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According to the latest Computer Weekly/Tech Target IT Priorities survey, 51% of IT decision-makers in the Middle East expect overall IT budgets to increase this year, while 23% expect IT budgets to stay the same and just 16% expect them to fall.
In last year’s survey, 72% of respondents said they expected IT budgets to increase, with about half expecting rises above 10%. Only 13% expected IT budgets to drop and 15% expected no change in budgets.
This year, Middle East businesses look likely to increase spending on IP-based networks, with 39% of respondents to the survey citing this spending as having a big impact on the IT budget. Last year, 29% expected networking to receive a budget increase.
Bringing IP networks up to date is vital as organisations in the region embark on digital transformations. These projects are highly dependent on modern networking technology to make use of technologies such as the cloud and internet of things (IoT).
In fact, transformation is seen as having a major impact on IT budget by 38% of respondents in the Middle East.
Read more about digital developments in the Middle East
- With its young and educated population, Saudi Arabia has the potential to become a hub for tech innovation.
- Bahrain Central Bank wants the Middle East island state to become a regional hub for financial technology (fintech) startups.
- Abu Dhabi’s fledgling artificial intelligence university is part of a highly ambitious 30-year plan to transform the UAE’s economy and culture.
When it comes to IP network spending, infrastructure and services investments are seen as the most likely areas to receive a budget increase this year, with 41% of respondents expecting more to spend in this area. To put this into context, bigger budget allocations are expected by 35% for cloud services, 31% for security and risk management, and 25% expect IT staffing budgets to increase.
In networking, 44% of Middle East respondents plan to implement network analytics initiatives this year, with 40% carrying out work on wide area networks (WANs) and 32% running managed network services projects.
In the Middle East, digital transformation, which will be demanding on the IT budget, is at various stages for businesses. The survey found that 35% of organisations are in the early stages of their journeys – they are still assessing their business and technology needs, but expect a formal process in the next 12 months. Another 25% of respondents said they are at the mid-point of their transformation, while 19% said they are at an advanced stage. A total of 9% said they have not started their digital transformation, while 13% said they have no plans to do so.
Last year, 45% of Middle East organisations said they were embarking on digital transformation and 21% said they had not yet started.
In security, 31% of respondents expect an increase in spending this year, with access management and single sign-on projects most likely, planned by 39% and 30% of respondents respectively. Last year, security was viewed as the area most likely to see budget increases, with 41% expecting this.