Press Release

Middle East and Africa Look to the Cloud for Future Innovation and Growth

15 Aug 2012

Middle East and Africa Look to the Cloud for Future Innovation and Growth

As increasing numbers of organisations across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region prepare to embrace working without traditional infrastructural limitations, GITEX Technology Week 2012 is set to make its biggest impact in cloud computing to date.

Under the theme “Business Innovation through Cloud Computing – From Hype to a Must-Have Service Model”, Cloud Confex is well-established as the largest and most influential conference and exhibition of its kind in the Middle East. It is on course to grow by 25% this year. The event takes place at GITEX Technology Week, which runs from October 14–18, 2012, at Dubai World Trade Centre. Cloud Confex will consolidate its reputation as the premier route to market via two days of intense conferencing and a five-day exhibition graced by leading international players (last year 80% of the top global cloud computing brands were present). The event’s ramp up in activity comes as high-growth companies and first-generation business-savvy chief information officers (CIOs) converge to drive wide-spread, cloud-driven change across multiple sectors.

According to The Five Faces of the Cloud study recently released by global business consulting firm Bain & Company, cloud computing product and service revenue is set to rise from approximately USD20 billion today to nearly USD150 billion by 2020, which will constitute around 8% of all technology spend. The study also notes that faster growing companies (greater than 10% per year) use 144% more cloud services than slower-growing companies. In addition, CIOs entering their position within the last year will have 141% more of their environment in the cloud than a longer tenured CIO (greater than six years), and that for certain workloads over the next three to five years, cloud pricing will be 30% to 40% lower than legacy technology.​

Indicative of the field’s burgeoning influence, an IDC report commissioned by GITEX participant Microsoft recently indicated that cloud computing will create nearly 14 million new jobs globally by 2015, including over two million in Europe, Middle East and Africa. IDC’s research also estimated revenues from cloud innovation could reach USD1.1 trillion per year by 2015, which, combined with cloud efficiencies, will drive significant organisational reinvestment and job growth.

In the MEA region itself, another IDC study notes that 73% of polled decision makers acknowledge that the cloud offers significant, tangible benefits, and anticipation at its sheer potential is mounting ahead of Cloud Confex’s ambitious agenda.

Cloud Confex will have a five-day cloud exhibition and two-day cloud conference. The event features insights on pressing issues, keynotes led by cloud computing thought leaders, panel discussions and exclusive networking break-out sessions. Topics tackled will include the state of the cloud today, the next stages in its evolution, evolving market trends, dominant market player insight, privacy challenges and a spotlight on cloud computing technologies. Also up for discussion is the transition from a traditional or virtualised data centre to a private cloud architecture, seamless and automatic integration across cloud boundaries, how to improve business analytics performance using cloud-based environments, how to optimise the mix of hybrid clouds, cloud management business strategies, the on-going cloud computing standards dilemma and how cloud service brokers can act as the “glue” to bring together multiple services. Further complementing the cutting-edge agenda is a series of vivid, regionally relevant case studies from companies like Gulf Air, demonstrating how the cloud is already exerting considerable influence in the MEA region.

As in previous years, Cloud Confex will feature world-class speakers such as Tareq Alemadi, who will discuss his take on cloud innovation as gleaned from a high-profile role as Head of Information Technology at the Private Office of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Qatar’s First Lady and the Chairperson of Qatar Foundation. He will be joined by a stellar line-up of fellow experts, including Nigel Hattersley, Middle East Regional Director of IT at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, who boasts over two decades of making the hospitality industry run better and is currently reaping the benefits of bringing the cloud to bear at 50 hotels and 20 stand-alone projects across the region. Dr Jassim Haji, Director of Information Technology, Gulf Air, will be presenting a case study on how his company transitioned to the cloud and dramatically enhanced both its business performance and customer service capabilities. Daniele Catteddu, Managing Director for Cloud Security Alliance’s EMEA operations, who has published numerous influential reports on the subject and is a member of various national and international expert groups on cloud computing security and privacy, will also share his insights.

Dr Jassim Haji, Director of Information Technology, Gulf Air, who is presenting a case study on how his company transitioned to the cloud and dramatically enhanced both its business performance and customer service capabilities, said: “Cloud computing is absolutely one of the most revolutionary developments in the ICT space and its implications for business are immense. Gulf Air’s innovation in this increasingly influential space serves as a vivid case in point for better, more efficient operational processes and demonstrates that this type of technology is fit for purpose in the Middle East and Africa region.”

“Cloud Computing is an extraordinary opportunity for businesses in MEA to achieve levels of operational efficiency that were previously unthinkable,” said Eyad Shihabi, Managing Director, HP Middle East, which is a GITEX Technology Week 2012 Diamond sponsor. “This is empowerment on a massive scale, and it will enable countless operational improvements and innovations. As we scale up our operations, expand our portfolio and services, we can derive great benefit from continued participation in events like GITEX Technology Week. Cloud Confex is unmatched in its scope in the region, and is an important showcase to demonstrate how businesses are moving quickly to adopt cloud computing and take advantage of both its efficiency and agility.”

“The cloud is all about being able to respond efficiently while reducing capital expenditure and operational overhead. This frees up resources that can be redirected into projects that provide greater innovation and create business value. Organisations of any size can benefit from using the cloud to develop new ideas and test them quickly at a manageable cost. Cloud Confex is among the best platforms in the world to understand how and why this is happening,” Adriana Karaboutis, Global Chief Information Officer for Dell, a Platinum sponsor this year.

In addition to HP and Dell, other key cloud computing sponsors already signed up for Cloud Confex include Emerson, F5 Networks, Symantec and Wyse.

“Cloud computing has the potential to change the way every single organisation across the world functions,” said Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President at Dubai World Trade Centre, which organises GITEX. “The MEA region in particular, with its wide-ranging development plans and ambitious economic diversification agendas, is likely to benefit from these massively influential trends. GITEX Technology Week is proud to be at the cutting-edge in this respect, highlighting the key players, shaping the conversation and laying the foundations for the future.”​

Now in its 32nd year, GITEX Technology Week connects more than 138,000 industry professionals and over 3,500 suppliers from 144 countries across five continents, making it one of the world’s top three ICT exhibitions. This year’s GITEX Technology Week is themed “Where Technology Means Business”.