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MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA EDITION JANUARY 2020

Al–Yaqout Group Leveraging disruptive technology to overhaul its operations

Driving digital transformation in the fintech industry Siddhaarth Iyer and Yannick Janssen discuss the company’s digital evolution

Improving the healthcare industry through innovation

Digital disruptors of 2019


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FOREWORD

W

elcome to the January edition

In our leadership feature, we speak

of Business Chief MEA!

with Lee Miles, VP, CEMEA Region at

This month’s cover features Siddhaarth Iyer, Head of Digital, and Yannick Janssen, Head of

Red Hat, discussing the impact of digital culture in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Technology and Innovation at

This month’s City Focus takes a

AXA Gulf, who discuss the company’s

closer look at Cairo, the city that

digital transformation journey.

connects the Middle East and North

Other leaders that feature in the magazine include Dr Anis Mattur, Group Information Technology Director at Al-Yaqout Group,

Africa. In addition, our Top 10 lists the leading contributors to Africa’s digital disruption and summarises their implementations in 2019.

discussing business strategies

Do you have a story to share?

and disruptive technology driving

If you would like to be featured in

digital transformation, and Dr

an upcoming issue of Business Chief

Sherbaz Bichu, CEO at Aster

MEA, please get in touch at

Hospitals UAE, on the company’s

georgia.wilson@bizclikmedia.com

digital transformation journey to improve healthcare in the region.

Enjoy the issue! Georgia Wilson

m i d dle ea st .busines s chief. co m

a fri c a .busi ne ssc hief. com

03


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MEA EDITION

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CONTENTS

12 AXA Gulf

26 RED HAT UAE: EMBRACING DIGITAL CULTURE


38

48

City Focus

CAIRO

66 76

58

Digital disruptors of 2019


Building an ecosystem? Connect the dots. “Your journey to cloud must navigate pitfalls and opportunities that are unique to your business. We support you in imagining and delivering your cloud journey and making it run�. Eric Meistermann, Deloitte Partner in charge of AXA Group


92 Al-Yaqout Group

106 Aster Hospitals UAE


12

Driving digital transformation in the fintech industry WRITTEN BY

SEAN GALEA-PACE PRODUCED BY

JORDAN HUBBARD

JANUARY 2020


13

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AXA GULF

AXA Gulf ’s Siddhaarth Iyer, Head of Digital, and Yannick Janssen, Head of Technology and Innovation, discuss their company’s digital transformation journey

T

ransformation. It’s a word that has become synonymous with the financial services industry in recent years. The

influence of new technology has shaken up the 14

fintech world and encouraged companies worldwide to seek fresh ways to differentiate their offerings and stand out from rivals. As one of the leading insurers globally, AXA is used to embracing change. A major force in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), having been in the region for over 68 years, AXA in the Gulf covers the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar markets. AXA’s strategic ambition is to be a true partner to its customers throughout every stage of their life journey and empower them to live better lives. Siddhaarth Iyer, Head of Digital, and Yannick Janssen, Head of Technology and Innovation, are both key components of AXA Gulf’s digital journey and believe in operating with a collaborative approach. “People from every line of our business come together to voice their opinions of the digital path we should JANUARY 2020


15

take,” explains Iyer. “It’s important we work together to figure out what is changing the digital world and how we can leverage that to grow AXA Gulf.” With change a consistent theme in both men’s mantra, Janssen adds that establishing a mindset to drive transformation is vital. “It’s important that we lead by example,” he affirms. “We should always be looking for new ways to drive change.” With customer-centricity a key pillar of AXA’s transformation, the company mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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Growing your business through automation

We focus on delivering solutions on Cloud, Mobility, DevOps and Big Data. Speed, Innovation, and Excellence are the underlying tenets that drives our culture. www.keplerworx.com


Partnership Leading Towards Digital Future Global IT firm with operations in the Middle East,

TTM (time to market) hence powering the digital

AXA Gulf, a worldwide leader in Insurance and Asset

of IT-enabled change that is aligned with business

Europe and USA, KeplerWorx has partnered with

Management,as the key strategic partner in their Digital transformation process to serve the firm’s long-term interests.

Consolidating data centers, minimizing costly

infrastructure sprawl and modernizing legacy

applications to maximize revenue over time along with increased workforce productivity has fueled the need for companies to migrate to cloud.

KeplerWorx, as the key strategic partner, is supporting AXA Gulf to make the move and re-imagining their

mission by upgrading to cloud hosted technologies that drive digital transformation. KeplerWorx will kick-

start the project by creating a proprietary framework that is an alternative to a traditional ‘lift & shift’

migration, building a series of CI/CD Pipelines leveraging the modern tools and technologies including

containerization of legacy applications, that natively integrates with AWS Services and will be delivered through the Enterprise Delivery Framework.

This modernization process reveals cost reduction

opportunities and facilitates growth. The demand for cloud IT is driven by mandates to gain greater

availability of secure cloud solutions and faster data

transformation. Digital transformation is an outcome objectives and driven by a well-planned strategy.

KeplerWorx, a strong reputation in providing IT services and solutions with expertise in Financial Services Industry (FSI) including compliance and security

requirements. The team is committed to developing

custom, streamlined solutions for customers to achieve their business objectives. When asked what made

KeplerWorx the strategic partner of choice, Mr. Yannick Janssen, Head of Technology and Innovation at AXA Gulf responded, “We conducted a review of AWS

Cloud certified partners, KeplerWorx differentiated themselves in terms of strategic approach, strong

technical capabilities, without forgetting an extensive experience in Financial Services. The best partner you can have is the one able to get the best of

yourself and, with KeplerWorkx, the AXA Gulf Tech-

nology Acceleration team is innovating with a strong blended team.”

KeplerWorx helps clients grow their business through automation by consulting them on Cloud, Big data

and DevOps. To learn more about our client-driven approach, and how strong partnership can yield transformational solutions, visit KeplerWorx.com

with its affiliated insights.

This partnership will enable AXA Gulf, in leveraging

cloud migration, to innovate, stay agile and reduce

Learn more


AXA GULF

E X ECU T I VE P RO FI LE

Yannick Janssen

18

Raised in a ‘tech family’, I lit my passion for technology with my first Apple II, programming games at night for my little brother. From ancient technologies, through to cutting-edge innovation, I am all in with technology - as my wife tells me: “you’re a geek”. I graduated from the prestigious Thunderbird and ESSEC Business Schools and started my career in strategy and business intelligence. As an entrepreneur, I launched and invested in cloud companies. I gained deeper experience in leading fortune 500 transformation programmes, rejuvenating their application, infrastructure, innovation and operation landscape. I am lucky now to share my knowledge and vision for the future of technology during public speaking events and always enjoy mentoring startups in their path to success. I have enjoyed travelling the world thanks to my professional experiences, crossing the destiny of leading companies in their distinct industry (Dell, Air France, ArcelorMittal, Accenture, Bank of Ireland, Etisalat…), working on e-government strategy (Ras Al Khaimah emirate), or preparing iconic events like Expo 2020. As Head of Technology Acceleration, I am now responsible for the technology and innovation roadmaps of AXA Gulf Insurance in UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar, and determined to go beyond our transformation in the new. Passionate about excellence, I have been blessed with a National Champion title in Powerlifting.

JANUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘AXA – FUTURE RISKS : CYBERSECURITY’ 19

has created a mobile-first approach. “With the number of devices constantly increasing, there’s a clear shift in the amount of people using our application,” adds Iyer. “There’s currently a 60/40 split in traffic with 60% using our services from a mobile device and 40% from a desktop. In the future, I believe that we’ll eventually just focus on mobile because

“We should always be looking for new ways to drive change” — Yannick Janssen, Head of Technology and Innovation, AXA Gulf

people won’t want to access applications from anywhere else. The aim is to become an omnichannel player and in order to achieve mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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that, you need to be available both

Iyer believes that the use of data is

online and offline. But, it is important

even more influential. “I believe that

to be aware of how all of our audience

the way in which data is consumed is

engages with us and ensure we’re

going to transform people’s approach

there for everyone.”

to systems,” he explains. “The biggest

With a mobile-first approach con-

disruptor in the market is going to be

sidered by some in the fintech space

data and how we use it. It will define

as the largest disrupter in the industry,

our mobile-first approach.” Janssen

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Siddhaarth Iyer I am a startup guy turned corporate with broad experience in creating amazing digital journeys for customers across industries like insurance, agriculture, healthcare, government and procurement tech. I have been a digital-tech guy throughout my career, with a keen focus on customer/user experience and business innovation. I hold three approved US innovation patents in the utility and tech space. In my short 12-year career, products built by me have reached and are used by more than three million users across multiple countries. Being from the startup community, I support and mentor many startups in the region, and back in India. I enjoy my evenings and weekends with my wife helping her in the kitchen. My wife and I have a mandatory late night drive everyday where we catch up on what happened through the day. Having built a music e-commerce startup I love to discover latest music trends and keep an eye for new artists. I read and listen to podcasts, learning from others’ experiences. I follow inf luencers like Guy Kawasaki, Tony Robbins and Simon Sinek.

