Digital First Leadership takes the spotlight on Day 1 of IDC ME CIO Summit 2022

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Wasem Lootah at 2022 IDC ME CIO Summit
Mr. Wasem Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government, Digital Dubai delivering his opening remarks at 15th IDC Middle East CIO Summit | Image Courtesy: IDC MEA

One of the most anticipated ICT events of 2022, the 15th Edition of International Data Corporation (IDC)’s Annual Middle East CIO Summit had a star-studded opening at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). 

His Excellency Wesam Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government, Digital Dubai, opened the event which has brought together more than 200 of the region’s most influential ICT decision-makers under one roof.

The 2022 IDC Middle East CIO Summit runs under the theme ‘Accelerating Your Journey to a Digital-First World’.

During his opening remarks, Mr. Lootah observed that, “As we gradually move out of the pandemic, we all have many questions in mind, and as leaders, we must think of all these questions, consider all the possibilities at hand, and plan the best course of action for the future.”

Wesam Lootah Image
Wesam Lootah
Smart Dubai Government
Digital Dubai

“We are aware that digital platforms, e-services, augmented reality, machine learning, and cloud computing are important digital tools that act as enablers in the new digital economy. However, our role is not restricted to only providing and applying these tools in our organizations. We need to embrace a digital-first leadership, one that truly understands how people choose to communicate, learn, bank, shop, and live their lives in a digital world.”

The IDC Keynote, presented by Mr. Steven Frantzen, IDC’s Senior Vice President for the EMEA region, revealed that many organizations are making slow progress in achieving their digital ambitions even after recognizing the pressing need to pursue a digital-first strategy.

Wesam Lootah and Steven-Frantzen Image
Mr. Steven Frantzen, IDC SVP for EMEA Region sharing the podium with Mr. Wasem Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government, Digital Dubai at 15th IDC Middle East CIO Summit | Image Courtesy: IDC MEA

“One in two companies worldwide will generate more than 40 percent of their revenues from digital products and services by 2023, and a recent global IDC study showed that 79 percent of organizations worldwide have already shifted to a digital-first strategy as a result of the pandemic,” Mr. Frantzen emphasized.

The IDC Official further added that, “However, many organizations are struggling, with 50% still trying to figure out exactly what it means for them or only now just starting to execute their plans.”


The opening day of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2022 served up strategic guidance on overcoming these digital roadblocks, with a series of Best-Practice Sessions that saw senior IDC analysts, respected tech pioneers, and industry heavyweights from the vendor community address the following themes:

  • From Secure to Trusted: A Journey to Digital Leadership
  • Cloud Computing: The Springboard for Digital Transformation and
  • The Future of Work & the Long-Term Implications of a Distributed Work Environment

These comprehensive sessions were augmented by a number of dedicated Technology Focus Groups that provided expert advice on key CIO priorities for the digital-first era, such as building digital trust, driving cloud-native app transformation, leveraging the capabilities of hybrid cloud, and moving beyond digital transformation to facilitate enterprise-wide digital innovation.

Speaking at the event, IDC’s Group Vice President and Regional Managing Director for the META region, Mr. Jyoti Lalchandani, reiterated the significance of pursuing a digital-first strategy, while highlighting other key areas that are set to influence the CIO agenda over the coming years.

Jyoti Lalchandani at 2022 IDC ME CIO Summit
Mr. Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC Group VP and Regional MD for the META Region delivering his speech at 15th IDC Middle East CIO Summit | Image Courtesy: IDC MEA

“The pandemic has led many organizations in the Middle East to bring their digital road maps forward by up to two years and increasingly shift towards a digital-first strategy,” Mr. Lalchandani remarked.

The IDC Group VP continued stating that, “While this is a critical first step, it is not enough on its own. Indeed, at IDC, we believe there are three broad themes that will shape the tech investment decisions of the region’s CIOs and the organizations they represent through 2022 and beyond – the implementation of a digital-first strategy, the quest for digital resiliency, and the pursuit of hybridity.”


The feature-packed second day of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2022 will feature exclusive insights from His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, Head of Cybersecurity for the UAE government, and Dr. Peter Diamandis, a New York Times Bestselling author of three books and founder of the XPRIZE Foundation.

Renowned Emirati blogger, columnist, motivational speaker, and social media influencer Khalid Al Ameri will also take part as the event’s master of ceremonies.

The in-person portion of the event will conclude with the IDC Excellence Awards 2022, which will recognize the efforts of the Middle East’s leading technology executives across three categories namely; CIO of the Year, CISO of the Year, and Women in Technology and Business.

The Virtual Event

The special one-day virtual edition of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2022 will commence on February 24, with more than 500 influential tech and business leaders set to gather online from across the region.

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