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Microsoft’s technology ecosystem and the growing popularity of cloud services will create more than 5,600 jobs in Bahrain by the end of 2022, according to new research by the International Data Corporation (IDC).
The study also covers findings from other Middle Eastern markets such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey. The Microsoft ecosystem – the companies that sell, service, deploy, or otherwise work with Microsoft products – supported more than 3,100 workers in 2017, said the study.
The ecosystem itself is a prolific generator of downstream revenues, accounting for BD10.57 ($28.04) for every BD1 ($2.65) that Microsoft produces, according to IDC estimates.
Mohamed Ali AlQaed, chief executive, Information & eGovernment Authority, said: “The report from Microsoft and IDC confirms the long-lasting strength we have rooted to realise the Economic Vision 2030.”
“Cloud computing and Microsoft’s ecosystem of products, services and partner solutions will continue to play a vital role in economic development and creation of jobs in the kingdom. In partnership with Microsoft and other entities, we carry-on building a knowledge hub as the mature level of progress achieved with the Kingdom’s cloud migration journey makes it a centre of excellence for developing cloud in the region and becoming the first Arab country to implement such policy worldwide,” he added.
IDC’s white paper analyses the impact of ICT, cloud services and the Microsoft ecosystem on the Bahrain economy between 2017 and 2022, covering a decade of IDC regional findings.
The research shows that organisations across the kingdom will participate in a rise in IT spending and employment. Innovation and economic diversification will be supported by the increasing utilisation of public cloud services.
In addition, the government's cloud-first strategy, together with investments in private and hybrid cloud solutions, will enable businesses to generate almost BD129 million ($342.17 million) (net) in new revenues over the next five years.
IDC predicts spending on public cloud services in Bahrain will almost quadruple over the same period, from BD2.74 million ($7.27) in 2017 to BD10.05 million ($26.66 million) in 2022.
Between the end of 2017 and the end of 2022, adoption of cloud services will create nearly 5,200 new jobs (net) and the Microsoft technology ecosystem will add 400 jobs (net) for a total of 5,600 in net job creation.
Necip Ozyucel, cloud and enterprise group lead, Microsoft Gulf, said: “Digital transformation has the power to engage customers and citizens, empower employees, optimise operations and reinvent products and services.”
“IDC’s report clearly shows that private and public organisations have realised those benefits are there for the taking, and are directly or indirectly creating jobs as they invest in their futures,” Ozyucel said.
“Our company is proud of its record of job creation in Bahrain. Acceleration of economic growth and innovation and the downstream revenue that comes from the Microsoft ecosystem are natural outcomes from our efforts to help every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more,” Ozyucel added.
In March, Microsoft announced it would open dedicated cloud data centres in the neighbouring UAE, to serve customers across the Middle East. The company believes the provision of cloud services through regional data centres will help start-ups to more quickly realise their potential, as well as accelerating the adoption of public cloud services within government agencies and regulated industries, such as banking and finance, telecoms and healthcare.
Microsoft also takes very seriously its role in upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce to support an emerging series of jobs and shifts in responsibilities resulting from the increased use of cloud services.
According to the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” report, published in January this year, two in three children will end up working in jobs that do not exist yet. Microsoft is active in creating awareness of this with its education partners around the world.
The company also runs several professional programmes that address the need for upskilling and reskilling, to plug knowledge gaps in the emerging cloud-services segment, including Microsoft Cloud Administration, Azure Essentials and the AI Professional Certification.
In its whitepaper, IDC also examined wider ICT spending in Bahrain, predicting it would reach BD296.76 million ($787.14 million) in 2022, and that IT employment in the country will surpass 12,600 by that time.
Megha Kumar, research director - software and cloud, IDC Middle East, Turkey and Africa, said: “As cloud continues to gain momentum in the region, countries will be able to accelerate their digital transformation and economic diversification agendas.”
“Cloud will enable innovative projects that revolve around artificial intelligence (AI), enterprise mobility, Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain,” she said.
“It will also create demand for new skill types and expertise in the market. We will begin to see a shift in the job types that will be needed by organisations, with new roles coming into play. These will range from AI and blockchain architects and data scientists to AI systems trainers,” she added.
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