Posted on March 23, 2018

C-level executives and business leaders in Qatar overwhelmingly agree on cloud computing’s positive and transformative impact, according to new findings released today.

Commissioned by security and cloud experts F5 Networks, and conducted by research agency Think Positive, the study is one of the most in-depth of its kind to involve board-level decision-makers. The results are the most up-to-date gauge on current attitudes to the cloud, drawing on the views c-level executives and business owners from across the region1.

“Cloud computing has significant potential to radically alter how businesses and organisations run in the GCC,” said Diego Arrabal, VP – Middle East, Turkey & Africa, F5 Networks. “This new study shows that, while the region still has plenty of room to ramp up cloud deployment projects, the overall recognition of the technology’s possibilities is at an all-time high. Decision-makers in the region see the cloud as a business priority. Firms that continually innovate and build a sustainable cloud strategy will increasingly stand out from their competitors, meet intensifying compliance targets, and be better able to substantively contribute to major government-backed transformation projects.”

Powering the future

Although the GCC is relatively early in its multi-cloud embrace compared to mature markets, such as the USA and parts of EMEA, there is widespread and enthusiastic receptivity for the technology’s potential. 100% of Qatari executives believe the cloud can have a positive impact on market share and help to displace competitors. 97% also stated it can improve brand perception, improve innovation and have a positive impact on the customer experience.

Similarly, decision-makers were keen to highlight the cloud’s likely starring role in driving major government-led transformation initiatives. Qatar was most enthusiastic here of all surveyed regions, with 100% saying the cloud would be integral to the ongoing rollout of Qatar National Vision 2030. The importance of local regulations as a constructive cloud conduit was also emphasised, with 68% stating they had a favourable influence. Cloud computing’s most commonly cited benefits in Qatar include greater business efficiency (60% of surveyed businesses), followed by agility and operational flexibility (54%), customer service (41%), cost savings (38%), time to market (32%), and scalability (30%).

According to all surveyed businesses across the region, as many as 35% estimate that cloud migration unlocks business growth of between 25-50%. 25% predict it drives 51-75% growth, and 18% went as far as 76-99%. The most critical apps currently used in the cloud were related to operations (57%), services (47%), marketing (43%), business (40%) and HR (28%). By 2025, 39% of GCC businesses said 25-50% of apps would be in the cloud; 23% said the total would be between 51-75%; and 20% as much as 76-99%.

Almost half of respondents currently use one cloud provider (45%) but, as awareness and enthusiasm levels rise, multi-cloud realities are fast entering the picture. 20% currently use 2-6 providers and 3% use 7-10. Google is the most commonly used vendor (43%), followed by Microsoft (25%). 23% of respondents use other global providers but were not specific.

Challenges and barriers

The top cloud-related concern for Qatari businesses is data security, with 70% of executives citing it as the number one issue.   Other major concerns include data integrity (43%) consistency of policies (35%). Another issue to contend with is a shortage of staff with key cloud computing skills. 87% believe this will be a challenge moving ahead. Think Positive’s findings align with F5’s recent State of Application Delivery (SOAD) report, which reported that applying consistent security policies for applications is the “most challenging or frustrating” aspect of managing multi-cloud environments (42% of F5’s surveyed EMEA customers).

“Qatar is ideally placed to reap the benefits of the cloud in all its incarnations. Governments have ambitious, world-class plans in place to change the way people live and work, and there is a huge base of tech-savvy youngsters about to enter the workforce. As the findings show, there is also a strong appetite among key decision-makers to use the cloud as a conduit to move fast and innovate,” said Tabrez Surve, MEA Security Head, F5 Networks. “The key to make the cloud work is to rigorously focus on return on investment. An effective cloud architecture strategy should increase business agility and provide flexibility to scale based on shifting hardware, software and on-demand requirements. Meanwhile, application control, access and security must ensure optimal service performance, availability and security. Ultimately, the right approach is a comprehensive multi-cloud solution that drives innovation and continually adds customer value.”