As IDC finds 45% of Saudi CIOs plan to significantly increase their investment in AI, experts and customers share strategies at SAP Business Transformation Tour in Riyadh
RIYADH, KSA — June 15, 2023 — To thrive in the face of challenges such as supply chain constraints, critical skills shortages, and slowing global economic growth, regional businesses will need to adopt cloud platforms that enable them to leverage AI, data and automation solutions, according to experts speaking this week at the Riyadh SAP Business Transformation Tour, organized by global technology company SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) in partnership with Intel.
Held under the theme ‘Navigating the Winds of Change in a Digital-First World’, the event demonstrated how SAP cloud solutions that embed automation, data, and AI capabilities into technology can address today’s most pressing challenges by bringing increased resilience, proactive strategic decision-making, a more cohesive workforce, and even improved customer interactions thanks to Natural Language Processing. Speakers at the event also confirmed that Saudi organizations are in a position to embrace these new capabilities as a result of rapid cloud adoption in the Kingdom.
A guest speaker at the event, Ranjit Rajan – VP & Head of Research at IDC META at International Data Corporation (IDC), said, “Saudi organizations are stepping on the gas pedal of digital transformation in alignment with the kingdom’s rapid national transformation. The increasing investments in in-country cloud regions and datacenters by providers is, to an extent, helping to alleviate data residency and sovereignty concerns. As a result, public cloud adoption is growing, and is combining with significant private cloud investments to create hybrid multi-cloud environments. This provides the ground for modernization of the application estate and innovation.”
According to Rajan, “Cloud will become the foundational technology platform to drive rapid digital transformation. A recent survey by IDC of Saudi companies showed that more than 35% of their CIOs are looking to either lift and shift applications to cloud infrastructure or modernize critical applications to cloud-native.”
Contextualizing technology’s role in creating sustainable success, Fahd Nawwab, Vice President, SAP, KSA, said, “Leveraging AI, automation and data analytics through our cloud-based solutions helps build resilient organizations able to withstand the headwinds of a global slowdown, currency fluctuations, and geopolitical situations that impact the Gulf region. We hope that today’s event will showcase how companies of any size can easily embrace these solutions by moving swiftly to the cloud through adopting RISE with SAP or GROW with SAP. This opens the door to solutions such as SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) and SAP S/4HANA to provide greater visibility on all aspects of operations and deliver data and automation capabilities that enable agile, effective responses to changes in supply chains and market conditions.”
Several SAP customer representatives also spoke at the event to share their experiences of how SAP technologies had helped their business to focus on innovation and agile responses to opportunities. These included Mohammed Sibghatullah Khan, Director of IT at National Petrochemical Industrial Company (NPIC); Akbar Rattani, Director of IT at MENABev; Ahmad Alhammady, Digital Business Solutions Manager at Alfanar; and Subba Reddy Sathani, Enterprise Architect at the National Agricultural Development Company (NADEC).
Growth of AI, Big Data and analytics in KSA
IDC’s Rajan also commented on the growth of new technologies in the kingdom, saying, “Data analytics, AI/machine learning and automation technologies are rapidly overlapping, merging and driving adoption for each other. Adoption of AI and machine learning is expected to accelerate in Saudi Arabia to across several use cases such as augmented customer service, recommendation engines, cyber threat intelligence, IT optimization, fraud detection and many others. More than 45% of Saudi CIOs surveyed by IDC are planning to significantly increase their investment in AI in the next 12 months or so. The advances in Generative AI will further boost AI adoption and drive new use cases related to customer and operational productivity and excellence.”
Echoing IDC’s findings, SAP’s Nawwab said, “The growth of AI goes hand in hand with the global transition to cloud, and it is changing SAP services for the better. Companies that delay implementing cloud deployments of their business processes will also be missing out on the power of AI. The potential benefits of AI technology are almost infinite in the world of commerce and industry.”
Among the host of recently announced AI partnerships is SAP’s new Datasphere solution, built on SAP BTP. SAP is working strategically with industry-leading data and AI companies – Collibra NV, Confluent Inc, Databricks Inc and DataRobot Inc – to enrich SAP Datasphere and empower organizations to create a unified data architecture that securely combines SAP software data and non-SAP data. SAP Datasphere is the next generation of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and enables data professionals to integrate and deliver scalable access to mission-critical business data – with business context and logic preserved – across their organization’s data landscape.
Similarly, SAP announced its partnership with IBM Watson last month to provide customers with new AI-driven insights and automation to help accelerate innovation and create more efficient and effective user experiences. In addition, SAP is incorporating Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service in solutions such as SAP SuccessFactors to access powerful language models that analyze and generate natural language.
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