IT spending by utilities in the four major Middle East and African countries (Turkey, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) increased 9.2% year on year in 2013 to total just under $1 billion, according to the latest round of data released by IDC Energy Insights. The figure is set to reach $1.05 billion in 2014.
The Middle East’s young and continuously growing population, along with a strong increase in national income, is driving rapid growth in demand for electricity across the region. In Africa, meanwhile, investments in restructuring the power sector, building essential infrastructure, deploying renewable energy (mainly solar), and making clean water accessible to all dominate the agenda and are combining to ratchet up the demand for energy across the region.
Currently accounting for around 45% of external IT spending in the utilities sector, IT services will be in particularly high demand over the coming years, with investments soaring by an annual average rate of more than 14% between 2012 and 2017. The need for more efficient operational modules (e.g., enterprise asset management, billing, data analytics) and heightened security will also propel software spending, with investment in this area set to grow at an average of 9.6% over the same period.