Digital adoption in Mideast gaining momentum: IDC

Organizations in the Middle East are increasingly investing in technology to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive environment, adopting structured and results-oriented digital plans to improve business results, a report said.

Enhancing customer experience (CX) through digital transformation (DX) is the top business priority for organizations of all sizes across all industries, added the latest IDC Middle East research.

 Notably, companies are also incorporating cloud deployments into their digital adoption plans. In fact, most public and private sector organizations in the region are overarchingly adopting cloud platforms. High priority business areas — such as CX — both benefit from and accelerate cloud deployments. IDC believes cloud will transform the way contact centers operate.

According to IDC research, cloud solutions are supplanting on-premises contact center solutions as the main types of deployments in the CX software domain. The Covid-19 pandemic has not only catalyzed this adoption and utilization of cloud solutions, but it has also elevated the use of Big Data analytics, mobility, artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), and social technologies in the Middle East.

Companies are using these solutions and technologies to innovate and improve performance. The adoption of cloud-based customer engagement solutions further allows organizations to enhance business continuity and improve customer care processes. The increased use of AI in the CX domain is a notable trend within the region. More than ever before, organizations today are using AI applications to boost CX and improve productivity of call center agents.

Organizations have highlighted that the use of AI has not only streamlined and improved CX processes (e.g., by allowing for more accurate service delivery); it has also reduced costs and optimized use of company resources. However, increasing security concerns, poor quality of service (QoS), and an inability to integrate internal systems with third-party applications remain the key challenges that organizations face with respect to cloud-based customer engagement solutions.

This white paper highlights some key findings from the latest IDC research and examines the current market dynamics of cloud-based customer engagement centers in the Middle East.  

Digital adoption in the Middle East is gaining momentum as governments in the region execute multiple national DX initiatives. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a global economic slowdown, it has also accelerated the adoption and use of digital and 3rd Platform technologies (cloud, Big Data analytics, mobility, and social technologies) in the Middle East.

Companies are realizing they can use such technologies to innovate and improve performance. This adoption is quite apparent in the Middle East, given the region’s strong focus on technology-led transformations and CX. Improving CX via DX is the top priority of organizations of all sizes across all industries.

In fact, according to the results of an IDC survey of CEOs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), 57% of organizations in the region aim to improve CX and strengthen customer engagements via DX initiatives, while 55% intend to develop innovative products and services through DX. Indeed, when their expectations about a product or service are met or exceeded, customers become loyal and subsequently allow the business to prosper.

As customer interactions with organizations are increasingly digital, companies will have to establish an omnichannel presence. They will also need to utilize agile customer intelligence applications and tools embedded with advanced analytics and AI to deliver a superior CX.

Within the Middle East region, most organizations are striving to meet customer expectations and provide differentiated experiences. The preventative policies enacted by MEA governments in the wake of Covid-19 — such as complete lockdowns, partial curfews, and social distancing measures — have played a key role in increasing customer reliance on online platforms. Consequently, robust, agile, and efficient digital channels have never been more important.

The rising utilization of these channels implies that organizations across industries need to accelerate their DX programs to improve agility, efficiency, productivity, and speed — all of which are prerequisites for success in the “new normal.” Adoption of Cloud-Based Customer Engagement Solutions in the Middle East Cloud is impacting every business across industry verticals. In the recent past, demand for and uptake of cloud-based solutions in the Middle East has risen, as evidenced by the region’s increasing software as a service, platform as a service, and infrastructure as a service deployments.

As a result of their investments in local datacenters, multiple hyperscalers have had a positive impact on cloud perception in the region, particularly as such datacenters address in-country data residency requirements and other regulations. Regulated industries such as government, healthcare, banking, insurance, and finance have embraced subscription-based solutions in order to be more agile and scalable.

Cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) tools, especially digital platforms, customer service applications, and contact center applications, allow businesses to be mobile and agile enough to be always connected to customers, enabling them in turn to offer superior user experiences. Cloud, being a foundational platform, also enables organizations to embed other disruptive technologies such as AI, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and Big Data and analytics.

Collectively, these technologies allow companies to improve time to market, accelerate responses to customer queries, monitor changing customer preferences, and gain visibility and control of their financial resources. Cloud Drives Growth of Contact Center Software in MEA. Many organizations have started investing in cloud contact centers.

These centers provide their customer care and after-sales support agents with quick and easy access to various customer engagement solutions that allow them to manage customer communications in an omnichannel environment.

According to IDC's latest software and public cloud services forecast, the value of the MEA contact center market is expected to reach approximately $123 million by 2024. The on-premises software to public cloud software ratio is forecast to change from 80:20 in 2019 to 50:50 by 2024. This shift signals the strong and accelerated growth of cloud-based contact center applications in the region in comparison to on-premises applications.

Notably, the cloud-based contact center applications market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.06% between 2019 and 2024.This shift is expected to continue as organizations migrate from legacy systems to cloud platforms. With cloud contact centers, businesses can stay connected to customers across multiple digital and voice platforms (such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and email) at all times and from all locations.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of cloud-based applications as companies need to quickly scale up or down, ensure IT deployments are elastic, maintain business continuity, and enable employees to work in remote environments.

Organizations that are following social distancing norms and completely shutting down their offices have leveraged cloud contact center solutions to enable their agents to work from home. Cloud-based contact centers have also allowed public and private sector organizations to maintain operational efficiency and optimize CX during the ongoing pandemic.- TradeArabia News Service





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