Dubai, UAE — In a survey conducted at the SAP User Group Middle East (SUG-MENA) annual conference in Bahrain, respondents were asked whether the role of the CIO would become more strategically important to businesses in 2010, 69 percent answered ‘yes’ – a shift from the 2009 figure of 95 percent – illustrating the growing role of CEOs and CFOs within the IT investment decision making process.Those Middle East business leaders surveyed also reiterated their belief that strategic IT investments can help companies prosper during globally challenging economic times. 88 percent of those questioned believed that IT investments were key to surviving economic pressures facing companies in the MENA region. This compares to 100 percent of respondents when surveyed during the 2009 conference – an indication that confidence in strategic business software remains high.
“Middle East business leaders recognize the importance of technological investment as a means of streamlining and improving operational efficiencies, responding to customer requirements, and redirecting resources to enable growth and development,” commented Salem Al Angari, President of SAP User Group SUG-MENA.The survey of delegates also asked whether IT budgets were likely to return to pre-downturn levels in the near future, 56 percent of responders answered ‘yes’ – a marginal increase to the 2009 figure of 53 percent, illustrating divided opinion in future allocation of resources.
A further 88 percent confirmed that their company would not be using IT assets as a means of generating cash in 2010, through actions such as the sale and leasing back of hard assets and outsourcing agreements. This is an increase on 2009 when 58 percent believed their company would take such actions.“Technology continues to be considered as a business enabler for companies in the Middle East as they leverage innovative IT systems to respond to the region’s fast-paced economic development,” said Sergio Maccotta, Managing Director, SAP Middle East and North Africa.
Of those polled, 69 percent had witnessed increased internal competition for access to IT budgets (63 percent in 2009), indicating continued demand for IT solutions as key in strategic projects.Those questioned also raised concerns regarding IT-related issues, with the key worry being insufficient resources to support essential projects (50 percent), followed by a lack of understanding of the value of IT (31 percent). The third most cited concern was disruptions in vendor continuity as a result of mergers and acquisitions (13 percent), a marginal decrease to the 2009 figure of 21 percent.