Cycle III reveals that organisations are now reversing that trend and bringing their data back into in-house data centres, according to the research conducted by analyst house Quocirca. This 'big data bounce' is not only testimony to the increased value of data and the greater focus of business upon it, but also highlights the importance for businesses of being able to move data between public and private cloud as easily as possible.
Deeper analysis of the research data reveals that businesses in Saudi Arabia and UAE continue to make general improvement across the board. The big leap between Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 is not evident in Cycle 3, but steady progress continues - something that has not been observed in every country surveyed.
As can be seen from the following graphs, the alignment between business and IT has improved as has sustainability planning, and both of these have a strong correlation with overall Index scores. Generally, then, it would seem that organisations in the region have got their focus areas right for continuing improvements.
Middle East Business/IT Alignment
Organisations are losing value by not aligning IT with Business• There is a strong correlation between organisations which have closely aligned business and IT functions and those with high Index scores. In other words, those who "get" the need for this alignment see added value through a more sophisticated data centre strategy. This correlation is stronger in Cycle III than ever before.
• At the same time, the research indicates no overall improvement in Business/IT alignment. So some may have improved this alignment, but many have not.
• This means that those organisations where the alignment has not improved are missing out on the value that IT can deliver to the business.
Eurozone versus non-Eurozone?• Almost without exception, countries outside the European single currency have improved their scores more than countries inside it.
o Nordics, UK, Middle East and Russia have all made modest improvements.
o Germany/Switzerland, Benelux and Iberia have fallen back (the latter two quite noticeably), and France and Italy have made only slight progress.
o Of the Eurozone countries, only Ireland has made significant progress (a huge increase of 16.7% in its overall Index score).
• Other Variations Across The EMEA RegionOverall, EMEA organisations have slightly increased the sophistication of their use of data centres between Cycle II and Cycle III of the research. The overall Index score has gone up from 5.58 to 5.62 across the region - just one percent.
• The countries which are most advanced in their data centre investments are the Nordics, the DCH region (Germany) and the UK respectively.
• Sustainability continues to gain pace and is the area of the Index organisations score most highly on (5.79), compared to Supportability (5.62) and Flexibility (5.53).
• The countries who are most advanced with their sustainability planning are the Nordics, the UK and the DCH region (Germany and Switzerland), though the latter has actually plateaued over the past year.
"Middle East countries are clearly looking to maximise their investment in their data centre technologies and at the same time looking to run them at maximum efficiency," said Abdulrahman el Thehaiban, Vice President for Middle East and South Africa. "It's encouraging to see more commitment in the region to getting IT and the business to work together. One of the signs of this new co-operation was the high number of non-IT executives who attended Oracle CloudWorld in Dubai this month - more than 50%. Increasingly businesspeople are realising that closely co-operating with IT can help companies respond faster to market demand, and innovate more."
"Businesses are increasingly working online and with digital products, content, communications and transactions. The avalanche of data which forced many to look outside their four walls for support last year is only going to continue. As such it makes sense that many organisations have used the intervening year to get their houses in order and bring their data closer to the organisation," said Luigi Freguia, senior vice president, Oracle Systems EMEA. "It is also encouraging to see that organisations have future proofed their data centre facilities, with improvements in server utilisation levels and greater use of virtualisation. However, by using software and hardware engineered to work together, such as Oracle's SPARC SuperCluster T4-4, and a focus on standards, organisations can build enough flexibility into their IT to enable future moves into private or public cloud if the need arises."
"The latest two cycles of the research seem to have caught organisations between two points," said Clive Longbottom, Analyst at Quocirca. "Cycle II was carried out just as organisations were looking at cloud computing with many projects being carried out using external facilities for development, test and piloting. Cycle III has been carried out at a time when cloud is becoming more mainstream, and many of the pilots are now becoming full run-time projects. It seems that many of these have been brought back in house onto private cloud platforms - and that this has resulted in a rationalisation of facility usage. However, many decisions around the data centre are being made tactically - and this could impact the more strategic capabilities of the owning organisation in the longer term."