Taher Haj-Yousef - regional manager Middle East- Rimini Street -Rimini Street survey - GCC CIOs and CTOs - digital transformation - techxmedia

Rimini Street survey: GCC CIOs and CTOs prioritize digital transformation in 2022

Digital Transformation Technology

The Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) States’ IT Spending Habits: The 2022 IT Buyer Sentiment Survey was released by Rimini Street, Inc. 72 percent of CIOs and CTOs think that digital transformation investments are critical to their performance, and 52 percent expect a return on investment (ROI) in one to two years, highlighting the need for change. However, a whopping 76 percent of respondents agree that up to 50 percent of their licenced enterprise software applications lie underutilized, implying that there is plenty of space to improve existing business apps.

Emmanuelle Hose - group vice president and theatre general manager - Europe, Middle East and Africa - Rimini Street -Rimini Street survey - GCC CIOs and CTOs - digital transformation - techxmedia

“The findings in the GCC are very similar to a global study we did in early 2020 with CFOs, who also say digital transformation investments are critical to their success,” said Emmanuelle Hose,group vice president and theatre general manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Rimini Street. 

He added, “The major question facing GCC CIOs and CTOs is, ‘What is the best route to achieve modernization?’, because the study suggests there are doubts about the cloud and its ability to offer a smooth transition. Our report indicates there are opportunities to optimize existing applications and innovate at the edge, which we can help clients with by offering unified support so that they can focus on change.”

“We appreciate that most companies want and need to customize their ERP system for performance and differentiation, but often lack the right software vendor support, which does not typically include customization support in standard maintenance programs. This forces the need to hire expensive, external consultants or dedicate internal resources to support business-critical, customized code,” says Taher Haj-Yousef, regional manager Middle East, Rimini Street. 

He added, “By switching to third party support, clients alleviate these challenges and avoid highly disruptive change. It also demonstrates that there is a clear alternative path to modernization by optimizing existing applications and innovating at the edge.”

Impatience to Innovate

Across the region 15% of respondents say digital transformation is their number one priority compared to other corporate priorities, but there is some variance across the region:

  1. Oman – 23%
  2. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) – 22%
  3. Bahrain – 18%
  4. UAE – 13%
  5. Qatar – 8%
  6. Kuwait – 4%

This raises concerns about the usefulness of very complex, disruptive migrations of fundamental enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) equivalents, which can take years. Such wholesale transition, particularly for large firms in the GCC with several ERP systems running on different versions, may have an impact on productivity and revenue creation at a critical period when long-term corporate sustainability depends on growth. Rimini Street is increasingly seeing clients around the world meet the need for change while avoiding disruption by innovating at the edge rather than trying to rip and replace current in-house services.

Security and privacy protection are the top priorities for CIOs and CTOs in the region, followed by next-generation disruptive technology efforts, risk management and compliance, and revenue-generating technology initiatives. The difficulty is deciding on a strategy that allows them to move quickly and with agility, focusing innovation where it will be most beneficial. Managers’ fears about losing existing application customizations in any IT update, for example, were raised in the survey. Rimini Street is discovering that adopting its third-party support can help clients address this issue, as having the assurance of Primary Support Engineers (PSE) with an average of 20 years of specialised experience means they can rest assured that their existing applications will be fully supported while they focus on transformation.

Rimini Street has a customer satisfaction rating of more than 4.9 out of 5.0 in case surveys, and offers help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a maximum response time of 10 minutes for serious (Priority 1) issues and an average response time of less than two minutes.

With firsthand understanding of unique settings and modifications, Rimini Street’s global leading expertise in tailored support for modified code allows clients reallocate their enterprise application support resources from supporting customizations to innovate at the edge.

The way forward

According to the poll, CIOs and CTOs are examining a number of options for updating their corporate application systems. 30% aim to use a hybrid cloud approach to migrate to the cloud, while 28% want to ‘lift and shift’ to a public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, or AWS. Only 16 percent are considering a ‘tear and replace’ migration, in which they would transfer from their existing in-house systems to the SaaS counterpart of their current apps. More than half (54 percent) of respondents are considering moving their internally run enterprise apps to a hosted cloud environment, but they do not intend to stay with their current vendor.

This demonstrates that enterprise IT platforms can be modernised in a variety of ways, often without necessitating the disruption of replacing stable existing business applications. It also emphasises the fact that customers are not obligated to follow the migration path prescribed by software suppliers and are exploring for alternatives. Clients get even more independence by transitioning to third-party support, which allows them to make transformation decisions on their own timetable. This gives clients the flexibility to adopt best-in-class cloud-based’systems of engagement’ to drive digital transformation as part of a broader hybrid IT strategy where core systems of record/ERP platforms are not replaced, allowing them to adopt a blended ERP architecture as part of a broader hybrid IT strategy.

Vendor Frustrations

What is evident is that CIOs and CTOs in the GCC are dissatisfied with the help provided by vendors. One of their top issues with their business application vendor is limited support for customizations, according to 27%, and no access to an experienced engineer, according to 26%. The following are the top three issues with software vendor support:

  • Explaining the same issues multiple times (41%)
  • High costs (39%)
  • Lack of responsiveness and ownership (39%)

Given that businesses across the area are entering a critical stage of transformation, it’s imperative that they have trust that their mission-critical business applications are supported and that the level of support given is cost-effective. Because many clients have hybrid IT environments, they have several service levels spanning cloud vendors and partners, which can result in lengthier response times in a vendor-based support model. Rimini Street helps clients secure, administer, manage, and enhance their software portfolios while channelling cost savings to business innovation priorities as an independent services provider with worldwide technical knowledge and capacity.

As a result, Rimini Street can offer a single support model that combines monitoring and delivery of support services while flattening the typical ITIL support levels 2-4. For customers, this reduces the number of support providers and service tiers, resulting in greater simplicity and scalability, both of which are critical in today’s hybrid-driven, multivendor, multiplatform environments.

Between October and November 2021, Censuswide surveyed 505 CIOs and CTOs working in telecoms, financial services, oil and gas, retail, and manufacturing in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman on behalf of Rimini Street.


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