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Saudi Arabia turns to big data to boost business innovation

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Big data technologies will play a key role in diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy away from a huge dependence on oil revenues.

As Saudi Arabia gears up to diversify its economy away from oil, local businesses are turning to big data analytics.

The Saudi Vision 2030, announced in August, aims to increase non-oil revenue sixfold from $43.5bn to $267bn a year by liberalising business policies and introducing entrepreneurship initiatives.

This turning point in Saudi Arabia’s economic history is driving IT investment to record levels. According to IDC, tech spending in the kingdom is set to pass $35bn in 2016 as organisations embrace digital transformation initiatives to optimise costs and improve business process efficiencies.

Saudi Arabia’s big data analytics market is expected to grow from $920m in 2013 to $1.85bn in 2018, according to Micromarketmonitor.

The country’s big data market, like the rest of the world, is being driven by the need for business insight to guide better business decisions and performance in an increasingly competitive and globalised market.

Aongus Hegarty, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Dell EMC, told Computer Weekly he had seen an uptick in big data interest among Saudi Arabia’s biggest companies. “Dell EMC is very involved in the country’s 2030 plan and is helping businesses and the government to achieve their objectives,” he said. “The Saudi plan is heavily focused around how technology can be an enabler for SMEs, more private sector companies and entrepreneurship.”

Hegarty said big data analytics would be an integral part of the nation’s plan. Dell EMC was a partner for big data projects with the nation’s top oil producers and government organisations, he said.

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