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issue 256 | May 2013 WWW.CNMEONLINE.COM

the big issue From buzzword to necessary investment, CNME tackles Big Data head on

Surrender our telecoms

‘I didn’t touch a computer before college’ Al Rostamani’s Group CIO, Wael A. Abdel-Qader, tells his story

So you want to be a data scientist? Delving into the new IT job that everybody’s talking about

Ericsson’s Middle East President, Anders Lindblad, speaks out on the rise of Huawei


Setting up shop The two-and-a-half year project to build’s infrastructure from scratch

Lost at C-level: The evolving role of the CIO

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EDITORIAL Publisher Dominic De Sousa

Big Data, big impact

Jeevan Thankappan Group Editor Talk to us: E-mail: jeevan.thankappan@

Group COO Nadeem Hood

Big Data is excellent fodder for animated conversations at most technology seminars these days. It is on every analyst’s list of technologies to watch for in 2013 and, going by the number of startups mushrooming around offering Big Data technologies, it sure looks like a big deal that can’t be ignored anymore. When we started reporting on Big Data around two years back, it was a half-baked concept and no-one had a clear idea of what it meant or did. Now, it’s finally out of the oven and the promise of this technology is very exciting to CIOs who grapple with the data deluge in their organisations. Though I am not sure about the origin of the term Big Data, it usually denotes a collection of data sets running into petabytes that can’t be processed using traditional data management and processing tools. It is estimated that the amount of data in the world doubles every 18 months and 80 percent of that is of the unstructured kind. Now, imagine the ability to converge two streams of data – structured and unstructured – and mine it in real-time to glean useful analysis that has a tremendous impact on your business. Sounds like a technology pipedream? Well, not anymore, because that’s exactly what Big Data promises to do – it empowers everyday decision makers with insights, which wasn’t hitherto attainable with the data they have, and elevate them to the cutting edge of customer experience. Big Data is indeed taking the technology world by storm but it might be a good two to three years away from going mainstream among enterprises in the Middle East. However, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be preparing for it now. Putting in place a winning Big Data strategy is a daunting prospect for IT decision makers because it involves investing in a new technology and getting ahead of the trend to acquire skills to make it work. Procuring the technology is the easy part; what is really going to be difficult is recruiting data scientists and professionals proficient with analytics who can make sense of semantic data models and put it to good business use. The question to ponder is how many data scientists are there in the Middle East currently? We are hoping to take the veneer of technical wizardry off Big Data and get to the bottom of it at the region’s first-ever symposium focused on this technology on May 20 at the Habtoor Grand Hotel in Dubai. Please join us if you want to learn how to leverage your data assets to gain that elusive competitive advantage.

Editorial Group Editor Jeevan Thankappan +971 4 4409109 Editor Ben Rossi +971 4 4409114 Assistant Editor Joe Lipscombe +971 4 440 9136 Online Editor Tom Paye +971 4 440 9103 ADVERTISING Commercial Director Rajashree R Kumar +971 4 4409131 Sales Managers Michal Zylinski +971 4 4409159 Sami Sabbah +971 4 4409152 Antony Crabb +971 4 4409108 Circulation Circulation Manager Rajeesh M +971 4 4409147 Production and Design Production Manager James P Tharian +971 4 4409146 Designer Analou Balbero +971 4 4409104 DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma Web Developers Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Photographer and Social Media Co-ordinator Jay Colina +971 4 440 9100 Published by


issue 256 | May 2013 WWW.CNMeONLiNe.COM

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the Big issue

From buzzword to necessary investment, CNME tackles Big Data head on

If you’d like to receive your own copy of CNME every month, log on and request a subscription:

Surrender our telecomS

‘I didn’t touch a computer before college’ Al Rostamani’s Group CIO, Wael A. Abdel-Qader, tells his story

So you want to be a data scientist?

Printed by Printwell Printing Press Regional partner of

Delving into the new IT job that everybody’s talking about

ericsson’s middle east President, Anders lindblad, speaks out on the rise of Huawei


Setting up shop The two-and-a-half year project to build’s infrastructure from scratch

Lost at C-LeveL: the evoLving roLe of the Cio

© Copyright 2013 CPI All rights reserved While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.

EDITORIAL Our events

Looks do matter

Ben Rossi Editor Talk to us: E-mail: ben.rossi

Consumerisation is a trend we write about a lot in this magazine, so we thought it was about time we put our money where our mouths are. Just this month you’ll read about Infor’s CEO, Charles Phillips, claiming that enterprise software “sucks”. Not one to bite his tongue, he is of course attacking the efforts of IT’s software giants, SAP and Oracle. He was not talking about the productivity and effectiveness of the software itself, however. He was particularly referring to the look and feel of the products. I happen to agree with Phillips, and what I’m about to say may come across as a little brutal to those who like to carry the universal philosophy that it’s what’s inside that counts. Looks do matter. Now, before I start getting called the Middle East’s answer to Samantha Brick, I better retract a little. Those, like me, who shamefully read the Daily Mail’s website – I’m digging a hole here – will know Samantha Brick as the journalist who sparked controversy when she said being slim and looking good is the be-all and end-all to happiness. Please keep your hate mail directed at Brick, because I’m not coming at you with a “Middle East editors should be as beautiful as me” article. I happen to think aesthetic flaws are endearing. Which is what I tell our Assistant Editor, Joe, who loves to regularly point out my “fat fingers” and “Justin Bieber dress sense”. No, what I’m saying applies exclusively to technology. Oh, and magazines, too. The beautiful interfaces that IT executives are used to operating on a daily basis on their smartphones and tablets create an ugly contrast to some of the boring and rigid enterprise software on the market. And, frankly, to some of the tired-looking magazines that land on their desks every month. That’s why Infor introduced an in-house design agency to consumerise its products, and that’s what has influenced the all-new CNME that I introduce to you now. So, as you sift through our stories this month, I hope you appreciate the revamped look and feel. And if you don’t, please direct any hate mail at Joe.

Big Data


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Computer News Middle East

May 2013

HP Software CIO Speaker series Abdulaziz Jaafar, Director IT and Information Systems Management, Nawras

Following our engagement with HP Software, our delight has been evident in two areas – applications and operations – both segments that are directly related to customer satisfaction. Our SLAs which used to take hours to implement now has become almost instantaneous, which has led to great customer experiences.


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ISSUE 256 | may 2013




The big issue: Tackling big data head on


So you want to be a data scientist?

CIO Spotlight: Al Rostamani’s Wael A. Abdel-Qader

LOST AT C-LEVEL: The evolving role of the CIO

IN DEPTH 10 Security Strategist 2013 CNME’s aeCERT-partnered Security Strategist 2013 conference saw CSOs and CIOs come together to discuss the latest threat landscape.

16 Learning the ropes At its Universe event in Copenhagen, Teradata unveiled a new approach to big data.

36 6

Computer News Middle East

may 2013

Setting up shop: oN LOCATION AT TEJURI.COM

18 Shooting for the Moon HP launches its new revolutionary, highdensity server, Moonshot, at a launch event in London. 20 The third option Analysis from Inforum in Orlando. Infor has become much more than a thorn in the sides of SAP and Oracle.

Intelligent scanning for smart business

Introducing the new ScanSnap iX500 from Fujitsu. Made to make your life easier. · · · ·

Built in Wi-Fi for documents straight to tablet or smartphone Scans business cards to A4 double-sided and even A3 Fast scanning, up to 50 sides per minute Creates searchable PDFs

Drop a mixed handful of documents into the new Fujitsu iX500 scanner; anything you like from business cards to A3. Then just press the blue button. In less time than it takes to read this, the first page will be scanned and the image ready to be viewed. It can even scan both sides at the same time with no loss of speed. The iX500 will deliver perfect results: pages facing the same way and all images straightened. The new GI-processor performs the intelligent image enhancement responsible for great looking images. They can be easily stored as searchable pdfs to make finding them again child’s play, or if you want them on the move just use the in-built Wi-Fi to send the documents straight to your tablet or smartphone.

All names, manufacturer names, brand and product designations are subject to special trademark rights and are manufacturer‘s trademarks and/or registered brands of their respective owners. All indications are non-binding. Technical data is subject to change without prior notication.


Our Strategic Partners Strategic ICT Partner

Strategic IT Transformation and Big Data Partner

Strategic IT NetworkingPartner

Strategic Technology Partner

ISSUE 256 | may 2013


Face to face with Anders Lindblad: Telecom get us!

FEATURES 52 Lost at C-level Has the time finally arrived when CIOs should be looking over their shoulders at CDOs and CFOs hungry to snatch digital responsibilities?

58 The big issue CNME delves head first into the topic that is engulfing CIOs and network managers across the region.

64 Four more years Arguments abound that a well-defined product lifecycle, with regular updates, can actually save more money than struggling on with ageing storage. 70 Target located Cybercrime has been wreaking havoc since the 1970s, and shows no sign of slowing. 76 Partner relationship management There are plenty of steps that can be taken to ensure the best chance that relations remain amicable at least until the end of a contract. 82 Grid-locked There’s an expanding need for data over voice, and network traffic is feeling the strain.


40 82 6

28 Short takes We round up the top technology stories to take our eye in the last month.

The University of Wollongong in Dubai leads the pack with VDI

26 Infographic Think you’re secure? You may be surprised.

32 CIO Spotlight This month’s spotlight is on Al Rostamani’s Group CIO, Wael A. Abdel-Qader, who admits he never touched a computer before college.

Avoiding grid-lock with network optimisation

Computer News Middle East

may 2013


Product Watch: BlackBerry keeps its QWERTY tradition alive

96 Product Watch BlackBerry keeps its die-hard fans happy with its latest release, the Q10, which pays homage to the classic QWERTY keyboard.

98 Word on the street CNME’s man about town, Joe Lipscombe, gives his spin on the latest IT news and trends. This month, he compares the smartphone war with Lawrence of Arabia.

in depth Security Strategist 2013

Centre stage for security With the world on constant alert for cyber attacks, CIOs and IT decision makers flooded to the Habtoor Grand hotel last month to discuss the most recent security trends, concerns and solutions at CNME’s aeCERT-partnered Security Strategist 2013 conference.


yber security is, and has been, a hot topic for every IT team around the globe for a long time. However, more recent breaches and attacks on national government entities have resulted in a wide-spread movement from the highest authorities to clamp down on cybercrime.


Computer News Middle East

may 2012

Last year, Saudi Aramco suffered a massive 30,000-machine malware attack, and the oil giant now sits as the benchmark example for the damage that can be done by sophisticated attackers. The evolution of not only the threat landscape, but also the intelligence of the attackers, has brought to light just how severe

and real the situation surrounding web-based attacks has become in recent years. With an action-packed agenda, including two specialised roundtables covering the banking and aviation sectors, the day was sure to provide end-users with insightful and engaging information that would be pivotal for any business moving forward.

Head in the clouds? Securing the aviation sector Presenters covered all major talking points ranging from defending attacks to data loss prevention. The speakers included Meshal Abdulla BinHussain, Head of UAE CERT Operations at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority; Dr Deepak Kalra, CIO, Al Asas; Ahmed AlAhmed, CIO, Nakheel; Ahmed Baig, IT Security and Compliance, DWTC; Jude Pereira, Managing Director, Nanjgel; Niraj Mathur, Security Practice Manager, GBM; Ali Alamadi, Manager, Strategic Consulting, help AG; Omar Fathallah, Senior Technology Consultant, RSA; Mohammed Khatib, CIO,

Many of the aviation industry’s leading security analysts and managers gathered during the second half of the day to discuss security in their vertical. The panel members, who all wished to remain anonymous, took part in a heated discussion which covered not only generic security concerns, but also compliance issues and major aviation-related news stories, such as the recent claim that Android phones could be used to hack an aircraft. The common theme surrounding the discussion was the importance of company and customer data. This essential data and information was described as so sensitive that some believe IT security should be an entirely independent entity in order to safely and more professionally deal with these concerns. The major concern around exposing data was the balance between providing next-generation technologies for customers and keeping business-critical data secure. “It’s a key challenge,” said one panel member. “The balance between what the business wants and what we want to give as a business, against what we can expose.” Being able to push the boundaries of what they can provide for companies is always a hot topic in an area as competitive as aviation, but from a technology standpoint, the risks just continue to increase. Many carriers are now looking into offering Wi-Fi in-flight, and the risks here are obvious. “We want to provide Wi-Fi for all of our customers, but being logged into a Wi-Fi network for 16 hours is a very long time,” another member stated.

A mandate for action Senior IT executives from eight of the Middle East’s leading banks met with representatives of aeCERT (the UAE Computer Emergency Response Team) to discuss the current security challenges facing them and their customers. In order to facilitate the full and frank discussion that proceeded, the participants requested to remain anonymous. At the brunt of discussion was the recent security breach at Bank Muscat, in which cyber criminals pulled off a $39 million ATM heist using pre-paid travel cards. Participants challenged aeCERT to ensure banks go public when they suffer security breaches, and to speak out to allow the rest of the industry to gain learning and insight from the experiences. Further to this, the mandate of aeCERT was questioned to understand whether the cyber security coordination centre can issue a policy statement declaring best practises that banks must adhere to. The head of aeCERT - which was established by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) as an initiative to facilitate the detection, prevention and response of cyber-security incidents on the Internet – said that whilst it is not within their mandate now, it is certainly something they can address with the TRA going forward. The roundtable’s participants also expressed significant concern with the current setup of IT infrastructure, which many believed was inadequate to protect against modern threats.

Amman Stock Exchange; Hazem Bayado, Technical Manager, Novell Middle East; and Nagaraj Hebbar, Senior Sales Engineer, FVC.

Scare mongering End-users aren’t known for their subtlety at the best of times, and many of the presentations addressed the issues which were on the tip of many company’s tongues, like cost of solutions, security of products, and embracing technologies while maintaining compliance. One frightening theme which continuously popped up was the argument of awareness in regards to how secure companies in the Middle East are – as Pereira of Nanjgel said, “People are essentially bringing a knife to a gunfight.” Whether businesses are bringing a knife to a gunfight or not, they will certainly have more in their arsenal following Security Strategist 2013. However, predicting what will be on next year’s agenda may prove to be more difficult than one may have expected – with no speakers or delegates daring to comment on what the future of IT security holds. may 2012

Computer News Middle East


in depth Enterprise architecture roundtable

The spaghetti problem Senior IT executives gathered in Jumeirah Emirates Towers on April 24 to discover how enterprise architecture can help them avoid a ‘spaghetti incident’.


pril saw CPI partner with Orbus Software and HTP Global Technologies to host two exclusive roundtables to provide valuable insights into enterprise architecture (EA) – a practice which continues to gain significant momentum amongst organisations in the Middle East. New innovations have never arisen at a faster rate than today. As these trends continue to take companies by storm, EA has emerged as a vital practice to align these technologies with older systems, and to translate business strategy into ROI. A common theme throughout the roundtables was the apparent lack of awareness and understanding of what EA is, and what it can do for an organisation. However, the general response leant towards the observation that it is a very necessary tool as new applications and technologies continue to transform businesses. Louw Labuschagne, Enterprise Architecture Consultant and Trainer, provided an analysts’ insight into EA, stating that untangling an IT environment requires planning and management. Labuschagne cited research by Forrester showing that CIOs currently spend 60 percent of their time as “chief maintenance officers”, meaning that most CIOs “have to devote several hours a day to making sure


Computer News Middle East

may 2013

that all the IT infrastructure and applications are running smoothly.” However, he continued, Forrester envisions a shift to an era of what it calls “empowered business technology” (EBT), in which business units are more involved in deciding what their technology needs are and how to achieve them. “This transition would greatly reduce the number of hours that CIOs spend as chief maintenance officers and allow them to devote a good deal more time and energy managing things like risk, vendors and innovation,” Labuschagne said. Gartner is advising corporations to adopt a new style of enterprise architecture called “emergent architecture”, which it says is necessary to respond to the growing complexity in markets, economies, networks and companies, Labuschagne added. Furthermore, he was keen to emphasise that EA should not be seen as a project, but as a continuous process. The roundtables also highlighted which international standards are available to use when selecting, building and deploying enterprise architecture in an organisation, as well as an overview of ISO standards. Attendees of the event were treated to three case studies from leading organisations that have already implemented enterprise architecture – Ooredoo, DP World, and Abu

Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA). Joseph Foster, Corporate Enterprise Architect, SEHA, gave the first account of EA in action, before Steven Leslie Green, Assistant Director, IT Architecture and Applications, Ooredoo, said his piece. Current architectures are “accidental”, Green commented. “Accidental architecture evolves over time into a complex, costly, difficult, and slow-to-change information systems architecture, which has to react to changing priorities and strategies,” he said. “The vision is a coherent set of standardised building block-based business processes, applications, data and infrastructure, intended to ensure quality and predictability of core transactions, along with flexibility, agility and efficiency.” Ibrahim Al Najjar, Manager, IT Planning and Support System, DP World, highlighted the benefits in using an EA tool. These included a “significant reduction” in the effort needed for collecting, managing, validating and reporting on elements of an enterprise architecture, as well as improved business buy-in and visibility of EA work. During discussions at the end of the roundtables, it was clear that EA, whilst being under-exposed in the industry, is set to gain significant traction in the Middle East, as organisations look to improve business performance and productivity.

