by Pieter W. Bil, Managing Director at Kyndryl Middle East & Africa
Preparing for an AI-powered future with IT enterprise transformation

In the race to an AI-powered future, Saudi Arabia wants to strategically position itself at the forefront of innovation. With 66 out of 96 goals in the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 centered around data and AI, it's clear that the Kingdom is fully committed to harnessing the potential of this disruptive technology.

Under the leadership of the Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA) and the implementation of the National Strategy for Data & AI, Saudi Arabia aims to become one of the top 15 AI-powered nations by the end of the next decade. Impressively, the Kingdom has already secured its position globally, ranking second in public awareness of AI according to Stanford University’s 2023 AI Index Report, and leading the 2023 Global AI Index for its government strategy in AI.

However, with AI promising transformative opportunities across multiple sectors, many organisations are at a crossroads, struggling to align their AI ambitions with their existing IT infrastructure.

Unlocking the business transformation potential of AI

AI can hold the key to revolutionising operations, improving efficiency and unlocking new growth opportunities. By using AI-powered automation tools, organisations can streamline manual processes such as data entry, customer support and network management, freeing up human resources for strategic initiatives. Predictive maintenance powered by AI enables proactive identification and prevention of system failures, ensuring uninterrupted operations.

In addition, AI can enable organisations to derive actionable insights from vast amounts of data, facilitating data-driven decision making. Personalised customer experiences powered by AI not only increase satisfaction, but also foster long-term loyalty. In cybersecurity, AI-powered solutions provide real-time threat detection and response, strengthening organisations against cyber threats.

In addition, the potential of AI can only be realized with the right data and IT foundation so businesses and organizations can benefit from the AI technology and can drive business value.

Overcoming the IT infrastructure challenge

Despite the promise of AI, McKinsey research shows that only 35% of companies in the GCC feel adequately equipped with IT infrastructure to support AI initiatives. Legacy systems pose a significant barrier to the seamless integration of modern AI solutions.

Data is the foundation of AI and presents a wealth of untapped potential for Saudi Arabian businesses. However, data-related challenges such as integration issues, warehousing constraints and governance complexities are hampering AI adoption efforts.

Partnering for AI Success

Realizing the full potential of AI requires strategic vision, a deep understanding of business objectives, and a robust data infrastructure. Integrating AI into business operations requires navigating a complex ecosystem of technologies and vendors.

Organizations can effectively navigate this journey by partnering with experienced IT infrastructure service providers. A trusted partner with enterprise-level AI expertise can offer comprehensive solutions, including data modernization, platform management and AI services. By aligning with the right partner, Saudi organizations can seamlessly integrate AI into their operations and maximize the value of their existing IT investments.

As businesses add more and new technologies — whether that’s generative AI or something else — IT estates become more complex and difficult to manage and the right tools and expertise can help mitigate the challenge. For example, by using the AIOps and FinOps services available on Kyndryl Bridge and the automation expertise provided by Kyndryl experts, customers can achieve their business goals in a cost-effective, insightful and responsible manner.

Embracing AI is more than just a technological advancement; it aligns with the sustainable goals of Vision 2030, paving the way for a future where Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of AI innovation.

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