Why 2015 is the Year of the Application Economy in the Middle East
The new Application Economy brings new business opportunities to Middle East companies.
Over 80 billion apps are estimated to be downloaded each year and software has been at the core of that transformation.
According to Diyaa Zebian, Regional Director for Lower Gulf and Levant, CA Technologies Middle East and North Africa, “applications have changed the way companies do business. We live in an Application Economy. Everything is driven by a connected, mobile, application-based world where customers are far more likely to experience brand and interact with an enterprise through a software application than a live person.
“In order to succeed in this new reality, all business across industries are challenged by the need to innovate and develop and deliver superior user experiences that engage customers and employees, and it´s all enabled by software.”
The recent study commissioned by CA Technologies, “How to Survive and Thrive in the Application Economy”, which surveyed 1,450 senior business executives worldwide reveals that there are clear financial benefits for companies embracing the application economy.
Companies identified as leaders in this global study have seen double the revenue growth, 68 percent higher profit growth, and 50 percent more revenue driven by new business offerings.
Innovation is at the core of companies that succeed in the Application Economy. Leading companies accelerate the delivery of proven and high quality applications that give them a competitive advantage, and have adopted DevOps methodologies and technologies to speed application delivery.
In the Middle East, an increasing number of enterprises are embracing DevOps to help foster collaboration between the teams that create and test applications (Dev) with those that maintain them in production environments (Ops).
A recent survey of 50 senior IT Middle East decision-makers conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by CA Technologies shows that more than half (54 per cent) of the respondents have or intend to incorporate DevOps into their organization.
The intake is expected to gain even more momentum, as the majority (64 percent) of respondents agree that DevOps has become of major significance.
“DevOps has become a focal point for organizations that recognize the key role that the Application Economy will play in line with the Middle East’s long-term technology-enabled development agenda,” says Zebian.
In fact, Middle East respondents who have adopted DevOps report significant benefits such as increase number (27.7 percent) of customers, reduced time to market of software/services (27.1 percent) or improved quality of applications (20 percent).
In the coming months, CA MENA will host a number of activities, including webcast, simulation workshops and online campaigns, to help customers accelerate the development and delivery of applications with the use of DevOps to help them succeed in the Application Economy.
Nybl: Saudi Startup to Expand AI Solutions
According to co-founder Nour Alnahhas, nybl was formed for the greater good. A visual data mining and machine learning platform, the platform will help organisations streamline their operations. ‘We wanted to centralise our vision around AI and machine learning’, said Alnahhas. ‘Something not just for profit, but added value. Conscious capitalism’.
Nybl aims to democratise artificial intelligence by making it possible for anyone to build an AI solution. What website builders like Wix and Squarespace did for site design, nybl will do for AI—allowing even non-coders to feel comfortable creating solutions. In fact, Alnahhas calls it a ‘Shopify of AI’, or a third-party platform that helps businesses deliver better service.
With hubs in Kuwait, the UAE, North America, and India, nybl is focused on launching operations in Saudi Arabia, Alnahhas’s home country. When the company first launched, it was difficult to convince Saudi Arabian businesses to work with a startup. Yet now, nybl has proven itself. ‘We had support in the UAE, so now we’re coming back’, said Alnahhas.
Alnahhas has launched a pilot with Saudi Aramco and has slowly built partnerships with paper, heating, HVAC air conditioning, and manufacturing companies. In addition, the Saudi government has started to invest in the Kingdom’s National Strategy for Data and AI, which means that nbyl, as a tech startup, has finally gained credibility.
No War for Talent
One of the most critical parts of nybl’s expansion will be hiring the right individuals. Thankfully, there’s a current surplus of talented researchers, developers, and data scientists within the Kingdom. Like nybl’s Alnahhas—educated at the University of Houston, the Wharton School of Business, and INSEAD— many Saudi Arabians have benefited from government-sponsored education abroad.
Last year, Saudi Arabia signed several partnerships with tech firms to advance the Kingdom’s skills in artificial intelligence. ‘It’s exciting to be in Saudi Arabia where there’s alignment and support’, Alnahhas concluded. ‘You’re getting an increasing talent pool. And even old and big family conglomerates are finally changing to use AI’.