Guests entered through a snowy tunnel, with flakes of snow melting on their cheeks as they joined the party. Over 150 customers, prospects, and partners joined us on March 1 to celebrate the opening of Snowflake’s newest cloud deployment region on Microsoft Azure in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Snowflake opened offices in Dubai late last year, and has rapidly built up a local data community. Now the new cloud region enables customers and partners to leverage the power of the Snowflake Data Cloud, while keeping their data within the region. With the launch last week, Snowflake made it snow in the desert, literally and figuratively.
The value of Snowflake’s announcement was highlighted in the remarks of His Excellency Wesam Lootah, the CEO of Smart Dubai Government Establishment at Digital Dubai, who lauded the democratization of advanced technologies that the public cloud brings and recognized data as a key enabler of digital transformation.
Digital Transformation and the Data Cloud
Digital transformation is clearly on the agenda in the region. According to IDC, digital transformation investments in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) were expected to double over the 2020-25 period and digital transformation spending in the region to accelerate over the same five-year period. Spending on digital transformation is expected to exceed $58 billion by the end of the period, and account for 40% of all ICT investments made that year. The report calls on technology vendors to “ramp up their capabilities to address [end users’] evolving needs.” And, that’s just what Snowflake has done in the UAE.
Much of this digital transformation will happen in the cloud, or because of the cloud and the access to new technologies that it brings. Growth of public cloud adoption is expected to accelerate globally. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, it’s expected to grow even faster. Some estimate that by 2025 almost 80% of businesses in the MENA region will move into the cloud.
What’s driving the high demand for cloud-based business solutions in the region?
- Economic diversification: An 88% YoY increase in new business licenses granted in 2021 illustrate the diversity of economic activity including food production, technology, gaming, and space consultancies to name a few.
- Digitally inclined youth population: Dubbed the “youth bulge” across the Middle East, the under-25 segment represents 34% of the UAE population, and like their peers around the world that many of us know, they are definitely digital natives.
- Budding startup and SME community: Dubai Startup Hub and the new Entrepreneurial Nation initiative announced in 2021 by the Ministry of Economy promote innovation and the startup community.
- Rapid digital transformation: Investments in the foundations for digital transformation have catapulted the UAE to the top of many global readiness indices.
Stories of transformation and innovation were certainly in the air as well as on the ground at the Snowflake event. Both Emirates Airlines and Emirates Post were represented on a discussion panel, which was rounded out by Edgematics, a Snowflake partner, and Snowflake’s Sales Engineering Manager. Comments by the panelists addressed the opportunities and challenges of becoming data driven, with a focus on enlisting executive support, building strong data-savvy communities within their organizations, and leveraging broader data ecosystems to deliver greater value through data collaboration. That emphasis on data collaboration across internal business divisions and externally with partners and customers is the future of true transformation and innovation.
With the launch of the new cloud deployment region, Snowflake and its regional partners will enable customers to unlock the value of their data, while ensuring that it remains secure, well governed, and in region if necessary. We can’t wait to share more stories of snow in the desert!