IT spending by financial institutions in the big four markets of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) — Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the UAE, and Turkey — is set for strong year-on-year growth of 10.8% in 2014, according to the latest insights from global advisory services firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Images from 94.7Spurred by investments in the emerging 3rd Platform technologies, total IT spending in this space is set to reach $4.3 billion in 2014.

According to IDC, 3rd Platform technologies – built on Big Data, cloud, mobile, and social technologies — will drive 90% of the industry’s growth from up to 2020, offerings that represent just 22% of current IT spending.

“This domination of growth makes the 3rd Platform the only IT marketplace worth competing for, as the rest of IT barely grows at all,” the research firm explains.

“And it should now be obvious: At least 80% of competitive energy and investment — for IT vendors and CIOs — must be focused on strengthening 3rd Platform capabilities and offerings.”

“The finance sector has always driven the innovative use of ICT technologies across other verticals,” says Jebin George, a senior research analyst for vertical markets at IDC Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.

“This drive for innovation through IT remains the top priority for CIOs in the sector and is resulting in strong investment in 3rd Platform technologies like Big Data analytics, cloud, and mobility as CIOs increasingly realize the transformative capabilities of these solutions on the way business is conducted.”

More than one-third of the MEA finance sector CIOs who took part in IDC’s Annual Middle East and Africa CIO Survey 2014 indicated that they have plans to invest in various 3rd Platform technologies over the next two years, with enterprise mobility, Big Data and analytics, and private cloud computing proving the most popular.

However, concerns over security are also growing, with the majority of the respondents considering all 3rd Platform technologies to be difficult to secure.

Such concerns will only serve to buoy IT-related investments by financial institutions in the region’s big four economies, with IDC expecting IT spending by banking, insurance, and securities and investment services firms in Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the UAE, and Turkey to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.0% over the next five years to total $5.7 billion in 2018.

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