AMEinfo.com spoke to Bashar Kilani, IBM's Territory manager for Gulf and Levant countries, about the firm's plans and the state of their 2015 roadmap, which includes the Smarter Planet initiative, launched in 2010 - centred on transforming both business and society around the idea of a progressively intelligent planet.
The summit allotted time for the topic of business analytics and the handling of big data, which is set to be a lucrative area for the corporation.
"This is a huge play for IBM," said Kilani. "We're working with a large number of customers on projects to transform how they handle data and view it in real time. This is a huge asset and for IBM this will be a $12bn business by 2015."
Topics also covered the evolution of cloud and 'next generation' data centres, although, according to Kilani, the most relevant issue for the Middle East is geo-expansion. In 2010, IBM's overall revenue from emerging markets contributed 20% to the worldwide total, but by 2015 this will be close to 30% of total revenue - hence the heavy investment in this part of the world.
Recent office openings in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and more recently last April in Qatar, are one indication of IBM's commitment to the region, and Kilani predicts the trend of acquiring real estate will continue.
"We're also investing in skills - subject matter experts and other leaders to serve our customers better but also deliver on our growth objectives in this emerging market," he said.
"We are on track to reach our 2015 targets, but it does require more investment in this part of the world, opening more offices and drive additional business here."
Key investments set the Middle East apart
In discussing unique elements to the Middle East, aside from other growth markets, Kilani sees investments in infrastructure, education and healthcare to be key components to accelerate IT development and IBM's Smarter Planet initiatives.
"The Middle East is an important area for us, growing at a faster pace than other areas around the world and our investments will continue to grow here. IBM will play the role of systems integrator for mega-projects and will be involved in business process outsourcing - as well as just IT projects."
Within itself the Middle East is of course nuanced and although there are common characteristics, the region differs in terms of the pace of development.
"In Iraq we have completely different challenges to what we have in Dubai, for example," said Kilani. "Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt are finding it difficult to make significant infrastructure investments, while you have other economies with extra funds big spending. It's a very diverse environment with different challenges."
Despite the challenges being 'different', IBM expects significant growth In Iraq, predicting involvement with the establishment of banks, telcos and other fundamental services.
"The message I hope people leave the conference with is a sense of our commitment to the region," Kilani told AMEinfo. "I believe that's visible in our technology initiatives for cloud, data centres and significant investments in business analytics, data and mobile information - and also our consulting services and business process outsourcing."
"These are transformational projects that are not just IT but business driven initiatives that help Middle East business drive a better value proposition to their customers."
Now in their 101st year, they have been present in the Middle East since providing Saudi Aramco with their first computer in 1947 - later providing the first government computer to Kuwait in the 1950s.