Cisco: Over 90 percent of organizations in Saudi Arabia have an AI strategy in place or under development

82 percent of companies plan to invest in upskilling employees on AI
Cisco: Over 90 percent of organizations in Saudi Arabia have an AI strategy in place or under development
Cisco reveals local insights from its AI Readiness Index ahead of LEAP in Saudi Arabia

Cisco has revealed the results of its AI Readiness Index in Saudi Arabia ahead of the LEAP 2024 technology conference in Riyadh. The index, which surveyed 8,000 companies across 30 countries, was developed to assess the adoption of AI. According to the survey, 93 percent of organizations in Saudi Arabia have either implemented or are developing an AI strategy. However, only 8 percent feel fully prepared to deploy and leverage AI effectively.

Read more: Cisco: Empowering businesses in the Middle East and Africa with AI

The survey also highlighted the desired outcomes of AI adoption among companies in Saudi Arabia. Improving efficiency and increasing productivity ranked highest, with 47 percent of respondents prioritizing these gains. On the other hand, opening new revenue streams ranked lowest, with only 30 percent of respondents considering it a top expectation.

Regarding talent development, 31 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia identified a comprehension and proficiency gap in AI tools and technologies as the primary skill deficiency. However, the survey revealed positive steps taken by organizations to address this gap, with 82 percent of surveyed organizations investing in training their employees in this area.

Infrastructure readiness emerged as a concern, with only 12 percent of local organizations in Saudi Arabia having fully flexible networks capable of handling the complexity of AI workloads. Additionally, 70 percent of respondents expressed a need for increased cybersecurity measures, as they did not consider themselves fully equipped to detect and prevent adversarial attacks on AI models.

Cisco Saudi Arabia
Salman Abdulghani Faqeeh, managing director, Cisco Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s progress in AI

Commenting on the results of the study, Salman Faqeeh, managing director, Cisco Saudi Arabia said: “Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in recent years to establish itself as a leading player in the field of AI. The Kingdom recognizes the transformative potential of AI and has placed it at the center of its Vision 2030”. He added: “At Cisco, we believe in the critical role of AI to revolutionize industries and drive innovation, and it has been an important element across our portfolio for over a decade. As the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) is working to implement the National Strategy for Data and AI, the insights from the index can help inform the prioritization across important pillars including strategy, infrastructure, data, governance, talent, and culture.”

Shaping sustainable digital evolution

At LEAP 2024, Cisco will participate under the theme “AI Unleashed: Shaping Sustainable Digital Evolution.” Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with Cisco’s subject matter experts at their booth, where they will also discover AI demos aimed at enabling a sustainable and securely connected future. Cisco will showcase its latest technological innovations across networking, security, collaboration, and applications, in addition to presenting industry use-cases alongside its channels and ecosystem partners.

Cisco Saudi Arabia
Reem Asaad, vice president, Cisco Middle East, Türkiye, Africa, Romania, and the CIS

Supporting national digital economies

Reem Asaad, vice president for Cisco Middle East, Türkiye, Africa, Romania, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), commented: “Cisco has a long-standing presence in the region, working to advance national digital economies, develop infrastructure, strengthen cybersecurity, and build the region’s talent pool. This year at LEAP, we are excited to demonstrate the power of our portfolio to support our customers and partners in Saudi Arabia and beyond in leveraging our latest technologies to increase efficiencies and drive innovation.”

LEAP 2024 is scheduled to take place from March 4th to March 7th at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Centre, Malham in Saudi Arabia. Cisco’s booth, located at booth J10, Hall 1 – Big Tech, will be a focal point for attendees.

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