Most of the Dubai government transactions will move to blockchain by 2020

Market size of blockchain to rise to $2.3 billion by 2020

32 per cent of CIOs face challenges in finding the right IT talent

Public and private sectors need to increase their IT spending and focus on adopting the latest trends in technologysuch as the bitcoin and Blockchain amid the rapidly changing business environment.

This was echoed by industry experts at the inaugural annual CIOMajlis Conference in Dubai recently. The conference was organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group.

“No one can ignore the importance of blockchain and bitcoin at this moment as it’s gaining momentum,” Smartworld Chairman Dr Saeed Al Daheri said during a panel discussion titled: “Blockchain – Moving beyond proof of concept.”

Al Daheri explained that blockchain promises speedy and cost effective transactions. It’s important for all industry including healthcare, real estate, insurance, etc., he added.

“We are about to see a lot of adoption in the next 5-10 years,” he said. Referring to a research report, he informed that market size of blockchain will increase from $210 million in 2016 to $2.3 billion by 2020 with an accumulated annual growth rate of more than 60 per cent.

Suhail Munir, Director of Smart Services, Smart Dubai Government Est., said that most of the Dubai government transactions will move to blockchain by 2020 as per directive of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.

“We have engaged IBM as a strategic partner among others to achieve this objective,” Munir informed. “We see blockchain as a service can be used at all government entities. We are working with all government entities in Dubai to see the best cases,” he added.

Earlier, starting the discussion on blockchain topic Ali Sajwani, Emirates NBD, Chief Information Officer, said Blockchain is anticipated to be in use by up to 65 per cent of enterprises by 2020.

Blockchain technology represents a distributed ledger approach to authentication, clearing and settlement that is poised to rapidly move beyond the FinTech sector into many other areas including the Internet of Things (IoT).

Blockchain solutions are not yet mainstream, but already making a big impact as the technology is highly disruptive in the banking and general financial services sector, he said.

Emirates NBD was the first bank, which adopted the blockchain 18 months ago in the UAE, Sajwani informed.

IBM Middle East Territory Executive Bashar Kilani said the company recognises blockchain as a category of data. “We do spend a lot of time on it. It’s a general computing platform.

Trends in Technology, Opportunities and Challenges

IT industry experts also engaged the participants in an important panel discussion on technology trends, its opportunities and challenges.

One of the key challenges is to get the right talent as there is big gap in supply and demand.

Miriam Burt, Managing VP, Retail at Gartner, said that it’s better to find the talent within the organisation before going outside.

Dr Jan aus dem Moore, Associate Partner, Digital McKinsey, Dubai, said: “We did research and found that there is a gap in talent and skill side. I totally agree that we need super specialised talent.”

Arun Khehar, VP, Business Applications, Oracle, ECEMEA, emphasised said it’s time to introduce new product and services to enhance customer experience in every industry.

Shukri Eid, Managing Director, Cisco Middle East, said: “We want more talent, but the question is that how we can open the door and track them.”

Developing skills for the digital world & IT spending benchmarking

Oliver Schaller, Associate Vice President, IDC Middle East, in his presentation, said IDC is ready to help set regional benchmarking. “It’s quite clear that local benchmark is really needed,” he said.

He said that there are specific regional challenges to collect the data for benchmarking such as many companies are privately held and do not disclose any financial-related data, they ask for data protection, and quality of the data.

Talking about the top digital transformation challenges CIOs face, he shared the IDC findings and said 32 per cent of CIOs face challenges in finding the right IT talent.

Mentioning the technologies that will have the greatest impact on IT skills and jobs in the next 3-5 years, he said these are mobile technologies, virtualization, cloud, social technologies, internet of things, etc. He said that 49 per cent of organisations are actively seeking to attract millennials.