Demand for IT experts grows in Middle East
The number of IT contractor roles in the Middle East increased significantly during the first quarter of 2016, according to research from professional services consultancy Procorre.
The study shows that the UAE is hiring the largest number of IT contractors in the region and an IT market worth $4.5 billion. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of the roles available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are for industry specialists, 14 percent are for project managers and one-in-ten (11 percent) are for engineers.
Wiktor Podgorski, Head of the Relationship Management Team at Procorre, said: “While Saudi Arabia has the largest IT market in the Middle East, UAE is catching up fast as it seeks to become a technology hub for the region. We are seeing growth in both the public and private sectors but there is significant demand for the kind of specialist expertise which experienced consultants can offer.”
One of the sector’s largest employers in the region, Oracle, is planning to hire 250 cloud IT professionals to support a number of projects in the UAE, including the development of a new data centre in Abu Dhabi.
In Saudi Arabia, the government’s recently launched National Transformation Programme highlights IT as one of the sectors the country is focusing on as it seeks to diversify its economy. By 2030, Saudi Arabia plans to double the contribution of the IT sector to its gross domestic product and will be developing a number of data centres and IT parks, most notably within the King Abdullah Economic City.
Qatar, which has the fastest growing IT market in the region, is also planning a move from an oil and gas to a knowledge-based economy. This has created demand for IT services from small and medium sized enterprises and will see the planned extension of Qatar’s fibre optic network to increase the penetration of broadband to 95 per cent. Many of the major IT companies have recently set up new Qatar offices in anticipation of this growth and the need for resources.
Podgorski added: “Countries across the Middle East are actively reducing their dependence on oil by investing heavily in growth sectors such as IT. There are some exciting and rewarding opportunities available for experienced overseas contractors in countries with limited local expertise. Consequently, we are seeing a particular demand for IT industry specialists with over 100 positions available in the UAE alone in the last three months.”
Read the June 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”