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“Whether you succeed or fail, you’ll learn along the way” — Siddhaarth Iyer, Head of Digital, AXA Gulf

23 affirms that extracting more ways to

“The way they have embraced digitali-

harness data is the key. “We must

sation has been amazing. We call them

look at how to get more data than the

digital champions because they’re the

customer gives you,” says Janssen.

ones who will drive change throughout

“How do you track customer behaviour

the organisation,” he affirms. “All of our

and provide them with a value-added

employees are onboard and eager to

service that they really want? It’s this

adapt their way of working to become

behaviour and analysis which is going

more efficient. I believe it’s important

to make all the difference.”

to be challenged from a digital stand-

At the heart of AXA Gulf’s transfor-

point and I’ve seen that cultural shift

mation drive is its employees, which

and drive to embrace technology. It’s

Iyer refers to as ‘digital champions’. Iyer

extremely important to us.”

believes their mentality and willingness

In a bid to accelerate operations,

to embrace change has been a major

AXA Gulf believes in forming strategic

factor behind his company’s success.

and sustainable partnerships to assist

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AXA GULF

in its transformation drive. “As a large company, we’re dependant on our partners to help deliver high quality solutions for us. We can’t do it ourselves,” says Iyer. “A good partner must have speed, agility and be adaptable. These three core values are essential and contribute to long-term success.” Janssen adds that forming the right partnerships is essential to success. “I believe that the next step is to ensure that all our partners recognise that AXA is centered around technology,” adds Janssen. “I want to ensure 24

we’re developing the right technology partnerships to help us drive this transformation.”

“The biggest disruptor in the market is going to be data and how we use it. It will define our mobilefirst approach” — Siddhaarth Iyer, Head of Digital, AXA Gulf

As AXA Gulf’s transformation journey continues to gather momentum, Iyer recognises that although his company’s shift to digitalisation has been challenging at times, it has been a significant learning curve and he instructs other leaders in the industry to take the ‘leap of faith’. “There’s never a right time to do it. Whether you succeed or fail, you’ll learn along the way,” he explains. “We’ve had our own set of failures and learnt lessons. It’s important that you always question

JANUARY 2020


1816

Year AXA founded

800

Approximate number of employees

25

why you’re implementing something.

be focused around finding new ways

And if you’ve always answered that

to increase sales - that’s the ultimate

question, then you always have the

aim,” says Iyer. “It’s important to see

justification to do it.”

how we can generate more value and

“Change is led by individuals. I believe

offer other services to the customers

that in order to succeed, it’s important

we already have. If we have a customer

to have an open mindset to lead that

signed up to motor insurance, then

change,” affirms Janssen. “You need

they might be interested in our health

to be the best you can be to drive a

segment. It’s up to us to ensure our

transformation journey such as this.”

solutions are streamlined and simple to

Looking to the future, Iyer and Janssen

use for our customers.”

both have a clear vision for AXA Gulf over the next few years. “We have to mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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LEADERSHIP

26

EMBRACING DIGITAL CULTURE IN THE UAE Business Chief speaks to Lee Miles, VP, CEMEA Region, Red Hat, to discuss the impact of digital culture in the UAE WRITTEN BY

JANUARY 2020

GEORGIA WILSON


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LEADERSHIP

T

he Middle East is a hub for innovation and forward thinking,” comments Lee Miles, VP, CEMEA Region, Red Hat. “There is never

a shortage of new ideas emerging in the technology space. The increasing adoption of DevOps application development methodologies, and use of automation and optimisation to make IT infrastructure more cost effective, are becoming relevant across many major industries.” Currently in the UAE, the region is undertaking

the major National Innovation Strategy to 28

become one of the most innovative nations in the world by 2021. Established to enhance the country’s national strategy, “Ghadan 21 is a bold initiative that will strengthen the emirate’s competitiveness in the years to come. Digital culture will have a strong impact towards the knowledge and innovation tenet of the government-driven accelerator programme. We also expect open source initiatives to be a major factor contributing to faster, more scalable and cost effective ways for the programme to deliver digital infrastructure that will empower economic and social progress,” says Miles. Digital transformation is a broad term that is being used to address innovation strategies and initiatives being implemented around the world.

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LEADERSHIP

“Moving forward, digital culture will

innovation, “end user experience

have a greater impact as more specific

is becoming the digital barometer,”

use cases and applications of digital

Miles notes. “Sectors are developing

transformation are implemented and

innovative ways to work in smarter,

adopted,” comments Miles. “Take

more connected ecosystems. In

healthcare as an example, where the

the digital economy, the experience

use of technology is allowing for

dividend is projected to provide

innovation in diagnosis and treatments

seamless touchpoints across

to save lives every day.”

physical and digital services for end users, as well as enable enterprise

30

DIGITAL CULTURE ENHANCING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

and government sectors to harness

When it comes to the success and

ties in order to provide more enriched

efficiency of digital culture and

customer-orientated outcomes.”

enhanced decision-making capabili-

“The Middle East is a hub for innovation and forward thinking” — Lee Miles, VP, CEMEA Region, Red Hat

JANUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘THE IDEA: RED HAT OPENSHIFT 4’ 31 Miles highlights that this trend has

platform. The platform serves as a

been adopted within Red Hat’s

Launchpad to offer customers more

business model. “The open source

personalised, always-on, digital

way of thinking and transforming

banking services. In addition, the

business at Red Hat is centered on

platform has future proofing flexibil-

delivering solutions to clients that

ity to accommodate the bank’s future

enable them to reduce pain points

hybrid cloud strategy.”

within their architecture, in addition

The bank’s shift to open banking

to creating pathways to plan and

has been supported by cloud-native,

deploy solutions that solve the

microservices-based architecture

challenges of the digital service

that enables it to externalise its APIs

experience. One of our successful

to offer new services, giving custom-

examples is a collaboration with

ers the ability to interact with the

Emirates NBD to create an enter-

bank via chats, for instance. In

prise distributed, private cloud

addition, Red Hat 3scale API Man-

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“While there is intense pressure on organisations to enhance their digital footprint in these disruptive times, it must be emphasised that digital cultures 32 start within”

DIGITAL CULTURE AND ITS IMPACT ON EMPLOYMENT, EMPLOYEES AND WORKPLACE CULTURE Within any company “knowledge, processes, and habits are shared within cultures to define businesses and influence success,” says Miles. “While there is intense pressure on organisations to enhance their digital footprint in these disruptive times, it must be emphasised that digital cultures start within. Organisations need to foster and nurture digital attitudes and habits in order to reap the benefits of digital cultures later down the line.”

— Lee Miles, VP, CEMEA Region, Red Hat

When it comes to Red Hat’s digital culture, “it is open by default,” notes Miles. “Every element of our open source ethos is geared towards unlocking open source innovation

agement helps the bank to mitigate

through an ecosystem of collabora-

security risks and protect sensitive

tors that value transparency, inclusiv-

data. “By combining Red Hat

ity, adaptability, collaboration, and

technologies with agile business

community. This organic approach to

practices, Emirates NBD can spend

work and leadership creates the

more time enhancing customer

ideal environment that empowers

experiences and accelerating

employees to speak up openly and

innovation,” comments Miles.

freely when it comes to ideation.”

JANUARY 2020


33

WHAT IS RED HAT?

to ensure we have the most diverse

Founded in 1993 to revolutionise

and high quality points to review. As

operating systems, Miles emphasis-

a result, this fosters an environment

es that Red Hat has a unique open

of high collaboration across teams

organisation approach. “Jim White-

and functions within the business,

hurst authored a book in 2017 called

allowing Red Hat to make, in our

‘Open Organisation’ in which he

opinion, better decisions.”

outlined the unique qualities that Red

Red Hat has a broad portfolio

Hat has, namely meritocracy. We

including: hybrid cloud infrastruc-

thrive on the best idea regardless of

ture, middleware, agile integration

who it has come from in the organi-

and cloud-native application

sation. We open source many of the

development, management solutions

decisions within the organisation,

and automation solutions. With Red

allowing internal and external input,

Hat technology, companies can

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LEADERSHIP

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“We thrive on the best idea regardless of who it has come from in the organisation” — Lee Miles, VP, CEMEA Region, Red Hat

JANUARY 2020


35

successfully adapt to become more digital and interconnected. “Ultimately, the company’s vision is to be the defining technology company of the 21st century. Through our actions we aim to strengthen the social fabric by continually democratising content and technology,� concludes Miles.

