See saw tipping point Image by Manfred Antranias Zimmer from PixabayRimini Street has published the “IT Leaders, The future outlook report”. The study looks at the challenges IT leaders faced in 2022 and what they see as the future or ongoing challenges as 2023 commences. It is based on a survey conducted by Censuswide of over a thousand CIOs and CTOs based in UKI, GCC and the Nordics. The report highlights composable ERP, digital transformation and key IT strategies in 2023.

At twelve pages, the report has an informative mix of analysis, statistics and visualisations. Enterprise Times also spoke to Emmanuelle Hose, GVP & Regional General Manager – EMEA at Rimini Street, about the research findings.

The report is divided into four sections after a brief introduction:

  • Commitment to digital transformation remains
  • Digital transformation faces challenges
  • The way forward
  • The IT skills gap

Digital Transformation remains a top priority

Emmanuelle Hose, GVP & Regional General Manager - EMEA at Rimini Street
Emmanuelle Hose, GVP & Regional General Manager – EMEA at Rimini Street

62% see Digital Transformation as the key priority for 2023. What was more interesting was where the different regions were on this journey. In the UAE, 91% see digital transformation as a priority, and organisations are ahead of the other surveyed regions in their transformation to cloud technologies (72%, vs UKI-62% and Nordics-59%). The report lacks a qualitative element that might have shone further insight into this, so Enterprise Times asked Hose why she thought the figure was so high.

She replied, “The UAE is quite different from other countries. The economy is very different. You’ve got challenges in the UK that you don’t have in the Middle East. You have got a lot of money there, and they have a lot of conglomerates.

“When you look at digital transformation, it started with, ‘I’m going to optimise my processes, I’m going to remove all the paper, and I’m going to make everything more digital. Now for me to do digital transformation is- how will I communicate better with my suppliers, customers, and stakeholders?’

“If you look at the Middle East, there are tonnes of conglomerates. They’ve got a huge number of businesses, very disparate and different. They need to have one way of working. They need to have one core, where they will have all their data and all the customer information. It doesn’t matter if I’m doing business with a client buying a car, buying furniture, or buying whatever; I still want to have one vision of my clients.”

Another reason, not cited by Hose or the report, is the importance of the government’s drive to move the economy from fossil fuels to a digital one. Initiatives such as UAE Vision 2030 have created the impetus for organisations to transform to deliver on the vision.

Regarding industries, only 10% of respondents had moved to the cloud. Only 7.% of manufacturers but Banking (24.73%) and Telecoms (21.51%) are leading the charge.

The emergence of Composable ERP

As noted above, the report looks at how organisations are moving to the cloud and whilst many are doing so, it is unclear whether this is always digital transformation. Hose clarified the Rimini Street view of this saying, ”There are two ways of moving to the cloud. There is a lift and shift of your existing application to a hyper-scaler. That’s typically for flexibility in volume and having the flexibility of renting your hardware. Then you’ve got the SaaS cloud, which can plug in additional functionality to help with digital transformation.

“For me, the fact that you’re moving an on-premise application to Azure or Google or whatever, it’s not digital transformation; it’s flexibility. But being able to go more into what we refer to as composable ERP and leverage some SaaS products that are needed  to really move the needle for your organisation, and to be able to connect better with clients, offer a better customer experience that’s digital transformation.”

Rimini Street does more than offer 3rd party support for legacy applications

Rimini Street is widely known for supporting legacy applications such as Oracle and SAP. It also launched services for Salesforce a few years ago. How does the company support migration to the cloud and composable ERP?

“We help with lift and shift to the cloud, and we have a big team that does that. We support clients whether they are on-premise or within a hyperscaler. There’s no difference for us where your ERP, CRM or database resides. We help organisations accelerate digital transformation and innovation by deploying a composable ERP strategy.

“What does that mean? I’m going to have many more partners and solutions that either I’ve developed myself or partnered with that are going to be part of my ecosystem. Rimini Street is very much changing into providing support for additional SaaS solutions. We started with Salesforce. We’re going to make some announcements around others.”