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© Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.

in depth eSolutions Maximo user conference

Gaby matar, Group Managing Partner, eSolutions Maximo

Maximum value IBM’s rugged reseller, eSolutions Maximo, took the fight to competitors last month when it rolled up in Dubai for its Middle East User Group Conference. With political powerhouses, top executives and hundreds of customers in tow, the company arrived bearing the message of maximising enterprise assets – something that the region is short of doing, according to Gaby Matar, Group Managing Partner.


Solutions Maximo made it clear from the off – this conference is about ensuring that clients can take maximum value from enterprise infrastructure and assets. It’s a keen topic in the industry at the moment, as vendors believe that many clients are overspending on solutions without utilising the operational effectiveness. Maximo laid out an impressive agenda focused on industrial equipment, facilities, transportation, and IT assets. The company stated that the priority was to improve uptime, availability and reliability to its customers, who certainly came out in force. In this regard, the keynote speaker may have come as a surprise for many customers. Dr Jamil Mahuad, former president of Ecuador, stepped on stage to deliver a talk on the importance of negotiation and communication skills. “When you’re providing technological solutions to the lives of people, you’re always in contact with other human beings,” he told CNME after the keynote. “Finding better ways to understand each other is very important.” Dr Mahuad made his feelings around the importance of communicating through technology well heard, and believes that current opportunities to build relationships worldwide have never been so strong. “Many of the problems we have in the world are just based on ignorance, and the


Computer News Middle East

MAY 2013

fact that we do not know one another. I truly believe that technology will help for a better future,” he said. And this is a vision shared by IBM and Maximo, it seems. Matar, said he believes that business has never been so good, and the solutions and products on offer have helped companies all over the Gulf to really accelerate their business. Maximo has seen a 28.5 percent year-on-year growth in the MENA region, something that Matar believes demonstrates the value and appreciation of its enterprise management portfolio. Maximo covers five areas in the region - oil and gas, IT, facilities, utilities, and transportation. “Our wide range of offerings can bring so much value to market in so many different ways,” he said. “Some are only using Maximo for the production line, others are simply using it for the facilities. They have all types of assets in any one system and the benefits are truly great, and the turn-out today demonstrates that. However, the key to this event is that we know that each of these customers can benefit a lot more from our system.” It would appear as though the customers are fully aware of the rumble coming from the Maximo camp. Matar explains that the MENA event is in fact the second largest Maximo gathering outside of the United States.

“We have 30 subject-matter experts from IBM supporting this event - that speaks volumes,” he said. The regional contact list isn’t a modest one for Maximo. Matar and team have some extremely high-profile names on their books, including Dnata, Dubai Airports, and the RTA, as well as the oil sector of Abu Dhabi, and some Saudi Arabian accounts. “We couldn’t be happier to have these customers on board as a reference. Dubai Airports, for example, stood up in front of everyone on day one and said everything I have just said, to the entire conference. Having that reference is very telling,” he said. “On top of this, the value they can all take from this event just adds to that. The things we’ve been able to discuss with them over the course of the two days has improved their awareness and skill sets to be able to deliver better results and take more from the Maximo system. We don’t rest on our laurels, we have a great track record for providing after care.” Matar believes that granting the opportunity for customers and clients to get together and share success stories, as well as concerns, will really aid them to progress and move forward. Maximo reported that around 10 percent of the clientele was in fact new customers and Matar said that the feedback has been so good, he is confident that Maximo will again build on its customer base following the event.



EMC2, EMC, the EMC logo, and where information lives are registered trademarks or trademarks of EMC Corporation in the United States and other countries. Š Copyright 2011 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

in depth Teradata Universe

Mike Koehler, CEO, Teradata

Learning the ropes At its Universe event in Copenhagen, Teradata unveiled a new approach to big data which allows organisations to embrace the technology in an easier and more affordable way. But they still need to learn more if it’s going to work.


IOs in the Middle East need to start to learn what Apache Hadoop and SQL-H are in order to understand the true value of big data. That was the general message at Teradata Universe in Copenhagen, where big data was very much top of the agenda. Stephen Brobst, CTO, Teradata, acknowledged that the average CIO may or may not know what Hadoop, and certainly doesn’t know what SQL-H, means to them,


Computer News Middle East

may 2013

but they are both things that should now be in their vocabulary. “Hadoop is something they ought to understand because open-source technology allows you to change the economics on gathering very large data,” he said. Big data is gradually transitioning as a buzz term to a top priority for senior IT executives across the Middle East, who are looking to extract value from their data.

Apache Hadoop is an open-source framework that allows organisations to process large amounts of data, regardless of its structure, at a low cost, and has largely been attributed to driving the growth of the big data industry. However, Hadoop has presented the industry with challenges related to security, standards, and most significantly, a lack of talent in data science. “I do a fair amount of work in the Middle East and there are definitely countries that are more sophisticated than others – specifically in Saudi, Egypt, and to a lesser extent, the UAE,” Brobst said. “They are starting to explore the opportunities for using big data and open-source technologies to change the economics of dealing with this big data. “By big data, I don’t only mean highvolume data, I mean diversity of data from non-traditional sources like Web log and OSS data.

“From a CIO perspective, it’s about changing the economics to allow them to get access to order-of-magnitude more data without having to pay order-of-magnitude more cost to their bottom line.” Teradata used its event in Copenhagen to unveil Teradata Enterprise Access for Hadoop, a solution which makes it the first company to offer business analysts streamlined and selfservice access to Hadoop. The solutions allows organisations to reach directly into Hadoop to find new value from data analysis, and enable quicker and smarter strategic decisions, the company said. It enables data scientists to escape application development and work on high-value activities. They can also gain a better understanding of the data lineage to determine its reliability and accuracy. The solution works within the Teradata Unified Data Architecture, which brings together Teradata, Teradata Aster and Hadoop technology, as well as best-ofbreed partner tools, to create a cohesive architecture. According to Teradata, this makes it the first vendor to provide a truly comprehensive framework to handle all types of data and any analytics techniques. “Teradata Enterprise Access for Hadoop empowers organisations to dig deeply into files and data residing in Hadoop and combine the data with production business data for analyses and action,” said Scott Gnau, President, Teradata Labs. “The result is an analytic environment capable of meeting the operational and strategic needs of thousands of users, running hundreds of applications, on any data, at any time.”

“Hadoop is something [CIOs] ought to understand because open-source technology allows you to change the economics on gathering very large data.” Stephen Brobst, CTO, Teradata

Teradata also introduced the Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse 6700 platform, which adds a fabric-based hyperspeed nervous system and a new core analytic brain to the Teradata Unified Data Architecture. These new innovations enhance the ability of organisations to exploit all their data regardless of its type, the data company said during the announcement in Copenhagen. “The issue and opportunity is that if I only store a bunch of data very cheaply, who cares, because I’ve got to create value from it,” Brobst said. “So the idea related to the platform announcements is you want to be able to get access to that data in a way that does not require you to have an army of PHDs in computer science.” According to Brobst, a lot of the big data technologies were developed mainly by dot com companies in Silicon Valley, which are rich in Stanford PHDs and Java programmers. “The average telco or bank in the Middle East is not rich with Java programmers or PHDs from Stanford University,” he said. “So you need a platform that allows a data scientist who is technology competent and savvy, but not a computer scientist, to get value from the data.

“Teradata Enterprise Access for Hadoop empowers organisations to dig deeply into files and data residing in Hadoop and combine the data with production business data for analyses and action.”

“The bottom line for a CIO is to give value to the business using skill sets which we have at order-of-magnitude lower priceper-terabyte for accessing that. You leverage the open-source technology, but add valueadd on top of it that allows the data scientist to be successful, because the skill sets are not as available in the Middle East as they are in Silicon Valley. “We just have to face that reality, and that would be true in almost anywhere compared to Silicon Valley, quite frankly. And even in Silicon Valley, the skill sets are scarce, much less outside of Silicon Valley.” Mike Coehler, CEO, Teradata, referred to the Teradata Unified Data Architecture as a “blueprint of what an optimal data architecture and analytics environment should look like.” In a way, it’s an analytics infrastructure to help customers design their own blueprint and architecture, he said. “It incorporates the past and the present as it relates to how companies are doing business - so past and present channels of data, and also analytic platforms - and how you marry that to and include something that’s newer to most organisations, like Hadoop, to digest all these big sets of data.” According to Hermann Wimmer, President, Teradata, the new approach allows organisations to embrace big data without breaking the bank. “You have to build up a blueprint which is in a cost-efficient way,” he said. “We are all optimistic that data drives value, but if the costs get unlimited for a customer, they will not invest. So the blueprint helps to do it in the right way with the right cost structure.” may 2013

Computer News Middle East


in-depth HP Moonshot


Computer News Middle East

MAY 2013

Shooting for the Moon After officially launching its new revolutionary, high-density server, Moonshot, in London last month, HP took to Dubai to show off its industry-leading fleet. The IT giant has recently hinted that more and more executive board members would be visiting the Middle East to demonstrate its commitment to a region it recognises as crucial. Joe Lipscombe reports.


ne of the key messages HP has consistently pushed this year is that – despite some reports – innovation is still well and truly alive down at HP labs. However, at its most recent event in London, the company stopped the talking, and Moonshot was shown to the world. The next-generation, energy-sipping, high-density server is the culmination of six years of work from within HP labs. A project that strongly confirms that HP has been deep in thought, and dogged in development throughout a period which some would describe as slow and tedious. Also, this is one major victory which doesn’t need to be attributed to Whitman, the guiding light who has taken so much praise recently for her firm-gripped approach to turning this once-great company around. No, this is a baby of total innovation, total necessity and total quality from deep within the R&D department. And boy, is HP a proud daddy. Paul Morgan, Industry Standards Server Manager, Hyperscale Business, HP, said that this project wasn’t something that HP woke up and thought of; it has been years in the planning and proves, with roaring evidence, that HP is still at the forefront of innovation, and always has been.

The Moonshot server can support up to


servers per rack.

“This is our moment in the sun and we’re going to enjoy it. We’ve been talking about this at a conceptual level for around four years, and it’s been on the roadmap for around two years – so to get it out there now is a really great feeling,” he said. “This isn’t an updated version of a traditional server – this is a completely new design and breed of software-defined servers. Be clear, this isn’t an evolution it’s a revolution.” Moonshot completely revolutionises the traditional data centre, something that HP isn’t unfamiliar with doing. In 2005, it released the first blade server, which quickly became the standard for all its competitors – a situation which it expects to see again in the years following the release of Moonshot. Moonshot has been delivered as a way of addressing space and energy constraints caused by next-generation IT trends such as cloud, mobility, big data, and social. A shifting style of IT that Bill Veghte, COO, HP, believes only comes around every couple of decades. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this is one of the biggest IT shifts we’ve ever seen,” he said. “And HP is uniquely positioned to tackle these challenges for its customers.” The meaning of Moonshot When it came to selling the benefits of Moonshot, HP wasn’t short of some pretty impressive numbers. The system delivers new infrastructure economics by using up to 89 percent less energy and 80 percent less space, while costing 77 percent less

“This is our moment in the sun and we’re going to enjoy it. We’ve been talking about this at a conceptual level for around four years, and it’s been on the roadmap for around two years.” than traditional servers. What’s more, Moonshot can support up to 1,800 servers per rack, while only occupying one-eighth of the space required for traditional servers. David Chalmers, Hyperscale CTO, believes that Moonshot, for the correct applications, is the revolutionary step forward that customers need in order to keep progressing onto the next style of IT. “Moonshot isn’t an evolution of our traditional servers – that’s not enough to claim innovation today. Moonshot is actually taking us to a whole new place,” he said. “I think customers are ready for this. In the past, when blade came out, we had MAY 2013

Computer News Middle East


in-depth HP Moonshot

to create that market, because we were the first ones there and we were the only ones at the time to see the benefit. With Moonshot, however, it’s not like that – we need this. What we’re doing today won’t work tomorrow. Managing complexity and improving step-by-step isn’t good enough. At a time like this, you need to revolutionise, and Moonshot, we think, does that.”

The Middle Eastern vision In less than a week after the official Moonshot launch, HP packed up its bags and made its way over to the Middle East – a sure-fire sign that this region is as high on the priority list as it’s ever been. And with good reason. As Veghte says, it’s a place without legacy, giving businesses the ultimate opportunity to build around an entirely new IT concept. And this situation has led to extra demand for updated software services, such as software-defined data centres and software-defined servers. “It’s a fantastic opportunity here, that’s why I am here and that’s why we’re investing here. Eyad [Shabibi, MENA managing director] has done such a fantastic job here and our expectations of him are very high – because he’s got a darn good team,” he said. “We’re not hiring the next industry veteran who’s been in the business for 20 years - we’re hiring the smartest graduates in the region. And they’re doing the same in places like Saudi. Whether these people are at HP in five or 10 years doesn’t matter. At the moment, it’s about training these graduates to be developers in this new style of IT – something which is beyond my kind now.”

Energy sipping Moonshot is


Computer News Middle East

During the rush of the Moonshot launch

MAY 2013

“The other one thinks that the

and the HP Middle East Summit – Paul

application is now the format of the

Muller, VP and Chief Evangelist, HP

company’s presence in the market. The

Software, sat down with CNME to

interaction through which they approach

discuss the changing face of IT and its

market, sell their products, market their

role within business.

brand – it’s all through the application.

Well versed in many areas of IT, Muller

This means that the quicker you develop

claims that the role of the CIO has never

an app, the stronger your company can

been more intense since the advent of smart

become in its market space. What I find

solutions and next-generation applications.

really interesting about this is that these

“With this shift in IT and the exciting hardware to software evolution we’re currently seeing, every Western company

two mentalities are often sat next to each other, in the same room. “I was recently talking to a large

is trying to undo the last 50 years. The

US bank and I was discussing this kind

Middle East is perfectly placed to fully

of technology and an older guy blurted

embrace this new style of IT.

out, “That might work in your fancy .com

“If you’re going to develop skill sets

companies, but it would never work for

here, don’t develop the old ones, develop

us.” As he said it, his boss awkwardly

the new ones. Build new skills and leap

cleared his throat and told him that

frog technology into an innovative world

in actual fact the company had been

with a high rate of change.”

running systems like this for a while. It

Muller says that the Middle East, based on what he has heard from customers and analysts, is basically a

was a shock to half the room and the norm to the other. “This is the key point – IT is not

blank canvas – an exciting prospect for a

a back office thing anymore, it’s now

man who can rarely stay in one place for

on the revenue side of the house, and

any significant amount of time.

the growth of the pressure on CIOs to

Discussing the changing landscape of

innovate and lend sophisticated solutions

IT, he also feels that the current era has

to the business is climbing at one hell of

caused a distinctive divide in business.

a rate.

“There are two types of mentality in

“If the CIO and his team cannot

business at the moment – one has the

provide at this new rate, if the developers

perception that change is a threat to the

cannot push the ideas to market, then

stability of the organisation. They’re from

the CEO simply goes and adopts services

the older generation, much like myself,

publicly. He gets infrastructure as a

who believe that if it isn’t broken, don’t

service, platform as a service, software

fix it. Years ago you wouldn’t update an IT

as a service and so forth. This is good

system more than once every few months,

and bad – it’s good because he gets

and certainly only by pain of death. Now

what he wants, but it’s also bad because

it’s different, the demands are so high that

he will inherent a bunch of technical

certain organisations are making changes

complications that he doesn’t understand –

multiple times in a day. The trouble with

because he’s not an IT man.

this mentality is that it doesn’t innovate

more efficient than a traditional server.


HP chief evangelist: the rising pressure on the cio

“This situation creates a workload

anymore – and that’s not what business

increase, arguably, of more than 90

wants or needs right now.

percent for CIOs.”

