Qatar Steel is preparing to lauch a tender for the development of a private cloud for the company’s information technology (IT) operations.

“Our approach to cloud computing has been cautious. We have delayed infrastructure decisions and implementation until now to see the developments in the technology,” says Malek Hamdieh, the company’s manager of the information technology department.

The steel producer plans to award the tender within the next two months.

Talking on the sidelines of IDC’s Middle East CIO Summit, Hamdieh highlighted the shift in the company’s approach to IT. “It has developed a new role from focusing on production and administrative side of the business to helping the organisation set governance models and better controls,” he says.

Qatar Steel is one of Qatar’s largest IT spenders. The company’s IT budget was slashed by 15 per cent from 2008 to 2009. It went down a further 10 per cent from 2009 to 2010 and new projects were postponed as a result. This year’s budget has increased by 30 per cent.

“Generally there is a big gap in terms of readiness for cloud computing solutions, but we have been undergoing virtualisation for the past six years and noticed the cost benefits and increased agility from the first year,” says Hamdieh.

Qatar Steel awarded US-based GE Intelligent Platforms a $2m contract for production management solutions in February 2011.

IT spending in Qatar is set to grow 10 per cent in 2011.