Tuesday 19, December 2017 by Jessica Combes

Seventy per cent of Dubai start-ups employ cloud computing solutions


Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), the integrated free zone technology park, has announced the findings of The Cloud Report 2017, commissioned in partnership with IBM and produced by Thomson Reuters.

Launched at a joint press conference held at Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre (Dtec), the largest technology incubation centre in the Middle East, wholly owned by DSOA, the report provides an in-depth overview of cloud computing adoption across the start-up segment in Dubai. Through a survey of more than 100 start-ups, supplemented by several case studies, the document offers valuable insights on the start-ups’ spending power, priorities, challenges, and requirements.

The Cloud Report 2017 found that 70 per cent of start-ups in Dubai currently use cloud computing, and 24 per cent even built their start-ups on the cloud. Meanwhile, 38 per cent of those not yet on the cloud plan to adopt the technology in the near future. Across the three cloud service models available, 76 per cent of start-ups on the cloud have opted for Software as a Service (SaaS). Meanwhile, platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are each used by 32 per cent of adopters. One third of the start-ups on the cloud utilise more than one type of cloud service, with nine per cent using all three service models.

Start-ups on the cloud in Dubai use an average of 4.39 cloud services, with 36 per cent using one or two services, and 18 per cent using more than five. Storage and web hosting are considered as core services, and are generally the first cloud services adopted. They are also currently the most widely used at 68 per cent and 67 per cent respectively.

Although 72 per cent of all start-ups spend less than $50,000 on IT annually, 24 per cent dedicate more than 20 per cent of that annual budget to cloud solutions. In addition, 80 per cent of start-ups on the cloud are planning to increase spend on cloud services in the next two years.

Among the start-ups that have not yet adopted cloud solutions, 42 per cent find the initial investment prohibitively high. Other concerns delaying start-ups from moving to the cloud include data protection (27 per cent) and security (15 per cent).

“In line with the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, DSOA aims to actively contribute to the national key performance indicators under the Competitive Knowledge Economy pillar. As we transition to a more technology-focused world, all sectors of the UAE’s economic landscape are working relentlessly to forge a digital transformation,” said William Chappell, Chief Financial Officer at DSOA.

He added that the Cloud Report 2017 provides insights for start-ups on the best cloud adoption practices, while serving as a valuable resource for cloud solution vendors. The document outlines the services and models popular with start-ups, as well as the factors that influence decision-making around cloud implementation in Dubai.

Maged Wassim, Vice President–IBM Cloud, IBM Middle East and Africa said that as part of any shift or transformation, the human factor is the one constant. For this reason, IBM puts code, skills training, and resources into the hands of developers to build, create, iterate, and solve problems faster.

“Dubai start-ups are increasingly adopting cloud-first strategies to capitalise on the flexibility, speed-to-market and scalability that cloud solutions offer – right from the very beginning. However, for entrepreneurs with less IT expertise, cloud adoption can be an overwhelming thought and there is still a misconception that it involves big price tags, and huge commitments of time and resources. Various initiatives - such as the IBM Global Entrepreneur Programme, a cloud credit programme, and the incubation support of ecosystem players like Dtec–will help to address some of the perceived obstacles to deeper and broader cloud technology usage among these start-ups. Looking ahead, the pace of cloud adoption in this market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years as Dubai start-ups look for more variety and a greater range of cloud services to choose from in the future,” said Tina Ghanem, Head of Accelerate SME at Thomson Reuters in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Cloud Report 2017 lists five cloud adoption tips for start-ups:

1)  Begin with a cloud-first strategy and consider adoption from the get-go.

2)  Find a provider that offers a secure and scalable storage solution that also acts as a virtual workspace.

3)  Choose a cloud deployment model (public, private, community, hybrid) that reflects your privacy, security, and size requirements.

4)  Choose the optimal hosting option (dedicated or shared).

5)  Make data security and privacy a priority.


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