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An unstable global economy, fraught with geopolitical uncertainty, left many wondering if companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA ) would struggle to turn a profit in 2016. Yet, just as challenges have come to characterize the region’s business landscape, so too have a wealth of technological advances—advances that hold great potential for companies across multiple sectors, with retailers prime amongst them.
In particular, developments in digital commerce and underlying predictive customer analytics promise to deliver significant opportunities to a sector that is forecast to grow by 4.6 percent region-wide next year. If seized, this opportunity could not only offset the economic pressures that retail now faces, but take the sector to new heights.
But there is a caveat: To realize this potential, retailers must learn how to successfully navigate the digital space and turn the deluge of public and customer data scattered across their different business units into tangible business results at their fingertips.
“MENA is known for high concentrations of natural resources. But the new ocean of data promises a wealth of opportunity to match that of any oil field or precious material mine.”
The stark reality is that, in today’s world, retailers underestimate the significance of such data at their peril. Harnessing the predictive power of data allows retailers to boost their customer experience and reduce operational costs—two objectives that are more important than ever, in the face of fierce competition and disruptive operating models in the retail sector.
This Viewpoint explores the trends, challenges and implications at play in the smart grid space. More importantly, it offers practical lessons to MENA’s utilities and uncovers the opportunities that exist at the sweet spot where technology and tradition collide.