Middle East is usually behind when it comes to the bleeding edge technology. Clearly because we don’t build bleeding edge technology unless we are US or EU residents!
One of the greatest aspects of Cloud Computing is SaaS (Software as a Service). With the current credit crunch creeping all over the world, this might be biggest chance for SaaS to take a big leap and make itself ahead of the game.
However is it like that everywhere? Or is it just in US and Canada?
The point is that Middle East market is so overwhelmed by Microsoft supplied software that there seem to be no room to breath for alternatives. Windows is a reigning champ on both client and server systems, Exchange is there with no competitor, and Office is a no-brainer choice. In higher market levels you see Oracle and SAP ruling.
You might say, duh, this is pretty much the case everywhere, the situation here is more intense. The local market is so addicted to such products that I think it will take another 2 to 3 years for it to wake and see the world is a better place with SaaS.
However there are some constraints too. In a perfect world, SaaS applications would work just fine replacing the sluggish, pricey, and hard to maintain applications.
But here is the thing: What if we can’t rely on the local Internet connection? UAE (where I currently live) has the best Internet facilities and biggest user share in the region, but we experience total blackouts one or twice a year due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
Well, I don’t need to say that what will happen to my cloud-based business if my US-hosted SaaS application goes down for a day.
In the other hand, there a lot of political and economic tensions between this part of the world and the rest of it! The security risk does matter and if a Middle Eastern firm totally relies on an overseas SaaS platform, what could be the guarantee for this not be used as a potential pressure factor?
Perhaps local and private SaaS platforms could be the best solution, but Private Clouds have their own merits and demerits.
Whatever the ups and downs of moving to the Cloud could be, the companies in the region, especially government and enterprises should have a close look at what is currently happening up in the Cloud.