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in depth Infor

The third option By coupling the spark and drive of a successful start-up with some real business sense, Infor has become much more than a thorn in the sides of SAP and Oracle.


ccording to Infor’s CEO, Charles Phillips, the firm’s unofficial tagline is “the world’s biggest start-up”. Certainly, no-one could accuse Infor of being a small company – the firm posted about $2.3 billion in revenue last year. What’s more, it was recently rated by Business Insider as the third most valuable private company in the world, a place behind Bloomberg and a place ahead of Twitter. “We just happened to be the one that most people hadn’t heard of yet,” Phillips quipped during the keynote presentation at the Inforum customer conference in Orlando, Florida. But can Infor still describe itself as a start-up? On the face of it, the statement


Computer News Middle East

May 2013

seems a little like lying about your age when you’re afraid of coming across as old. Having been founded in 2002, it’s more than 10 years old and has more than 12,400 employees serving more than 70,000 customers. Sure, these are baby numbers when compared to the likes of SAP or Oracle, but they aren’t the kinds of numbers usually associated with a start-up. And with a huge event planned at one of the biggest convention centres in the United States, Inforum looked to be no different to the kinds of events organised by any of the other big technology vendors. Infor, it seemed, has grown up. The thing is, as soon as the conference got started, and the first keynote session began,

it was clear that Infor still had the spark and drive of a start-up. The presentation was delivered with the four top executives – Stephan Scholl and Duncan Angove, both Presidents, Pam Murphy, COO, and Phillips – on stage at the same time. They shared lines and quips like a close-knit, four-piece band might on the first night of a world tour. And the natural energy they emitted washed over

Infor posted

$2.3bn in revenue during 2012.

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in depth Infor

the jet-lagged audience to create much more of a buzz than would normally be expected at a technology conference. “We have 3,000 customers in the U.S., and have a 17-percent net licence growth,” said Scholl. “We’re now the third-largest software company. We’re the third option, and we’ve eliminated the duopoly.” By that, Scholl was, of course, referring to the perceived notion that the only two choices when it comes to enterprise software vendors are Oracle and SAP. And that, he said, illustrated yet another reason why Infor is still a start-up – the company is disruptive, as a start-up should be. Like any start-up, however, Infor has seen its fair share of problems, many of which came as a result of the massive growth that it has achieved over the past decade. At last year’s Inforum conference, the firm said it was getting on track, having been on a huge spending spree – on both acquisitions and R&D – and that it had a lot of new products lined up. It sounded great, but, of course, many took the claims with a pinch of salt. Infor’s top brass must have felt vindicated at this year’s conference, then, as the company reeled out new release after new release. The headliners included the 10x middleware platform, which features social, mobile, analytical and cloud capabilities; Mingle, a new collaboration platform; and ION, the new integration framework at the core of Infor’s products. A new cloud service, called Sky Vault, also garnered headlines, thanks to being based on Amazon Web Services’ still-beta Redshift platform. With these products, Infor is hoping to go after “micro-verticals”, as Phillips

“User groups were telling us to invest in education, and we knew we needed to resolve this problem quickly.” Pam Murphy, COO, Infor

said during his keynote talk. Infor thinks it no longer good enough to simply go after the food and beverage segment, for example, or the healthcare business. These market segments vary enormously in their enterprise software needs, and Infor wants to target specific segments that want more than the one-size-fits-all products offered by SAP and Oracle. Another way in which Infor wants to disrupt the enterprise software market is through the look and feel of its products. When talking about the user experience associated with the products peddled by Infor’s competitors – and garnering a few laughs at their expense – Phillips came out with one of the most memorable lines of the conference: “The bottom line is enterprise software sucks.” Of course, he wasn’t referring to his own company’s software, because Infor’s products have had a going over by Hook and Loop, the firm’s new in-house design agency. Made up of advertising experts, movie effects buffs and app developers, Hook and Loop is a trendy creative house charged with consumerising all of Infor’s products. And judging by the product demonstrations at Inforum 2013, the firm is miles ahead of the competition in terms of user experience.

We have 3,000 customers in the U.S., and have a 17-percent net licence growth. We’re now the third-largest software company. Stephan Scholl, President, Infor


Computer News Middle East

May 2013

That said, Infor freely admitted to the conference audience that it had been lagging behind in terms of training and education. Because of its acquisition spree, and the lack of any centralised learning platform, Infor was struggling to get its customers to make full use of the products. “User groups were telling us to invest in education, and we knew we needed to resolve this problem quickly,” said Murphy on day two of Inforum. To resolve the issue, Murphy said that Infor began to build a world-class education team, made up of industry experts who have made careers out of building curriculums. The firm also established a centralised platform to develop, manage and build content on. With this, and everything else the executives explained, it really did seem as if Infor had all the bases covered. But with its start-up attitude and comparatively small scale of business, how far did Infor go in convincing its customers that they were looking at a top-notch vendor? According to Ray Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO, Constellation Research, the firm did a better job this year in showing customer successes and a decent product roadmap. He also told CNME that customers who came to find solutions will have walked away with a feeling that Infor had identified their needs. “Because [Infor] are focused on apps, I think they will do well”, he said. Over the course of Inforum, Infor proved that it still held the culture of a start-up. It wanted to show that it took its customers on a case-by-case basis, and that innovation was still top of the agenda. Perhaps more importantly, though, it showed itself to be more than a simple thorn in the sides of Oracle and SAP – it showed itself to be a real contender.

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THINK YOU’RE SECURE? Why you may be surprised. With more than 50,000 security threats emerging each day, IT managers like you have a challenging job. Even with carefully crafted policies, the biggest threat may come from inside your organisation. Firewalls, anti-virus software, rules and regulations can only do so much. The final barrier is employee behaviour and, when you’re waging the war against laid-back attitudes, culprits can be everywhere.

Why you should be:

Who’s not worried?

68 %


of women



55% 57 % 76 % of men

of households earning $75k+

of households earning $35k–$49.9k of workers copy, scan or print confidential work



of westerners




of northeasterners

What can you do?

of workers are not prompted to enter a password

With the right balance of technology, people and process, you can protect sensitive data wherever it resides.

Source: Based on the IT/MFP Security Study conducted by Harris Interactive, 2012.

Almost two-thirds of U.S. employees never or rarely worry about confidential information remaining secure.

Who’s ignoring the rules?

1 in 10

87% of employees work at a company that has an IT security policy—however:

2 in 10

rarely or never follow the policy

are not aware a policy even exist

“I didn’t know there was a policy.”

24% of women 18- to 34-year-olds

% unaware

29% 21%

Security policy awareness appears to improve with household income.

13% $35k– $49.9k

8% of men

are nearly twice as likely to indicate this than any other age group


$35k or less


$50k– $74.9k


30% of those with a high school degree or less

18% of those with some college education or more

Make your IT security policy more than a written document. Communicate the how and the why regularly and require your policy to be part of day-to-day procedures through supporting technology. Nothing does more than a proactive approach to policy awareness and adherence. When you think you’ve kicked worry to the wayside, think again—the threats are all around and always changing. And security is everyone’s responsibility. For more about how Xerox can help, visit

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short takes Month in view

Etisalat Misr launches Middle East’s first Intel-powered smartphone Etisalat Misr has announced the launch of Etisalat E-20, the Middle East’s first smartphone with Intel Inside. The Etisalat E-20 is targeted at the growing number of smartphone buyers in the MENA region who do not want to sacrifice device performance or

user experience. With more than 91 million mobile subscribers in Egypt – and a 116.94 percent mobile penetration increase in the last year – Intel and Etisalat see this as good growth for smartphone business potential in the region. The Android-operated handset will be available at

all Etisalat stores across Egypt, and is equipped with the Intel Atom Z2420 processor with Intel hyper-threading technology that can achieve speeds of up to 1.2 GHz. “Our new E-20 smartphone is yet another breakthrough for Etisalat Misr as a market leader in offering the latest technology to its customers,” said Saeed AlHamli, CEO, Etisalat Misr.

Anonymous hacks Formula 1, cites Bahrain problems

Chairman step-down

According to the latest market research conducted by the InfoWatch Group,  Saudi Arabia is expected to invest up to $400 million in data loss prevention (DLP) over the next five years. With large governmentled expansion plans for Saudi Arabia, InfoWatch said that the need to adopt data leakage prevention policies across companies has become “urgent”.


Computer News Middle East

Hacker group Anonymous made the Formula 1 its latest victim when it performed a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on its official website (, as well as defacing its fan site,, and several partner websites. Anonymous attributed the attack to Formula 1’s decision to go ahead with the Grand Prix in Bahrain, where protests have been taking place. The infamous hacktivists warned Formula 1’s CEO, Bernie Ecclestone, a day before the attack in the form of a press release talking about ‘Operation Bahrain’. The group also encouraged its supporters to hack Formula 1 executives. As part of the website’s defacement, the group posted a message explaining the motives behind the attack, citing the people of Bahrain’s “struggle against the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Al Khalifa.” “They have already begun issuing collective punishment to entire villages for protests and have promised further retribution ‘to keep order’ for the F1 events in Bahrain,” it continued. “The Formula 1 racing authority was well aware of the Human Rights situation in Bahrain and still chose to contribute to the regime’s oppression of civilians and will be punished.”

MAY 2013

Microsoft increased revenue across all its divisions in its third fiscal quarter, achieving an almost 20 percent revenue increase year-on-year. For the quarter ended March 31, 2013, Microsoft generated revenue of $20.5 billion, up 18 percent year-onyear. Net income came in at $6.06 billion, compared with $5.1 billion in 2012’s third quarter.


HP’s Ray Lane is giving up his role as chairman amid ongoing shareholder disapproval of HP’s troubled Autonomy acquisition. Lane will stay on HP’s board as a director.

Saudi to invest $400m in DLP


Samsung Electronics said its Galaxy S3 and Note 2 helped it to defy a shrinking smartphone market in the first quarter, boosting its overall profits by 42 percent from a year ago. The company said its net profit was a record $6.4 billion won in the period, beating its even performance from the fourth quarter of last year during the lucrative holiday shopping season.

Samsung Intel reported a drop in profits and revenue for the first quarter, as the biggest PC market slump in recent memory weighed on its business. Intel reported a profit of $2.05 billion for the quarter ended March 30, down 25 percent from a year earlier. Revenue for its PC client group, which generates two-thirds of its revenue, was down six percent year-on-year.


Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said Apple will launch new products that will “surprise and shock us all,” after the company’s share price fell to a 16-month low in April.

Unable to close a number of large mainframe and software deals by the end of the quarter, IBM reported a five percent decline in revenue to $23.4 billion for the first quarter of 2013. Net income for the quarter ending March 31 also shrank for IBM, by one percent, compared with the same quarter a year earlier. Firstquarter net income was $3 billion.



Alcatel-Lucent selected for UAE optical communications network Alcatel-Lucent has been selected by du to build the second phase of a high-speed 100G coherent optical transport network throughout the UAE. The new network will enable du to dramatically boost the speed and capacity of its existing network, and thanks to the efficiency of OTN sub-wavelength grooming, it will support the explosion of data traffic generated by the proliferation of mobile devices. du will use Alcatel-Lucent’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) to address the demand for high-bandwidth data services such as high-definition video streaming, next-generation mobile broadband applications and cloud services. Alcatel-Lucent is supplying du with its soft decision forward error correction (SD-FEC)-based 100G coherent optical technology, developed using the company’s recently introduced Photonic Service Engine (PSE), 400G chip. SDFEC is a method that can extend the reach of 100G signals to much longer, more usable distances. du also recently announced the selection of Alcatel-Lucent to boost converged service offerings in the UAE by deploying the latest IP-routing technology. Traffic from du’s converged highperformance IP router–based network will be transported using the 1830 PSS.

MEA external storage market plummets

Chairman step-down

The chairman of Yahoo’s board of directors, Fred Amoroso, has stepped down and will leave the board entirely later this year. Maynard Webb will become Yahoo’s interim chairman.

Saudi in Internet regulations warning Saudi Arabia has threatened action against Internet-based communications applications if they do not meet local rules, suggesting that the Kingdom is ready for a showdown with some of these providers over local monitoring of their services. Local media had earlier reported that the Kingdom had asked local telecommunications operators to ensure that messaging applications such as Skype and WhatsApp could be monitored for security reasons. If the services failed to comply, Saudi Arabia would block them, according to the reports. Saudi Arabia’s telecom regulator, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), said in a statement that some IP applications did not meet its requirements and regulations, but did not give details of which regulations were broken by these services.

Ericsson to open service delivery centre in Beirut Ericsson announced it will set up a new service delivery facility in Beirut, Lebanon, where a local team will support its global Business Support Systems (BSS) network. The telecoms company said that over two billion users are served by its charging and billing solutions, and more than 600 operators use its support systems. In particular, the firm has seen growing demand in the Middle East for the Ericsson Charging and Billing in One solution, leading it to create the new service delivery centre. However, Ericsson emphasised the fact that the centre will be staffed by senior local representatives, and that these teams will serve global markets. Around 350 employees will make up the service centre, Ericsson said. “Establishing a new site in Lebanon is a clear testament to how combining the young talent with the right technology leads to successful results,” said Tarek Saadi, President, North Middle East, Ericsson. “We are very excited to be able to share the knowledge and expertise of our team in Lebanon with teams across the globe in order to support them with business growth.”

Terry Myerson, who heads Microsoft’s Windows Phone group, took shots at both iOS and Android by calling Apple’s operating system “boring” and Google’s “a mess.”

The MEA region’s external storage market suffered a year-on-year decline in the last quarter of 2012, according to the latest figures from IDC. The region’s external storage market plummeted to a total of $272 million for Q4 2012, despite terabyte capacity rising by a modest eight percent over the same period, IDC said.

Emirates chooses IFS to support engine overhaul facility Emirates Airlines has selected IFS Applications 8 to manage its new engine overhaul facility in Dubai, in a deal that is worth in excess of $6 million. The facility, announced in 2011, will cover 90,000 square metres and serve as Emirates’ in-house facility for engine overhauls. The implementation of IFS Applications 8 is due to finish in the first half of 2014. IFS’ applications will support all business processes at the facility including maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and corporate performance management. The apps will MAY 2013

service up to 300 engines a year. “Emirates is one of the world’s most dynamic airlines and its new engine overhaul facility will undoubtedly set new industry standards in MRO process efficiency,” said Ian Fleming, Managing Director, IFS Middle East, Africa and South Asia. It was revealed last year that Babcock International is in the process of consolidating five instances of its IFS ERP system into one, in a multimillion-dollar project that follows the consolidation of the group’s IT estate into a centralised infrastructure.

Computer News Middle East


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Why Mailbox for iOS is a better email app for business

ComputerNewsME It’s the first day proper of #inforum2013 in Orlando today. Online editor @MrTomPaye is covering the event

ComputerNewsME Veghte: “I came to @HP because it’s all about people. #Microsoft lost that in the years leading up to my departure.” 17 April 13 · reply · retweet · favorite

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One antivirus program is better than two

ComputerNewsME We’re in Copenhagen for Teradata Universe. Some interested news coming out but we have to keep them embargoed till 10am CET tomorrow, sorry!

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CIO Spotlight Wael A. Abdel-Qader

Wael A. Abdel-Qader, Chief Information Officer, Al Rostamani


Computer News Middle East

may 2013

Mr Fix It If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – so the saying goes. But if it is, Wael A. AbdelQader is your first port of call. And it was this natural talent for solving technological conundrums that paved the way for him to become Group CIO of one of the largest and oldest business conglomerates in the UAE.


ael sits at his desk, in his rather impressive office, framed by a backdrop of awards and accolades, in the purpose built Maze Tower. How does a man who never touched a computer before college manage to find his way to the Group CIO role at Al Rostamani Group? Much like his father before him, Wael was on a mission. Wael’s father, a former banker, ensured that his childhood would be anything but dull. Born in Jerusalem, whisked over to Nigeria, granted Jordanian citizenship, and all of this before he’d even had the time to say his first words – his nature was set. “I grew up in various places - my father was a banker and he lived in several countries. When I was born, he was working in Nigeria, so I lived there, then Jordan, then Bahrain, then Dubai, where I went to school in the 1970s, then Abu Dhabi, then Yemen, for high school, and then from there I went to the USA. for college,” he explains. Wael says that his father tried his best to make sure that he was able to attend international schools during this time and ease the cultural transitions. Enrolling in summer schools in the UK and US gave him the opportunity to learn a new way of life, and this inevitably set him up with the social and educational skills to travel west and join a college in Cleveland, Ohio.

“I had no exposure to computers at all. I’d only just heard of them. Being in Yemen probably didn’t help at that time, either. So I went into college and one of the first basic subjects you have to take involves computers, and I really struggled.”

