Companies, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are moving towards embracing cloud solutions due to its several advantages. Qatar is among the top adopters of cloud solutions in the Middle-East and cloud adoption is expected to witness a sharp rise in the next few years, said an expert during a forum held yesterday.
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in collaboration with PwC Middle East organised a digital forum entitled ‘Digitising Value: How to leverage digital transformation to drive more value for your SMB’. The forum provided an opportunity to engage with digital transformation leaders and experts on how you can drive value for your business.
Firas Sleiman, Partner and Qatar Technology & Cyber Leader PwC, discussed on the topic of Cloud acceleration for Small and Medium Businesses – ‘To cloud or not to cloud’ and shared what it means to accelerate the journey to cloud as an SME in Qatar, highlighting the benefits and challenges faced to adopt cloud technology.
Speaking about cloud applications usage in the Middle East he said “Cloud adoption is slowly increasing and growing steadily in the region. Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia are the biggest adopters of cloud in the Middle East and there has been a gradual shift in this area. In terms of percentage, in Qatar we estimate that there is 3 to 5 percent adoption in cloud hosting.”
“Many people are using cloud solutions – 37 percent of businesses use cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) – for e-mail, website hosting and other applications. Around 76 percent of businesses that were surveyed are aware of cloud computing. So as people get educated, we expect a sharp rise in the next few years in adoption of cloud,” he added.
“There is a lot of agility required when you are a small and medium business. Cloud computing is a tech service provided by a cloud service provider (CSP). It can be public, private, hybrid and community cloud. Also, the cloud offers number of service models – infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). The key characteristics of cloud are they are highly secure, on demand, there is access to all networks everywhere, you have resource pooling, it has rapid elasticity, and it is a metered service,” he added.
Sleiman noted the power of the cloud gives you digital tools as a small and medium business and readymade building blocks for innovation. Liberating your data from applications into cloud allows new products and provides you with advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning as cloud gives you the power to aggregate and put the data together.
Speaking about cost reduction he said, “As an SMB (Small and Medium Business) cloud technology helps to reduce cost and offers many financial management tools and capabilities. It can do budgeting, rightsizing, cost forecasting etc. To reduce costs, cloud architecture considerations can help right-size cloud resources, use spot instances, enable horizontal and vertical scaling (automation), and choosing correct storage options.”
People have misconceptions about cloud security, Sleiman noted. “Cloud is more secure than having your data in your own data center and cloud has become more secure than on-premises security risk as it provides industrial strength, and cyber security capabilities. The journey to the cloud requires careful planning and after cloud migration, there are significant changes in how expenses are recognised.”
Mayank Saxena, Director – Consulting PwC discussed the topic ‘Workforce of the Future: How technology is enabling future workforces. He share the research and trends on changing work, workforce and workplace in post pandemic world.
The DTSME program encourages SMEs to start using Information Technology and raise awareness of using the modern technology in the business sector which contributes to digital transformation and building the desired future for Qatar from several projects, one of which is the Digital Transformations program to SMEs.