Saudi ITC spending to rise 12% to $13.7bn

Friday 27 September 2013

Spending on the IT and communications (ITC) sector in Saudi market is predicted to grow by 12 percent to hit $13.7 billion (SR 51.37bn) in 2014, local media said quoting experts. The volume of spending on software and IT services in Saudi market currently stands at 34 percent of overall ITC spending and poised to rise to 40 percent in 2017, the experts, who were attending an IT CEOs' forum in Jeddah, said. The robust growth in mega infrastructure projects in the Kingdom is expected to drive the IT spending to grow by 12 percent in the next year, Regional Director, IDC Middle East, Turkey and Africa, said.

For his part, Eng Abdulaziz Al-Hilail, Director of IDC Saudi Arabia, said the Kingdom is still in the first stage to shift to the third platform for ITC services which is wholly dependent on cloud computing, mobility, social networking, and business analysis. He said the third platform applications will bring about enormous shift to the ITC environment in the Kingdom's market by 2020 where 90 percent of IT investments are expected to concentrate on the third platform applications and solutions.

Experts say IT and com firms in the developed countries, such as the US and Europe, spend nearly 25 percent of their budgets on the 2rd platform services. According to Eng Al-Hilail, smart cities will help develop government e-services due their dependence on smart use of energy, transport and general services. The IT CEOs' forum, hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, also reviewed how private sector employees could use their mobile devices for work purposes keeping the security of information, and better exploitation of local innovations in data analysis and their positive impact on work performance.

Dr. Jaralla Al-Ghamdi, CEO of IT at the Ministry of Education, presented a study on the Ministry' application of a developed management system which could provide IT services to nearly 33,000 schools kingdom-wide. Meanwhile, Basil Iays, marketing director at Dell, said spending on laptops and desktops has declined to more than 23.5 percent at corporate or individual levels. He attributed the decline to the users' shift from traditional computer devices to tablets and mini computers (note books) whose sales were increased more than 30 percent this year compared to last year's figures.

Whereas sales of laptops dropped to the lowest levels by 32 percent compared to previous years, sales of desktops grew by 5.5 percent during the current year due to the increased demand by both government and private sector companies, notably in light of the contracts signed by the Ministry of Education to supply schools with computer labs and other accessories, the experts said.

Earlier, a study prepared by the IDC Middle East, Turkey and Africa said the enterprise hardware market in the GCC countries registered mixed results in Q2 2013 with the UAE and Saudi Arabia seeing a decline while smaller countries like Oman and Bahrain posted exceptional growth, bolstered by projects in the oil and gas and telecommunications verticals, respectively. Qatar and Kuwait also witnessed healthy growth, owing to infrastructure investments across various verticals, the study said.

© Arab News 2013

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