“I liked the States, it wasn’t a culture shock when I moved because I’d done a summer school there before and had previously visited family there. The shock was a new education system and a new phase in life – college - regardless of where you do it, so you do have to adjust. Being in Yemen and then going to the States was certainly interesting.” Wael’s college town was described as the mistake on the lake – a run-down area with plummeting temperatures in the winter, worlds apart from the Middle East. It was this lack of glamour that gave him the opportunity to focus entirely on his studies, he jokes. “I knew going into college that I liked electronics. I was Mr Fix It. Anything that broke down at home I would fix - I just had a talent for that. So I went into university to focus on electronic engineering.” Wael says that before his love for computer engineering developed, he actually wanted to pursue a career in aviation. However, he claims that after having grown out of that phase, it was technology going forward. But this may have seemed an odd choice for someone who had never seen a computer. “I had no exposure to computers at all. I’d only just heard of them. Being in Yemen probably didn’t help at that time, either. So I went into college and one of the first basic subjects you have to take involves computers, and I really struggled,” he confesses. “My roommate, who is still a great friend - I was in fact his best man at his wedding in the US, and he came to my wedding in Jordan, too - we got our first assignment and he completed it in half an hour and I didn’t know where to start. It took me all night to work it out. I asked him for help and then slowly began getting into it. By the end of the course, I really liked the computer programming and engineering, and this is where I formed my interest.” Doing time Following his time in the USA, Wael travelled back to Jordan. It was at this age that, in Jordan, it’s compulsory to serve a minimum of two years in the forces, unless, fortunately for Wael, you could find a job elsewhere.

may 2013

Computer News Middle East


CIO Spotlight Wael A. Abdel-Qader

“I was told if you could find a job somewhere else then you could keep postponing your military service. I really felt like the service would be a waste of time – why spend six months training and a year and a half executing something totally irrelevant to my career?” Therefore Wael applied for numerous jobs and received contract offers from a number of countries, including Oman, Saudi, Cyprus and Greece – he chose Greece. “Something about Greece really caught my attention, so having just got back to Jordan, I packed my bags and off I went. In January 1988, I began my career as a system analyst in the computer department of the Arab Bank, in Athens.” This would turn out to be no ordinary job for Wael, who soon realised he had in actual fact been recruited as some kind of strike buster. When the bank’s union issues became severe and the workers would strike, the bank would almost come to a complete halt. Wael realised that his position as a neutral meant that it was up to him to keep everything running during these strikes. “It was this position where I managed to gain so much experience. The workers hated my presence – I was making their strikes ineffective in a way. However, I managed to become head of IT and spent the next five years working there – I enjoyed the experience,” he recalls. It was during his time in Greece that Wael married his wife, had his son and first of two daughters, and made the decision to head back to Jordan. In 1993, Wael and family moved to Amman, where he headed the Core & Electronic Banking Solutions worldwide unit at Head Office in Amman, Jordan for the next six years. Settling down It was during this time that the jet-set lifestyle that Wael had been living his entire life began to catch up with him. Now, with three children and a highly demanding job, he was struggling to have any kind of home life, and he attributes the grip of his daughter’s hands on his leg as he tried to walk out the door one day as sparking a new desire within him to collect his family and start over before it was too late. “Perhaps a year later than I should have, I moved to Dubai. My third child had just turned one and I was working at a systems integrator company from the UK. This was a fantastic time for me because coming from the regional client side to the multinational integrator side gave me so much knowledge about vendor/client relations. It’s totally changed the way I do business now.” But again, with so much travelling involved in this role – including a massive deal in Saudi which kept him out of the country for six days of the week – he decided that one final change was in order. In 2006, Wael accepted an offer with Al Rostamani Group and set to work as Group CIO, and he has been there ever since. He has since witnessed his son graduate from college and his daughters settle happily into the UAE. 34

Computer News Middle East

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TIMELINE 1963 Born in Jerusalem and whisked off to Nigeria.

1981-1985 Studied computer engineering in Cleveland, Ohio – went on to complete his masters.

1988 Began career as system analyst in Athens for Arab Bank.

1993 Takes family and heads back to Jordan to head Core & Electronic Banking at Head Office in Amman.

1999 Moves to Dubai and begins working at a multinational systems integrator.


Tired of the travelling, he takes the big job at Al Rostamani Group.

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on location

Setting up shop The success of online B2B market place and the rising demand for e-commerce in the Middle East meant the time had come to create a similar platform for consumers. Following a two-and-a-half year project to build the infrastructure, was born.

Ayaz Maqbool, Managing Director, Tejuri


hen launched on March 3, many business heads would have recognised the likeness of its name to another online market place. was established in 2000 with the purpose of optimising the procurement costs for various government entities and large business houses. The website provides a portal that suppliers can register to, and government agencies can bring their requests to, in an open and transparent online environment. 36

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on location

In 2010, following the positive response Tejari had generated in 10 years, it was clear that consumers were also demanding a convenient and accessible online space to do their shopping, especially at a time when the world was in a recession. “We conducted some research with Nelson, and it was very interesting to see that the size of the e-commerce industry in pure online shopping in 2011 was about $3.2 billion from just the GCC countries,” says Ayaz Maqbool, who went from a two-year stint as CIO of Tejuri to Managing Director of the firm in June 2012. “Of that, about $2 billion was leaving the shore because you and I could not find credible websites offering trusted merchandise. It was all coming from overseas. In effect, this is a huge amount of money that, if returned to the retail industry here, would solve a lot of challenges for retailers in terms of where the new customers are, how they find new revenue, and how they do that with minimum spend from their side.” So with the market value of online shopping in the GCC at an astronomical level and growing, but a majority of it being claimed from overseas, the business case for Tejuri was clear. “There is a sizeable industry growing at double-digit growth year-on-year, which as a starting point in itself is pretty lucrative,” Maqbool says. “But there are barriers for retailers to go online because they have to invest capital money in building their own websites, and in e-commerce you need continuous investment because of the changing habits of the consumer.” However, whilst the idea was there and had huge potential, the entire infrastructure had to be built from scratch, meaning a mammoth IT project was required before going live. Following a lengthy selection process, Maqbool and his team selected a cloud-based infrastructure using the complete technology stack of Microsoft and hosting with eHosting DataFort (eHDF). For its payment gateway, Tejuri is using Visa CyberSource technology, which also has a fraud management tool to ensure minimal risk. “We are an e-commerce organisation and, as such, we promote the idea of being lean and cost-efficient,” Maqbool says. “Therefore all our core and strategic functions are very much in-house, and then there are a lot of long-term outsourcing partnerships being established to augment the in-house team.

“We also did a lot of vulnerability tests by bringing in external third parties to try and hack us, and we were ranked as the most secure site.” 38

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“When it came to the point that we started the software, database and application-building sides of it, we then had to look at how to host the solution. The choice we had was to host it in-house or with a third party, and with a third party, we had the choice of hosting it locally or internationally.” With retail being a very seasonally-driven business, scalable and contractible infrastructure was an important priority for Tejuri. “The requirement was for extreme agility in terms of responsiveness, because building a peak-time infrastructure would be like burning a lot of cash during the low times,” Maqbool says. “So after looking at factors in terms of agility, responsiveness, performance, security, latency and TCO, we decided to host with eHDF, which had already been hosting Tejari for 10 years. The implementation with eHDF was three months, which was helped by Tejuri’s building-from-scratch nature because it meant conversions or upgrades were not required. “We are a start-up business and therefore everything we were looking to do was from fresh,” Maqbool says. In a world where cyber security is a threat to anyone with an online presence, it is no surprise that security was one of the biggest challenges when building Tejuri’s infrastructure. “We had not experienced the performance means in B2C and what an external threat in terms of hacking would cost to our business. So I would say the challenges we had were to look at how scalable the infrastructure we had selected was and could become, how we ensured it would deliver the performance we know people accept in the online space, as well how secure it was to match up to potential threats.” To put this infrastructure to the test before going live, Tejuri entered a three-to four-month pilot stage, which Maqbool was very happy with. “We experienced a combination of these challenges during our pilot stage, and I felt satisfied not only that our systems were robust, but even our applications, software and hosting from eHDF were of world class. “We could offer a good performance even with peak traffic, and manage very well the hacking attacks we saw. We also did a lot of vulnerability tests by bringing in external third parties to try and hack us, and we were ranked as the most secure site.” The success of the pilot stage meant Tejuri could go live on March 3 with confidence, having streamlined all processes and already taken care of all the teething issues. Having launched with over 40 retailers signed up, it is now hoping to have over 100 on its books by the end of the year. “I definitely see this as the future of retail and commerce in the Middle East because it allows you to come into a mall-like environment, which people in this part of the world are very familiar with,” Maqbool says. “It gives them an online shopping mall that sits side-by-side to the brick-and-mortar shopping mall, and it complements the shopping mall experience through the convenience it gives you to find the same retailers in another common space online.”

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on location University of Wollongong Dubai

a lesson in vdi As one of the oldest and most prestigious university campuses in Dubai, the University of Wollongong in Dubai has always strived to bring the most cutting-edge technology to its Middle East students as well as providing an authentic flavour of its mothering campus in Australia. However, Joseph Aninias, Manager of Information Technology and Telecommunications Services, decided to shake off the Aussie shackles and use the initiative of the Gulf to deliver a fast and effective VDI solution.


Computer News Middle East

may 2013

Joseph Aninias, Manager of Information Technology and Telecommunications Services


t’s 1993 and the University of Wollongong (UOWD) appears some 7,500 miles west of its home in Australia and lands on the sands of the UAE. Two decades later and the Dubai campus is one of the most recognisable in the city, with over 3,500 students representing over 15 nationalities. It has been its passion to drive innovation and growth in many areas which has brought so much success to UOWD over the past 20 years, but that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. And Aninias has demonstrated this by implementing a virtual desktop solution. In 2009, the IT team was due an upgrade of its computers. However, it was during this time that Dubai was suffering from a

recession and Aninias recalls that introducing a completely new technology, as opposed to a traditional computer replacement, was a difficult bargain to secure. “Cloud was a white spec of cotton in the air at the time, and during a recession, it wasn’t the perfect time to start asking the people with the money to invest in something they know nothing about,” he says. “We could have done a traditional computer replacement, but the technology for virtualising desktops was around – I’d already stumbled across it in my experiences. But with a new technology, you have to touch people’s mind sets, especially the ones with the money. Moreover, you need to be very transparent with the risks.”

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Computer News Middle East


on location UOWD

However, fortunately for Aninias, who began his time at UOWD as a computer engineer before taking the managerial role in 2002, the new technology was accepted instantly by the business. Once the business had confirmed the decision to implement a VDI solution during the computer upgrade, the next step for Aninias and his team was to choose the correct vendor. Aninias says that the institute conducted a number of POCs in order to really get a feel for the vendors’ solutions and make an educated decision on which would be the most appropriate for the needs of the business. “It was a long process,” he recalls. “We highlighted our key requirements – storage, capacity, et cetera – and set about doing some POCs. One vendor said it could guarantee a 98 percent equivalent desktop scenario, the other vendor said it could equal 100 percent. It was a closely run thing.” One of the crucial issues which couldn’t be bypassed was the fact that at such an early time of virtual adoption, not all current applications would be compatible with virtual environments – which Aninias describes, plain and simple, as a problem. “On top of this, we also have three separate buildings in Knowledge Village, so some of our core applications aren’t in the same place. This link is also a challenge which needed to be managed,” he adds. Another difficulty that Aninias points out is the availability of bandwidth. Covering a large area while maintaining peak performance is a challenge, but Aninias believes that students in this field demand the best performance from their institutions, and compromising on this was not an option. “Our core business is providing for the students – the lab environment needs to be at the level they expect. We needed to focus very highly on the challenges of linking our applications, and we did solve these issues during the launch, but the key focus was always on the students and how they would respond to this technology.” Following the POCs with VMware and Citrix, UOWD came to the conclusion that Citrix would be the appropriate vendor for its needs. Aninias says that the decision was based on three factors. “Firstly, it was user experience – when I looked at the machine it felt the same, minimal difference to before. Secondly, the impact on bandwidth – Citrix proved themselves better than their competitors at this point. The impact on the bandwidth was significantly lower than any other at that time. And finally, overall cost was a factor.

UOWD has over


students enrolled at Knowledge Village.


Computer News Middle East

may 2013

“Our core business is providing for the students – the lab environment needs to be at the level they expect.” “Initially, we identified 47 percent capital expenditure, so you have to ask - what’s the cost of buying 400 new computers at one time or virtualising? This is the balance to look at and this is the decision you have to make. We wanted to save without sacrificing performance, and we’ve done that.”

Technological teething problems Originally, the implementation of the Citrix solution was supposed to be completed in under a year. However, unforeseen circumstances presented issues during the first 12 months and it wasn’t until 18 months had passed that the system was fully virtualised. “It was expected to be less than a year, yes, but new issues arose and we had challenges with licensing and extensive software testing – the software cycle is much faster than traditional hardware, of course. “The project went fully live in autumn 2011. At that point, we were fully switched to virtual. But one of the major challenges we faced was that because the technology was so new, the vendors and partners were all new to it as well. We found that you do get experts in particular areas, some storage, some server, some virtual, some network, so we had to bring all of these heads together at the time for a successful virtual project – bringing all the knowledge into one common solution.” On top of this, Aninias believes that each project has its specific requirements that cannot be fulfilled by the vendor alone, and that the end-user must have a strong amount of input in order to keep everyone moving in the right direction. “I know my set-up and I also knew that this would only work one particular way – it was difficult to communicate that, but the vendor isn’t going to completely understand your requirements,” he states. Since the implementation, Aninias says that everything has been running smoothly and successfully. With cost savings, added performance, added ease and less risk in downtime being the most significant results of the project, Wollongong has since decided to consider the project for other campuses. Joseph Aninias and his team can certainly be pleased with their work. However, he claims that all is not done. “We still have challenges – we need to make some fixes and continue to focus on improving the virtual infrastructure,” the IT manager concludes.

on location The Aspire Zone

Managing for the future Qatar is looking to build its future around being a world-class sporting destination, with technology a vital enabler in the journey. As a hub to that vision, the Aspire Zone implemented enterprise content management (ECM) to boost efficiency and support its business continuity planning.


f you’ve been to Qatar, you’ll recognise the Aspire Zone, or Doha Sports City, as it’s also known. The 250-hectare sporting complex has become somewhat of a landmark for a country that is trying to grab the world’s attention through the power of sport. It did just that at the 2006 Asian Games, which most of the Aspire Zone’s venues were constructed for, and it will do it again on the grandest scale of all when it hosts the 2022 World Cup.

But while sport acts as the catalyst to increase the global awareness of destination Qatar, technology is, as always, the silent enabler to help make this happen. One area where Aspire Zone turned to technology was with its content, which was unorganised and scattered. “Basically, content is of two types,” says Niyas Abdulrahiman, Chief Technology Advisor, Aspire Zone. “One is correspondence in the form of letters, faxes and memos coming into the organisation.

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Computer News Middle East


on location The Aspire Zone

“When it gets distributed to concerned departments, it starts multiplying. It’s a nightmare to track them because one document gets multiplied into several copies, so there is no consistency. “Secondly, the user can generate a lot of content in terms of Word documents, Excel files, day-to-day work, and they store it wherever they like – sometimes USB drives, sometimes local drives. The challenge is there is no visibility. When people leave, it creates serious business continuity issues because there is no way to track which of their emails or files are important and where they are stored.” In short, the Aspire Zone needed to be more productive and efficient in the way it handled its documentations, as well as to support its business continuity planning. Furthermore, the organisation was in the cusp of a merger, bringing together three formerly separate entities - Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence, Aspetar Qatar Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Hospital, and Aspire Logistics. Such a merger meant a global view of content was even more necessary. If that wasn’t enough, a mandate straight from senior management confirmed it was time to implement ECM. The lifecycle of ECM starts with the digitisation of a document, whilst metadata is also placed on that document to describe it. The document is then converted into the proper character format to make it discoverable, before the phase of annotation and workflow. Then comes the retrieval of the same document based on the organisation’s needs, and then finally archival and expiry specification. “When we looked at different content management solutions in the market, we found that most of them do the same thing,” Abdulrahiman says: “All of them have standard features. There is not a lot of innovation that is happening around ECM because it is a matured technology and has been around for several years.” Whilst the features are the same, the way it is done is different, which meant that usability became the key factor in the Aspire Zone’s choice of ECM vendor. “We created some use case scenarios and asked every vendor to come and demonstrate these scenarios. We then asked the users to evaluate how easy or difficult they found it. Based on that, the user feedback we received was in favour of Laserfiche.” Unified enterprise With Laserfiche Rio needing to be implemented across the three aforementioned business units as a unified solution, it meant that each unit took around two to three months, before finally going live across the enterprise in June 2011.

