Saudi firms lead the world in adopting cutting-edge tech
Not only are an overwhelming majority of Saudi firms at an advanced stage of their digital transformation initiatives, but they are faster than the rest of the world when it comes to the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. This was the crux of a KMPG survey released during the recently concluded LEAP 2023 tech event in Riyadh.
KPMG argues that digital transformation has become a key pillar of the Saudi Vision 2030 national development strategy. In fact, at the 2022 Global Entrepreneurship Conference in Riyadh, Ahmed Mohammed Al-Suwaiyan, Governor of the Digital Government Authority (DGA), said government spending on technology is the highest globally and is expected to account for about US$24.8 billion by 2025, which would be over 20% of the kingdom’s national spending.
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Not surprisingly the survey finds that digital transformation initiatives in the kingdom are making significant progress in line with Vision 2030.
Moreover, the survey found that respondents from all over the world acknowledged the potential of emerging technologies, and are busy laying the foundations for their implementation. However, based on their interactions with Saudi respondents, KMPG discovered that organizations in the kingdom are ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting and implementing emerging technologies.
For instance, it discovered that 51% of the Saudi respondents plan to prioritize intelligent automation during the next year, which is significantly higher than the global average of 38%.
Saudi’s appetite for new technology extends to other areas as well. 51% of the respondents in the kingdom expect to embrace the Metaverse within two years, while 61% plan to invest in Web3, and 72% in quantum computing within the same timeframe.
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However, rather than developing these skills inhouse, many Saudi businesses are looking to partner with tech companies. This is especially true when it comes to technologies like the metaverse and Web3, with 42% of the respondents preferring to take the collaborative route.
But is there a reason for the increased appetite of Saudi business for adopting cutting-edge tech? Citing various examples, KPMG believes that government policymaking in the country has a direct impact on both public and private sector adoption of new technologies, more than perhaps anywhere else in the world.
This is reflected in KPMG’s survey as well, which finds that most Saudi organizations already have the vision, leadership and funding for AI, cloud, data, and digital transformation programs, in line with national initiatives announced by the government in these areas.
“It is the breathtaking pace of change and widespread commitment of organizations to leverage technology to transform their businesses that defines today‘s Saudi Arabian technology market,” said Robert Ptaszynski, Head of Digital & Innovation at KPMG Saudi.
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Ptaszynski asserts that their survey helps highlight the fact that key technology projects in the kingdom enjoy a high degree of leadership support and funding, resulting in the unprecedented high level of confidence in technology solutions.