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MEA finance sector seeks operational efficiencies

In a recent survey conducted by market research and consulting company IDC, 96% of key IT decision makers in the finance industry across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) indicated that they were planning strategic initiatives focused on addressing operational efficiencies. The survey showed that the top challenges faced by CIOs in the region's finance sector include staffing issues, ensuring return on IT investment, and maintaining security.

The IDC Financial Insights report also reveals that financial institutions lack the internal staffing skills required to implement wide-scale IT projects such as core banking, and regularly rely on vendors or systems integrators to fulfill this role. From a vendor perspective, this presents a great opportunity, says IDC. Furthermore, large financial institutions in the region have a long-established market presence and, as a result, face inherent legacy challenges that have constrained their ability to adopt new technologies.

"Technology transformation in the highly competitive finance sector in the MEA region has gained significant momentum recently," says Bijen Ramdas, a senior research analyst at IDC Financial Insights Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

"Through their IT investment decisions, CIOs from the finance industry aim to deliver sustained profits to shareholders and control costs as key business performance metrics. Customer focus, in conjunction with the consumerization of technology, remains a critical consideration for financial companies."

According to Ramdas, the most urgent tactical priorities for IT investment in the coming 12 months include the need to meet regulatory compliance and improve risk management, drive key business metrics, and enhance the performance of IT infrastructure in support of business systems.

IDC believes that CIOs operating in the banking and financial services industry must ensure that the technologies in which they invest address multiple business metrics. Further, MEA financial institutions are under pressure to transform the way they operate, enhance both their internal and external communications, and improve the efficiency of governance processes and operations.

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