A study conducted by F5, a multi-cloud application services and security company, and YouGov on digital transformation efforts in the UAE has revealed that decision-makers in the UAE are determined to double their companies’ efforts to adopt digital transformation.
The results of the study showed encouraging progress as well as great awareness of the importance of emerging technology solutions, which should support the efforts of future transformation plans in the UAE.
Driven by consumer demand and expanding app portfolios, most decision-makers ranked 5G top of their trends chart (62% of respondents), followed by multi-cloud networking (42%). The integration of IT systems with operational technology (OT) claimed third place (38%).
Furthermore, 36% of respondents flagged the importance of Web Application and API protection (WAAP) services, which include WAF, DDoS protection, bot management, and API protection, while 34% said they are keeping an eye on AIOps platforms (combining big data and machine learning functionality to support all primary IT operations functions).
Fadia Abi Ayyad, Regional Director of F5 in the UAE and the Gulf states, indicated that the business sector in the UAE is clearly working to enhance its capabilities to provide fast and smooth digital services and experiences.
“We see that organizations are now expecting higher levels of automation in services in light of the remarkable convergence and harmony between information technology and operational technologies, they are also adopting promising artificial intelligence technologies to adapt to changing conditions at a faster pace than ever,” she added.
“Applications and their deployment are coming at a faster rate than ever before and Multi-cloud security is at the core of these trends and efforts,” the director explained.
The answers of all survey respondents centered on focusing digital transformation missions on customer-centricity and operational efficiencies.
The study revealed that 44% are employing AI and machine learning to automate and optimize business processes for efficiency and effectiveness, such as fixing workflow bottlenecks in customer service.
Furthermore, around 44 % are also automating business processes by integrating applications such as creating multi-channel communications between chats and websites, to provide a seamless experience between mobile and desktop apps for a digital banking or e-health solution.
Regarding future moves, 40 % of respondents said they are using AI and machine learning to augment operations and 36 % are employing APIs to create new or participate in third-party ecosystems, for example, opening banking or social media logins.
In terms of specific digital transformation benefits, 46 % of respondents hailed employee productivity improvements through improved collaboration and decision-making, while 42% mentioned increased revenue, 40% praised operational IT efficiency, and 38% hailed new business/market penetration opportunities.
Transitioning to multi-cloud networking
Around 71 % of UAE respondents indicated that cloud services spending was up in the past year. In related projections, 36 % expect more than 50 % of their app portfolio to be hosted in the cloud within the next three years.
The most prominent emerging strategic cloud trends over the next three years include Security-as-a-Service (34%), SaaS (31%), and private cloud services (31%).
When asked about app deployment challenges across multiple clouds, 36 % said they struggled to manage the complexity of management tools and APIs.
In addition, 35 % highlighted the difficulty in applying consistent security policies across all apps. Other enduring problems include complying with regulations (32%), migrating apps between clouds/data centers (32%), and gaining visibility into application health (31%).
The study also showed that security remains a perennial challenge, with 84 % reporting that they would benefit from additional cybersecurity expertise in their organization. Skill gaps were flagged for network security (24%), multi-cloud (21%), and public cloud (20%).
Commenting on the study, Fadia said, “the UAE’s organizations now enjoy new levels of freedom to choose the ideal security model for each application and delivery technology according to their business priorities and the goals they want to achieve. Therefore, making the right decision regarding each of the supporting technologies and the applications themselves needs more attention and focus than ever before, along with the need to select service providers that provide effective and consistent solutions to the wide variety of deployment models they use.”
References: F5 press release