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TECHNOLOGY

FUTURE OF OPERATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT

38

WHY BUSINESSES NEED TO EMBRACE NEW TECH ROBERT RUTHERFORD, CEO OF IT CONSULTANCY QUOSTAR, DISCUSSES THE BENEFITS OF A TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACH TO RISK MANAGEMENT WRITTEN BY

JANUARY 2020

ROBERT RUTHERFORD


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TECHNOLOGY

T

he impact of technology on the business world is pervasive and constantly evolving, which has meant that companies must

take action in order to stay both competitive and secure. However, with so many complex products and solutions on offer, it can be difficult for businesses to know where to begin. For some companies, it may be tempting to prioritise client-facing technologies that promise immediate and measurable commercial benefits, but businesses also need to think about long-term transformations in key areas, such as

40

operational risk management (ORM). The impact of poor risk management can be devastating for firms not only financially, but also reputationally, yet some businesses seem willing to take chances in this area. Failing to update ORM processes and systems will leave these businesses vulnerable to increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, data breaches and fraud. Investing in new technology for ORM is therefore more than just common sense – it’s essential.

AUTOMATED DETECTIVES: ANTICIPATING RISKS Identifying areas of vulnerability from vast swathes of data is definitely not a one-man job. A report by McKinsey notes that around 50%

JANUARY 2020


41

“ORGANISATIONS CAN ALREADY USE REAL-TIME RISK DATA TO ADVANCE DECISION-MAKING BY ESTABLISHING A FRAMEWORK THAT USES AUTOMATED PROCESSES” Robert Rutherford, CEO of IT consultancy, QuoStar

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of financial services staff are currently dedicated to risk-related work, while just 15% are focused on analytics. Although, by 2025, it anticipates these figures will be closer to 25% and 40%, respectively. The integration of AI and data analytics systems in ORM will be responsible for this reversal. In today’s world, data rules the roost, sparking a wave of advanced analytics tools that will become more valuable as

“THE IMPACT OF POOR RISK MANAGEMENT CAN BE DEVASTATING FOR FIRMS” Robert Rutherford, CEO of IT consultancy, QuoStar

more data is shared. Predictive analytics techniques, machine learning, 42

and artificial intelligence can all help to efficiently build large and complex data sets. Working at a faster pace than any human, these solutions can be used to identify discrepancies long before they cause any serious problems. While AI’s capacity for a rational, proactive response is still in the very early stages of development, organisations can already use real-time risk data to advance decision-making by establishing a framework that uses automated processes. For example, banks can now invest in robotic process automation (RPA) bots that will continuously scan their internal environment and collect data from predetermined JANUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘LEGAL IGNITE – ULTRA-SECURE LEGAL CLOUD PLATFORM | QUOSTAR’ 43 sources. As a result of developments

a proactive working relationship with

like these, time-consuming and costly

these solutions.

manual auditing methods will eventually become a thing of the past.

While defending against risks like cyber-attacks is vitally important, many at board and executive level are still

RISK STRATEGY IS A TEAM GAME

unsure how to tackle this issue. This is

Breakthroughs in data analytics also

alarming considering that 69% of

mean that machines can now process

financial services CEOs report they

data faster, more efficiently and without

are concerned about cyberthreats,

any bias. As such, it’s important for risk

according to a 2016 survey by PwC.

managers to see this technology as

Those responsible for risk manage-

a tool to be exploited and leveraged,

ment strategies can often find that there

rather than as a threat. To this end, all

is a knowledge gap between them

areas of the business need to under-

and the board-level decision makers,

stand its capabilities in order to build

as executives tend to rely on external

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consultants for answers. However, it’s the board that will ultimately be held accountable for any failings, so effective communication between risk managers and decision-makers is essential. Business leaders should therefore focus on creating a culture that not only prioritises risk management, but also one that encourages employees at all levels to engage with the systems they use. This top-down approach is the only way to ensure that everyone is properly prepared for the inevitable 44

shift in ORM’s technological architecture and able to mitigate and manage the operational risks of the future. Some businesses will struggle with what can potentially be a significant change to the way they operate, so shouldn’t be afraid to seek expert help on how to manage this transition. Failure to address risk would be a serious error, but mitigating risks in the wrong way can be equally as damaging.

CAUSE FOR CONCERN? Future proofing with technology like data analytics and AI shouldn’t make employees worry about job security. A company using new technology to JANUARY 2020


manage risk will see a reduction in operating and auditing costs, an optimisation of its insurance coverage, as well as an increase in staff satisfaction. By introducing tools that are capable of automating manual processes, businesses will find that employees have more time to optimise their output and reconsider their relationship to ORM. Without a doubt, the switch from human to algorithm-based risk assessments will present new challenges, some of which may be difficult to anticipate. This is simply the nature of change. What we do know is that developing a robust ORM strategy using new technology leads to more

“DEVELOPING A ROBUST ORM STRATEGY USING NEW TECHNOLOGY LEADS TO MORE PROACTIVE AND INFORMED DECISIONS”

proactive and informed decisions, giving businesses the competitive edge necessary to grow in today’s marketplace. The field may be complex, however, there isn’t a better time to take ORM seriously and invest in the future.

Robert Rutherford, CEO of IT consultancy, QuoStar

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2020 EDITION JOIN US AT THE LONGEST RUNNING BANKING & FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY EVENT IN THE REGION • EXPANDED 6,000 SQM EXHIBITION • FINTECH START-UP ZONE • MEFTECH INNOVATION AWARDS • HACKATHON • WOMEN IN FINTECH • ADDITIONAL NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

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PEOPLE

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ENHANCING ITS HUMAN WORKFORCE WITH ROBOTICS AND RPA Following a visit to DHL’s innovation center in Troisdorf, Germany, Business Chief takes a look at how DHL is using robotics to enhance its workforce WRITTEN BY

JANUARY 2020

GEORGIA WIL SON


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W

hen it comes to DHL’s logistics operations, Oscar de Bok, CEO of DHL Supply Chain, highlights the

need for flexible solutions as supply chains become increasingly complex. De Bok says

that it is imperative that a large global company such as DHL has a strategy that utilises digitalisation and collaborative robotics to enhance value and ensure its workforce is unified and connected. “The future is exciting. The future is about innovation and making sure we continuously improve,” says de Bok. 50

DHL has recently come to the end of its 2020 strategy and is now driving towards 2025, focusing on ‘delivering excellence in a digital world’. Between now and 2025, the company plans to invest US$2.2bn into digitalisation and robotics.

ROBOTICS AND RPA INNOVATIONS AT DHL “Digital culture is something we constantly enforce within DHL Supply Chain,” says Markus Voss, CIO and COO of DHL Supply Chain. He emphasises that the company has made great efforts to ensure its employees grow alongside its innovations, fostering a culture of working collaboratively with robotics and robotic process automation (RPA) as opposed to being replaced by it. “To date, JANUARY 2020


1969

Year founded

HQ

Bonn Germany

360,000+ Number of employees

51

I have not seen a single site where we have introduced technology and had job losses. In fact, it is quite the contrary, workers are usually more satisfied and we attract more people,” says Voss.

CLEANING ROBOTS – NEO “Don’t start with the most complicated,” says Markus Kückelhaus, VP of Innovation and Trend Research at DHL. “Start with something easy. Cleaning robots are not the most complex solution, but a good one that we can roll mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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out today. Statistics show that the

‘FOLLOW ME’ ROBOTS

most used robotic solution is cleaning

“A simple pluck and play solution,”

robots for private homes, so why don’t

notes Kückelhaus. This robotic solu-

we industrialise it?”

tion, designed by DHL’s partner

DHL has currently deployed its Neo cleaning robots — developed by

ley design, following an associate to

Avidbots - to multiple standard ware-

help transport items across long dis-

houses around the world where the

tances. “Once full, you can simply

environment is right for them.

press a button and it will automati-

“Typically, in a warehouse a person

52

Effidence, automates the simple trol-

cally go to the unloading area,

is driving through to clean it overnight

detecting any obstacles on its way,

and it is a tedious job. We see this as

while another one is sent to replace

something a person doesn’t need

it,” explains Kückelhaus. However,

to do, we can use cleaning robots

Kückelhaus does note that the disad-

instead,” says Kückelhaus.

vantage of these robots is that they

JANUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘DHL SUPPLY CHAIN ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION RPA’ 53

“THE FUTURE IS EXCITING, THE FUTURE IS ABOUT INNOVATION AND MAKING SURE WE CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE” — Oscar de Bok CEO, DHL Supply Chain

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cannot integrate with a company’s warehouse management system.

