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IDG Connect – Dan Swinhoe (Middle East)- SMBs (pt II)_ Opportunities

IDG Connect – Dan Swinhoe (Middle East)- SMBs (pt II)_ Opportunities

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06/07/2012IDG Connect Dan Swinhoe (Middle East)- SMBs (pt II): Opportunities1/2 www.idgconnect.com/blog-abstract/576/dan-swinhoe-middle-east-smbs-pt-ii-opportunities
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Posted by Dan Swinhoe Company IDG Connect  07/05/2012 
Dan Swinhoe (Middle East)- SMBs (pt II): Opportunities
Following our focus on thechallengessmall and medium-sized businesses face, this week we look at the opportunities presenting themselves to companies across the region. With so many smaller businesses in the Middle East, their success is important to the region.Some good news is that SMBS are doing well all across theworld . According to Jyoti Lalchandani of IDC, IT spending in the Middle East and Africa is expected rise by grow 26% until 2015 , when they will be spending $91 billion annually between them, compared to $71 billion currently. He identified the growthdriving four trends in the Middle East as "Cloud computing, mobility, big data and social technologies." 
The Cloud
Last year EMC reported strong double-digit growthin the region, and expect the same again. Much of this is downto a rise incloud computing . Its flexibility, versatility and lost cost, not mention space saving, make it attractive tobusinesses of all sizes. But most importantly it means smaller businesses have less constraints put on them on amore level playing field with bigger enterprises.I'm not going to go into the nitty-gritty details of what the cloud is, there are much cleverer people than me paid lotsof money toexplainwhat it at great lengths. But with the cloud comes other opportunities.The cloud provides an opportunity to hold more data, and more data turns into big data. And with big data comesanalytics. The more information you know about your customers, the more you can take advantage to makedecisions. From what you advertise to what the next business step is, analytics are being touted as the upshot tothe big data problem.
M, E and Social Commerce
While E-commerce is firmly established in many parts of the Western world, it's only in the last year that the MiddleEast has started to catch up. While it's still a relatively niche market, in the last year alone e-commerce has grownby 300%in the region. That's a staggering rise. While cash-on delivery is still the most common form of payment,using cards and online-payments are on the rise. This boom is being helped by an increase in home-computersand social media, so making sure your business has a website and promotes itself on the web is now a necessitinstead of an option. Social commerce is a great way to help in your promoting. Getting user-reviews of your  products onto sites such as Amazon, connecting with your customers through mediums such as Twitter, and creating your own content to add value to your site all help drive business. A natural extension isM-Commerce. Essentially E-Commerce on the go from mobiles and tablets, it encompasses buying through traditional sites,mobile banking and more recently,mobile wallets. Mobile numbers are growing fast and many consumers appear to have jumped straight from cash transactions tomobile paymentswithout ever having used credit or debit cards. Having a mobile site/app may cost in the beginning, but the potential returns can be huge, and getting your business onto various local/hyper-local apps will inevitabldrive business your way.
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