The Middle East/MENA digital landscape in a post-coronavirus world

YASH Blog

Last updated on September 15, 2020

Murali Krishna

Murali Krishna Director, Services & Delivery Soltius ME.

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Our time’s key dual imperatives are to save and protect as many lives and livelihoods as possible. Businesses and governments across the globe are pulling all the stops to do so. While many economies are grappling with the balancing act of managing a cumulative $30 trillion deficit while restoring economic growth

Digital public services have shown enormous potential – in providing 24×7 accessibility during the pandemic, in reducing time spent in interacting with public services by ~50% at >50% lower administrative costs and ~60% less case-handling efforts using automated processing[1] Dubai has already announced plans to consolidate digital access to public services in a single mobile app and completely go paperless by next year (2021).

The task is not only gargantuan but also a highly complex one due to the several common pitfalls in cloud migration, cybersecurity, cost restraints, and more – many of which we have just started learning about due to the pandemic. But a tried-and-tested set of formula – drawing from on-ground experiences of Digital Transformation (DX) during the pandemic can themselves offer clues on how to move things faster, with limited resources.

The case for MENA’s IT architectures to scalably deliver results quickly – and cheaply

Digital connectivity after COVID-19 is no longer an optional form of communication, but a lifeline for people’s lives and livelihoods. Nations unready for the demand surge have seen network congestion, a decline in average web speed, and a decline in service quality, affecting both our personal lives and business hours and operational uptime.

In the MENA region, particularly, the demand for broadband services and data has increased dramatically during the pandemic. The government has been quick to act and respond with enhanced broadband services – including the flexibility of payment after consumption in countries like Egypt, Palestine, and Tunisia. Oman and UAE have unblocked VoIP (voice over internet protocol) apps, while the kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has managed continued and secure access to various e-government services, thanks to its consistent investments in modern digital infrastructure services for e-learning and corporate environments in the past two decades .

There still are several risks that need to be addressed collaboratively by the government and businesses for a resilient post-pandemic world, leveraging:

  • The digital environment, health, and safety (EHS) measure to attract talent back to physical workplaces or work sites post lockdowns.
  • Supply Chain and domestic trade enhancements to improve financing, create prescient networks, and enable trust and transparency across the ecosystem of regulators and businesses
  • Securing communication networks, enabling privacy & digital governance to fight predictively against cyberattacks, ransom/malware, misinformation, identity/data thefts or vandalism, and more

As emphasized by the World Bank, the value of improved cloud capacities, reliable IT architecture, and ensured continuity for businesses and governments cannot be understated.

From intelligent core in organizations to accelerated ‘low-code’ digital trends

To create delightful user experiences (for any citizen or business end-customer), IT deliveries need to be fast, streamlined for cost, and must have simplified back-ends for scalable integrations. Enterprise solutions like SAP have shown the world that advanced cloud-led S/4 systems do three things well. First, they help reinvent service and business models with agility, at low cost, and without downtimes. Second, they enable rapid deployments and simple integrations with scalable IT architectures. Finally, they empower central governance and coordination by identifying the value every digital touchpoint offers to end-users, thereby handing direct power to them on a code level.

Speaking of codes, ‘agile labs’ have now become popular where ‘low-code’ app development platforms are not only taking significantly less time to build and roll-out but vividly easier to manage, monitor, and maintain on the cloud. This, too, with advanced integration of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, Internet of Things, rich BI visualization tools, and more.

Users/people should be able to access any service they require ‘just-in-time’ quickly, and businesses/governments should provide those relevant services without spending much time, money, or effort. Given that SAP and several trusted ‘Partners of Choice’, including YASH Technologies, we have thousands of proven case studies and formula to get the job done. The time is to act now.

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