AISLE PICKING ROBOTS – LOCUS Similar to the ‘follow me’ robot, the aisle picking robot, developed by Locus Robotics, helps associates to pick items. However, this one differs from the ‘follow me’ robot due to its ability to integrate with warehouse management systems. This robot moves independently around the warehouse to an aisle where items need to be picked and waits for an associate. Once the item has been 54

picked and scanned, it takes off by itself again to cover the long distances instead of the associate. “Where we have deployed these robots we have seen an increase in efficiency of 200%,” says Kückelhaus.

ROBOTIC ARMS – SAWYER Designed as a collaborative tool to reduce strainful and repetitive tasks, Sawyer is a pluck and play robotic arm that doesn’t need to be caged thanks to its pressure sensors which detect when someone comes close to it. “This is a safe robot certified to work jointly with people,” says Kückelhaus. In addition, it is on wheels so it can be easily JANUARY 2020

“WE HAVE TAKEN A LOT OF EFFORT TO TEACH AND DEVELOP PEOPLE ALONGSIDE OUR INNOVATIONS” — Markus Voss CIO & COO, DHL Supply Chain


moved to wherever it is needed. Currently, 19 of DHL’s sites in the UK are using co-packing.

THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF ROBOTICS AND RPA While DHL sees many benefits from robotics and RPA, such as standardisation of its processes, increased productivity, increased efficiency and better use of employee talent by reducing time spent on repetitive tasks, it doesn’t shy away from the fact that innovation comes with challenges too. When it comes to robotics, particularly picking robots, Kückelhaus explains that item complexity and speed is still a negative factor for robots that can pick items. When conducting tests, the robots could only pick limited shapes and sizes, in addition to picking 73% less per hour than human associates. “Technology combined with people is the best combination,” he notes. Other challenges include change management. “We have taken a lot of effort to teach and develop people alongside our innovations,” says Voss. “It’s all about talking. We have many forums where there is an open, constructive and positive dialogue around mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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PEOPLE

“TECHNOLOGY COMBINED WITH PEOPLE IS THE BEST COMBINATION” — Markus Kückelhaus VP Innovation & Trend Research DHL Supply Chain

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the topic of technology. In addition, we are doing many things in terms of educating people, our certified programme drives the understanding of the necessity of innovation and the opportunities that it brings. Finally, our startup lab is a great vehicle for getting engagement from our workforce. Through the lab, employees can pitch ideas to the board to be funded and developed in a safe environment to drive it to the next phase,” he adds. Low labour costs in developing markets is another challenge that Voss JANUARY 2020


highlights. “If you have developing markets with relatively low labour costs, then introducing highly sophisticated robotics is going to come with a long payback. We have had these challenges in Latin America and parts of Asia where high impact robotic solutions are not yet ready to be rolled out. Sometimes, we still have to deploy these solutions due to scarcity of labour being so heavy that we have to implement it regardless of a longer payback.” However, Voss does note that, with the cost of robotics reducing with every new generation, regional deployment will soon no longer be a challenge. Finally, Voss highlights the importance of integration. “Although this is not a problem, it has to be acknowledged that just putting in a robot is not going to be the optimal fix for a particular problem,” he explains that the connection between robotics and a company’s warehouse management system needs to be fully integrated, something which he is currently putting a lot of work into to have an adaptable and standardised interface.

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

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SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT ONE ROBOT DELIVERY AT A TIME Henry Harris-Burland, VP Marketing, Starship Technologies, explores how last mile deliveries are greener than ever, and why customers should not feel guilty for ordering deliveries as opposed to driving to stores WRITTEN BY

HENRY HARRIS-BURLAND

JANUARY 2020


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L

ast mile delivery is one of the most costly segments of the supply chain. McKinsey estimates that the final leg of a delivery comprises up to 50% of

a product’s total transportation cost. However, the real and lasting impact that last mile delivery can have is much closer to home, quite literally. A successful first-time final mile home delivery creates approximately 181g of CO2 per km per item, way above the EU

target set in 2017 for vans not to emit more 60

than 175mg per km. In recent years, the only real alternatives to carbon-free bicycle deliveries have been cars, vans and motorbikes; all serial pollutants of CO2 into the atmosphere and all the more costly too. Consider the emissions involved in delivering take-away food, for example. Customers consistently demand short waiting times, with more than a quarter of consumers being willing to pay more for quicker delivery. This demand means that food vendors are deploying bigger fleets of delivery drivers to complete return car journeys to individual homes. They are forced to expand their fleet because it is difficult to integrate multiple deliveries into one journey, as vendors often

JANUARY 2020


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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

“Electrically-powered autonomous delivery robots are on the rise” — Henry Harris-Burland, VP Marketing, Starship Technologies

have large catchment areas to maximise potential orders and, obviously, food gets colder the longer the journey. In cases where deliveries can be effectively integrated, e.g. a postal service, there is a high probability that numerous deliveries won’t be completed, as some recipients may be unavailable at the time of attempted delivery. In turn, this leads to more car journeys to the depot where undelivered packages are kept, multiplying the carbon emissions emitted into the atmosphere even further.

62

It is also important to consider the amount of unnecessary car journeys that the average consumer will take just to buy one or two items. Almost everyone has driven to the nearby shop to buy some milk instead of walking,

JANUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘STARSHIP DELIVERY ROBOTS IN MILTON KEYNES’ 63 especially in adverse weather condi-

consumerism goes mainstream”, have

tions. However the issue is that modern

suggested that autonomous robot deliver

cars emit twice as much carbon in the

is both an economical and sustainable

first five minutes of a journey and more

alternative, which has the power to add

than half of UK car journeys are less

convenience to customers who want

than two miles.

their everyday items delivered without

Given that a 25km round-trip by car emits 5,188g of CO2, or the equivalent

having to drive to the store, whilst decreasing their own carbon footprints.

of 16 re-delivery attempts by van, the last mile delivery industry is an unsustainable

THE SIDEWALK SOLUTION

form of delivery for the future.

The UK government has realised the

Several high-profile commentators

environmental crisis that we’re facing.

such as Pam Danziger of market

Its Climate Change Emergency

research firm Canvas, who predicted that

declaration in May 2019 has prompted

2019 was to be the “year that responsible

demands for more rigorous energy

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

targets, one of which is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The elimination of unnecessary fossil fuel consumption in food delivery could be a key way to achieve this target. In this age of technological innovation and advancements in robotic capabilities, electrically-powered autonomous delivery robots are on the rise. They

“The UK government has realised the environmental crisis 64 that we’re facing”

are already providing a carbon-free alternative for deliveries in numerous cities across the globe and helping to dramatically cut carbon emissions. When they know they’re contributing towards the sustainable economy, customers should not feel lazy for

— Henry Harris-Burland, VP Marketing, Starship Technologies

ordering a delivery instead of driving to the shops, they should feel good

E X ECU T I VE P RO FI LE

Henry Harris-Burland Henry Harris-Burland leads marketing and communications at Starship Technologies and believes that autonomous delivery robots will make lives easier for millions of people across the globe. Henry has previously worked in the communications team at Rolls-Royce launching new innovative products in multiple regions. He is also renowned as a subject matter expert to UK government consultations at City Hall and Westminster, advising on autonomous driving, drones and delivery robots.

