By: ME POV editorial team

The world is worried.

Normal. On the cusp between old and new modes of living and operating, it is only natural to feel anxious. Our only other option is to put our head in the sand and wait for the storm to blow over but that will only make us more alien in a world we are already struggling to understand.

Fiction has often depicted machine trying to take over man in a violent battle for supremacy but we can now see that is not the case. The machine is infiltrating our lives, slowly, insidiously, pervasively, making itself indispensable, and making us increasingly dependent on it, sometimes to save our lives.

But what is scary is not change per se. Change is good. Change is progress and progress in inevitable. At the source of our fear, our worry, our anxiety, is the pace of change. It is this rapid pace of change that is forcing us to adapt, and quickly, our way of thinking, our way of seeing and our way of doing. It is, once again, the fittest, those who are quicker to adapt, who will survive.

This issue of Middle East Point of View delves into this new world order brought on by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how it affects businesses. In Family Businesses vs. Industry 4.0,Walid Chiniara and Yasmine Omari sum up the situation perfectly when they say: “There is no room for complacency in this new era.” Whatever we call this revolution, “the fact remains that these technological advancements are well and truly upon us and have become a staple of our everyday modern lives, fundamentally altering the way we live, work, and ultimately do business. In order to remain sustainable and successful, family businesses must rapidly adapt to this new paradigm, adequately assessing their threats and risks.”

This new era is one where augmented reality is transforming the way we work. In their Deloitte Review article, More real than reality, Brenna Sniderman, Cary Harr and Joe Mariani write: “In these data-rich, fast-paced uses of AR, human-machine interaction goes beyond a simple interface between worker and tool; the human and machine become a true team.”

In their article on e-discovery of data, Cherchez l’aiguille, Andrew Pimlott and Boray Altunisler discuss how “with increased adoption of cloud technologies, data could now be spread across various geographies and jurisdictions, thus exposing it to increased data privacy and mobility regulations.” A harsh reminder that no progress is without risk.

Naturally. Nithin Haridas and Huzaifa Hussain assess cyber and technology risks in their article on software asset management, I am SAM. “Managing and maintaining software assets cannot be neglected,” they say, “and it is also an overwhelming problem if not planned and executed effectively. Unaccounted for software or applications within an enterprise could potentially introduce risks related to compliance, operational efficiencies, and security.”

But in this brave new world, it is comforting to know that sometimes tradition trumps progress. In Demystifying innovation, Valter Adao and Rohit Majhi advocate the tried and tested formula of discipline and structure to the success of any innovation program. In order for an innovation program to be successful it needs to be incredibly well-structured, well-disciplined and well-governed. Programs that are based on being creative and lack that structure are almost always guaranteed to fail,” they write.

Of the old, tried and tested, very few sports surpass football as a source of entertainment and passion. Simon Cory-Wright believes local football leagues in the Middle East region “should find ways to harness fans’ broad-based passion for the game and direct it towards a deeper engagement with local football,” in his article on engaging football fans in the region, A challenging tackle. “Even in expat-dominated Gulf states,” he writes, “over 80 percent of fans have a favorite local team.”

Local is also a key driver when it comes to hotel investment. Grant Salter, in his article, A room with a view, looks at drivers of investment in the GCC hotel sector. “While the hotel industry in the GCC looks to attract international interest, investment remains primarily driven by local investors,” he writes. “From a local investor perspective, key motivations include longer-term investment, portfolio diversification, income returns and status through brand association.”

Finance and audit are also trying to stay apace of changes with new standards being introduced regularly.

IFRS 9 comes into effect on 1 January 2018 and Saumya Krishna looks at its effects on companies’ impairment reviews. In IFRS 9: ready for impact, the author asks if we are ready for the shake-up and writes: “Born from the financial crisis to change the way banks and other financial institutions account for loans and other financial assets, organizations should not underestimate its implications on their internal control system, financial statements and the bottom line.”

We live in a world where we can no longer stop learning, no longer stop developing. At the Middle East Point of View, we are glad to contribute to our readers’ learning experience by continually updating them on the hot topics affecting the Middle East region today.

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