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According to Cisco’s new ‘Accelerating Digital Agility Research’, CIOs and IT decision-makers (ITDMs) across the UAE are looking to maximize investments in digitization and drive innovation after a difficult year.

In detail, 49% of IT decision-makers are investing in multi-cloud infrastructure, 48% in cloud security, 47% in network security, and 43% in cloud applications between 2021-2022. Moreover, the core priorities essential to IT and digital transformation success are unveiled which include focusing on security and collaboration for a hybrid workforce; delivering the best end-user experience; driving innovation and security in a cloud-first world; and leveraging technology to invest in employees and tackle societal issues.

"IT leaders are at the forefront of ensuring critical success for their organizations in 2021," said Shukri Eid, managing director of Cisco Gulf Region. "Even as questions remain and new challenges will surface, CIOs and IT decision-makers in the UAE are telling us they need to accelerate digital agility for their teams, so they have the speed, flexibility, and choice to consume services across both traditional and modern environments."

87% agree that it is important to empower a distributed workforce with seamless access to applications and high-quality collaborative experiences as well as ensure the security of data at all times. Close to two-thirds of the CIOs and ITDMs surveyed agree that to deliver a great user experience, they must maintain application-to-infrastructure security to meet compliance without slowing down the business.

This means facilitating a consistent and dynamic performance. On the other hand, the need for agility, speed, scalability, and security is driving the adoption of hybrid cloud environments and secure access service edge (SASE) solutions. In fact, CIOs and ITDMs have adopted SASE solutions because they were investing in cloud applications that needed to be secured (63%), they like to stay up-to-date on industry best practices (57%) and/or their workforce is going to stay distributed (47%).

IT leaders across the Emirates are adapting to new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, they now prioritize digitization, with collaboration, cloud, and security more than before.

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