JANUARY 2020


about it! Driving a two-tonne car is

delivery robots have been in the fight

an incredibly inefficient method just

against climate change. Countries

to pick up a bag of groceries. On

across the globe are eager to meet

the contrary, incurring a small fee to

ambitious targets when it comes to

have your items delivered by a small

curbing CO2 emissions, and going

environmentally-friendly robot in as

into the 2020s we can expect more

little as 15 minutes is a small price to

and more industries take the initiative

pay so that our planet can

and adopt autonomous delivery to

be sustained for future

help in this effort.

generations. People

As the world of delivery continues

should feel comfortable in

to become more innovative and

the knowledge that their items

flexible, it will save thousands and

will get from A to B in one piece,

even millions of CO2 tonnes in the

too. For example, Starship

years to come. The 2020s will be an

Technologies’ robots use

exciting decade as we see more and

machine learning, sensor fusion

more consumers utilise environmen-

and computer vision to navigate their way around sidewalks all over the world. They are fitted

tally-friendly solutions like autonomous robots — the future could not be greener!

with radars, cameras and ultrasonic sensors to ensure that items are kept safe until they are unlocked by the customer, which is managed through an app interface. Over the next few years, we’ll see just how effective mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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CITY FOCUS | CAIRO

CAI City Focus

66

WRITTEN BY

JANUARY 2020

TOM LAWSON


IRO In the wake of the Arab Spring, an entrepreneurial revolution has seen a surge of startups emerge across Egypt’s capital

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CITY FOCUS | CAIRO

F

ounded in 969 AD, modern Cairo is a lively, sprawling city home to around 9.5 million people – 20 million if

the wider metropolitan area is taken into account – making it the largest city in the

Arab world. Cairo’s airport is the second busiest in Africa and its metro system, one of just two on the continent, ranks among the 15 busiest in the world, with more than one billion passenger rides annually. Historically, the city has long been a centre of Egypt’s political and cultural life and 68

its economy – and the country’s as a whole – has depended on agriculture, as well as more recent additions of media, petroleum exports and tourism. Cairo hosts 11% of the country’s population and 22% of its economy (Purchasing Power Parity), with most of the nation’s commerce either generated in, or passing through, the capital. Many international businesses and organisations have regional headquarters in the city, including BP and management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Despite the economy of Cairo being ranked first in the Middle East in 2005, and 43rd globally in Foreign Policy’s 2010 Global Cities Index, a rapidly increasing population and political unrest have been JANUARY 2020


“After the revolution in 2011, entrepreneurship became seen by many young people as a way to make real changes� 69

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“Despite progress and promise, some key challenges remain for startup development”

are under 30) played a key role in the Arab Spring in 2011. Inspired by events in Tunisia, 18-day long protests in Cairo’s Tahir Square resulted in the formation of a new government. For many young Egyptians,

challenges which have contributed

this sparked a desire to use their

to reduced growth in recent years.

tech skills to pursue entrepreneur-

However, these factors are also seen

ship as a way to enact the social

by some as catalysts for change.

and economic changes they wanted to see in the country. What has

70

THE STARTUP SPRING

followed has been a wave of new

Egypt’s youthful, social media-

startup companies emerging across

literate population (around 60% of

Cairo, particularly in the mobile and

the country’s 97.5 million inhabitants

web sectors.

JANUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘CAIRO CITY GUIDE – LONELY PLANET TRAVEL VIDEOS’ 71 Essam Sharaf oversees the regions

people are viewing entrepreneur-

of Egypt and Jordan for Enpact e.V

ship as one of the most desirable

– a Berlin-based nonprofit organisa-

career options you can have.”

tion founded in 2013 to promote

As a result, Cairo has been

entrepreneurship in emerging and

described as one of the fastest

developing countries. “After the

growing entrepreneurial hubs in

revolution in 2011, entrepreneurship

the world. In 2014 it was named one

became seen by many young people

of the world’s best startup hubs by

as a way to make real changes in

Virgin’s Entrepreneur blog, 2017 saw

society without waiting for the gov-

13 Egyptian startups make Forbes’

ernment to take action,” Sharaf told

Top 100 in the Middle East and a

Startup Guide. “In the past, the ulti-

total of 80 startups raised invest-

mate career option for many people

ment across the country in 2018.

was to work for the government or for a multinational corporation, but now mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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CITY FOCUS | CAIRO

penetration (53.5% in 2019, up from

for startup development. With the

40% in 2013), 103 million mobile

economy yet to fully recover from

phone users across the country and

the disruption of 2011 (annual

the fact that only about 30% of the

growth rate was 5.2% in 2010, 1.8%

adult population uses bank accounts,

in 2011 and 4.2% in 2017), some

meaning an opportunity for fintech

of the country’s young tech talent

startups to provide financial services.

has been tempted abroad by higher wages, resulting in what has been

72

CHALLENGES AND SUPPORT

described by some as a “brain drain”.

Despite this progress and prom-

Talking to Virgin, Nour Ahmadein,

ise, some key challenges remain

Business Development Manager

“The level of innovation and the level of growth are unquestionably at an all-time high”

JANUARY 2020


for Cario-based startup accelerator programme Flat6Labs, adds that, although improving drastically, “an initial downside to conducting business in Egypt resides in governmental bureaucracy (e.g. obtaining permits) and lack of access to funding for startups”. However, increasing support is out there for Cairo’s budding entrepreneurs. Cairo Angels, founded in

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CITY FOCUS | CAIRO

2012, became Egypt’s first formal angel investment network and invests between US$14,500 and US$116,500 per startup. In March 2019 Cairo-based venture capital firm Algebra Ventures announced a US$50mn tech startup fund for Egypt – the country’s largest to date. There are also a host of other support programmes across the country, including Endeavor Egypt, The American University in Cairo’s AUC Venture Lab and Falak Startups 74

– Egypt’s largest startup accelerator. There is also support available for lengthy, complex paperwork with Flat6Labs helping companies become registered and offer ongoing support through a partnership with Egyptian law firm Levari. The city’s new-found entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with a strategic geographic location, a steadily improving economy and a young population ready to embrace new services mean the potential for tech startup growth in Cairo looks very promising. Ahmadein sums it up by saying: “Although the entrepreneurship ecosystem might not be fully JANUARY 2020


9.5mn Population of Cairo

of their device. The app now has more than 25 million users worldwide. Elves: Founded in 2016, this AI powered personal helper provides

2000BC Year founded

users with personalised travel assistance. It researches trips, finds the cheapest options and alerts users to any transportation changes. Weelo: A cloud-based market-

Nearest Airport

16.4km

Cairo International Airport

place for customers, supermarkets and their suppliers that digitises the supply chain to simplify deliveries and provide real-time inventory updates for users. Edfa3ly: An international online shopping service which allows users in the Middle East and Africa to buy

developed in Egypt, the level of inno-

products from Western countries

vation and the level of growth are

without the hassle of dealing with

unquestionably at an all-time high.�

transaction fees, taxes, shipping and delivery costs separately.

FIVE CAIRO TECH STARTUPS PAVING THE WAY

provides buses to every neighbour-

Instabug: This Cairo-founded (now

hood in Cairo, it allows people to

Silicon Valley) company is widely

share journeys in a van or bus for a

recognised as one of Egypt’s most

fixed flat fare with no surge pricing.

SWVL: A mass transit app that

successful startups. It uses a tool that runs in the background of an app, allowing users to send their feedback or bugs instantly, with a mere shake mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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T O P 10

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JANUARY 2020


Digital disruptors of 2019

77

Business Chief takes a look at some of the top companies who have contributed to Africa’s digital disruption in 2019 WRITTEN BY

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GEORGIA WILSON

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T O P 10

CEO

GOPAL VITTAL

$59mn REVENUE IN US DOLLARS

50,567 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

78

10

Airtel Muhairi NEW DELHI, INDIA

Airtel, founded in 1995, is a leading telecommunications company with operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa. The company offers its customers 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed home broadband, directto-home (DTH), enterprise services including national and international long distance services to carriers.

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: Digitally transforming the payment landscape in Africa via its partnership with Mastercard, Airtel aims to utilise Mastercard’s infrastructure to enhance connectivity and accessibility for its 100mn customers in Africa. As a result, customers will be able to make safe mobile payments. JANUARY 2020


CEO

BÖRJE EKHOLM

210bn

REVENUE IN SWEDISH KRONA EQUALS

134,921 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

09

79

Ericsson STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Founded in 1876, Ericsson is a leading provider of information and communication technology (ICT), the company utilises innovative technology such as 5G, IoT and automation to achieve its ‘quest for easy’ when it comes to full value connectivity.

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: By supplying 5G products and solutions to MTN South Africa, Ericsson supported MTN during its transformation strategy to modernise and upgrade its core networks. “With this deal MTN South Africa will be one of the true 5G pioneers in Africa. Citizens, enterprises, industries and societies in South Africa are set to benefit enormously from 5G and we are here to help MTN South Africa make that happen.” mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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With the travel & hospitality industry being redefined, Hexaware aims to create a visually pleasing and personalized experience to help our clients achieve “customer centricity�, making dream destinations a reality!

