Gulf Cooperation Council Adopts Digital Transformation Amid Global Disruption

October, 2020

In the face of dramatic challenges in 2020, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has witnessed growth in non-oil sectors. This is a direct result of structural reforms that are conducive to economic diversification. The six Arabian Peninsula governments instituted policies and initiatives—such as data security laws, permission of 100% foreign ownership, exemptions from corporate and income taxes, and granting permanent residency permits to foreign investors—that have resulted in global businesses entering the GCC region in recent years. As a result, local enterprises facing global disruptions are embracing digital transformation to stay competitive.

These and other trends are explored in Avasant’s new GCC Region Digital Services 2020-2021 RadarViewTM report, which covers emerging trends in the GCC region. The report is a comprehensive study of digital service providers in the region, including top trends, analysis, recommendations, and a close look at the leaders, innovators, disruptors, and challengers in this region.

Avasant evaluated 27 digital service providers that have presence in the GCC, using a rigorous methodology against the dimensions of practice maturity, investments and innovation, and ecosystem development. Of those 27 providers, Avasant recognizes 14 that have brought the most value to the market during the past 12 months.

The report recognizes service providers in four categories:

    • Leaders: Accenture, HCL, IBM, TCS, Wipro
    • Innovators: Cognizant, Infosys, Tech Mahindra
    • Disruptors: Capgemini, Coforge, DXC, Intertec
    • Challengers: Alpha Data, Emitac Enterprise Solutions

Figure 1 from the full report illustrates these categories:

Moneyshot GCC2020 1030x687 - Gulf Cooperation Council Adopts Digital Transformation Amid Global Disruption

“GCC companies face unprecedented challenges posed by market disruptions in the region,” said Avasant’s Senior Analyst Amrita Keswani. “In the face of that, they need to gauge the potential value that digital transformation can generate. It has become important for these firms to partner with the right service providers, those that understand the challenges on their digital journeys and provide comprehensive services, solutions, and domain expertise.”

The report includes recommendations for GCC enterprises to most effectively adopt digital transformation:

  1. Make AI and analytics adoption a fundamental imperative.
    • Take advantage of initiatives under nationwide artificial intelligence strategies adopted by the GCC nations such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, to accelerate AI adoption.
    • Adopt agile, DataOps, and DevOps approaches, as these are important for successful AI development. They enable enterprises to cross leverage AI point solutions and capabilities developed in each of the business units.
  1. Understand and comply with current laws and prepare for their evolution.
    • The evolution of the Gulf region’s regulatory environment is seen in recent legislation governing commercial businesses, cloud computing, and cybersecurity.
    • Monitor, track, and assess the impact of this legislation and its applicability across various parts of the organization.
  1. Don’t build everything in-house, but seek the right technology partners.
    • Outsourcing/offshoring with a combination of landed resources from Asia and Europe is one of the top strategies being adopted by large GCC corporations.
    • Governments’ efforts have resulted in a vibrant technology ecosystem in the region, giving enterprises excellent choices for in-region service providers.
    • Organizations should build partnerships to take advantage of service provider expertise, investing in co-innovation and collaboration opportunities in developing capabilities.
  1. Select system integrators with regulatory expertise and relationships with local cloud platform providers.
    • Favor system integrators with strategic partnerships with cloud platform providers that have established data centers in specific GCC countries.
    • The right service provider will have governance, risk, and compliance capabilities to adhere to region- and industry-specific regulations, an established cybersecurity practice, adequate skillsets, and end-to-end digital services capabilities.


The full report also features detailed RadarView profiles of the 14 service providers, along with their solutions, offerings, and experience in assisting GCC enterprises in digital transformation.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of the GCC Region Digital Services 2020-2021 RadarViewTM report. The full report is available at no charge for Avasant Research subscribers, or it may be purchased by non-subscribers directly from our website (click for pricing).