IT spending in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is set to reach $83,7-billion in 2020, up 2,8% year on year, according to the latest forecast from IDC.
Enterprises will account for close to 56,8% of that figure, with the telecommunications, finance, government, and manufacturing sectors continuing to be the biggest spenders. However, it is the transportation sector that will see the fastest growth over the coming years, followed by utilities and retail & wholesale.
With digital transformation (DX) increasingly shaping the investment decisions of organisations across the region, consumer and enterprise mobility will account for the largest chunk of spending in 2020 at $40-billion, followed by the Internet of Things at $9,1-billion. The quest for DX will drive investments in other emerging technologies too, with cloud ($2,7-billion), big data & analytics ($2,7-billion), and security ($2,9-billion) expected to be key areas of investment in 2020.
“The focus of investment in areas such as mobility, IoT, cloud, and big data underlines the critical need to explore and adopt digital technologies in order to transform government practices, business models, and society in general,” says Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC’s group vice-president and regional MD for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. “Indeed, digital transformation success is now so intimately tied to the creation of new, ecosystem-driven digital business models that any organisation that fails to embrace this wave of digital transformation is placing its own competitive future at risk.”
The growing interest in artificial intelligence across the region is certainly undeniable, with a recent update to IDC’s Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide showing that investment in AI systems in MEA is expected to reach $374,2-million in 2020, up more than 20% on the projected total for this year of $310,3-million. This spending will be led by the banking and retail industries, followed by federal/central governments and the telecommunications sector.
“Organisations are continuing to invest significantly in AI software and platforms as they look to optimise their business processes, automate their operations and enhance their offerings in order to maximise the overall customer experience,” says Manish Ranjan, IDC’s program manager for software and cloud in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. “Investments in AI systems across MEA will continue to be driven by a wide range of use cases, although the three largest – automated customer service agents, IT automation, and automated threat intelligence and prevention systems – will account for around 30% of total AI spending in 2020.”