Digitisation Top Priority For IT leaders in UAE

Digitisation Top Priority For IT leaders in UAE

Cisco research finds Collaboration, Cloud and Security are Top IT Challenges

In the last decade, digital transformation moved at a relatively slow pace, focusing mainly on improving products, processes, and the employee experience. Then COVID-19 hit, forcing IT decision-makers (ITDMs) to prioritise their IT initiatives and increase digital investments.

According to Cisco’s new Accelerating Digital Agility Research, CIOs and ITDMs in the UAE are looking to maximise investments in digitisation and drive innovation to drive critical workplace innovation.

To protect their organisations from expanding security threats, CIOs and ITDMs, globally, have been challenged to accelerate their digital and cloud capabilities to create smart workplaces. It’s imperative for IT leaders in the UAE to look to maximise critical investments made in 2020.

“IT leaders are at the forefront of ensuring critical success for their organisations in 2021”, said Shukri Eid, Managing Director, Cisco Gulf Region. “Even as questions remain and new challenges will surface, CIOs and IT decision-makers in the UAE are telling us they need to accelerate digital agility for their teams. So they have the speed, flexibility and choice to consume services across both traditional and modern environments”.

To set up their organisations for success in 2021 and beyond, IT leaders have adapted priorities and strategy to focus on core issues, including delivering secure collaboration tools to keep distributed workforces productive, maximising technology investments from the past year, delivering the best digital experience to employees and customers, embracing cloud and “as a Service”, and tackling corporate and societal issues with technology.

Also Read: Cloud Data Security: Adopt a Zero Trust Approach 

Highlights in the report:

To prepare for the future of work, teams need highly secure access and the best collaboration experiences to succeed as a hybrid workforce.

While 60 per cent of CIOs and ITDMs are unsure of what the future of work looks like, 86 per cent believe that maintaining security, control, and governance across user devices, networks, clouds, and applications is essential. Most agree it is crucial to empower a distributed workforce with seamless access to applications and high-quality collaborative experiences. Securing the expanded threat landscape created by a distributed workforce is paramount – 86 per cent believe it is important to secure remote work tools and protect customer or employee data in the distributed work environment.

IT teams must create optimised end-user experiences to keep pace with IT environments that have become increasingly distributed, dynamic, and complex. 

Close to two-thirds of the CIOs and ITDMs surveyed agree that user experience should focus on delight versus satisfaction. To deliver great user experience, 86 per cent think it is important to ensure a consistent application performance across both the application and infrastructure, and 86 per cent believe it is important to make infrastructure as dynamic as application software to meet the changing policy and optimisation needs of the application and developer. While the user experience should aim to delight, most respondents say it is important or very important to maintain application-to-infrastructure security to meet compliance without slowing down the business.

The need for agility, speed, scalability and security is driving the adoption of hybrid cloud environments and SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) solutions. CIOs and ITDMs are using the cloud to achieve business resilience.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all cloud solution. While most CIOs and ITDMs (83 per cent) agree it is important to offer freedom of choice  for cloud environments, whether on-premises, public cloud, private cloud or SaaS, 87 per cent think offering a consistent operational model across these environments is essential. CIOs and ITDMs have adopted SASE solutions because they were investing in cloud applications that needed to be secured (63 per cent), they like to stay up-to-date on industry best practices (57 per cent) and/or their workforce is going to stay distributed (47 per cent).

Customers expect a cloud experience regardless of whether their solutions are deployed on-premise or in the cloud, leading to widespread adoption of “as a Service” solutions.
Of those surveyed, 77 per cent have adopted “as a Service” solutions and 81 per cent use flexible consumption models. Three-fourths of those surveyed believe that “as a Service” will help deliver a better experience for the end-user and a better experience for IT teams, helping their organisations achieve operational consistency. In addition, 72 per cent say “as a Service” will provide better business outcomes, and 78 per cent want “as a Service” solutions to simplify processes and remove risk.

Also Read: Change in Mindset Needed

Technology will be a driving factor in facilitating CIOs and ITDMs to tackle talent retention, internal corporate initiatives and broader societal issues in 2021

89 % believe the ability to attract and retain talent in the all-digital world will be critical. 

40% said they are up-skilling current talent 

42% said they are investing in talent in new areas over the next 12 months. 

93% plan to tackle internal initiatives in 2021, including sustainability employee mental health, privacy, diversity and inclusion. 

91% will tackle external societal issues in 2021, including digital divide, healthcare, climate change, social justice, human rights, misinformation or “fake news”, poverty, hunger and homelessness.