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Tech Talent and AI Take Center Stage in Saudi Arabia’s 2024 IT Strategy

Nutanix has announced the findings of its sixth global Enterprise Cloud Index (ECI) survey and research report, which measures enterprise progress with cloud adoption. The majority of Saudi Arabian respondents in this year’s ECI study (70%) say their organization takes a cloud-smart approach to IT infrastructure strategy, which involves leveraging the best IT environment for each of their applications. Furthermore, 81% of Saudi Arabian respondents say their organizations would benefit most from a hybrid environment encompassing both public and private clouds. This high preference for deploying applications across a mix of IT environments will have an important influence on IT solutions and services implementation in Saudi Arabia over the next few years.

“Due to imperatives such as AI, sustainability, and security, organizations are increasingly under pressure to rapidly modernize their IT infrastructure,” said Talal Alsaif, Sales Director, Central Gulf & Egypt at Nutanix. “This year’s ECI findings highlight the importance for Saudi organizations to future-proof their IT infrastructure today in order to accommodate tomorrow’s technologies. Hybrid multi-cloud is steadily becoming the preferred infrastructure standard due to its flexibility in supporting both traditional VM and modern containerized applications, as well as enabling seamless movement between clouds and on-premises setups.”

In regard to investment priorities, 78% of Saudia Arabia respondents say they plan to increase investment in IT and cloud staff. This is indicative of the continued adoption of cloud infrastructure solutions, as well as the need to modernize and optimize IT solutions.

Key findings from Saudi Arabia include:

  1. Hybrid multi-cloud IT deployments are set to expand significantly over the next one to three years among Saudi Arabia organizations. Hybrid cloud and hybrid multi-cloud IT deployments are the dominant models among Saudi Arabia organizations today, at 36% and 37%, respectively. However, the proportion of “hybrid cloud” deployments is set to decline significantly over the forecast period, from 36% today to just 5% over the next 1-3 years. Meanwhile, hybrid multi-cloud infrastructure deployments are forecast to expand significantly in Saudi Arabia, expanding from 37% today to 66% over the next 1-3 years. This growth presents an important opportunity for infrastructure software and service providers, as it will likely catalyze IT modernization initiatives for many organizations.
  2. Saudi Arabia ranks flexibility and performance as primary drivers of infrastructure choice. Similar to the global averages, Saudi Arabia ranked “flexibility to run across clouds and on-prem” (45%) and “performance” (43%) as its top two drivers of infrastructure choice. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia ranked “data sovereignty and privacy” lower, on average, than the EMEA region as a whole.
  3. 100% of Saudi Arabian respondents moved an application(s) to a different IT environment in the last 12 months. Over 60% of Saudi Arabian respondents say that workload and app migration is a “moderate to significant challenge” given their current IT infrastructure. Helping address this challenge is a key opportunity area for IT and Infrastructure solutions providers. The top reasons for application migration cited were “to improve security posture and/or meet regulatory requirements,” and “to integrate with cloud-native services”. Application and data control are also highly ranked by Saudi Arabian organizations surveyed this year. 71% of Saudi Arabia respondents agree having a single platform to run and manage all applications and data across clouds is ideal for their organization.
  4. 100% of Saudi Arabian respondents say their organizations pursued sustainability initiatives in 2023. Their top sustainability initiative in 2023 was promoting remote working facilitated by technologies in order to reduce pollution associated with employee travel. 72% of Saudi Arabian respondents agree that sustainability is a priority for their organizations, but this is well below the EMEA average of 86%.
  5. More than half of Saudi Arabian respondent organizations took days/weeks or longer to fully recover from a ransomware attack. Over 90% of Saudi Arabian respondents admitted that their organization experienced a ransomware attack sometime in the past three years, with 54% of Saudi Arabian organizations indicating that they were able to recover within hours or days. 71% of respondents from Saudi Arabia agreed that their organization could make improvements to its ransomware protection stance, and 73% say they plan to increase investments in ransomware protection in 2024.
  6. 100% of respondents from Saudi Arabia say their organization faces various challenges when managing its data. Saudi Arabia clearly ranked “linking data from multiple environments” as its biggest data management challenge. 65% of Saudi Arabia respondents say operational silos between teams managing different environments remain a “moderate to significant challenge” given their current IT infrastructure. These siloed teams may be one of the leading reasons why Saudi Arabian organizations are challenged to link data from multiple environments.
  7. Implementing AI strategies is the #1 C-level priority for Saudi Arabian organizations surveyed. Unlike global and EMEA results, where data security and ransomware protection are the #1 priority, Saudi Arabia ranked the Implementation of AI strategies as their top C-level IT priority for 2024. 78% of respondents from Saudi Arabia said their organization will increase investments in AI strategy over the next 12 months. Additionally, 79% of Saudi Arabian respondents say their organization’s investment in data analytics will increase in 2024. this process will also create challenges. Over 60% of Saudi Arabian respondents agree data privacy is a concern to their organization due to AI, and 63% say running AI applications is a “moderate to significant challenge” given their current IT infrastructure.

For the sixth consecutive year, Vanson Bourne conducted research on behalf of Nutanix, surveying 1,500 IT and DevOps/Platform Engineering decision-makers around the world in December 2023. The respondent base spanned multiple industries, business sizes, and geographies, including North and South America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia-Pacific-Japan (APJ) region.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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