Small-to-medium enterprise (SMEs), accounting for over 90% of businesses operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), see cloud computing as a top priority if wanting to realise their digital potential. According to Microsoft, about 56% of regional SMEs appreciate the multiple benefits offered by digital transformation, with 35% planning to invest 5% or more in digital this year. Employing 42% of its workforce, and responsible for over 60% of its GDP, SMEs are the heart of the UAE’s economy, according to the UAE Banks Federation.
Microsoft senior product marketing manager for Dynamics 365 (the Middle East and Africa), Maureen Khoury, said: “Cloud computing will play a crucial role in optimising SME operations in the Middle East. Nearly half [44 per cent] named cloud computing as their priority.” The company currently has a 16% market share in the international cloud infrastructure industry. The company polled 1,000 firms in the UAE and the broader Arabian Gulf region.
In August, Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 Business Central, an all-in-one cloud business solution to enhance client interactions and streamline the financials of regional SMEs.
Khoury said the business climate in the UAE was often fiercely competitive. Legacy systems were expensive to adapt to changing market conditions and SMEs needed a more flexible solution. EHosting DataFort CEO, Yasser Zeineldin, added that cloud computing has become a buzzword in the region, increasingly adopted by SMEs’.
Cloud computing also helps SMEs to harness their potential. According to Digital McKinsey research, until now, the Middle East has only realised about 8% of its digital potential, compared to 18% in the US and 15% in Western Europe.