DigitalTransformation, Middle East

As the country looks to future-proof public and private sector companies, find out why digital transformation is such a hot topic in Saudi Arabia.

Digital transformation is accelerating at a rapid pace in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). 


The region maintains a robust digital infrastructure, with digital transformation spending reaching SR12 billion ($3.19 billion) a year according to Turki Al-Manea, executive director of investment at the Kingdom’s Digital Government Authority. Money is being invested in emerging technologies, open source government software, and cloud computing in an effort to excel KSA’s digital transformation. 


Expanding digital transformation is one of the pillars of KSA’s National Transformation Program outlined in its Saudi Vision 2030 initiative, launched in 2016, that aims to develop an infrastructure that aims to reduce the region’s dependency on oil, improve economic enablers, and increase the standard of living for its citizens and visitors. Specific targets include expanding 25,000 jobs within the ICT sector and increasing the market size of IT and emerging technology industries by 50%. 


Alongside supporting digital transformation are key goals such as enabling the private sector, ensuring the sustainability of resources, transforming healthcare, and more.


So how are companies in Saudi Arabia reacting to this shift towards digital transformation? Keep reading to find out.


Accelerating digital transformation after the pandemic 


According to a YouGov survey carried out earlier this year, 92% of Saudi Arabia’s government IT decision-makers agreed that digital transformation had accelerated over the last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 




Ahmed Al-Faifi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Middle East North, SAP, commented:


“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is in a large-scale phase of digital transformation, especially in the public sector, and we are proud to partner with some of the most strategic projects leading with our innovative business software solutions.

 Thanks to initiatives such as Saudi Vision 2030, Smart Cities and among others NEOM and The Red Sea Project, the Kingdom is on the path to becoming a technology hub leading with innovations in the Cloud.”

As emerging technologies continue to transform the digital landscape further, public and private sector organizations in the kingdom are at the forefront of implementing these innovative solutions to change the way they do business.


The survey also revealed insights into which emerging technologies organizations would prioritize this year, which included artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud technology, predictive analytics, and blockchain. 


How companies in the KSA are embracing digital transformation


The Middle East is a region driven by government agendas which generally focus on the importance of leveraging technology to stay current and adapt to the needs of digital citizens.




In the KSA, organizations across sectors are taking advantage of automation opportunities, including in the banking and insurance, travel and tourism, healthcare, and energy industries.


The pandemic has highlighted that having a strong digital business infrastructure that’s scalable and efficient is imperative if organizations want to continue to function in the face of adverse circumstances.


Across the Middle East, companies are leveraging digital transformation to drive results and access a target audience of digitally informed consumers. For instance, the travel industry is heading towards the metaverse and healthcare is going digital to adapt to shifting expectations around in-person and remote appointment availability.


Building a marketing strategy that aligns with digital transformation innovations


No matter where in the world your business is located, in today’s technological age, building a marketing strategy that aligns with digital transformation is essential if you want to remain competitive and attract an audience of digitally-savvy customers. 


This doesn’t mean simply building your business with a flexible and scalable cloud infrastructure or ensuring you’re up to date with the latest social media trends. It’s about ensuring your teams are equipped with the technology they need to do their jobs and offer digital experiences to customers that are increasingly expectant of them.


Ensuring you’re up to date with the latest digital transformation innovations such as blockchain, customer data platforms, AI, automation, digital banking, and the hybrid workplace environment is key to remaining relevant and creating a future-proof organization. It’s about harnessing the entire digital enterprise to evolve your business, how it operates, and how you interact with customers.


Below are some key factors to consider when building a marketing strategy informed by digital transformation:


1. Assess the value of your marketing tools and channels 


Take a step back and look at how your marketing tools and channels are performing. This means examining your website, social media platforms, automation tools, and other software you use to track marketing performance and spend.


Are they serving you and helping you meet the needs of your customers? Or is it time to reassess and try out different options that might be better suited to your business goals?


Reviewing these tools and channels can help you determine whether or not you’re on track to success, or whether your competitors are a step ahead of you with digital solutions that offer more value to the business and its customers.

2. Breaking down system silos


Another aspect to consider is how you’re using digital transformation innovations and tools within your business.




The pandemic and subsequent switch to remote or hybrid work for a large part of the global population meant businesses had to quickly adapt to new ways of working. One thing that kept coming up was the notion of system silos, which were more easily noticed when employees were no longer able to communicate and collaborate face to face.


When digital tools operate in silos, miscommunications and pitfalls become more commonplace. With the rise of cloud technology and unified communications systems, there’s no need to implement 50 different solutions for 50 different tasks. 


This isn’t only frustrating for employees, it can also disrupt your customer experience. Implementing a customer data platform or customer relationship management tool can help to connect the dots between your customers, their data, and the various points of contact.


3. Put the customer at the heart of everything you do


Although it kind of goes without saying these days, the customer is always right. Everything you do should be with the customer in mind. Any digital marketing strategy involves outlining your buyer personas, including who they are, what they need, and any pain points they might be experiencing. However, it’s important to remember they are digitally-empowered customers.


Personalization is a key thing to consider here. Customers want the brands they engage with to recognize their humanity, and to exhibit humanity themselves. Now, digital tools allow companies to track and measure our actions and behaviors through metrics and analytics. It’s kind of creepy, we know. But from a business perspective, it allows companies to take this data and provide a personalized marketing response which better serves their unique needs, meaning they’re more likely to become a valued customer and have a satisfactory experience.


These are just a few of the things to consider when creating a marketing strategy that reflects the advances of digital transformation. Always keep an eye on industry and market trends to ensure you don’t fall behind. This will help propel your organization to success, and ensure it’s ready for what’s to come.


Saudi Arabia continues to increase its focus on digital transformation. This is driven by the government ambition to transform and innovate KSA to develop a more robust infrastructure for citizens, investors, and visitors.


Over the coming years, we’re likely to see fascinating developments coming out of the KSA and the region as a whole as it aims to attract new talent and bridge the digital divide, all while supporting a swiftly evolving economy.


YourTarget has also released an eBook on the latest trends and developments for digital marketing, which includes some digital transformation trends that are predicted to be seen in the Middle East.

Grab a copy today and apply it to your business so you can be ahead of the game when starting a digital marketing or digital transformation campaign for your startup or company in the Middle East! 




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