UAE - Despite concerns of a potential looming recession globally and talk at the World Economic Forum in Davos about the end of globalization, businesses in the UAE appear to remain bullish about their plans for further global expansion, new findings from an annual survey of technology decision-makers revealed.

Of the UAE IT decision-makers surveyed in Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey, 93 per cent of respondents indicated their organisations are planning to expand in the next 12 months, into a new region entirely (66 per cent), a new country (47 per cent), or a new city (43 per cent).

The survey found that 48 per cent of those IT decision-makers across the UAE planning an expansion are most likely to deploy virtually in the short-term and then building permanent physical infrastructure in the new market, while 44 per cent said they will support an expansion using existing teams. While 86 per cent of the technology decision-makers in the UAE, regard accelerating the pace of innovation, digitizing their business, and moving IT infrastructure to the digital edge as the highest priority in their organisation’s technology strategy, 59 per cent of them said they plan to move more business functions to the cloud.

A number of potentially limiting factors were identified by businesses when it came to global growth, with supply chain challenges highlighted as a particular area of concern, said the survey report. Some 59 per cent of the IT decision-makers surveyed globally said their business was plagued by global supply chain issues and shortages, while 58 per cent specified the global microchip shortage as a threat to their business.

Two-fifth (40 per cent) of respondents from the UAE said they plan to facilitate global expansion plans by deploying virtually via the cloud, with (37 per cent) doing so using a bare metal solution, said the report.

“The pandemic also continues to have a significant impact on businesses’ digital strategies. More than half of UAE IT leaders (53 per cent) say they are accelerating their company’s digital evolution because of the Covid-19 crisis. Indeed, over half (57 per cent) confirm their IT budgets have increased as a direct outcome of its legacy—an insight into the now broadly acknowledged necessity for robust digital infrastructure to pivot to evolving business needs in an instant. Furthermore, the majority of respondents (55 per cent) believe the technology changes and investments implemented during the pandemic are here to stay,” said the report.

Kamel Al Tawil, managing director, Equinix Middle East and North Africa, said it is evident that a post-pandemic economy is currently taking shape, with organisations overcoming the lingering Covid-19 challenges and accelerating their business recovery.

“Organisations are adopting a digital-first strategy and are looking to technology to be as dynamic a force to transform business processes. The Global Tech Trends Survey reveals that IT decision-makers in the UAE are regarding the speeding up of innovation, digitization of business, and moving IT infrastructure to the digital edge as the highest priority in their organization’s technology strategy. Digital leaders today are capitalizing on these enticing opportunities in the aim to enable and shape their business’s aspirations for growth,” said Al Tawil.

Eugene Bergen Henegouwen, president, EMEA, Equinix, said the resilience of many EMEA businesses throughout the pandemic appears to be stronger than ever. “As the survey demonstrates, technological changes made by companies across EMEA during the pandemic are largely here to stay, with a solid 58% reporting this to be the case. Moreover, opportunities have been created for companies to accelerate their digital strategies—cloud adoption and interconnectivity between business partners have and continue to increase as a result.” 

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