Posted on June 14, 2016

Recent news from a new report issued by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, shows that the total ICT (information and communications technology) spending by Qatar’s "commercial sector" is projected to increase to nearly $2.8bn by 2019. The report, entitled, "Qatar’s ICT Landscape 2016: Business", also details how the total ICT spending by the country’s commercial sector stood at $1.9bn in 2015.

Commenting on this news, Christophe Meunier (pictured), Partner at advisory and investment group, Delta Partners, which specialises in the telecoms, media and digital space, said: “The report underlines the importance of ICT as a lifeblood to Qatar’s growing commercial sector. Investing in such technologies will help both fuel and protect the future health of the business, and in turn, the economy, with those that fail to do so being unable to survive and thrive in this new digital paradigm.

But just as there is a solid commitment to embracing such technologies, it is critical that there is a solid understanding of the changing landscape, and the changing roles enterprises will need to play within in. The ICT business models of the telecom operators and IT services providers are about to get disrupted in the same fashion as how Over the Top Technologies (OTT) are remodelling the consumer ecosystem. 

Businesses will need to redefine their roles and decide on a game plan to play in the new enterprise ICT environment. For instance, the number of things connected to the internet is expected to grow exponentially from ~4 billion devices today to 12-50 billion by 2020, based on various estimates.  While most of the use cases today are in the consumer domain, future Internet of Things (IoT) growth is expected to be mainly driven through use cases in the business domain.

However, for IoT to cross the chasm from early adoption to pervasive use - especially in the business segment - gaps in the IoT value chain need to be addressed particularly in enabling security, device management and aggregation. Businesses – particularly telecommunications companies - will need to redefine their roles and understand how they can supplement their central position as connectivity providers with network and partnership capabilities, to play a meaningful role in addressing these gaps.

In addition, customer experience is fundamentally poised for disruption. On the one hand the digital era is enabling completely new/ more satisfying customer experience, giving back control to the customer, and raising the expectation of instant gratification/ on demand bandwidth. On the other hand, the internet has also introduced the concept of “good enough” to the telecommunication world.

The operator will need to rethink the overall customer experience, making sure they achieve the minimum requirements and only differentiate on what the customer values and is willing to pay for. As such there needs to be a clear understanding of the differing market dynamics at play in the ICT area. Deciding on and creating a coherent business model will be vital for local, regional and global operators to thrive in this new environment where ICT is king. What is clear is that in this new ICT landscape, and data-driven world, it is vital for businesses to evolve to meet the demand of the new digital economy. With such investment already ear-marked in Qatar, the route map for growth is poised for the taking.”