in a digital business world will require flexible IT platforms that can support cloud, mobile, social, and the explosion of structured and unstructured data that will be generated both by users and by the Internet of Things."

Gartner analysts will examine the top CIO issues at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015, taking place from May 19 to 21 in Dubai.