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IDC survey reveals Middle East CIO challenges

CIOs in the Middle East have three huge digital transformation challenges this year, even before they start to look at what technologies to use

During digital transformations, CIOs in the Middle East will have to use IT to change the business, prove that their investments are paying off, and keep up with the growing expectations of business teams, according to IDC.

Innovation through IT, measuring the return on IT investments and managing expectations are the three main challenges CIOs in the Middle East face this year, according to the latest survey of IT leaders in the region from the IT analyst company.

At its annual Middle East CIO summit attended by 100 IT heads from the region, this year titled Enabling Dynamic Change for the Digital Era and being held over seven days on a cruiseliner, IDC also said cyber security and mobile technologies will be important to support digital transformation.

Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC’s group vice-president and regional managing director for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, said: “Our findings suggest that the top three challenges facing the region’s CIOs in 2017 are the need to drive greater innovation through IT, measure the return on investment of IT investments, and manage growing expectations and service needs.”

Lalchandani said security and mobile technologies will be important as companies navigate digital transformations, and outlined what CIOs should achieve through these journeys. 

He added that a successful digital transformation will provide “superior customer experience, improved decision making based on timely analytical insights, and enhanced process optimisation and/or automation”.

CIOs will have to be innovative around staffing projects if they are to reach these goals, as many are reducing spending on people.

According to IT decision-makers surveyed by Computer Weekly/TechTarget, half of organisations in the Middle East plan to reduce the amount of money they spend on IT staff in 2017, despite the need for new skills.

Although only 17% expect overall IT budgets to be lower in 2017 than in 2016, a significant 53% expect a drop in the budget allocated to IT staff.

Read more on Information technology (IT) in the Middle East