UAE and Middle East government led digital transformation tops 2021 technology trends


The UAE and Middle East’s government-led digital transformation ranks as the top technology trend of 2021, supporting innovative mega-events and taking citizen services to a new level, global technology company SAP announced today.

More than four-fifths (89%) of public sector senior executives agreed that data sharing helps them to improve how they connect with citizens, according to a recent Oxford Economics and SAP survey “The Public Sector Transformation Imperative of 3,000 senior executives from around the world.

“The UAE and Middle East governments have advanced digital transformation amid the pandemic to better serve citizens,” said Zakaria Haltout, Managing Director, SAP UAE. “With 89 percent of public sector executives agreeing on the importance of data sharing, the top three goals for UAE and Middle East public sector organizations in 2021 will be to share data to improve citizen experiences, gain real-time data insights, and enhance employees’ digital skills to drive innovation.”

For the public sector, the top three lessons that make a digital “have” and not a digital “have-not”:

1. Employee and citizen experiences will close the gap with the public sector.

Thanks to government initiatives such as UAE Vision 2021, the Middle East’s public sector will continue to lead data-driven innovation to enhance citizen experiences.

Among public sector leaders in the survey, 89% said data sharing improves how they connect with citizens, 83% said data sharing improves their innovation of existing products or services, and 82% said data sharing helps them to exceed performance goals.

Digitizing hiring and onboarding processes can create better employee experiences. Over half of public sector respondents (56%) said employee satisfaction has the greatest influence on organizational strategy, well above the 35% cross-industry average.

2. Data insights will point the way toward actionable insights.

Real-time data insights can help organizations to enhance operational efficiency and craft strong policy. Healthcare has been a standout during the pandemic, with providers using data analytics to target coronavirus hotspots, optimize hospital and staff capacity, and rollout the vaccine.

There is potential for more sharing data among partners to deliver greater benefit. Among public sector respondents, 81% were effectively sharing employee data internally, but only 22% with partners, and 74% were effectively sharing citizen data internally, but only 26% with partners.

3. Digital skills capabilities will streamline and expand mission-critical services.

Already, many UAE and Middle East organizations have embraced collaboration and flexible work policies to enhance employee experiences. But more can be done to enhance employee skill sets and collaboration across different departments.

Among public sector respondents, few have implemented the processes needed to improve data sharing. Only about one-third (33%) have invested in new technologies to analyze data, and 33% have retrained employees to work with data. This skills shortage was cited by 61% of respondents as being a barrier to meeting strategic change initiatives.


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