Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 74 | Page 34

The need for organisations to make quick decisions from huge volumes of data has made Artificial
Intelligence ( AI ) one of the key focus areas for technology investment over the last three years . But AI ’ s rapid rise to prominence has left some organisations in the Middle East and Africa ( MEA ) struggling to build the capabilities required to implement it successfully . Industry experts explore ways CIOs can build strong foundations for AI , how to start , investment thresholds and understanding the current state of the AI market .

The business landscape is changing faster than ever before so , to remain competitive on a global scale , 79 % of organisations now intend to prioritise their ability to generate insights – via their analytics investment – above all “ other technology ” in the near future . low-performing companies is growing , requiring companies to meet rising customer expectations , operate more efficiently , and manage increasingly common and severe disruptions like major weather events or a global pandemic .

“ AI is becoming a crucial solution to address these challenges . Recognising AI ’ s growing significance , Middle East nations , for example , the United Arab Emirates with its UAE Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031 , and Saudi Arabia with its Vision 2030 plan , are placing AI capabilities at the centre of national economic strategies . There has also been a notable upsurge in the number of startups and companies in the region that are dedicating their efforts to the development of AI and associated applications ,” he said .
Zafer said to improve their positioning with AI , CIOs in the MEA region should address the barriers to AI adoption . “ This includes overcoming limited AI skills and expertise , acquiring the necessary tools and platforms for model development simplifying complex or difficult to integrate projects , and managing data complexity as the amount of data is growing exponentially where at least 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced every day ,” he said .
According to Alteryx-commissioned IDC research , by 2027 , businesses in the Middle East will see a strong need to deliver AI-generated insights .
According to recent projections from the IBM Institute for Business Value , AI is poised to have a significant positive impact on the GDP of the Middle East , contributing an estimated US $ 300 billion by 2031 . With major economies rapidly accelerating national focus on AI technologies , AI is becoming the new space race , and holds tremendous potential for the future growth and prosperity of the region .
Mostafa Zafer , Vice President , Data , AI and Automation , IBM MEA , said the pace of Digital Transformation globally is steadily accelerating . Zafer said the gap between high performing and
According to Zafer , CIOs must embrace an AI-first strategy and invest in the resources , infrastructure , and talent needed for tomorrow . “ Today , automation can handle large volumes of unstructured and nonstandard data , manage complex transactions , execute declarative rules and make intelligent decisions . Automation is meant to free people from repeatable , tedious tasks and empower them to do higher-value work . Therefore , CIOs should strive to enhance their teams ’ AI skills and expertise to ensure their talent remains relevant in the market ,” he said .
Savio Monteiro , Director – Digital Business Solutions at GBM , said : “ We ’ re seeing AI adoption across industries , and specifically in the region across banking and finance , government , healthcare , retail and transport . These are industry verticals that are heavily

Building a strong foundation for AI

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