Hose continued, “Our strength is that we’ve got your core. We’re always going to support that. We’ll help you accelerate digital transformation by freeing up lots of resources, people, budget and time for you to go and do that. We’re going to help you with your roadmap. Then we really want you to start building an ERP for change. We expect change constantly.

“When Rimini Street started, we were very good at supporting things that we don’t know where they are. We love when our clients have done tons of customization. All of our expertise is around root cause analysis.

“Whatever you’re going to do, whatever journey you’re going to take, and we know that, especially with composable ERP strategy. You guys are going to go crazy and bring in new functionality very quickly. Change constantly and re-adjust, but it doesn’t matter to us because we built this expertise over the last sixteen years, and we’ll help you through that. We want to be able to support clients with this journey, wherever they are going to be, and we know change is going to happen because it has to be built for change now.”


While organisations see digital transformation as a priority, there are challenges. One that was not highlighted was a lack of budget. 68% of respondents see budgets rise. However, many are still planning rather than executing projects. There is a lack of confidence, with only 45% positive of success. Perhaps worryingly, 56% of respondents still don’t have a digital transformation project. Familiar challenges include:

21% see resources being allocated elsewhere. I asked Hose about this, and she stated, “What we find is that resources are being allocated to just do business as usual.” 20% are locked in by their vendor to existing enterprise software. This is where the composable ERP could make sense.

17% are still weighing up security and the risk involved. While this is perhaps lower than it has been in the past, the lack of qualitative responses means that it is hard to interpret this figure. Enterprise Times asked Hose about the importance of security.

Hose replied, People understand that every year you have to tighten your security. People are more aware of the options around security. They’re more aware of the limitation of a certain system that they may have. They have a better understanding because it’s been at least three or four years of big investments in security. People have better tools and understanding and have more people inside the organisation. So they feel a bit better about where they are going. But security is super important. It is very high on people’s agenda.”

The report also looks at the biggest challenges from an IT standpoint, finding that the most important is justifying to the board that IT expenditure is delivering value (44%).

What has changed

The pandemic was a catalyst for digital transformation. However, it seems that organisations are slow to react and whilst some leaders are ahead, the majority still have to go through the process. I asked Hose – Has anything changed since COVID?

Hose replied, “The biggest change is it is very much around this uncertainty. Why? Before, we thought we knew where we were going,  planning five-year roadmaps, and we had this strategic plan. People knew what they wanted and where they wanted to go.

“What has changed was a pandemic is having to deal with uncertainty. We’re still very much at this age where we need to plan for things to happen. Nobody thought that they could damage the economy so much and the way we worked and all of that. Now everybody is planning for this change. Some people have seen great outcomes out of it.

“So, for me, the biggest thing that came out of the pandemic is this understanding that things can change. Things need to change. It accelerated many things, but you need to constantly think about things changing. The economy will really struggle over the next couple of years, in the UK in particular, and people need to be ready for change.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The report delivers some useful tips for organisations looking to free up resources for digital transformation. There is the usual messaging from Rimini Street about delivering third-party support and offering additional services and, importantly, expertise for ageing legacy systems that need maintaining or updating as part of a composable enterprise.

What is interesting is the services that Hose alludes to. Strategic planning, the ability to help deliver composable ERP using the expertise from within the business and the Rimini Street expertise around SaaS solutions and change. Will Rimini Street announce services around partnerships with ServiceNow and Workday in addition to Salesforce? Are there perhaps other vendors it is looking to partner with, perhaps Infor or IFS?

Rimini Street has to and is changing. While not all the messaging has caught up, there seems to be movement that will add to its traditional support model and offer more than database, security and Salesforce services.

This is an interesting report that offers some surprising insight into how little has changed, and it feels like a tipping point is approaching. Key is a change of mindset to one of continuous change. It is a mindset that Rimini Street already appears to have that will place it in a good place to help clients and others deliver transformation projects whilst mitigating the risks posed by legacy solutions.


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