The briefings will be led by top thinkers and technology leaders, addressing trends and challenges that are unique within each of these areas. SAP, which is among the market leaders in enterprise application software, is a Strategic Sponsor of the Industry Briefings at GITEX Technology Week this year.
Oil and Gas
Of particular importance to this region is the oil and gas sector, with IT innovation a key to unlocking the potential of digital oilfield technologies across the oil and gas value chain. Analysts believe that digital oilfield technologies could increase the net present value of oil and gas assets by 25%, representing a significant opportunity for oil and gas companies to harness IT spending.
Banking and Finance
Similarly, given the recent brutal post-crisis cuts of recent years, the banking and finance sector should look to improving speed-to-market and customer-centricity through the use of emerging technologies. The emergence of new payment methods and platforms has threatened the positions of the banks as middlemen, and banking IT decision makers need to address the hot technologies, trends and players for the years ahead. Banks must use technology to align business objectives with an enterprise-wide view of customers - but in reality, a bank's already stretched IT resources are already overburdened by demands from business and the challenge of maintaining an ever-growing portfolio of technology solutions.
There are also ample opportunities within the public sector to improve service delivery and build a collaborative and effective government, with technology driving the changing authoritative face of the sector. Governments continue to adopt a citizen-friendly approach to reach out to their residents, and the future shape of public services and communities will be determined by the ability of organisations to utilise modern technology to meet pressing economic, environmental and social challenges - bridging the apparent gap between the complexity of government and the need for 21st century tools.
As today's students combine knowledge in new and different ways to support their personal learning styles and requirements in an increasingly mobile universe, campuses must prepare for a converged world. The proliferation of social media, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and consumerisation of IT has led to a demand for senior administrators responsible for overseeing IT strategies in leading schools, colleges and universities to meet the challenges facing the education sector.
Speaking at the Education briefing is Dr Mohamed Al Kahtani, Dean, IT & Distance Learning Deanship, Salman bin Abdulaziz University, providing insight on how to enhance universities by enabling more technologies, and providing training for faculty members to empower a deeper connection between faculty and students.
"Nowadays it's more common for students to ask Google than to ask their professors because of their online habits and the instant response time - but we can't be sure of the accuracy of the results. We need to close this gap, enhance students' learning in a way that allows the university and its faculty to grow and change with the students' needs - they are hungry to use technology to enrich their education and we must furnish our universities with the latest technology advancements to meet these needs."
The healthcare industry is on the cusp of a major IT revolution, with the digitisation of healthcare, particularly in patient records, creating a foundation for a future that offers more efficient patient care and cost savings. Patients, the "greatest unused workforce in healthcare", can now be mobilised by putting redesigned tools and technologies into their hands to take direct responsibility for their treatment and care. As such, the industry is close to achieving interoperable standards and a system-wide transformation, challenging healthcare CIOs to evolve and address these innovations.
As technology accelerates exponentially and new digital platforms and devices are emerging, the Digital Strategies Forum, in collaboration with strategic partner Gemalto, provides an insight into unleashing the power of digital to drive top line growth, with a keynote address on the social data revolution and transforming digital data into corporate value delivered by Jonathan Labin, Head of Marketing Solutions, Facebook MENA. The digital revolution is fundamentally changing the way companies market and sell their products, and yet few have taken the steps necessary to enable their marketing functions to excel in this new environment.
"With so much data available, especially on social networks, being able to make effective use of this information is not easy but offers vast potential. Companies are only beginning to scratch the surface of what's possible with social data, and even those that are best-of-breed have only started to tap into its true potential: developing an intimate real-time knowledge of your customers' relationships and behaviour," said Labin.
Consumerisation of IT, or BYOD, is a key trend set to be one of the most impactful technologies to influence the IT landscape in years to come, calling into question the scope, role and scale of IT departments around the world. Without the right tools, this increases IT costs, risks of data breach, data loss and non-compliance. However, if implemented correctly, BYOD has far-reaching benefits.
Due to speak at the Consumerisation of IT forum to give attendees insight into a framework for the implementation of BYOD across the region is Leif-Olof Wallin, research vice president in Gartner Research. He said: "Very few clients have the luxury to resist BYOD - people will buy their own devices that their companies may not give them in order to raise their own productivity levels, and this is a hard value proposition to resist. It's important to know how to implement BYOD and develop a framework for companies in the region, that will need to be tweaked because of differences in compliance and legal issues across the Gulf states."
Dave Brook, GM Middle East, Dell, which is a strategic sponsor of the Consumerisation of IT Forum, said:
"The growing influence of BYOD and the consumerisation of IT in the workplace is as inevitable as it is unstoppable. Today's worker wants a flexible, converged mobility experience and, increasingly, that means using personal, top-of-the-range devices. They want their own technology with all the apps and functionalities that make their lives easier. This presents a multitude of challenges for CIOs that need to be efficiently dealt with, from security to data management to software compatibility. Business leaders realise that a more connected, technologically comfortable employee is likely to be more productive, and they want to enable their employees to BYOD."
Under the theme "Business Innovation through Cloud Computing - From Hype to a Must-Have Service Model", Cloud Confex is well-established as the largest and most influential conference and exhibition of its kind in the Middle East.
Last year saw 1,350 delegates attend GITEX conferences, making the GITEX Technology Week conference program the leading annual gathering for the IT industry in the Middle East.
Now in its 32nd year, GITEX Technology Week connects more than 138,000 industry professionals and over 3,500 suppliers from 144 countries across five continents, making it one of the world's top three ICT exhibitions. This year's GITEX Technology Week is themed "Where Technology Means Business".