The United Arab Emirates (UAE) business community has been identified as the third most confident business community in the world, according to the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), a quarterly survey of more than 3,000 businesses in 44 countries.

88% of UAE based businesses highlighted that they have an optimistic outlook for the economy over the next 12 months, with figures showing greater optimism than the UK and USA. 48% of businesses expect to hire employees which indicated double rate growth than that of the global average (24%) and expectations for increasing profits are up from 60% to 72% over the past three months further highlighting positive results for the future economic outlook.

The area of concern which UAE businesses do need to address is the lack of Information Technology (IT).  IT was identified by 58% of UAE businesses as being a major constraint on growth.

The IT infrastructure is one of the most imperative elements in an ever-changing environment and fast paced growth oriented business. 

IT is no longer just an enabler of information transmission but has become the central hub of many businesses, supporting their strategic growth, securing their commercial intelligence and interacting and managing clients far beyond the traditional methods which were once adopted.

A number of firms view IT as an overhead and therefore offer minimal investment and development which results in a basic platform being embedded into the business.  In these cases IT is seen as a facilitator as opposed to a value added enabler.

Move IT from an operational aspect to a strategic element:

A number of firms often position their IT department into an operational function which is seen as a back office helpdesk.  Such positioning is often detrimental to the growth aspirations of a firm given the fact that front-line strategic tactics often involve reaching and communicating with clients in a much more innovative way which involves the development and use of IT.  For firms who have an aspiration for growth it is essential to move the IT function from an operational back office discipline to a much more strategic input of the firms vision and growth plans.

Investing for future growth

In order to move the firm forward investment in IT is essential, no longer are decentralized   business solutions, basic security setup, and IT infrastructures acceptable or applicable within an ever changing and competitive landscape.  Technology is much more sophisticated now that it has ever been before with the introduction and implementation of once thought about concepts such as business intelligence tools, smart phones, app worlds, E-commerce and much more.  The reality is that many concepts which we once thought were not possible are today in place because of IT.  In order to grow your business and to become dynamic in your reach and approach the investment of IT is essential.

Realigning your IT platforms

It is essential for a business to understand how IT can play a wider role in addressing the needs of the business.  In order to realign the IT platforms a business will need to process re-engineer, ascertain whether the software is up-to-date and applicable, information security addresses entity and environmental risk and ensure a business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan is in place alongside ensuring there is a clear identification of the solutions needed to meet the current needs of the business alongside those for the future. 

Ensuring you protect your firms intellectual property

IT development and effective implementation is essential in order to protect the intellectual property of a business.  A business has a number of operational assets which need to be protected in order to ensure the security is not breached; these include but are not limited to the financial and strategic information, client relationship database, critical business insights and business information.   If any aspect of a business is compromised due to insufficient security parameters not being in place the cost both reputationally and operationally is very high to repair.    As businesses grow the need to have a strong stringent IT platform too becomes just as important in order to protect from fraudsters or manipulation.  There are a number of IT security policies and governance systems which can be applied to protect a firm from unauthorized access and intruder attacks.

IT is not only the enabler of information transmission but is also the central hub of a whole host of strategic and operational aspects which relate to clients, staff and the management team.  The appropriate development, investment and security protection will enable a business to move forward in their growth plans without concerns of compromise or inadequate weak platforms.