Preparing for the digital era – The state of digitalization in GCC businesses

Are GCC companies ready for the digital future?


Strategy& partnered with Siemens to assess how companies in the GCC are using digital technologies and how ready they are to go digital. The joint study proposes a practical approach for companies in the region to go on their digital transformation journey.

The report is based on a survey covering 306 companies across all major industries in Qatar and the UAE.

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Key findings

77% of surveyed companies associate digitalization with the adoption of one specific technology. A minority think of digitalization more broadly, along a spectrum of activities ranging from realizing efficiencies, to growing the existing business model, to completely reimagining and disrupting the industry.

37% of companies have developed a comprehensive digital strategy. Only a negligible proportion of companies with a digital strategy regard digitalization as a means to grow their existing business model. No single company saw digitalization’s potential to disrupt their industry.

3% of surveyed companies are at an advanced stage in their digital transformation. More specifically, 18% of these companies only use cloud computing and 30% use big data and analytics.

1% of companies have designated a CDO (or equivalent) to champion their digital transformation. Principal responsibility for digitalization in the GCC region is led by senior management or the IT department. Too often, the IT department is just a service bureau that is not properly represented in the business’ decision making and governance bodies.

Digital transformation journey

Strategy Articulate a corporate strategy for the digital age accounting for developments that affect the industry and company aspirations

Focus areas Determine digital focus areas, priorities in the organization where digital can add the most value

Digitalization engine Create an engine for driving digitalization by establishing the right leadership and governance structures that foster collaboration and agility

Skills Build digital skills across the organization especially in focus areas

Partnership Collaborate with stakeholders across the ecosystem and embrace open innovation

Investments Invest in digital by developing an approach that accounts for riskiness of investment

Digitalization survey results

Using the drop-down menus below, choose a country and industry to understand how companies in different countries/industries in the region are ready for digitalization.

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Tarek El Zein

Tarek El Zein

Partner, Strategy& Middle East

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