Dubai - October 15, 2015: Some of the leading technology companies - Microsoft, VMware, Inframon and Pacific Controls - are aggressively spearheading adaptation of cloud solutions in the UAE with a sole aim to transform the current technology scenario to more smarter and efficiency boosting productivity levels across all segments of the emirate's economy.
Dubai - smartest city in the region - has adopted smart measures at various government levels that eliminates processes that consume labour, time and management. The industry experts have already predicted that the emirate is all set to witness a massive shift in coming 12-18 months as cloud computing solutions get adopted by businesses across UAE. But some questions arise here i-e are we ready for this transformation? Do we really have the luxury to wait and watch or be left behind when your peers or competitors have already invested in technology upgrade with latest cloud solutions?
With the growth in mobile devices, decreasing bandwidth costs and more international vendors and local service providers offering a variety of new services, the UAE is seen as cloud computing's next great frontier. Importantly, a Boston Consulting study found that SMEs adopting this kind of modern IT have seen 15 per cent faster revenue growth than those not using it. These businesses also created twice as many jobs.
"Many businesses in our region have been slow to embrace the technology despite the many benefits of cloud solutions," said Haidar Salloum, channel director for Microsoft Gulf.
Referring to Dubai SME report 2014, he said even in a developed economy like the UAE, only 21 per cent of SMEs use advanced IT systems. "There are also many SMEs that are using cloud services but don't know it - such as online e-mail or accounting services."
In a region where consistent access to high-speed internet is an ongoing concern, many organisations fear losing access to data or services should they make the switch to cloud. The World Bank reports that a growing number of countries in MEA are adopting national broadband plans to stimulate broadband market development. There is also a hybrid solution where some data remains on traditional servers, whilst other business functions are moved to the cloud as it is a catalyst that drives business forward and enables innovation.
"Cloud infrastructure today in UAE is literally at infancy in order to make this opportunity for government, private sector and people to be engaged in dynamics of digital living we need much more scalable, elastic and permeable ubiquitous cloud," said Dilip Rahulan, executive chairman of Pacific Control Systems.
"We alongwith Fujitsu are trying to replicate global cloud success in UAE to provide high availability of artificial intelligence inside cloud to facilitate every tenant's security," he said.
There are a number of benefits for an small and medium business when it comes to adopting cloud technology, such as enjoying cost efficiencies, having access to flexible IT solutions, and using technology that enables innovation and agility within their business.
Cloud negates the need for large up-front investments in on-premise solutions. Instead, one only need to pay for what it needs, when it is required. This means if any business receives an unexpectedly large order, or if it wants to open a new store or develop e-commerce, it has the ability to scale and grow quickly.
The cloud also gives businesses of any size a competitive advantage through access to a flexible, scalable and affordable choice of productivity apps, traditionally reserved for large multi-nationals. This enables entrepreneurs to collaborate and work remotely - levelling the playing field in terms of their operational efficiency and innovative collaboration.
"SMEs and their employees are realising that their competitive advantage comes from what they do with technology in and out of the office. Thus mobility and the cloud are more than technologies - they represent the potential to change how we approach both work and leisure, in ways that can bring more control over where, when and how long we work and have fun whilst simultaneously enhancing businesses profitability," said Microsoft's Salloum.
VMware recently granted PCS VMware Horizon DaaS Powered status, which will help enable its customers to rapidly deploy desktops and applications as a fully managed cloud solution. "The cloud allows entrepreneurs to deploy more of their seed capital towards their core business and spread out their spend on infrastructure over time. This not only allows entrepreneurs to have an edge over the incumbents, but also gives them greater agility since they can start smart and grow," said Deepak Narain, senior manager, systems engineering, VMware.
"We are talking about increased business agility, improved productivity, collaboration and favourable cash flows and unlocking new features like disaster recovery and business continuity. All this allows SME's to get leverage to stand up to larger competitors and focus more on what they do best, and less on managing the infrastructure required to do so," he said.
Narain said more dynamic business models and services offerings are entering the UAE market at a rapid rate. "It is the companies that manage to keep innovating that in turn manage to stay relevant and profitable. Not every SME is assured a long lifespan. If you want to create dynamism and relevance in your business, you need to be investing in finding new ways to add value to evolving customer needs.
"The cloud allows you to shift from a world of individual creation, to real-time, anytime, anywhere collaboration, without the need for a big investment in infrastructure. Microsoft's tools like; cloud storage and file hosting service, OneDrive, and secure online meeting platform, Skype for Business enable modern content creation, productivity and collaboration, which is the breeding ground for innovation."
Microsoft is currently working with certified partners to support the adoption of cloud technology within the UAE SME sector. "We host multiple events where we conduct in-depth product training for both our partners and SME's in the UAE. We also partner with entities such as entrepreneurs organisation, to help support the growth of SME's through the adoption of cloud technology. It's also important to talk to SME's online, through social media platforms by posting educational content about cloud solutions that are relevant to SME's in the UAE," added Salloum.
United Arab Emirates