Cloud-based software yet to take off across region

11 August 2015

Middle East defies global trend due to lack of specialised big data and analytics skills

  • Global trend points to increased uptake of cloud and subscription-based software
  • Concerns such as latency, data security and privacy hold back Middle East consumers

The global trend from on-premise to cloud and subscription-based utilisation of business software has not yet caught up among Middle East users, according to a report by US-based information technology research and consultancy Gartner,

The time lag emerged as a key theme when Gartner recently reported that revenues from the sale of business intelligence (BI) and analytics software in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region grew 12 per cent from 2013 to reach an estimated $245m in 2014.

German software maker SAP led suppliers, with revenues of about $61m, which surpassed its 2013 revenues by about only 3.6 per cent. US-headquartered software makers Oracle, SAS Institute, Microsoft and IBM rounded off the top five vendors for  2014, with IBM registering the highest growth at 28 per cent.

The second set of the top 10 vendors comprises smaller software makers such as Qlik, Panorama, Tableu and Fico. These vendors’ combined revenues from the Mena region in 2014 were still smaller compared with revenues made by Microsoft alone in 2014. Save for Panorama, their individual revenue growth, however, ranged between 40 and 78 per cent.

This trend indicates that the older, larger vendors such as SAP, Oracle and SAS, which still sell software primarily on a stack-life fashion, in contrast to a cloud and subscription-based  model, did not grow as much as their counterparts that largely utilised the latter model.

According to Bhavish Sood, research director at Gartner, the global structural rebalancing from on-premise to cloud, from traditional BI platforms to data discovery, and from perpetual pricing to subscription, is likely to result in an overall market slowdown.

The Middle East, however, remains for the most part insulated from the global trend. A strong interest in public cloud has not so far translated to actual opportunities as consumers stop short of adopting any cloud-based solution.

Major concerns such as latency or response times, data security and privacy hold back consumers from migrating to the public cloud model, according to Sood. This behaviour is apparently underpinned by the lack of a sizeable pool of information technology (IT) skills locally, especially in the area of analytics and big data.

Top business intelligence and analytics software vendors and their Middle East and North Africa revenues ($m) in 2014

  • SAP: 61.1
  • Oracle: 49.1
  • SAS Institute: 32.3
  • Microsoft: 19.6
  • IBM: 11.7
  • Qlik: 6.1
  • Panorama Software: 5.1
  • Tableau: 4.0
  • Fico: 3.4

BI and analytics software comprise main BI platforms, corporate performance management (CPM) suites, analytic applications and advanced analytics.

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