Learn More E-mail: marketing@hexaware.com Website: hexaware.com


CEO

PAUL HERMELIN

€13.2bn REVENUE IN EUROS

234,317 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

08

81

Capgemini PARIS, FRANCE

Capgemini, founded in 1967, is a global leader in consulting and technology services for digital transformation. Capgemini aims to be at the forefront of innovation, delivering evolving opportunities to drive businesses towards their ambitions. “Capgemini is driven by the conviction that the business value of technology comes from, and through, people.

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: Capgemini developed ‘Project FARM’, an intelligent data platform designed to optimise the agricultural value chain and improve global food supply. The platform aims to improve Africa’s complex value chain, lack of resources and lack of connectivity, by harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) to determine farming patterns and generate insights from Big Data for strategic optimisation. mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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T O P 10

CEO

FRANK APPEL

€62bn REVENUE IN EUROS

285,000 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

82

07

Deutsche Post DHL Group BONN, GERMANY

Founded in 1995, Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) is a world leading mail and logistics company. DPDHL focuses on “making a positive contribution to the world by connecting people and enabling global trade, while being committed to responsible business practice.”

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: DPDHL introduced its subsidiary road freight platform, Saloodo!, into South Africa. The launch aims to provide a more efficient and connected road freight network for the region’s landlocked and widespread countries. Saloodo! is the first digital solution of its kind in South Africa that currently runs on fragmented operations and traditional methods. JANUARY 2020


CEO

MITCHELL ELEGBE

$47mn REVENUE IN US DOLLARS

1,000 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

06

83

Interswitch LAGOS, NIGERIA

Interswitch, an integrated digital payments and commerce company that facilitates the electronic circulation of money in Africa. The company began its operations in 2002, with ambitions to build and manage the payment infrastructure alongside delivering innovative payment and transactional services throughout the region.

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: Interswitch formed a strategic partnership with Visa to expand the region’s digital payments ecosystem to drive financial inclusion in Africa. The partnership aims to create an instant acceptance network across Africa to facilitate greater connectivity. Interswitch has also acquired eClat Healthcare Ltd. to drive innovation and modernisation within the healthcare system. mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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The kitchen revolution

As operators add more digital channels to their restaurants, it creates new complexity and challenges. Restaurants have been used to controlling the transaction flow. Now, with the rise of delivery marketplaces, mobile applications and in-store selfservice, restaurants need to compete at a higher level and adapt to a digital-first ordering environment. This means ensuring proper routing of orders into the kitchen, a focus on food quality and distribution at the right time and data/analytics to measure and improve the performance of the kitchen. Key trends impacting kitchen optimisation and production, include: • The rise of off-premise ordering & delivery To meet this growing consumer demand, restaurants need robust kitchen production systems to accommodate the flow of orders into the restaurant from multiple channels. • Speed of service Consumers no longer have any patience for waiting in lines or waiting for food. They essentially want to “speak” directly to the kitchen. • Growing dependency on kitchen data Real-Time production metrics are fast becoming a requirement. Operators need to be able to gauge order volume, production status, progress order times and manage staffing levels within their kitchen in real-time.

© 2019 NCR Corporation Patents Pending

Successful brands we work with are investing in kitchen optimisation and production technology to stay ahead of the curve. NCR Kitchen Operations solutions enable restaurants to plan and prepare for anticipated spikes in order volumes and manage the production of orders coming from all channels to improve the customer and staff experience. Brands that are leveraging NCR Kitchen Operations and Digital Signage are also improving the customer experience by providing guests with accurate quote times and order status notifications via text paging and in-app notifications. Large quick-service chains using our technology have increased their speed of service by as much as 15% with improved visibility into order volume, production status, order times and staffing levels. Over 30,000 restaurants around the world use NCR Kitchen Operations to manage their kitchen production. While not visible to consumers, kitchen optimisation and production technology reduce errors, reduce waste and have a tangible impact on the customer experience.

Find out more. Visit www.ncr.com/restaurants and see how our technology can help your business thrive.


CEO

MICHAEL JOSEPH

63bn

REVENUE IN KENYAN SHILLING EQUALS

10,000 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

05

85

Safaricom NAIROBI, KENYA

When it comes to safety within the African region, Safaricom - a leading African mobile network company - continuously works to improve online security and data protection, not only with technology implementations but through raising awareness too.

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: Safaricom introduced fraud intelligent solutions for banks, microfinance institutes and insurance firms to reduce fraud via improved transaction authentication tools for unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), internet banking and smartphone apps. It developed IT security solutions to protect the IT systems for enterprises, with access to real time monitoring. mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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T O P 10

CEO

MOHAMED SHAMEEL AZIZ JOOSUB

$6bn REVENUE IN US DOLLARS

15,000 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

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04

Vodacom NAIROBI, KENYA

Founded in 1994, Vodacom is committed to empowering the African region to be confidently connected while receiving the best network, service and value. As part of its strategy to achieve this, the company has been partnering with the likes of Google to accelerate development.

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: Vodacom has invested US$5.57mn into the Mpumalanga province to improve the network experience in rural areas. Vodacom is partnering with SEACOM to expand Africa’s connectivity and drive digital growth beyond its existing markets. Vodacom reduced low latency by 40% for African based American corporations by extending its pan-Africa network connectivity to the United States. JANUARY 2020


CEO

ROB SCHUTER

$15bn REVENUE IN US DOLLARS

41,000 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

03

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MTN Group JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

Since 1994, MTN Group has been dedicated to leading digital transformation across Africa and the Middle East, aiming to be at the forefront of innovative technology.

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: MTN Group utilised innovative OpenRAN technology to deploy over 200 commercial rural sites to provide cost effective coverage and increased connectivity. It partnered with Internet Watch Foundation to combat the exploitation of children, ensuring connectivity continues to have the desired positive effect on the region. By launching ‘MoMo’, an AI chatbot service, MTN now offers customers engaging, mobile money assistance. mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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02

Liquid Telecom MAURITIUS, EAST AFRICA

Simply put, Liquid Telecom is a data voice and IP provider in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. The company is “driven by one simple yet powerful belief that everyone in Africa has the right to be connected”. Liquid Telecom has built Africa’s largest independent fibre network in economies where fixed networks have never been before, running from Cape Town to Cairo and spanning nearly 70,000km. 88

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: Through Microsoft Azure cloud technology, Liquid Telecom is driving enterprise collaboration, as well as providing low latency and high capacity connectivity. Liquid Telecom is Implementing the first fibre broadband infrastructure in Sudan, providing more affordable internet connectivity with the ambition to create a foundation for digital innovation and prosperity. It is connecting East Africa to West Africa via a high capacity land-based fibre broadband infrastructure. The new infrastructure is primed to reduce the reliance on mobile broadband and provide high-speed, reliable connectivity.

JANUARY 2020

CEO

NIC RUDNICK

$669mn REVENUE IN US DOLLARS

2000 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘THE IOT SOLUTIONS MAKING A BUZZ IN KENYA’ 89

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01

Orange PARIS, FRANCE

When it comes to paving the way for digital disruption, Orange is truly setting a high bar. Last year, the telecommunications company launched its outlook for the MEA region, highlighting its core vision to “set the standard as a multi-service operator supporting digital transformation in the Middle East and Africa”. Alongside its vision, Orange wants innovation to be a driver for growth, meeting essential customer needs, providing an unmatched experience and becoming a reference partner for digital transformation. 90

IMPLEMENTATIONS MADE IN 2019: Through the construction of a multi-regional West African network infrastructure Orange is providing large-scale capacity, connectivity and a developing digital ecosystem. It launched two ‘Orange Digital Centres’ in Tunisia and Dakar to support the growing digital ecosystem, foster innovation and promote shared knowledge and experience. Orange is also installating a submarine telecommunications cable to connect French Guiana and the Antillies to increase capacity, driving growth and development.

JANUARY 2020

CEO

ALIOUNE NDIAYE

€41bn REVENUE IN EUROS

136,000 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘WE ALL HAVE GREAT POWERS. WE ALL HAVE GREAT RESPONSIBILITIES.’