500,000 papers would have been created had the Aspire Zone not digitised.


Computer News Middle East

may 2013

“One of the senior directors said there were no issues and it all ran smoothly because we drove it.” Niyas Abdulrahiman, Aspire Zone

The biggest challenge, Abdulrahiman says, was the lack of awareness amongst the users. “Users have no problems with their papers. If you try and sell ECM to a user who is putting his Word documents in the place where he likes, what do you tell him? That we want to organise his documents and put it in one place so if he leaves we can run the company? He then says, ‘You want me to help you run the company without me?’ So it was a challenging situation.” To overcome this challenge, the IT team conducted a series of awareness sessions to explain to the users why the solution was required, how it would help them, and to address any fears. “We had to create that awareness to explain this was to help them, not to harm them,” Abdulrahiman says. As well as educating them through the sessions, the team was also keen to let them think they were driving the customisation of the solution. “One of the senior directors said there were no issues and it all ran smoothly because we drove it. To me, that is a very important statement because the users thought they were driving the product, so we were able to take into consideration cultural and behavioural perspectives on what they were expecting, and customise the solution based on that.” Almost two years on from the go-live date, the Aspire Zone is confident its investment paid off, which Abdulrahiman was happy to state as he spoke for Laserfiche at the Gartner Symposium in March. After taking the total number of documents in the Laserfiche repository and averaging how many times it would have multiplied – looking at one document as multiplying at least 10 times – the Aspire Zone came to a rough count of half a million papers that would have been created had it not digitised. “This is the measurable value, but the non-measurable value is the productivity because now users are able to collaborate better, they are more efficient, and there is better transparency,” Abdulrahiman says. “It has absolutely lived up to our expectations. People are clearly very happy using the system - they are using it on a day-to-day basis. What we had with Laserfiche was more of a partnership than a client and vendor relationship. We created something very unique, and got good support from ITQAN, our local implementer, as well as the Laserfiche team.”

on location Zulekha Hospital

Clean bill of health In the pursuit of top-quality healthcare, Zulekha Hospital enrolled Elitser Technologies to help implement ITIL best practices and gain certification for the world’s most trusted approach to IT service management.


normal business may see much sense in improving the service management of its IT department. If the improvements increase IT’s efficiency, reduce costs and minimise downtime, ROI is easily measured. However, in a hospital’s case, much more is at stake. When a hospital’s IT system impacts the way in which doctors treat and care for their patients, real lives depend on the IT department’s ability to perform under pressure. Such was the thinking behind Zulekha Hospital’s decision to implement the Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices, and gain ISO 20,000 certification for process management. Adhering to ITIL best practices is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world, and achieving the ISO 20,000 certification that measures these

on location Zulekha Hospital

practices proves that the organisation’s IT team really does run itself to the best possible standards. Clearly, a patient at any hospital would hope that the IT side of things is top-notch, particularly given the digitisation of records and information. However, Zulekha Hospital was the first healthcare organisation to achieve the ISO 20,000 in the GCC when it gained its 2005-standard certification in 2011. “This is the first hospital in the entire GCC region to have the vision to go for the quality initiative, to make sure the patients are important, because we realise it’s not about business or a loss of image - it’s loss of life,” says Ali Asgar Bohari, Director of IT, Zulekha Hospital. He presided over the switch to ITIL best practices, which he decided to begin in 2009. “Before implementing ISO 20,000, we were doing our job, but we were not able to show that we were doing it,” Bohari says. “It was kind of off-hand. So the IT department was kind of negligible.” The problem, Bohari says, was that requests to the IT department were never documented. If somebody wanted a report, or wanted their printer fixed, they would simply call the IT department and then an IT employee would follow up on the request. Conversely, there would be no records of the IT system being up for 99 percent or even 100 percent of the time. No documentation was ever made, meaning it was difficult for the department to justify more investment at a time when the Zulekha group was growing. Given the group now includes a hospital each in Dubai and Sharjah, plus a medical centre and another planned hospital in Sharjah, this simply wouldn’t do. So Bohari sought out best practices that he could implement, and landed on ITIL and the ISO 20,000 certification. However, as he found out, this would require a culture change that would hardly happen overnight. Indeed, it took more than two years for his team to get certified after deciding to implement in 2009. “We got the basic idea of what ITIL is and then what kind of requirements there are for ITIL,” says Bohari. “Then we started with a tool from ManageEngine for a service desk to start the documentation, logging the calls into the service desk and then started about the incident management, problem management and change management.” Following the ITIL guidelines and implementing a ManageEngine tool was certainly a good start for the department. As time went on, forms had to be filled out for IT requests, and it was documented whenever an IT request was completed. Suddenly, the IT department had evidence to show the management that it was indispensable. Of course, the changes met with some resistance, but Bohari sent orders straight from the top that these processes had to be followed. “It was more work for the IT department initially, I think,” Bohari says. “But now this is our practice. Now, it’s a daily routine.” That said, even by implementing the ITIL practices, Bohari was still a way off of achieving the ISO 20,000 certification. The 50

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“Before implementing ISO 20,000, we were doing our job, but we were not able to show that we were doing it. It was kind of off-hand, so the IT department was kind of negligible.” auditors, who come from a German body, are famous for their fastidiousness, and they browse meticulously through at least six months of records to ensure that the processes really are being followed to the highest standards. This is why, during the implementation phase, Bohari saw fit to call on some consultants from Elitser Technologies, which specialises in helping IT departments implement the changes necessary for the ISO 20,000, among other things. “You can do it by yourself - but somebody should be there to find your gaps, or what you’re doing incorrectly,” says Bohari. “This is the best way to do things. At some point of time, you really require some consultants who can come and really help you a lot. So Elitser helped us very nicely, and with this help, we achieved the certification.” Having just been certified for the 2011-standard ISO 20,000, the IT department works very differently to the way it did before 2009. For example, tasks such as fixing broken printers or laptops are now prioritised depending on who they come from, and service-level agreements with all departments stipulate how long it can take for a particular task to be completed. What’s more, everything is documented, so insight can be gleaned out of the information that results. No doubt the ISO 20,000 certification has helped the IT department in doing its job, but it has also helped, most importantly, in terms of providing better patient care and customer service, says Bohari: “Now what is happening is you come in, and all records are available on the doctor’s desktop, on the hospital management software. He has to just log in and see all your history, and what has been done. He won’t even have to ask what has happened with you because everything is available with him.” It’s a job well done, then, but Bohari has no intention of stopping at the ISO 20,000 certification. Having gotten a taste of what ITIL best practices can do for his department, he aims to achieve ISO 27,000 certification for security practices, and ISO 22,301 certification for business continuity and disaster management practices. “Everyone should do it – really,” Bohari says. “I recommend everyone implements ITIL best practices, and they’ll see the difference it makes.”

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Evolving role of the CIO

Lost at C-leveL Has the time finally arrived when CIOs should be looking over their shoulders at CDOs and CFOs hungry to snatch digital responsibilities? Joe Lipscombe looks at the history of the role, and what the future holds for the CIO.


Computer News Middle East

may 2013




he technological revolution we have spoken of so often in recent months has completely changed the way companies conduct their business – whether that be retail firms moving fully online, with e-commerce solutions being heavily adopted, or financial services making the move to web-based platforms. It’s a customer-driven era, and this era is asking for far more from information technology teams all over the globe. The traditional IT culture of sitting and waiting to be asked for a service has long gone. Now, IT teams are fully involved with business processes, value add, and strategic development. What’s more, CIOs are now absolutely critical C-level employees by nature, and not only name. What this change in business has done, firstly, is put an unexpected amount of pressure on the CIO to deliver topnotch solutions and ideas that wow the

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Computer News Middle East




The number of organisations hiring chief digital officers is increasing.

Evolving role of the CIO

CEO, as well as keeping an eye on typical IT processes. Since CEOs are also feeling the pressure of maintaining a cutting-edge service in their respected verticals, many have begun looking elsewhere for increased expertise and innovative ideas that a single CIO may not be able to provide. What does this mean for the CIO? This is an exciting time for young, up-and-coming C-level hopefuls in IT – a fresh, dynamic and disruptive approach can take you a long way these days. However, for the older school, the responsibility of becoming a key business strategist may be a little too much. “As far back as the ‘50s, in the era of the mainframe computer, the senior executive with IT responsibility was expected to answer the question, ‘How do we do it?’ rather than, ‘What do we do?’ His main task was simply to deliver reliable IT operations, on time and on budget,” says Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Middle East, EMC. “The job involved overseeing the integration and maintenance of relatively unsophisticated but complex and expensive hardware, software and telecommunications equipment. It was about employing people who were technologically switched on, in a business which generally wasn’t,” he continues. But, of course, this role has since changed dramatically. Mikael Hansson, Head of IT, Middle East, Ericsson, outlines this evolution.

“CIOs have had to transform themselves from being purely technology leaders to being business leaders.”

“The CIO — a title still sometimes jokingly said to stand for ‘career is over’ — has actually become a critical enterprise resource, and the role has grown into an exciting career.” Biswajeet Mahapatra, Research Director, Gartner


“In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems entering into the marketplace forced companies to take a more holistic view on their business processes. It is no longer acceptable to have an accounting unit developing their own applications in isolation from the logistic units and their tools. Now, companies need someone who can manage to pull this together across all of the main processes. This has changed what is required from a CIO. Earlier, you could have a technocrat as CIO, but now you need to look for someone that primarily understands the processes in addition to understanding the technology.” Biswajeet Mahapatra, Research Director, Gartner, adds, “The CIO - a title still sometimes jokingly said to stand for ‘career is over’ - has actually become a critical enterprise resource, and the role has grown into an exciting career. CIOs have the rare opportunity to gain deep understanding of the business and then use that knowledge to innovate. Those CIOs lucky enough to fill this role are limited only by their abilities and by the enterprise vision of technology’s potential. What makes the role even more exciting today is that it can serve as a precursor to other C-level positions.” The shift in business leadership, in regards to decision makers and strategic developers, has opened the door for CIOs to become more involved with the outcome of critical business transactions than they ever were before. “The CIOs and the IT team are no longer isolated from business and operations: CIOs are now learning to drive real-time decisions that are critical to the success of businesses. Today, most CIOs will have plans that include business intelligent and mobility solutions, and both support the strategic business decisions,” says Rola Al-Satari, Accreditation, Quality and Communications Manager, ITQAN.

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May 2013

The new skill set Since the advent of next-generation technologies and an increased need for the CIO to provide business insight, the skill set required from this role has broadened significantly. Essentially, the role of CIO has now become


Evolving role of the CIO

a completely different role to what it was just a decade ago, the experts say. “In addition to being technologically sound, a CIO needs to have distinct business acumen and an in-depth understanding of the unique business challenges and how technology affects a company’s bottom line. Since organisations today operate in a ‘state of flux’ with increasing competition and demanding customers, CIOs need to be flexible in their thinking and be able to act fast and on their feet,” says EMC’s Amin. Mahapatra, Gartner, adds, “CIOs have had to transform themselves from being purely technology leaders to being business leaders - this is a big change. It requires a solid understanding of financial management, the industry and its processes. It requires the CIO to become aware of forces and trends in the external environment that may have little to do with technology per se, but that might have a significant impact on the business. Acquiring this knowledge and these abilities is largely through training and experience, including participation in key enterprise decision forums and strategic conversations.” Of course, the issue here is that if today’s CIO cannot reach these requirements then someone else will. This is becoming a major concern for CIOs who are seeing an increased number of CDOs (Chief Digital Officers) coming into business. This is a new breed of C-level employee that is significantly more versed with business processes as well as information technology. With this is mind, the CIO role appears to be becoming some kind of battle – a battle that involves fending off serious competition from its basic duties and responsibilities. But those responsibilities continue to increase with gusto, and show no sign of slowing up. As more and more opportunities for business growth arise from technological advances, more and more expectations are seen from the top C-level executives towards CIOs. “The CIO role is evolving and becoming more critical for the success of businesses. While interacting with many CIOs, I can see that they have always been

“Earlier, you could have a technocrat as CIO, but now you need to look for someone that primarily understands the processes in addition to understanding the technology.” Mikael Hansson, Head of IT, Middle East, Ericsson

under pressure. However I believe with all these evolving technologies (like social media, cloud computing, big data and mobility), the pressure will be even greater and they will be expected to deliver more with less,” explains Al-Satari, ITQAN. Mahapatra believes that becoming more productive and profitable will put them in a strong position to continue leading in their role. “CIOs need to build in the culture of calculating and demonstrating the value they are adding to the business, both at the strategic and operational level. At the strategic level, they need to work with CFOs to derive their contribution to profits and revenue, which will help them calculate ROI in IT. At the operational level, they need to demonstrate what real-time value they have added on the ground with respect of savings in cost, time and effort.”

“CIOs are now learning to drive real-time decisions that are critical to the success of businesses.”


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May 2013

Evolution CIOs typically make their way to the top of their IT organisation because they’re good at managing risk, adapting to shifting industry patterns and developing critical business models. These attributes will all be crucial for CIOs in the coming years, when CEOs look to take advantage of business-driving IT solutions. The CIO that can continue to proactively provide solutions and innovations for the business will be the one that maintains responsibility of the top role. The rest may simply find themselves lost at sea.


Business Value with Big Data Partner with Cognizant to enhance your people, processes and technology to derive the most value from “Big Data” Organizations have access to more data, from more sources, in more formats, than ever before. This “big data” may contain insights that could save money, uncover customer needs or predict market changes. Until now, the sheer complexity of how to store and index large data stores, as well as the information models required to access them, have made it difficult for organizations to convert this data into insight. At Cognizant, we help you in uncovering those insights by prioritizing and organizing this “big data” based on its ability to deliver business value. Partner with Cognizant to create transformational capabilities: Manage the data and the value derived achieved from the data. Develop detailed metrics to assess your Big Data management programs Seamlessly integrate new and existing information sources Create the right tools, usable by the intended audience, to navigate big data

For more information on our Big Data solutions, contact us at: Cognizant UAE Headquarters

Cognizant KSA Headquarters

Office No. 2301, Al Thuraya Tower 2 Dubai Internet City, P.O. Box 500378 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Phone: +9714 4347608 Fax: +9714 4290325

28th Floor, Kingdom Tower PO Box 230888, Riyadh 11321 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Phone: +966 1 211 8076 Fax: +966 1 211 8001




Big data

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may 2013

strategic it networking partner

network WORLD

The big issue As CNME prepares to host the Middle East’s first event entirely focused on big data, it delves head first into the topic that is engulfing CIOs and network managers across the region.


ig data has been a fascinating topic. What began as a buzz word, and quickly evolved into hype, is now becoming something that CIOs must take very seriously. Yes, it’s nice to think of a solution which allows you to extract more value out of your information. It’s certainly clear what the benefits are. But what first appeared as an almost flowery technology that looks and sounds good, but doesn’t quite match up to more serious CIO priorities, has now become just that. This comes down to one quite annoying aspect; inevitability. This isn’t something that can be put off. Corporate data is growing at an astronomical level – 60 percent per year if we are to believe the figures – and, as such, big data has become unavoidable. Rather than just being something that provides benefits, it has now become something interfering with not only traditional network architecture, but also enterprise IT culture. “For most, managing and analysing this data presents both a challenge and an

opportunity,” says Samer Ismair, MENA Systems Engineer, Brocade Communications. “As data requirements grow, the network must enable solution performance, not inhibit it. The ability to find value in large and fastmoving data continues to be a focal point for enterprises seeking competitive advantage. “These advancements in data analysis are enabled by the underlying network. Organisations that can effectively mine their fast-growing stores of data stand to gain a competitive edge. However, the enormous volume, velocity, and variety of such data often make it difficult to extract timely insight and context-based results from all data sources.” While big data technologies tend to be data centre friendly, they can stress a corporation’s network and firewall configurations because of the ongoing need for each node to ensure they are still functioning with the other members of the cluster, according to Karthik Krishnamurthy, VP, Enterprise Information Management, Cognizant. “Hadoop and NoSQL databases support the ability to segment operations across different dimensions,” Krishnamurthy says. may 2013

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Big data

“The range of database segmentation can include racks, networks or power circuits in a single data centre. Or on a broader scale, big data solutions can operate in multiple data centres and geographical regions with multi-data centre deployments. “However, experience shows that big data solutions are generally confined to one location, which includes data feeds, storage and analytics. The analytics component of a big data solution might be shared or accessed across locations, but this generally involves smaller sized datasets as the base data need not to be shared. Data feeds represent the most critical network impact. Each source or feed needs to be analysed for expected volumes across the day time.” Meera Kaul, Managing Director, Optimus, says the emphasis on a big data environment while deploying network architecture is actually a function of the industry vertical that the business operates in. “Over the years, a lot of industry verticals have created for themselves petabytes of data that they have challenges with storing, processing and even making business sense out of,” Kaul says. “Increasingly, big data as a domain has moved away from just defining storage and processing of the data to increased monetisation of the information collected by analytical processing. “The challenge for organisations in the next few years will be finding ways to better analyse, monetise, and capitalise on all these information channels and integrate them back into their business. This has led to increased importance of big data execution to network architectures for these business verticals as architectures move to define a strategy of doing more with less in a network converged environment.”

