IT professionals are flocking to the Gulf in search of greener pastures as projects suffer from the downturn in the US, thereby improving the availability and quality of IT skills in the region.
Husam Dajani, Senior Vice-President at Oracle Middle East and Africa, told Emirates Business: "India is the largest source for IT skills on a global basis. A few years back the region was competing with a global economy to make these skills available here. These IT professionals were always interested in US-based projects, but since there was a slowdown and markets became more competitive, the scenario has changed. IT projects have increased in the Gulf and MEA region, thereby making these skill sets available here."
In the region, the main constraint was never the availability of funds but the lack of skills, said Dajani. "If there are more skills available, it encourages potential investments into IT. A few years back it was impossible to get any staff, but now the situation is much better. Lots of companies are able to recruit people at reasonable salaries, which realises into improvement of IT implementations and usage."
Dajani said the situation was not the same three years back. "Organisations now realise that it is a good time to acquire services and skills to prepare for the next boom. Projects always take time to complete and costs of services and skills also vary. In fact, the cost of services has become competitive, especially from neighbouring countries such as India. The IT services available now are more reasonably priced compared to a year ago."
The MEA region has a population of 1.3 billion people, almost the size of India, with 25 per cent of the world's land mass. "These statistics set high potential for the region, as we have the people and the market. The missing element is the right level of education and skills. Wages and income levels are still competitive in terms of cost of living. In such a scenario the demand for skills is higher than the supply available in the market."
Dajani stressed even Oracle's focus in the region has been on training of partners and improving skills in the market. "We are present in database, middleware, business intelligence (BI) and applications like CRM, HR and supply chain. In the region, solutions focused on BI are gaining popularity," he said.
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