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SMEs and startups in UAE could see $17.1bln boost from hyperscale cloud computing: report


74% of UAE SMEs have opportunities to benefit from cloud computing advantages

Hyperscale cloud computing is expected to provide SMEs and start-ups in the UAE with $17.1 billion (AED 62.6 billion) worth of economic benefits from 2022 and 2030 — the equivalent of 4% of the country’s 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) — says a new report commissioned by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in partnership with Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy.

The report, titled Impact of Hyperscale Cloud on UAE SMEs and Start-ups, was launched during an event organised by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy at Dubai Chambers’ headquarters in cooperation with the Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The event was attended by Khalid Al-Jarwan, Executive Director of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy and Yasser Hassan, Managing Director for MENA and Turkey, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and members of the business community.  

Access Partnership, which conducted the research for the report, featured an informative presentation covering the key findings, which was followed by a panel discussion joined by industry experts who discussed new business opportunities emerging with the growing adoption of cloud computing worldwide.

The report revealed that 74% of SMEs and startups in the UAE continue to use manual processes and basic communication tools, highlighting the vast potential for these companies to benefit from cloud computing advantages.

Between 2022 and 2030, SMEs and start-ups can generate $10.1 billion (AED 37 billion) in user benefits, and $7 billion (AED25.7 billion) in partner benefits from hyperscale cloud computing, supported by a hyperscale regional data centre in the UAE.

The report estimates that by 2030, hyperscale cloud computing is expected to create 133,000 direct and indirect jobs in the UAE, and reduce the country’s carbon footprint and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 78% and 2.2 million metric tonnes in comparison to other IT infrastructure models, in addition to reducing security incidents by more than 30%.

To capitalise on this potential, the report outlined three key recommendations. Government organisations should first lead the way in digital transformation and technology adoption, while harmonising and simplifying digital and data regulations, and implementing a risk-based data classification system to improve data security and facilitate technology adoption.

Secondly, government entities can collaborate with the private sector and technology companies to bridge the digital skill gap through training and upskilling programmes. Finally, there is potential to increase collaboration between regulators and private companies to ensure regulations do not hold back technology adoption.

Khalid Al-Jarwan, Executive Director of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy said: “Despite its rapid progress, the UAE continues to look to the future as it pushes ahead with strategies and initiatives to fast track its digital transformation. Hyperscale cloud computing offers tremendous potential for startups and SMEs in the UAE that are keen to enhance their competitiveness and contribute to a thriving innovation ecosystem.”

Al Jarwan stressed the importance of conducting market research that offers transparency on emerging economic sectors, and identifying market challenges and opportunities. The new report, he noted, outlines recommendations to maximise the potential benefits of hyperscale cloud in the UAE, adding that such studies reflect the close and seamless cooperation between public and private sectors in Dubai.

Yasser Hassan, Managing Director/General Manager for MENA and Turkey, Amazon Web Services (AWS), said: The report findings are a further testament to the value creation potential that the cloud has to offer to SME, entrepreneurs and startups. By leveraging the power of the cloud, UAE businesses can accelerate innovation and digital transformation agility, to build business resilience, in a competitive and dynamic marketplace.

The report identified the advantages of hyperscale cloud computing as: scalable cloud storage, services on a pay-as-you-go basis, innovative capabilities, increased security, simplified global operational processes, as well as the expertise to navigate operational and regulatory issues when expanding overseas. These advantages add up to increased productivity, cost savings, revenue boosts, job creation, improved sustainability and operational resilience.

Additionally, the adoption of a hyperscale data centre would enable UAE technology partners to be part of a global partner network and generate more revenue by serving customers worldwide.

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