“The ability to find value in large and fast-moving data continues to be a focal point for enterprises seeking competitive advantage.” 60

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“Over the years, a lot of industry verticals have created for themselves petabytes of data that they have challenges with storing, processing and even making business sense out of.” Meera Kaul, Managing Director, Optimus

Tooling up Big data deployment is more than just implementation of a new application or software technology. It means an entire new need for system design, management, access, use and administration policies, new network infrastructure design within data centres, and WAN-linking all mission critical transactions to a content environment. In terms of a corporate network and the network engineering team, there are best practices that should be employed to tool up for a big data implementation. “As soon as a big data project starts, engage the development team and ask about the proposed architecture,” Krishnamurthy says. “Determine if the end solution will fit within a single rack or is to be deployed across a single data centre. Ask if there is a need for the geographic distribution of data and does that involve multiple data centres. Work with the development team to discover what the data replication requirements are for the production application. “The main deliverable is a topology map for storage and feeds. Once more information about the solution has been discussed, review your network topology and ascertain the number and types of interconnects that will be utilised. This is important because when the application is in development, it is likely to run on a local network with more than adequate speed and capacity. In a multi-data centre production rollout, the interconnect speed and capacity between data centres may become critical to the overall success of the deployment.” Whilst highlighting Apache Hadoop and No-SQL databases as the leading big data technology in use today, Kaul also adds that No-SQL databases are typically part of the real-time event detection process deployed to inbound channels. They can also be seen as an aiding expertise behind analytical capabilities such as contextual search applications.


The amount corporate data is growing per year.


Big data

“These are only made possible because of the malleable nature of the No-SQL model where the dimensionality of a query evolves from the data in scope, rather than being fixed by the developer in advance. To run these, the network requirements needs re-evaluation of compute, storage, and network infrastructure,” she says. Whilst preparing a network for big data may sound like a daunting project, SAP MENA’s head of business analytics, database and technology, Jason Bath, questions the cost of not doing it. “Data is one of the most valuable assets any business has, and the more data that can be accessed and used, in all its sources and varieties, the more assets can be leveraged in order to accelerate existing business processes, innovate new business models, and anticipate market demands,” Bath says. “As big data becomes the norm, and we start calling it just ‘data’, the ability to access it and analyse it effectively becomes a minimum requirement to stay relevant and competitive.”

Bottle neck-work Furthermore, with traditional network architectures proving a bottle neck for big data, often making related applications inefficient, many see it as a necessary investment. “When implementing big data, it is not only a matter of network architecture but also requires a change in an enterprise’ IT culture,” says Steven Huang, Director of Solutions and Marketing, Huawei, Enterprise. “With big data applications now moving towards wholly integrated storage, CPU, software, and networking service packages for end users, IT staff will need to work together as a seamless team using the same set of technical tools.” With the rise of big data, Huang adds, it will become more crucial that IT culture changes so that technical silos start to converge. To add to that necessity, with the rate of information growth exceeding Moore’s Law, the average enterprise will need to manage 50 times more information by the year 2020, according to Peter Ford, Managing Director, Cisco Consulting Services, “The requirements of traditional enterprise data models for application, database, and storage resources, which help make sense of the data flood, have grown over the years, and the cost and complexity of these models have increased along the way to meet the needs of big data,” Ford says. 62

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“The main deliverable is a topology map for storage and feeds. Once more information about the solution has been discussed, review your network topology and ascertain the number and types of interconnects that will be utilised.” Karthik Krishnamurthy, VP, Enterprise Information Management, Cognizant

The average enterprise will need to manage


times more information by 2020.

“One size no longer fits all, and the traditional model is now being expanded to incorporate new building blocks that address the challenges of big data with new information processing frameworks purpose-built to meet big data’s requirements. However, these purpose-built systems also must meet the inherent requirement for integration into current business models, data strategies and network infrastructures.” However, whilst many organisations are starting to look into big data, actual implementation when it comes to preparing network architecture is scarce. Business leaders in the region need to radically rethink their approach to storage if they are to cope and derive true value, according to Huang. “Businesses that need reactive real-time information and predictive analytics on human behaviour or traffic movement have been the first to start implementing networks to support big data,” he adds. Another important area that demands further preparation in the Middle East is investment and awareness around data scientists. “It is generally expected that data scientists are able to work with various elements of mathematics, statistics and computer science, although expertise in these subjects are not required,” Bath says. “However, a data scientist is most likely to be an expert in only one or two of these disciplines, and proficient in another two or three. It is very rare to find an expert in all of these disciplines. This means that data science must be practiced as a team, where across the membership of the team there is expertise and proficiency in all the disciplines.”


Lifecycle management

Four more years Even the best storage products must eventually be retired – a fact that many belttightening CIOs are at pains to acknowledge. However, arguments abound that a well-defined product lifecycle, with regular updates, can actually save more money than struggling on with ageing storage. CNME gets to the bottom of the matter.


Computer News Middle East

may 2013

Strategic Technology Partner

storage advisor


ome things are inevitable every four or five years. Certain countries’ political elections, for example. Or World Cups and Olympic Games, for the sports fans out there. For CIOs, however, it signals the time for a technology refresh. The differences aren’t perhaps as drastic as you would expect, especially

between a national election and a technology refresh. Both often involve a realisation that something – whether it be a government or an enterprise’s storage – has grown tired and needs to be replaced, and not doing so could hinder processes, as well as the ability to leverage new opportunities for growth. But a key difference between the other aforementioned examples is that whilst they all generally generate a lot of excitement, the

same, unfortunately, cannot be said for the storage updates. That said, it is still an inevitable undertaking, and one that could have significant implications if not done because a CIO is trying to dodge the costs. “In the few cases where organisations delay their technology refresh activities in the name of cutting costs, the implications are twofold,” says Zaher Haydar, Regional may 2013

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Lifecycle management

Pre-Sales Manager, Turkey, Emerging Africa and the Middle East, EMC. “Holding onto ageing technologies obviously results in these organisations missing out on the ability to optimise their IT infrastructure, which in turn hinders agility and efficiency. In addition, these firms will report higher TCOs than organisations that invest in technology refreshes on account of maintenance and service costs in addition to other operational expenses.” For instance, Haydar continues, a firm with sixto seven-year-old storage systems will not have the dynamic tiering capabilities of technologies that are available today. “These older systems operate on smaller disks, consume more power and physical space, which ultimately drives OPEX higher. A technology refresh will allow these firms to deploy newer storage technology that are not only more energy efficient but also more compact, saving physical space with larger disks and boosting performance of the overall infrastructure by leveraging flash (SSD) technologies.” In general, a storage refresh improves the efficiency of storage infrastructure by up to 40 percent, Haydar claims. Savitha Bhaskar, General Manager, Condo Protego, points to more examples of why holding off a refresh to cut costs can be a misguided approach. “There are considerable benefits for businesses that refresh in an appropriate, timely manner,” she says. “For example, dayto-day operations are likely to be far more efficient, which can save both time and money. “Although the enterprise-class technologies are built to last a lot longer than the average three-year warranty, ageing equipment tends to have a higher rate of component failures resulting from simple wear and tear. There are also considerable cost implications for maintenance of out-of-warranty equipment, and the obvious reputational hits that result from business downtime or an inability to handle increasingly complex operations or data loads on older technology storage platforms.” Lease resistance The age of ‘IT transformation’ 66

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“If you can’t scale, you are going to get left behind. Playing catch-up is likely to be far more expensive and damaging than staying ahead of, or at least keeping pace with, the curve.” Savitha Bhaskar, General Manager, Condo Protego

has changed the relationship between CIOs and CEOs, which means the age-old tussle of the CEO discouraging a refresh because the current technology appears to work fine, has become less of an occurrence. Senior management have recognised in recent years the growing role of IT as a business driver that can leverage competitive opportunities for revenue growth and profitability. As such, CIOs should hopefully receive less resistance from topline-obsessed CEOs. However, CIOs are under new pressure to deliver IT-as-a-service and provision cloud-based architectures to counter external competition from service providers, which constantly offer new services like software-as-aservice and storage-as-a-service, Haydar says. “Today, technologies that enable this transformation model are part of a company’s strategic roadmap,” he says. “For instance, while IT-as-a-service optimises resource utilisation, agility, and efficiency, big data and real-time analytics enable new opportunities for competitive differentiation and revenue growth. Today, CEOs invest in IT to further drive their business.” Bhaskar agrees it shouldn’t be too difficult for CIOs to present a compelling business case as to why upgrades are necessary, but believes the pressure that they feel to adapt to the exponential growth of data is rapidly growing. “If you can’t scale, you are going to get left behind,” she says. “Playing catch-up is likely to be far more expensive and damaging than staying ahead of, or at least keeping pace with, the curve.

“A tech refresh should not be seen as an irritating expense, but a chance to change operations for the better.”

May 2013


The amount IDC expects the digital universe to reach by 2020.


Lifecycle management

Many companies will have to double the volume of their data storage every

2.5 years just to keep up with skyrocketing data.

“A tech refresh should not be seen as an irritating expense, but a chance to change operations for the better, to eliminate past mistakes and then build a platform for better-run, more profitable business.” Fortunately, the shift towards software-defined data centres (SDDCs) is expected to make the whole technology cycle a lot easier, as CIOs begin to see hardware technology of different generations co-exist with newer software solutions. “SDDCs, where the hardware is standardised and disassociated from software that holds the intelligence, will see us invest in fewer hardware refresh cycles and more software updates,” Haydar predicts of the future.

Breaking the mould The way IT strategies are planned, most CIOs can foresee upcoming changes in technology and map them in accordingly. They are therefore in a position to predict the advent of any transformational technologies and plan their refresh updates in due time to leverage the same. However, the advent of SDDCs make it even easier for CIOs to embrace new technologies without breaking the lifecycle mould, as they enable an easier integration of newer solutions with older systems without disturbing the overall infrastructure. This is especially significant when considering the increasing impact that big data will inevitably have on storage lifecycles. Big data is posing a big storage challenge for businesses across the Middle East, as businesses now need to invest not just in the right systems to store all this data but also derive business value to drive competitive advantages in the long run.

“Holding onto ageing technologies obviously results in these organisations missing out on the ability to optimise their IT infrastructure, which in turn hinders agility and efficiency.” Zaher Haydar, Regional Pre-Sales Manager, Turkey Emerging Africa and Middle East, EMC


Computer News Middle East

May 2013

“Ageing equipment tends to have a higher rate of component failures resulting from simple wear and tear.” IDC predicts that the global big data market will grow 40 per cent per year, which is around seven times as fast as the rest of the IT industry. Most of that cost will come from infrastructure-investment-calibre storage projects that are set to drive spending in the storage market to growth rates above 61 per cent through 2015. IDC also expects the digital universe to reach 40 zettabytes (ZB) by 2020, an amount that exceeds previous forecasts by 5 ZB, resulting in a 50-fold growth from the beginning of 2010. And it anticipates emerging markets to supplant the developed world as the main producer of the world’s data. Furthermore, with big data sets growing by an average of 60 per cent per year or more, based on IDC figures, business research specialists Aberdeen Group suggest that many companies will have to double the volume of their data storage every two-and-a-half years just to keep up. “As the volume of data continues to grow exponentially, businesses need to revise their lifecycle management policies to stay relevant and derive the maximum business benefit,” Haydar says. To help with this process, information lifecycle management (ILM) has emerged as another approach to enterprise storage that is designed to align business needs and storage practices by basing storage infrastructure decisions largely on the value of information. For example, by storing less valuable information on less expensive storage infrastructure, ILM promises economic benefits while maintaining sufficient access to information and acceptable service levels for enterprise applications. “By definition, the rate of big data growth exceeds the capabilities of traditional IT infrastructures and represents largely greenfield computing and data management problems for customers,” Haydar says.


The growth of targeted attacks

Target located Cybercrime has been wreaking havoc since the 1970s, and shows no sign of slowing. From the days of John Draper and the infamous Captain Crunch whistle technique, through the Legion of Doom and Masters of Deception going hammer and tong in the 1990s, to Sarah Palin’s email account being hacked during the 2008 presidential election campaign, cybercrime has had its fair share of headlines. But the severity of these threats has increased exponentially since the old days. Joe Lipscombe investigates the growth of the targeted attack.


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may 2013

security WORLD

Strategic IT BYOD Partner


n 1971, John Draper used a whistle, found in a cereal box, to reproduce a 2,600 Hz tone able to allow phreaks to make free calls – wire fraud was born. This was a man acting on no other motive than personal gain, but how the game has changed. Just last year, oil giant Saudi Aramco suffered a very serious and very public cyber attack, which floored 30,000 machines. This was a very sophisticated and organised act of cybercrime. The growth of targeted attacks has been documented in the global press, but the severity is possibly understated. Last year, the former US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, said that a “cyber Pearl Harbour” could one day take place. Others have since stated that cyber warfare is as much a priority as physical acts of terrorism.

may 2013

Computer News Middle East



The growth of targeted attacks

President Obama says his cyber defence budget has been increased to


So serious is the risk that many government bodies are now recruiting the services of dedicated cybersecurity officers to keep a full-time eye on assets. “The cyber-threat landscape, now a complex tapestry encompassing a broad range of elements, has both public and private sector organisations in every industry sector on the hunt for tactical and strategic solutions that ensure protection of their critical assets,” says Dr. Mahir Nayfeh, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton, MENA. And as Franz Erasmus, Practice Manager, Security Solutions, CA Technologies, says, the movement of the digital age has of course played into the hands of the hackers, given the increasing number of avenues they are capable of infiltrating. “Organisations and states started realising how dependent and vulnerable they are with the en masse movement of even the most basic of government services to a computer-based structure,” he explains. Rob McMillan, Research Director, Gartner, says the frequency of cyber-attacks has increased along with the complexity, which has caused serious issues for government entities. “There has been an exponential increase in the frequency of cyber-attacks. The Y2K era saw a huge surge in viruses or trojans like ILOVEYOU, Anna Kournikova or CODE RED, which had major impacts in terms of disruption across the globe. However, the attacks have not only increased in frequency but they have progressed from simple-unstructured to advanced-structured to complex-coordinated over the past few years. Hackers are often paid

“We’re at the beginning of the road when it comes to stomping out these kinds of attacks.”

“Organisations and states started realising how dependent and vulnerable they are with the en masse movement of even the most basic of government services to a computer-based structure.” Franz Erasmus, Practice Manager, Security Solutions, CA Technologies


for causing sabotage and therefore their intentions and determination are undeterred,” he says. Regionally, the Middle East has been at the height of some high profile attacks – whether acts of cyber-war or large government attacks, such as the Aramco story mentioned earlier. Nicolai Solling, Director of Technology Services, help AG, believes that the media plays a crucial role in addressing these attacks. “Awareness has always been the key to efficiently combating cyber-crime and the media coverage of high-profile attacks across the Middle East over the last couple years has definitely caught the attention of IT departments. Because of this, one of the strong security trends in the region has been the increasing implementation of security standards such as the ADSIC initiative in Abu Dhabi and the ISO/IEC 27,001 certificates in the U.A.E. and other Gulf states,” he says. However, the ways and means of addressing such breaches can still be improved, he says. “What is often surprising and worrying, however, is that many organisations choose a reactive approach to security issues instead of actually addressing the problem through architecture and policy. A good example here is the issue of advanced malware or zeroday attacks – everyone knows that they are there, but only a few organisations proactively address the issue.”

