On Cloud Nine: The Middle East’s Growing Affinity for Cloud-based Infrastructures

On Cloud Nine: The Middle East’s Growing Affinity for Cloud-based Infrastructures

Ambitious government plans are ensuring that the region becomes one of the fastest-growing cloud-based markets.

“We are betting on the cloud. We’re betting big on Amazon,” said Salman Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain.

He was referring to cloud computing giant Amazon opening its first Amazon Web Services (AWS) Region in Bahrain. The Bahrain government is moving all 40 of its agencies to the cloud, becoming the first country to adopt a cloud-first policy in the Middle East.

Al-Khalifa acknowledged that bringing cloud computing to the region was a big move for his country. “We’re not an oil-rich country. Our crown jewels are the citizens, and making them ready for the cloud is going to help us succeed.”

This was last year, in July 2018. Less than a year later, the cloud computing situation is quite crowded in the region.

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Cloud Computing Expands in the Region

In January 2019, tech giant Microsoft announced plans to open its first data centre in the United Arab Emirates.

In February 2019, Oracle opened a data centre in Abu Dhabi, it’s first in the region, joining the likes of Alibaba, SAP, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services in opening data centres in the region.

“By locating a data centre in the UAE, we will be able to better manage service levels and respond to local customers, who, for data governance requirements and other reasons, need to keep their data local,” said Arun Khehar, senior vice president of business applications, Middle East and Africa, at Oracle.

According to data published in Cisco’s Global Cloud Index in 2016, MEA cloud data centre traffic is expected to grow 440 per cent by the end of the decade.

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Why Employ Cloud-based Marketing Infrastructure

The Middle East cloud infrastructure services market size is expected to grow from USD 2.66 billion in 2017 to USD 8.79 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27.0% during the forecast period.

Given the shift to digital marketing in the region, it is imperative to point that marketing infrastructure consists of more than just establishing cloud data centres.

What exactly is a marketing infrastructure? Marketing infrastructure is the system that brings new leads to a business, follows up with these leads, nurtures and then converts them into regular customers.

This system requires the following:

  • A digital presence – a website
  • A blog which is SEO-friendly
  • A newsletter
  • Marketing Automation tools
  • A social media presence
  • Analytics tools
  • CRM
  • Marketing database

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Middle East’s Crowning Glory – Marketing Cloud Adoption

The Middle East’s growing digital existence is adding to its rapid adoption of cloud-based services, including building a cloud-based marketing infrastructure aka marketing cloud.

This entails a suite of cloud-based marketing tools covering analytics, targeting, social media management, audience management, customer experience and more. The suite can be used to track and measure customer data, keep tabs on individual customers and prospects, and automate time-consuming mundane tasks.

A report by ClickZ Intelligence, surveyed nearly 200 marketing professionals to discover their thoughts on the marketing cloud.

  • 52 per cent of respondents claimed to be using marketing cloud technology
  • 27 per cent of respondents were considering using it
  • 12 per cent of respondents claimed not to know what marketing cloud meant

Yet, the same survey also reported that marketing cloud helped increase productivity

  • 82 per cent of respondents said that the marketing cloud had a positive impact on their organisation’s marketing
  • 88 per cent of respondents agreed that an integrated suite of marketing tools has a positive effect on business performance

A Microsoft digital transformation survey revealed that two in three Gulf enterprises plan to invest at least 5 per cent of annual revenue in the digitisation of operations. Up to 51 per cent of organisations name cloud computing as a priority, followed by business intelligence (41 per cent), Internet of Things (37 per cent), and Artificial Intelligence (29 per cent).

Integration of all the silos under the umbrella of marketing through a cloud-based infrastructure will help brands move in the right direction for digital transformation. There is a variety of options to choose from, including the top three big names – Adobe, Oracle, and Salesforce.