UAE Spending on Business Analytics Software Set to Reach US$69.4 Million in 2017: IDC
Accessibility, Storage and Disposal are Key Considerations

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

A complete approach to managing data, from accessibility to storage and disposal, is imperative to retaining its value, according to industry experts.

With figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC) showing that UAE spending on business analytics software is expected to double in a span of four years, from US$33.7 million in 2013 to US$69.4 million in 2017, data generation in the country is set to increase dramatically.

However, choosing how to handle exceptionally large sums of data is a common challenge faced by many businesses, and experts warn that the mismanagement of this information could dilute from its value.

“‘Information Lifecycle management’ is no longer industry jargon, but an integral component to effectively managing data, from the moment it is created until the moment it is disposed,” said Andrew Calthorpe, CEO of the Dubai-based technology firm Condo Protego.

“ILM means managing information with the objective of ensuring the right data is stored on the right platform, at the right cost, that it is accessible as deemed necessary, and that it is protected. Lifecycle management should not be viewed as a product or service, but as a fundamental approach to managing data, from policy development to implementation.

“The manner in which a corporation applies this will ultimately determine the value of data as an asset and its potential for influencing strategy.”

IT professionals across the UAE agree. In a 2013 EMC Corporation survey of 237 IT decision-makers across the country, 87 percent believed their company could be improved through better use of data. In addition 45 percent felt they had gained a competitive edge through Big Data analytics, with 67 percent agreeing that their senior managers trust the insights derived from Big Data to make transformative business solutions.

The UAE ranks second in the world and first in the Middle East and Africa for government usage of information and communications technology in the 2014 World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report, and the country has ambitious plans to continue developing its IT infrastructure with Dubai set to establish itself as a smart city in the next three years.

This is an ambition shared by neighboring countries, with IT spending by MEA governments expected to increase by 7.3 per cent to US$32 billion this year, according to 2014 predictions by IDC. In addition to similar smart city initiatives in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, researchers expect these predictions will translate into progressive change within a variety of industries in the region, including government, healthcare, logistics, and finance.

Most large companies store at least 100 terabytes of data, and on average more than one-third of this data is unstructured, according to a Microsoft survey of 282 US IT decision-makers.

However experts emphasize that in order to truly make the most of collated data, effective and reliable information management policies must be in place. Traditional approaches to managing information, such as simply storing archived data off-site and on external drives, are no longer options for companies looking to maintain a competitive edge by adapting to the constantly evolving business environment.

“The importance of data is not simply determined by time, but also by value. For example at a policy-making level, some information might be dated but is crucial to tracking patterns and trends,” said Savitha Bhaskar, General Manager, Condo Protego.

“There is a delicate balance between cost-efficiency, security and accessibility that must be maintained, and this balance can only be achieved through a thorough assessment and evaluation of the information an entity possesses.”

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