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May 2013

Global red alert “President Obama promised more cash for cyber-wars in the U.S. 2014 military budget. And the U.S.A. is not the only country who cares about the matter.” It’s clear from this quote by Alexander Zarovsky, Head of International Business Development, InfoWatch, that targeted cyber-crime is now officially a top-level priority for the largest states and governments. Obama’s recent budget proposals suggest that although overall spending has been cut by $3.9 billion, cyber defence efforts have seen an $800 million boost, taking the budget to $4.7 billion. Moreover, this action has been replicated more locally – and to an impressive standard. “Both governments and enterprises are treating cyber-crime as a very serious issue. Here in the


The growth of targeted attacks

Cybercrime can be traced back to as early as


U.A.E., we have seen that the government has in the last year enacted two new security laws - (i) Law No. 5 of 2012 Concerning Combating Information Technology Crimes (Cyber-crimes Law) and (ii) Law No. 3 of 2012 on Establishing the National Electronic Security Authority (E-Security Authority Law) - that relate specifically to cyber-crime. In fact, the country has even ranked fourth internationally for cybersecurity,” says Chris Moore, Regional Sales Director, Blue Coat. He continues, “Although most of what has been reported in the last year has related to attacks on government and public sector organisations, there has been a lot of cyber-criminal activity targeted at enterprises. Of course, these figures are hard to come by given that no organisation would willingly and openly discuss vulnerabilities in its IT infrastructure. Still, there are ongoing discussions within the IT community and security is a topic that is definitely a top priority for IT decision makers.”

Defending complex attacks The increasing sophistication of targeted attacks does call for a more focused and intelligent approach to defence. However, Miguel Barojos, Vice President of Sales, SEMEA, SafeNet, believes these defences are coming. “The lack of physical barriers in the digital world makes it easy to replicate the attacks that happened in the U.K. one week to the Middle East the next one, but I believe that we will also see sophistication in the cyber-defence infrastructure being built in the future to overcome the threat,” he says. Corey Nachreiner, Director of Security Strategy, WatchGuard, adds, “I believe there is much more awareness and interest in information and network security. Companies in that region are realising that

“The attacks have not only increased in frequency but they have progressed from simple-unstructured to advanced-structured to complex-coordinated over the past few years.” Rob McMillan, Research Director, Gartner


Computer News Middle East

May 2013

“Hackers are often paid for causing sabotage and therefore their intentions and determination are undeterred.” firewalls alone are not going to prevent attacks, and that they need to invest in more technology and people to protect themselves from these cyberrisks. As a result, I believe the region is investing more in cyber-security, and I’ve seen more security companies and professionals start to develop in the Middle East.” The argument between whether states are lacking behind in the cyber-war or not could and will rage on. Every time a major government entity is attacked or coverage of a large enterprise breach is publicised, the argument is going to resurrect. It’s difficult to know exactly how far we are in our defences as the organised cyber-crime scene is a constant battle. “We’re at the beginning of the road when it comes to stomping out these kinds of attacks, but the good news is that attackers are also at the beginning of their own road. Many cyber-espionage tools and kits are still to be developed, so governments should scrutinise even what seems to be a tiny piece of the network,” explains Catalin Cosoi, Chief Security Strategist, Bitdefender.

Getting owned One highly attractive victim for hacktivists is of course security vendors themselves. This is an example of how sensitive the security threat landscape is. How publicly can a security vendor discuss a breach? Hacktivists are constantly pushing the boundaries, making it harder and harder for companies to defend themselves. The future of cyber-crime may look bleak depending on what view you take. But it’s no secret now that governments and enterprises are fully aware of the severity of the situation. Whether or not enough budget will be granted or enough resources will be considered to properly combat this, it’s a waiting game.



Maintaining relations

Computer News Middle East

may 2013

integration advisor

Partner relationship management Sometimes, there’s no stopping a business relationship from going sour. However, there are plenty of steps that can be taken to ensure the best chance that relations remain amicable at least until the end of a contract. CNME investigates what these steps are.


hen one of the two partners tends to misuse the trust and confidence for their sole benefit, it causes irreparable damage and highly affects the other party,” That’s the view of Hani Khanfer, Channel and Pre-Sales Coordinator, Smartworld, when it comes to why some business relationships can turn sour. Happily, most companies do due-diligence over who they go into partnerships with, meaning relationships rarely become irreparable, particularly in the Middle East. However, according to Khanfer, something else can be the key to ensuring a long-lasting business relationship. “Success within a partnership or the achievement of common goals can play a major role in the move to strengthen and reinforce good relations between the two parties,” he says. “With goals obtained, both parties will now look into maintaining the partnership so that gaining benefits and rewards will remain continuous.”

Of course, it is all well and good saying that partnerships are easy to maintain if everything is going well. Indeed, two partners are often willing to overlook small annoyances if financial and reputational rewards are being reaped. The trick, however, is what to do if things eventually turn sour. Surprisingly, a number of companies are seriously underprepared for such eventualities – research shows that only 5 percent of corporations worldwide actually focus on advancing business relationships and partnerships as a key corporate strategy, meaning only a small minority of businesses know how to handle deteriorating relations. The problem can get worse when what should be successful partnerships turn sour before they even get off the ground. For example, one firm may wish to do a marketing tie-up with another firm. Both companies bring something to the table – say, one has an exceptional database of clients while the other has proper marketing know-how – but they both assume that their

way of doing things is best. Eventually, the two companies decide that they cannot work with each other, despite the potential that the partnership yielded. The experts say that the key to even beginning a good working relationship is by setting out what either partner wants to get out of it from the start. Indeed, both sides should also discuss who is responsible for what, meaning they’ll then both be able to play to strengths. “Set clear expectations, stick to your promises and communicate relevant subjects with the relevant stakeholders,” advises Stephan Berner, Managing Director, help AG. “Customers usually ask for more if the scope of work is not clearly defined. It is in everybody’s interest and, in particular, our responsibility to agree on the same at the time of signing the contract. What is in-scope, what is out-of-scope - this is the essential question. If this cannot be answered then suppliers are always in a difficult position and will most probably be taken on a ride.” may 2013

Computer News Middle East




Maintaining relations

The global number of businesses that actually work on enhancing relations.

That said, Khanfer advises that flexibility also plays an important role in maintaining a good relationship. Working strictly within the confines of a contract does not always give the best results, he says, meaning that partners should be able to cut each other a little slack in order to reach the desired ends: “Flexibility is an essential, if not major, aspect to any business relationship,” Khanfer says. However, many organisations will know that, sometimes, partners can take liberties when too much flexibility is offered. Khanfer says that this can happen even when all parts of a contract are being fulfilled – some partners can just be more difficult than others. “When one of the two parties involved becomes difficult to deal with, the other party might become uncomfortable in future business dealings and if worse comes to worse, seek dissolution of the partnership. This is likely to happen even if the difficult partner is adhering and following to the terms of their partnership.” But what could drive two companies, which have partnered up out of a mutual business interest, to the point where they can no longer work together? According to Berner, such a situation could arise out of a number of factors. “Lack of trust, lack of commitment, and lack of ownership,” he says. “Not to forget lack of quality and being afraid to discuss the negative aspects of a contract or project right from the beginning. Don’t wait until something happens - go and solve the problems pro-actively. Every customer will appreciate this.”

“Don’t wait until something happens - go and solve the problems proactively.”

“Lack of trust, lack of commitment, and lack of ownership. Not to forget lack of quality and being afraid to discuss the negative aspects of a contract or project right from the beginning.” Stephen Berner, Managing Director, help AG


Khanfer agrees, saying that relationships go sour when one party misuses the agreements made to further its own ends, without even considering the other partner. The other partner could be left in bad shape as a result. Of course, there’s never any guarantee as to whether or not trust will be reciprocated between partners. Certainly, either party will hope for the best, but plans need to be in place either to ensure things do not go awry or to facilitate a smooth and swift exit from the partnership. In terms of keeping relationships going, a number of steps can be taken, with the first being communication. At any given point in a partnership, either partner should know exactly where they stand, the experts say. This is easy when there are only a small number of partners to deal with, but when a firm has business relationships with more than 20 partners, this can become a little more difficult. Just because something is difficult, however, does not mean that companies should not try to achieve good communication among all partners. For example, it can be easy to forget a supplier - not because the relationship is unimportant, but because time can fly when attending to other partners. Leave things too long, and that supplier will be unwilling to grant any special favours because he or she will feel neglected, or even taken advantage of. Business relationships work in the same way as personal ones, say the experts, meaning the more you put in, the more you get out. Globally, many companies have relationship mangers in place for the precise task of ensuring amicable business relationships. However, according to Berner, Middle Eastern businesses tend not to employ relationship managers. “I haven’t seen that many but it is an interesting approach to consider for some organisations,” he says. It may be an interesting approach, but Khanfer warns that it takes a certain type of person to become a successful relationship manager. Just because someone fares well in bringing in clients does not mean that he or she will do well at maintaining relations with partners. “The relationship manager is basically a goodwill ambassador that represents the company—the candidate should then be highly skilled in communications, client

Computer News Middle East

may 2013


Maintaining relations

focus, successful in contract negotiation and quality control and has the ability to build and reinforce the business relationship based on trust,” he says. Given the absence of many relationship managers in the Middle East, however, firms need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario – when relations reach such a low that the only option is to terminate a contract. According to Berner, however, this may not be as easy as it seems, particularly if the contract period is still running. “Really, is this an option?” he asks. “I don’t think so. Do your due-diligence before signing, highlight the risks and if you can accept them than go and sign the document. If not then it is better not to sign at all.” Khanfer, on the other hand, believes that there are ways out of a contract if things become too difficult to tolerate. This is particularly true if one side of the agreement fails to uphold their end of the contract. “This would depend on the terms of the partnership—more often than not, the organisation reports to the second party that has requested justification on such behaviour,” he says. “Form there, it is the discretion of the

“Flexibility is an essential, if not major, aspect to any business relationship.” Hani Khanfer, Channel and Pre-Sales Coordinator, Smartworld

offended party to take legal action or seek a termination of the partnership.” With the right outlook and due-diligence, however, there should be no excuse for allowing a partnership to sour to the point of no return. As the experts say, communication from the beginning is key to maintaining a healthy business relationship, and that means taking the good with the bad. And anyway, if two firms embark on a partnership that is bound to be successful, it is highly unlikely that many problems will arise. Under successful conditions, any relationship is easy to maintain. .


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Network optimisation

Computer News Middle East

may 2013

strategic telecom partner

telecoms WORLD

Grid-locked There’s an expanding need for data over voice, and network traffic is feeling the strain. Optimising your network is a crucial step for embracing LTE and 4G, but what are the tricks of the trade in this constant struggle?


perators are at their wits’ end in an attempt to provide their customers with the maximum network resources due to an unprecedented volume of data demand. Mobile apps such as instant messaging, video messaging, picture sharing, social media, and Web-based games are guzzling bandwidth, expanding the demand and adding weight to the operator’s job. “Network optimisation is a comprehensive set of processes and technologies used to enhance customer experience and utilisation,” says Saleem AlBalooshi, Executive Vice President, Customer Operations, du. “They are used at different layers of the network from radio access to transport, core, and IP. The objective of network optimisation is to enhance radio coverage, relieve network congestion, and ensure that customer traffic traverses the network with the least possible latency and delay variation. All of these factors contribute to an optimal customer experience for all customer applications such as voice, video, browsing, and download.”

Cisco has predicted that, by the year 2016, there will be 6.6 zettabytes of global data traffic. This exponential growth only adds to the importance of the initial design and optimisation phase of the network. “Network optimisation is as important as network design itself. This is due to the fact that people are now carrying their office on the mobile gadgets they carry, while at the same time, increasingly using real-time data applications,” says Anurag Verma, Telecom Operations and Managed Services Lead, Smartworld. “Network performance degradation can result in dropped calls, which is the lack of bandwidth causing phones to reduce the audio bandwidth and tardy response times for data downloads. Good customer experience in the use of mobile is critical for the success of an operator. Optimisation leads to efficient use of spectrum and enables better service quality across the network, thereby reducing churn, which is inimical in the mobile industry. In a way, it is an enabler to reduce operating costs for the cellular network and gain market share.”

mAY 2013

Computer News Middle East



Network optimisation

Karl Osswald, General Manager,  Aviat Networks, agrees that reducing churn and cost is crucial. “Networks cost money, and lots of it. The rising operational costs of mobile networks coupled with revenue pressures faced by mobile operators, mean network optimisation techniques are key in ensuring that operators keep their networks efficient to avoid customer churn,” he says. Both external factors and internal configuration changes or addition of subscribers or traffic can continuously impact the network as well as the customer experience. Fady Younes, Client Director, Cisco, says that these elements weigh heavy on the shoulders of operators in the region. “Real-time dynamic optimisation is critical as it ensures a high quality of the network, reduced drop calls, and therefore enhanced customer satisfaction, brand image, and reduced churn rate,” he explains.

Optimisation tips? With this in mind, one of the key elements for operators will be nailing optimisation techniques. The experts have laid out the crucial points. “While optimisation is an ongoing process, it should not be done in a reactive mode. There should be a continuous proactive optimisation process supported by tools. Service providers should avoid optimisation in silos as the subsystems are all interlinked. Instead, a holistic end-toend network optimisation approach should be driven to avoid creating a new issue while fixing one. Having a controlled environment with the right processes and tools in place is critical,” says Younes. “An exhaustive network optimisation should be viewed as the mandatory step before the services go live and should be repeated periodically. The old focus on drive tests and dropped calls should be augmented to include extensive data download and response time for real-time applications. Network operators should view a ‘self-healing network’ as the future of network optimisation,” adds Verma. Younes Abad, Head of Mobile Broadband Network Performance, Ericsson MEA, says that the two most important ingredients that need to

“Real-time dynamic optimisation is critical as it ensures a high quality of the network, reduced drop calls, and therefore enhanced customer satisfaction, brand image, and reduced churn rate.” Fady Younes, Client Director, Cisco

be present in order to deliver expected results to the users are tools and methodologies, and people. “Some key elements of success for operators are the advanced and sophisticated tools that allow as much automation as possible – like self-organising networks (SON),” he says. With the complexity of the smartphone environment, average KPIs do not reflect the user anymore. KPIs were traditionally developed for voice, where customer expectation is clearly defined and quite predictable. “Smartphone users’ expectations are much more complex to define and very hard to predict now. The way KPIs are defined and measured sometimes do not keep up with the changes brought by smartphones. For example, KPIs are still network-centric instead of user-centric, and are domain-centric instead of end-to-end,” Abad adds. On the people front, he says that with the fast change in technology, it is important to continuously invest in competence to make sure resources are up to date. Incentives should be tailored in a way that encourages actions geared towards improving end-user experience instead of merely improving network KPIs.

“Some key elements of success for operators are the advanced and sophisticated tools that allow as much automation as possible.”


Computer News Middle East

May 2013

The new customer demand Above all, it’s the influx of mobile applications and the availability to work extensively on a mobile platform which has changed the way a customer works and lives. As a result, the demands on operators and


The amount, in zettabytes, of global data traffic by 2016, according to Cisco.


Network optimisation

Up until around the year


customer demand was mostly voiceand messagingcentric.

bandwidth providers have been completely intensified. Not half a decade ago, operators would not have predicted this paradigm shift into the mobile world – a world which is only growing as we speak. The demands will also continue to grow. “The explosive growth of connected broadband, wireless devices and its usage have created a new bandwidth-demanding customer. Specific to the region where adoption of the latest gadgets is very quick, MNOs have been led to look for the best way to fine tune the network according to changing requirements,” says Verma. Osswald adds, “Customers no longer simply want coverage. Customers want a consistent service and a high quality of experience. The downside is they want to pay less for this, as it is becoming more of a commodity service.” And AlBalooshi concludes, saying that customer demand, up until around 2000, has mostly been voiceand messaging-centric. With the internet becoming

“Network optimisation is as important as network design itself. This is due to the fact that people are now carrying their office on the mobile gadgets they carry, while at the same time, increasingly using real-time data applications.” Anurag Verma, Telecom Operations and Managed Services Lead, Smartworld

“Customers no longer simply want coverage. Customers want a consistent service and a high quality of experience. The downside is they want to pay less.” an integral part of people’s lives – be it for leisure or business – the customer demand changed into broadband internet. “Whether it is via wireline service (DSL and Fibre), or via wireless service (3G and LTE). Mobility, along with broadband internet, became the latest trend in customer demand during the past five years, whereby people would like to be able to access all their favourite content or applications wherever they are. These trends have exerted increased pressure on mobile service providers to provide higher speeds and seamless experience,” he says. Without question, devices with the capabilities to support larger applications and a higher volume of applications will continue to surface in the market area. This tussle between app developers and bandwidth providers will shape the network landscape over the next few years.


