CAIRO: The International Data Corporation (IDC) brought its IT in Government Roadshow to Cairo on Monday.
The conference brought together some of the industry’s leading experts in an effort to discuss the state of the IT sector in Egypt, the government’s role in the industry, and how IT businesses will weather the current global economic slowdown.
Jan Duffy, research director for Government Insights and Health Industry Insights, served as master of ceremonies for the day.
Duffy has served as an IT consultant for the past 20 years and has authored “Harvesting Experience – Reaping the Benefits of Knowledge.
Her opening address, “Public Sector 2020: Delivering Resilient Transformation, argued that governments must find a way to develop and transform their IT sectors, while maintaining resilience in the security and means of information transmission.
“Outlook, she noted, “is optimistic.
Public sector spending on IT, Duffy pointed out, has increased at a significantly higher rate in Egypt than they have in the western world.
Western Europe has seen an increase of 5 percent, while Egypt has experienced a growth of 15 percent.
She noted, though, that the economic slowdown has suggested that public sector IT expenditures around the world is likely to experience a short-term decline as governments make efforts to scale back spending.
“We expect this year it to be much tougher to justify the spending, she said.
She added that Egypt may not be forced to cut back significantly on spending because of the type of investment Egypt has been making in its IT sector.
“In Egypt, it’s different. Investment is being made in the hardware, she said.
She further pointed out that the, proportionally, Egypt is investing far more in hardware and infrastructure than in software.
“As your infrastructure becomes more sophisticated, she said, “you’ll see a slight shift in those proportions.
Sameh George, corporate sales manager for Acer, also spoke at the conference. He, too, told Daily News Egypt that he believes that significant IT budget cuts from the public sector are on the way.
“Though the budget may be tight, he said, “the opportunity is fantastic.
A major portion of that opportunity, George argued, is the low penetration of household internet access in Egypt.
The Gulf States, he pointed out, have a 49 percent rate of internet penetration. In Egypt, he added, penetration is only 14-16 percent.
He noted that WiMax and 3G will be significant players in the Egyptian market going forward and that WiMax particularly will play a role in increasing national internet access.
Echoing Duffy’s argument that internet access must involve both resilience and transformation, Ehab Berbas, territory sales manager for Blue Coat, argued that the Egyptian IT sector must stress acceleration and security.”We used to choose whether you want your business to be secure or whether you want it to move very fast, he said.
“There is no contradiction over here, he added.
Berbas noted that his firm’s challenge has been to accelerate the rate at which information is exchanged while strengthening the security of these transactions.
While the absence of government officials from a conference on IT in the public sector was noteworthy, the assembled group of experts put together a complex analysis of an innovative sector that promises to be on the leading edge of any development Egypt undergoes in the foreseeable future.