GCC companies are lagging behind their global counterparts as well as their government and consumer counterparts in the region when it comes to using digital technologies, according to a joint study conducted by Siemens and the Ideation Centre at the management consultancy Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company), part of the PwC network.
Dietmar Siersdorfer, CEO, Siemens Middle East and UAE said: “Governments and consumers in the GCC have been rapid adopters of digital technologies, and our report tells us the benefits of digitalisation are widely acknowledged by the majority of organisations.
“However, many companies in the region have some catching up to do, and our research suggests there is still work to be done to encourage the understanding that digitalisation is a transformation journey, requiring a holistic approach. Companies must develop a business strategy for the digital age, and finding the right partners is essential.”
Samer Bohsali, partner with Strategy& in Dubai, said: “Executives in the GCC are excited by digital. They recognise its benefits, such as stronger customer orientation and increased efficiency, which is vital in an era of budget constraints. Many companies, however, perceive the process of going digital as the adoption of a specific technology, rather than a transformation journey.”
Instead of simply importing best digital practices and technology, GCC organisations need to approach this challenge holistically by creating the building blocks for digital transformation.
First, organisations need a business strategy for the digital era. This requires assessing digitalisation’s impact on their industry and its fit with their ambition.
Second, they must identify those areas of their business where digitalisation can help the most, and how.
Third, digital change requires senior sponsorship and proper governance. Digitalisation should be an organisation-wide collaborative effort, not the sole preserve of IT or marketing.
Fourth, they must develop digital skills, in IT and across the organisation.
Fifth, they should collaborate with stakeholders across the ecosystem, embracing open innovation, learning from international players, and reaping benefits from various government initiatives.
Sixth, they should invest more wisely, as opposed to spending more, thereby mitigating investment risk.