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The dynamic digital transformation at Al-Yaqout Group WRITTEN BY

MARCUS LAWRENCE PRODUCED BY

MICHAEL BANYARD

JANUARY 2020


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A L-YA Q O U T G R O U P

DR ANIS MATTUR, GROUP INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR, DISCUSSES THE STRATEGIES AND DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES HE HAS LEVERAGED TO OVERHAUL OPERATIONS AT AL-YAQOUT GROUP

A 94

l-Yaqout Group, founded in 1954 by Adbullah Omar Al-Yaqout, has grown to become one of Kuwait’s most dynamic

companies. This dynamism has in recent years been reflected by the development of fresh business units within the group, and its portfolio is now comprised of an eclectic array of operations across a myriad of industries. A business environment as complex as this has necessitated the realisation of a digital infrastructure capable of managing it. Anis Mattur, Group Information Technology Director, joined the company in 2016 and has since enacted the extensive digital transformation required for both the expansion’s scope and for future growth of the business. “Al-Yaqout was expanding in diverse sectors, opening new businesses in the food and manufacturing sectors, retail, electronics, and ecommerce — all businesses that were not there before,” he explains. “The group started to have multiple colocations and stores which, without JANUARY 2020


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A L-YA Q O U T G R O U P

“AL-YAQOUT WAS EXPANDING IN DIVERSE SECTORS, OPENING NEW BUSINESSES IN THE FOOD AND MANUFACTURING SECTORS, RETAIL, ELECTRONICS, AND ECOMMERCE — ALL BUSINESSES THAT WERE NOT THERE BEFORE” — Dr. Anis Mattur, Group Information Technology Director, Al-Yaqout Group

a digital system, created an environment that was impossible to manage. On a daily basis, stakeholders need to know sales information, raw materials consumption, which purchase orders (POs) to issue, their current cashflow, what issues they have in business, and stock management. Achieving all of this without a proper ERP system in place is very difficult.” The right solution for these issues needed to be flexible, customisable, cost effective and robust: enter Microsoft Dynamics AX. Offering the

96

much needed visibility for the aforementioned factors, the ERP system affords Al-Yaqout with a powerful reporting tool that encompasses its group-wide operations. Armed with up-to-date information on cashflow, stock levels, raw materials, POs, sales performance and much more, business decisions can be made swiftly and with the weight of information behind them. In order to maximise Dynamic AX’s efficacy across its various business units, extensive functional requirement documents were drawn up for each entity detailing KPIs, internal workflows and JANUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘THE STORE “Q” BY AL YAQOUT – INAUGURATION’ 97 levels of automation. “We took these,

group-wide operations, the company

we studied them, and we enhanced

enlisted consultancy firm Mazaya to

the workflows according to the ITIL

make the necessary configurations.

(Information Technology Infrastructure

Mazaya has been crucial to the ERP

Library) and ISO standards,” says

solution’s implementation, Mattur

Mattur. “Through this, we created the

explains. “As a Microsoft partner,

final functional requirement document

Mazaya delivered the licences for us

for each business and implemented

– they sat with us, evaluated the num-

the system accordingly. Under the

ber of licences needed, the number

centralised AX server, we have 10

of users, the types of users, and the

subsidiaries. Each of them has its own

relevant modules that would need to

workflows, and so we implemented

be activated for each company in the

different modules for each of them.”

group,” he says. Along with guiding

To facilitate the smooth integration of Dynamics AX into Al-Yaqout’s mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

Al-Yaqout through the state of each sector and their standard practices, a f r ic a . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m


               Â? Â? Â?Â?   ­€ ‚ƒÂ? „Â? Â? Â…Â? €‚ƒ  †    ‚Â?‡­ˆ Â?  Â?       Â? 

‚ƒÂ? Â…Â?€  Â? ‚Â?‰Â? Mazaya Integrated Company W.L.L Kuwait - Hawalli - Tunis Street - Alkhair complex - Floor 7 Phone: +96522656006 E-mail: customerservice@mazaya.com.kw https://www.mazaya.com.kw


MAZAYA IINTEGRATED Company is an End-To-End Information Technology Business Solutions and consulting company, headquartered in Kuwait with operations in UAE, Jordan and extending to Qatar and Oman We have experience in 19 industry verticals, in many countries across 3 continents, with about 60 customer installations We are Microsoft partners in business solutions and have successfully delivered many similar ERP AX, GP, CRM and RMS implementations in different organizations; therefore MAZAYA consultants are familiar with the complications involved in the successful deployments By choosing MAZAYA, our customers will be mitigating the risks involved in undertaking such a project because of MAZAYA’s best practices and approach, implementation methodology and knowledgebase drawn from earlier engagements We have developed unique solutions on top of Microsoft Dynamics for various industries




A L-YA Q O U T G R O U P

100

the partnership has also been crucial

Al-Yaqout with the help of the internal

for bridging the gaps in Al-Yaqout’s

development team, infusing it with

digital capabilities. “Mazaya helps us to

a knowledge base for sales repre-

identify third-party solutions needed

sentatives to refer to during customer

for integration into Dynamics AX in

interactions. “It gives them a full insight

order to fulfil the full business cycle,”

for each item,” explains Mattur, “along

says Mattur. “It has also provided us

with differences between items A and

with a mobile IT custom portal that

B such as price and specification, and

handles deliveries, orders and transfer

images of each product.” The POS has

orders between branches and the

a mobile app function that provides

main warehouse, creating a workflow

sales people with the opportunity to

document with email notifications.”

show customers such information

The firm also developed a custom-

directly from tablets and smartphones,

ised point of sale (POS) system for

as well as filling a virtual basket to show

JANUARY 2020


customers the value of their transac-

provides that very solution, and its

tions before they reach the cashier.

integration also affords employees a

“This has made the customer journey

portal through which they can request

easy, fast and flexible,” enthuses

leave and salary slips along with other

Mattur. Mazaya’s role extends to inte-

HR functions.

grating MenaITech HR functionality

In addition to the aforementioned

into Dynamics AX, enabling it to serve

boons, Dynamics AX also provides

Kuwait’s particular payroll regulations.

Al-Yaqout with a strong foundation for

Where Dynamics AX comes with US

paperless operations. Microsoft’s col-

and Canadian payroll capabilities,

laborative document sharing platform

Kuwaiti workers do not pay tax on their

SharePoint, along with intra-company

earnings and this necessitates a solu-

communication software Teams, the

tion that can manage the intricacies

ubiquitous software suite Office 365

of Kuwait’s tax system. MenaITech

and cloud-enabled OneDrive, each

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

Anis Mattur Dr Anis Mattur has around 16 years’ experience in different IT areas, having held several different positions starting from being a System Engineer, Developer, System Architect, Consultant and Management. He has a PhD in Software Engineering, a Master’s in Computer Science and a Bachelor’s in IT plus many Microsoft certifications in different IT sectors. He also worked as a business consultant and an automation specialist, having vast knowledge in management accounting, planning, budgeting, financial analysis and internal auditing.

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A L-YA Q O U T G R O U P

“THE STRATEGY INCLUDES THE IMPLEMENTATION” OF A WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (WMS) MODULE FOR DYNAMICS AX TO HANDLE WAREHOUSE OPERATIONS, STOCK MANAGEMENT, BOOKING DELIVERIES IN AND RETURNING PRODUCTS – ALL IN-AND-OUT TRANSACTIONS IN OUR “WAREHOUSES AND INVENTORIES” — Dr. Anis Mattur, Group Information Technology Director, Al-Yaqout Group

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JANUARY 2020


compliment the new ERP system with an array of technologies that relegate paper to Al-Yaqout’s history. “There is now no need to have hard copies stored at your desk – everything is scanned and stored on Office 365 OneDrive,” says Mattur. “The result is an almost 90% reduction in hard copies.” To transfer existing documents to the new system, the document scanning element has been handled by OpenText, a software solution that leverages AI and analytics to read paper copies and automatically index them based on their content. Mattur’s ambitions for automation at Al-Yaqout do not end there, however. Upon his arrival at the company, Al-Yaqout had implemented next to no automation technology, offering a blank canvas for Mattur to deploy his vision for a fully automated system capable of managing end-to-end business cycles. “The system needed to implement workflows, plays and approvals, because we have policies and procedures here and a centralised top management,” he says. “Anything that happens in any of our subsidiaries has to be approved, and for that they mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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A L-YA Q O U T G R O U P

must go through an approval cycle to top management.” With that in mind, Al-Yaqout implemented the automation system through the Dynamics AX ERP to leverage its approval systemready workflow capabilities. “The strategy includes the implementation of a warehouse management system

1954

Year founded

$7.6mn Revenue in US dollars

(WMS) module for Dynamics AX to handle warehouse operations, stock management, booking deliveries in and returning products – all in-and-out transactions in our warehouses and 104

inventories,” elaborates Mattur. Along

200

Number of employees

with that, cashflow processes have also been automated, delivering full transparency and control over every

“BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION IS NUMBER ONE, THIS IS MY BELIEF. IF YOU DO NOT MOVE TOWARDS TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN OPERATIONS, YOU’LL BE OUT OF THE MARKET SOON” — Dr. Anis Mattur, Group Information Technology Director, Al-Yaqout Group

business cycle within the group. “The systems have played a major role in cutting costs and highlighting weaknesses in the system where returns on investment are low,” says Mattur, noting that this allows for strategic changes to maximise the efficacy of investments and processes. The depth of the digital transformation at Al-Yaqout is astounding. On top of the factors already mentioned, an order fulfilment system has been

JANUARY 2020


105

integrated within Dynamics AX that

coming months and years, Mattur is

provides customers with flexibility,

keen for this radical and powerful

visibility and control over various ele-

transformation strategy to continue to

ments of delivery processes, as well

reap dividends. “Business transforma-

as the ability to raise disputes through

tion is number one,” he concludes, “this

the same platform. Mattur is proud

is my belief. If you do not move towards

to say that the multifarious quali-

technology-driven operations, you’ll be

ties of Dynamics AX have delivered

out of the market soon.”

considerable returns, with the order fulfilment system alone returning a sales increase of 25% and a leap in customer satisfaction of 50%. In the mid dl e e a s t . b u s in e s s c hie f. c o m

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DIGITALLY TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE WRITTEN BY

GEORGIA WILSON PRODUCED BY

MICHAEL BANYARD

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A S T E R H O S P I TA L S U A E

Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, CEO, Aster Hospitals UAE discusses its digital transformation journey to improve the healthcare industry

P 108

racticing anaesthesiologist and CEO of Aster Hospital Group, Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, manages the

group’s hospitals in the UAE and Oman. Dr. Bichu has been a part of Aster Hospitals UAE since 2014. “I joined as a junior anaesthesiologist, and climbed the ladder,” he says. “My role as CEO started at one hospital, then further progressed to CEO of the group.” When asked about the healthcare industry, Dr. Bichu comments that it “has taken a complete U-turn. Right now, it is not healthcare that is practiced, it is sickcare. People come to the hospital when they are sick, rather than to keep themselves healthy.” However, with the rise of healthcare technology such as wearables and teleconsultation, Dr. Bichu sees this changing and the continuity of care increasing, “something which is lacking currently.” JANUARY 2020


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A S T E R H O S P I TA L S U A E

“Innovation is very easy in the UAE. If you want to develop machine learning, artificial intelligence or robotics, this region is the best place to be” — Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, CEO, Aster Hospitals UAE

BECOMING A SMART HOSPITAL “If you look at the countries around the world, I would say the UAE is one country where, compared to any other country, the government runs five years ahead of the private sector in

110

terms of technology,” says Dr. Bichu. “Innovation is very easy in the UAE. If you want to develop machine learning, artificial intelligence or robotics, this region is a place to be.” As a hospital in the UAE the group is working very closely with Dubai Quality Group and Dubai Health Authority to process service innovations, implement changes and make the UAE the best and safest medical tourism destination. When asked about the group’s vision Dr. Bichu comments that, “the group has a global outlook to drive an ecosystem of healthcare, which JANUARY 2020


CLICK TO WATCH : ‘ASTER, WE’LL TREAT YOU WELL’ 111 only technology can help us achieve.

Dr. Bichu emphasises that “the

Otherwise we risk facing extinction.”

world is growing, but if you look at

With this mission driving its operations,

technology usage in healthcare, it is

the group has established its four

further behind compared to bank-

pillars of digital transformation, with

ing and other industries. “In order to

patient care at the forefront.

catch up we need to empower our

“It’s mainly about empowering our

employees by fostering collabora-

employees by fostering collaboration

tion and innovation, in addition to

and innovation,” notes Dr. Bichu. “We

looking to other industries to learn

believe that innovation happens from

and tailor solutions to the healthcare

the ground up, with our staff being

industry.” An example of the group

the best innovators we can think of.

applying this method is its adoption

We have monthly innovation meeting

of barcoding. “We have barcoded

where people can put forward their

medical administration and barcoded

ideas for processes and technology.”

blood transfusion to increase patient

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A S T E R H O S P I TA L S U A E

“If you ask me what our strength is, it is our people and their innovative way of thinking” — Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, CEO, Aster Hospitals UAE 112

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A S T E R H O S P I TA L S U A E

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safety,” says Dr. Bichu. “As a result,

our employees the importance of

we were the first to have a completely

innovation. We have sessions where

closed loop medication administration

we teach them how to think in an innova-

and specimen collection. We know

tive way.” In particular Dr. Bichu sees

exactly what medicine has been given

automation as the future of healthcare.

to which patient and what time it was

“We have looked at our processes

administered. In addition to increased

with our employees and came to the

safety, this method reduces time spent

conclusion that, whatever can be

on documentation, shifting more time

repeated, can be automated.”

for patient care.” The group as a whole has a pas-

Current innovations the group has made, includes

sion for innovation which has been

adoption of Microsoft

ingrained into the DNA of its employ-

Azure cloud. “We were

ees. “Right from induction, we inform

one of the first healthcare

JANUARY 2020


providers in the Middle East to host

adopting Microsoft Azure, data

our business-critical applications,

mining has become significantly

including the electronic medical

easier for the group, which allows

record (EMR), hospital management

the group to feed data into machine

systems, picture archiving and com-

learning technology to drive robotic

munication systems, with Microsoft

process automation (RPA) innova-

Azure cloud UAE Data Centre. With

tion. Other innovations the group

our recent move to cloud comput-

is looking into includes the use

ing, we are improving our services

of artificial Intelligence. “We have

and processes, mainly to increase

recently brought diabetic retinopathy

patient safety and continuity.� Since

screening that operates with artificial

E XE CU T I VE PRO FI LE

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Dr. Sherbaz Bichu Dr. Bichu is Chief Executive Officer and Specialist in Anaesthesia at Aster Hospitals, UAE. Having worked in the field of Anaesthesia as well as Hospital administration, Dr. Sherbaz Bichu is well versed with the medical, as well as administrative, aspects of hospital operations. On the administrative spectrum, he was actively involved in the development and implementation of hospital information systems, process re-engineering, talent acquisition, hospital operations, quality administration, materials and procurement, as well as other functions related to the delivery of patient care. As Specialist in Anaesthesia, he managed anaesthetic cases in general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatric surgery, head and neck surgery, neurosurgery, urology, and gastroenterology. He managed intensive care of postoperative patients, head injury patients, polytrauma patients. Bringing together his expertise from India at Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences, he is a core member of the founding team at Aster Hospital.

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A S T E R H O S P I TA L S U A E

EMPOWERING YOUR PERFORMANCE EDGE Zebra is at the forefront of innovating the latest technology solutions in healthcare, from patient identity to mobile healthcare and real-time intelligence. We empower front line staff with a performance edge to deliver the best patient care where in Techsys Technology LLC, a Zebra Premium Partner, is the technology partner in helping clients to implement Zebra solutions.

EMPOWER YOUR EDGE

contact.emea@zebra.com


117

“We constantly focus on technology and innovation, but the company can only grow if our people grow too” — Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, CEO, Aster Hospitals UAE

Futuristically, Dr. Bichu strongly believes that “5G will be the best

intelligence (AI) in the backend. Now

opportunity for connected health at

we are also exploring to collaborate

Aster Hospital Group. 5G would trans-

with major players such as Fuji to start

form us into pioneers in telemedicine

cancer screening centres for occult

and connected health for the region.”

blood stool testing, mammograms and

Dr. Bichu acknowledges that new

endoscopies, using AI alongside doc-

innovations entail risks, in particular

tors to enhance diagnosis.”

cyber threats, and highlights that the

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group is adopting latest healthcare technology to shield the group from external threats and ensure patient data security. “Our technology partners include Cisco, Alcatel, Dell and SonicWall. With the help of our partners, we periodically carry out penetration tests to identify potential security flaws.” The group has also made recent infrastructure upgrades to make its environment secure and is continuously driven to educate its workforce. Reflecting on the group, Dr. Bichu believes that its biggest strengths

2015

Year founded

are its employees, and the innovative approach they have. To ensure continued growth Dr. Bichu highlights that the group makes sure all its people are being encouraged to pro-

18,700+ Number of employees

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gress to the next level so that they scale up along with the group. “We constantly focus on technology and innovation, but the company can only grow if our people grow too.”

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Profile for Business Chief Middle East

Business Chief MEA Edition – January 2020  

Business Chief MEA Edition – January 2020