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September 21, 2016

Digital transformation is beginning in MEA countries

Ensuring high levels of security of data and systems, and guaranteeing business continuity are the top IT priorities among Middle East and Africa (MEA) decision makers in the healthcare industry for the next year or so, along with integrating siloed systems and advancing analytic capabilities, according to the recent research by market research firm IDC.

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IDC Health Insights looked at the results of event polls conducted among healthcare IT executives attending a series of IDC CIO Summits held across the MEA region during 2015 and 2016. They survey respondents were executive-level representatives of healthcare organizations from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, and South Africa.

Ongoing challenges

The survey results show several  ongoing challenges for healthcare CIOs in the region:
•    Managing IT governance and regulatory compliance
•    Meeting the growing expectations of IT users and patients
•    Obtaining budgets for IT investments
•    Finding the workforce for emerging technologies

As for managing IT security, the key challenges include budget constraints and staff-related issues that range from a lack of qualified personnel to poor adherence to security policies by employees.

Analytics gain traction

Analytic technologies are clearly gaining traction among surveyed organizations in supporting digital transformation: analytics (including business intelligence) was perceived as the most important in this resepct, followed by mobile technologies.

Among applications, analytic solutions represent the top investment priority for the next two years, including business intelligence tools and applications that are based on mobile platforms.

Mobility still on top

When looking at current adoption rates and near-term investment plans, mobility is still on top: Over one third of respondents indicated that they have already introduced enterprise mobility. Another 55 percent plan to start using the technology within the next two years. Meeting the growing needs and expectations of patients is the main driver of enterprise mobility among surveyed organizations.
IT security risks and hurdles associated with the management of multiple types of mobile devices and operating systems are still slowing down mobility. This is further aggravated by problems with interoperability and staff compliance with respective IT policies.

Big data lagging

"Despite the methodological limitations of the study, especially with regard to the poor representativeness of the sample consisting of the attendees of IDC events, this survey provides some useful insights into the IT trends characteristic to MEA healthcare markets," says Nino Giguashvili, senior research analyst with IDC Health Insights, IDC CEMA.

"Consistent with other research we perform in the Middle East region, mobility remains the fastest-emerging technology of the four pillars of the 3rd Platform. Private cloud and social media have made moderate progress over the last few years, while Big Data still lags behind, mainly due to uncertainties related to data validity and ROI.”

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