IT Maturity Increasing Among MEA Manufacturers as They Embrace Technology in Bid to Drive Productivity and Competitiveness

With Middle East and Africa (MEA) manufacturers showing considerable enthusiasm for IT and comfortably outspending their counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe, the sector is well set for a significant boost in productivity and increase in competitiveness, according to the latest findings released today by IDC Manufacturing Insights.

A recent end-user survey conducted across MEA by IDC Manufacturing Insights shows that manufacturers in the Middle East, in particular, now view IT as an area that can help accelerate their manufacturing maturity. To this end, more comprehensive and competitive IT strategies are being put in place in core MEA countries, and more mature decisions regarding IT environments are being made, with customer-oriented initiatives and integration across the enterprise resonating particularly strongly. IT solutions that can be developed around the core enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite are also being viewed as powerful tools for fulfilling key strategic objectives.

"MEA manufacturers are becoming more mature in their use of IT," says Martin Kuban, IDC Manufacturing Insights' lead research analyst for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) "Ongoing industrialization and market optimism have translated into increased IT spending, which has helped to accelerate this process. IDC forecasts that 2014 will be a very dynamic year in terms of IT deployments in the MEA manufacturing vertical."

Focusing in closer detail on the so-called '3rd Platform' technologies of mobile computing, cloud, social media, and Big Data, IDC Manufacturing Insights' survey findings confirm that these are still niche segments in MEA. Nevertheless, IT budgets for the deployment of these progressive technologies are constantly rising across the region, particularly in relation to cloud.

Mobility and Big Data analytics are currently regarded as the new technologies that bring the most value to the MEA manufacturing industry. Social business remains small, while cloud computing is a pervasive IT force currently influencing all new IT purchases across the region; smaller and more agile manufacturing companies, in particular, are increasingly setting up their IT environments based on the IaaS and SaaS delivery models.

IDC Manufacturing Insights' survey findings revealed the following key insights into manufacturing value chains:

Asset-oriented manufacturers are generally less dynamic with their IT investments and less flexible in terms of undergoing internal change; however, they are showing signs of transformation, driven primarily by the changing external environment and stronger competition.

Brand-oriented manufacturers are most visibly strengthening their customer orientation by enforcing supply-chain collaboration and business intelligence in an effort to succeed in the more competitive and demanding consumer markets.

Engineering-oriented manufacturers continue to pursue quality and manufacturing excellence, with cost featuring at the top of mind for most of their IT decisions.

Technology-oriented manufacturers form the most dynamic manufacturing value chain; they easily recognize the value of utilizing IT within the manufacturing process, and consequently show the most enthusiasm for adopting 3rd Platform technologies.

IDC Manufacturing Insights' 'Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa Manufacturing Value Chains: IT Focus'report provides an IT focus across manufacturing value chains and CEMA sub-regions. It leverages IDC Manufacturing Insights' extensive annual survey of CEMA manufacturing organizations to ascertain what 2014 will hold for enterprises in terms of business trends and technology initiatives.