Cengiz Oztelcan, CEO at Gulf Bridge International (GBI), explains the role of network providers in building a successful foundation for digital transformation in the Middle East.
Worldwide spending on digital transformation is increasing rapidly. It is set to reach $2.3 trillion in 2023, and will account for more than half of the total ICT spend according to IDC. On top of this, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will see the fastest IP traffic growth of any region with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41% between 2017 and 2022 according to a forecast from Cisco.
The foundation for digital transformation is networking, and the long-term success of any organisation’s digital journey depends on it. Organisations need to prioritise how they connect and optimise their applications and services to truly grow and transform their business.
Connectivity providers such as telecom operators and network operators play a vital role in the Middle East’s digital transformation. They need to provide solutions that remove the complexity from how organisations connect to their applications, enable them to consolidate the number of vendors they work with, and offer unique routes and true redundancy. Otherwise, organisations of all kinds are deploying new solutions on a risky networking infrastructure that is both difficult and costly to manage.
As applications continue to evolve, the need for reliable, redundant and high-performance networking will be consistent. With IT environments growing in complexity, I believe networking needs to be simpler.
In the Middle East and around the world, the challenge will be to have a networking strategy that supports new applications, technologies, and growth. It is vital that network providers offer networking infrastructure that can support future development and keep up with the pace of change.
Supporting transformation in the Middle East
Each country in the Middle East has a national carrier and local complexities, which can make connecting and optimising applications seem daunting. Networking providers need to offer their customers a unique network footprint, enabling them to quickly and efficiently access all of the hubs of the Middle East. With a single provider and one superior customer experience, networking providers can play a large role in simplifying business transformation in the Middle East.
Providers that offer unique routes can build redundancy into network infrastructure, reduce risk and support consistent network performance. For example, in the Middle East there are unique routes north via Turkey as well as connectivity via the Red Sea corridor, enabling carriers and enterprises to benefit from a redundant and unique network footprint.
This enables network providers to deliver shorter round-trip delay times (RTDs) and strict service-level agreements (SLAs) to their customers. Global rollouts of cloud-based applications, such as software as service (SaaS) platforms, benefit from ultra-low latency networking across global hubs, which optimises performance and enhances user experience.
Providers that mix both terrestrial and subsea cable infrastructure in their network enable local and global organisations to consolidate the number of vendors they work with and streamline their access to the region. This can simplify their operations and provide more connectivity opportunities.
Enhancing customer experience
Networking expertise and a commitment to customer experience are vital to make digital transformation a success in the Middle East. Providers should not only focus on their networking infrastructure, but also prioritise customer experience.
It’s important for providers to shape their service offerings to keep up with a rapidly transforming market and continually invest in their network infrastructure. Improved network analytics and zero-touch provisioning can accelerate how customers roll out new services and optimise their network performance.
Providers should offer unique and seamless access to global hubs, providing a solid foundation to support their customers’ digital journeys. A simple and powerful approach to networking is crucial to support digital transformation on a global scale.
In a market where the only constant is change, providers need to keep networking simple and provide a trusted foundation that can be built on and utilised to deliver an optimised end user experience. With this approach, providers can enable the long-term adoption of digital solutions in organisations, and provide a successful transformation strategy for growth in the Middle East and around the world.