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Face to face with Anders Lindblad

Telecom get us! Ericsson’s Middle East President, Anders Lindblad, is adamant the telecoms giant will hold off the rising force of Huawei to keep its stranglehold on the industry.


he last time we met was in February at Mobile World Congress, which is the biggest event of the year for Ericsson. What did you learn from the experience this year? What we tried to do at Mobile World Congress was make the networked society more tangible. What I believe that has happened over the last couple of years is that operators are slowly moving towards being even more outside-in, and not so specific on the different technology solutions. It’s more about an end-to-end consumer perspective, and we can see that they are extremely interested to discuss these consumer cases. Then of course it digs down to technology, but what I felt, at least, is that there is much more maturity in the market right now moving towards a new way of offering communications services in the market. We are maturing as an industry – as most industries do when you introduce competition, you open up the market, and there is continuous innovation. That means that you move the offering from being practically pushed out, and now those who are determining what success


Computer News Middle East

May 2013

is on the market are much more on the consumer side. You really need to be tuned into the consumer needs, so we have to tailor it very specifically.

It’s difficult to ignore the fact that Huawei as a competitor has been getting bigger and bigger. How has this competition affected you? It’s absolutely made us stronger. Healthy competition is good. It’s like if you’re too superior as a sports athlete, you tend to relax too much and become complacent, and maybe we were a little complacent for a little while. We felt that we had such a gigantic advantage on the market and that is very dangerous. It’s been a really good awakening for us to force ourselves to be more focused on the research and development, more focused on innovation, and really having to execute everything we do. There is no way you can relax in this kind of fast-moving business.

How would you say that competition has influenced your strategy? I think very little. I personally believe, and I know I share this with my CEO and the whole leadership team, is that strategy is something you do on your own. We really do not copy strategy from anyone else, but of course we read the market. You have to understand what competition does, but the strategy is determined by more of what you believe the future in the market is, and then you determine what you want to do as one of the players. I don’t believe, and I don’t think Ericsson ever believed, in trying to be a fast-moving copier, and therefore I think that the strategy we decided almost 10 years ago is still in place. We pretty much said mobile is our foothold, that’s where we’re really strong; broadband, and marrying that to become the networked society is something we truly believe in. And then what we’re putting into action now is the next wave, which is about TV media and the OSS/BSS stack. This is something we decided a long time ago. Managed services was something we decided was important for the operators 13 years ago. These

strategic choices you take is something that you have to decide, and at that time, Huawei didn’t even exist. So it’s quite interesting to see at that time, in 2000, I remember being in England and my fiercest competitor by far was Nortel. They were extremely successful in 3G, a very strong company. A few years later, we bought them – who would have thought that? Are you going to buy Huawei, then? [Laughs] I really don’t think so! But if you’d asked me about Nortel in 2000, when I was fiercely competing to get the business with BT Cellnet [now 02], who would even have dreamt about such a development?

“It’s like if you’re too superior as a sports athlete, you tend to relax too much and become complacent, and maybe we waere a little complacent for a little while. We felt that we had such a gigantic advantage on the market and that is very dangerous.” What is the main challenge facing Ericsson and the telecoms industry in general right now? Telecoms is in an inflection point where we are going from a voice to a mobile broadbandbased service portfolio. When you make that change, it’s all about the timing of when you do the investment. The ones that were successful before won’t necessarily be successful in the future. When you have an inflection point, the one that can adapt to the change the best – and also choose the

right timing to change – will be the winner. Then I think you need to look at some micro economics as well. Europe and the U.S. are not having an easy time, and the Middle East has gone through quite a lot of political changes, so the inflection point coupled with a fairly unstable economic situation means these two are going hand-in-hand as the biggest challenges in our industry right now. What are going to be the key things that keep Ericsson’s lead through this inflection point and the next few years? We are determined to continue to be the number one when it comes to the technology. Then also the R&D in the areas we’ve chosen to be in, we also want to continue to be number one in. The continuous investment in R&D is definitely important. The other thing is how we manage to develop our people. I think people will make more difference in tomorrow’s Ericsson. I’m not saying people haven’t been important, but you could almost sell a product by itself before. That’s not good enough in the future – you really need to have people that can be in the projects, be innovative in the solutions, and creating this dynamic relationship with the operators to respond to the dynamic relationships they have with their clients. The third thing is our scale. We are in every country and have managed to create a company that is really scaled globally, so we take advantage of both global processes, methods and tools, and also cost so that we have the most cost-effective R&D and delivery on services wherever you are. What is your message to our readers? I think we are on the right track when it comes to the strategic process, and we have deliberately been investing for a long time. So for what the consumer needs, our technology and solutions will do the job, and it will be a competitive advantage for an operator choosing to partner strategically with Ericsson. By working with us – which many, many do – we will be a determined factor for the success of operators, and I think consumers will notice the difference as well. May 2013

Computer News Middle East


analyst corner Mark McDonald

Social climber Being social is being smart, particularly in the Gulf, says Mark McDonald, Group Vice President, Gartner, and co-author of The Social Organization.


very organisation is social. They are social in the sense that every organisation consists of people, their relationships, knowledge, energy and engagement. However, few organisations are social in the sense that they actively leverage those relationships and knowledge to achieve strategic objectives. Becoming more social is a strategy that naturally fits the needs of organisations in the Gulf. Consider the situation facing organisations in the region whose growth strategies rely on extending their products, services and expertise to markets outside of the region. Historically, growing outside of home markets involved copying, extending and customising business practices and processes into local markets. Organisations repeat this process for each country and market. The result is increasing complexity and fragmentation as the company consists of individual countrybased business units. How can an organisation tailor itself to meet local market needs while retaining the scale, innovation and sense of a common culture? The answer is to become more social.

“The customs, culture and companies in the Gulf are already among the more social in the world.”


Computer News Middle East

May 2013

For companies in the Gulf, this means building on cultural traditions and values, and using social media to invite deeper engagement among customers and associates. Extending the enterprise beyond selling products and services provides a way to create local markets out of many common components. Here is how it can work Traditionally, the company bears the cost and complexity of copying and customising to local

needs. The company also bears the risk. Get the localisation wrong and the company misses their plans and projections. Consider the alternative, where local customers, suppliers and personnel add local context to products and services. By using social media, prospects and customers can discuss how products and services fit local needs. Professionals respond to customer questions and share experiences and best practices. Social media-based contextualisation provides local ‘colour’ around global products, as well as creating connections In addition, deploying social media internally creates connections between countries via internal collaborative communities. CEMEX, the global cement company, provides an example via their ‘SHIFT!’ social media initiative. SHIFT! draws together CEMEX associates from around the world to collaborate on common corporate goals such as sustainability,

organic growth and a culture of innovation. Social media reduces the gap between countries to share experiences, ideas and best practices. Participants in SHIFT! increasingly identify themselves with the company, where previously they associated themselves with their country. Adding a social dimension is smart for growth and innovation Companies in the Gulf sit at the social, economic, geo-political and logistical crossroads of the world. The region has been a trade and transfer point driven by logistics and natural resources. Developing the region’s commercial base involves not only building local companies to serve local markets, but also extending those companies into global markets in India, Africa and the rest of the Middle East. That extension brings local culture and custom into play, creating the need for a more social solution to replace standard business practices based on copying and customising operations to each country. The customs, culture and companies in the Gulf are already among the more social in the world. Leveraging that social nature into business models and growth strategies builds upon this strength, and helps resolve the issue of complexity via country customisation. Creating a social organisation to engage customers, and trade partners and associates, represents a smart strategy for growing locally while retaining global capability and scale.

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The Big Question Big data

So you want to be a data scientist? According to CNN, data scientist is one of the best new jobs of 2012, and an article in the Harvard Business Review called it the coolest job of the 21st century. But what do they actually do?


he allure surrounding the role of a data scientist is in direct correlation with the skyrocketing interest in big data and analytics - tools of the trade for data scientists, who are tasked with unearthing meaningful correlations within ever-mounting data volumes and turning them into profitable business insights. With demand for data scientists exceeding supply, salaries for these workers range in the six figures, according to Matthew Ripaldi, Senior Vice President at Modis, a staffing firm. With all the attention, it’s only natural that people with any background in data and computing might wonder, who are these people, and could I become one? We’ve tried to answer some of the most basic questions.

What is a data scientist? This deceptively simple question really depends on who you ask. A widely accepted definition comes from Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist, someone who can obtain, scrub, explore, model and interpret data. Neil Raden, CEO, Hired Brains, goes a bit deeper, categorising data scientists into two groups. Type one are true scientists, he says, who research and create algorithms and methods, publish papers and actively participate in their discipline’s communications. Type two are the group more often referred to in today’s hiring market - they are not scientists but practitioners, Raden says. 92

Computer News Middle East

May 2013

These people are experts in statistical and mathematical modelling and development, who understand and employ quantitative methods, as well as design, test and deploy models of varying complexity. Meanwhile, Greta Roberts, CEO, Talent Analytics Corp., believes the current understanding of the data scientist job actually encompasses four functional roles. After conducting a survey that asked data scientists to detail how much time they devoted to 11 analytics functions, four clusters emerged: data preparation professionals (who spend most of their time on data acquisition, preparation and analytics); programmers (who program and do some analytics), managers (who concentrate on data management, administration, presentation, interpretation and design) and generalists (who do a little bit of everything). “Because it’s a newer role, I think people are throwing everything in there. And when you over-specify, you come up with a null set,” Roberts says. What many businesses see as a data scientist is actually a variety of functions performed by a group. And while there still may be a shortage of people to fill these roles, she says, the situation is a far cry from hunting unicorns, as plenty of people possess the natural aptitude to grow into one or more of the needed roles. What are the necessary skills and credentials for data scientists?

As Roberts indicates, lists detailing data science skills have proliferated on the Web, and they can be daunting. Most specify experience with advanced math, statistical analysis (including tools such as R, SAS and Stata), programming (including languages such as C, C++, Python and Java), SQL databases, platforms like Hadoop and MapReduce, data mining and modelling, data visualisation, creativity, communication skills, and business understanding. What pushes data scientists ahead of other analytics professionals, Ripaldi says, is the ability to communicate - often to the C-suite - what the data tells them, as well as how to act on the findings. “You can analyse all the data you want,” he says. “But if you can’t articulate what it’s telling you, you’re not a data scientist.” After all, the goal is to advance business strategy, such as reducing customer churn, targeting offers across channels and mitigating financial risks. Then again, Roberts sees inherent conflict in these requirements, she says. “They have to be able to sit and look at data for days at a time and then flip the switch and be an engaging presenter? That’s two different people.” There is no question that the need for data scientists is only going to increase. But as the role is a relatively new one, it will only see more change over time, both in terms of what these professionals do and how companies organise, attain and develop the needed talent.

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experts and sponsor case studies and will bring together 100+ IT decision makers, per event. The conferences will run as a step by step guide to navigate the key areas involved with the design, build and maintenance of a data centre and we are looking for partners for each of the various stages to be positioned as our preferred partner for each.

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face to face HP

Is this man the next CEO of HP? Also, we’ve got a fantastic leadership team here. We, at HP, truly believe that in order to deliver, you need the right solutions as well as the right people to drive them – we’ve got that here. Locally, the values, skills, and passions for technology are extremely high – those are important ingredients.


any analysts and journalists have recently hinted that Whitman’s successor will be hired internally, and Veghte’s name has often been uttered in the same sentence. The ex-Microsoft man, responsible for, possibly, the best Windows release to date, Windows 7, has only been on the board at HP since 2010. However, he’s already produced significant results, increasing software revenue by 18 percent during his first fiscal year. Now, the COO is on a mission to take HP back to its glory days. Why leave Microsoft at that time – you were the golden boy? I saw this shift coming and HP is uniquely positioned for this shift. Customers are under so much pressure and they need solutions. They need a mix of software, hardware and services. If I could go to a place that was able to provide these services, and be a part of these solutions then that’s exactly what I wanted to do. Roosevelt put it beautifully – the best thing in life is working hard on something that matters. That’s how it feels here at HP. It’s not HP moulding itself around my style, it’s me being the perfect fit for HP. This is a people company and we address that in three forms – employees, partners, and customers – that’s Meg’s way, that’s what she cares about. When I arrived here I received thousands of emails from people, 94

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May 2013

people I didn’t even know, wishing me well in the role. This truly is a people focused company and Microsoft lost that in the years leading up to when I left, not that they’re not a fantastic company, doing amazing things, which they are. But I feel like I belong here, you can hear it in my voice – I’m so enthusiastic about where we’re going. Roosevelt said it right – the best thing in life is to work hard on something that matters. How does the executive board view the Middle East? The Gulf region is uniquely positioned in ways that many other parts of the globe are not – we see that. There is a clear style of IT emerging at the moment which promises greater simplicity, agility, and lower capital model, and the thing with this region is it doesn’t have the legacy that other regions have. This alone gives it the opportunity to build its vision around this new style of IT. Another thing I notice about this region is that it’s rare in the fact that the vision and aspiration is not defined quarter to quarter like other regions – it’s defined by a much longer time line. I was here in 2000, and it’s clear that Dubai has taken on a major role in the economic world since then. You can see the appetite and aspirations here, and this is one of the main reasons that I, as the COO, am investing my time here.

You work hand-in-hand with Whitman – what makes her the right person to lead this company forward? I’ve been privileged to work with some of the best leaders that this industry has seen, and Meg is remarkable. She is a great business person, but she also cares so much about people and that’s what this company stands for. Nobody works harder for Hewlett Packard than Meg Whitman. I needed to find a place that was reflective of me, because I derive my inspiration and motivation from people and I needed a team of people who felt the same. HP and Meg have produced this. She is connecting, she’s connecting with people and that’s why she’s finding so much success. Recently, Meg and I were at a retirement party for a man who was 73 years old – and he was still reluctant to retire – and had worked at HP for a long time. You know the situation when a person gets too close to you and it’s awkward? This man got really close to Meg, and he said, “If Bill and Dave were still here, they’d do what I’m about to do,” and he hugged her, “Because you’re the HP way,” he said. What did she do? She looked at me, rather watery eyed, and said that moments like that are what it’s all about – that was the actual quote.

Are you the man to take on the CEO role next? My focus at the moment, with the rest of the board, is to make HP all it can be. But if the job was offered to you? My focus at the moment is to make HP all it can be.


12th June 2013

Godolphin Ballroom, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Join the premier partner gathering in the Middle East as they discuss the latest trends that are together changing the IT landscape at Reseller Middle East’s Partner Excellence Conference 2013. Then, watch as the best of the region walk away with prized trophies in recognition of their efforts at Reseller Middle East’s Partner Excellence Awards 2013.

REGISTER NOW! ENQUIRIES Rajashree R Kumar Commercial Director Tel: +971 4 440 9131

Jeevan Thankappan Group Editor Tel: +971 4 440 9109


Launches and releases


PRODUCT WATCH A breakdown of the top products and solutions to launch and release in the last month.

Product: BlackBerry Q10 Vendor: BlackBerry What it does: The BlackBerry Q10 sports an updated browser and runs the BlackBerry 10.1 operating system with other improvements that were first seen on the Z10. The classic BlackBerry keyboard has been re-engineered and designed with a straight and wider keyboard, larger sculpted keys, and larger frets between rows to help users find the right keys quicker and with less errors. With the learning capability of BlackBerry 10, users also get personalised intelligent word suggestions and contextual auto-correction. What you need to know: Whilst the BlackBerry Z10 has already been on the market for a few months, BlackBerry enthusiasts will remember another smartphone was unveiled back at the BB10 launch event on January 30. The BlackBerry Q10 pays homage to the classic QWERTY keyboard, which is synonymous with the BlackBerry brand and a popular feature amongst die-hard fans. Business-driven BlackBerry lovers won’t care that the keyboard eats into the size of the touchscreen. And, besides, the Q10 – which becomes available in May – boasts the largest ever touchscreen display on a BlackBerry QWERTY smartphone. BlackBerry will count on enterprises and government agencies to buy the Q10 for their employees, amongst the usual Middle East loyalists.


Computer News Middle East

may 2013

Product: Slate 7 Vendor: HP

Product: Aspire ZC-605 Vendor: Acer

What it does: The Slate 7 weighs 370 grams, offers five hours of battery life on video playback, and is the company’s first tablet with Android OS. The 7-inch screen displays images at a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. The tablet has 8GB of internal storage, but has a micro-SD slot for expandable storage. It has a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor running at 1.4GHz and key features include a 3-megapixel back camera, a VGA front camera and Wi-Fi. What you need to know: HP has started shipping the $169.99 Slate 7 tablet with Android 4.1, which signals the company’s re-entry into the consumer tablet market after the TouchPad imploded in 2011. The company hopes buyers will choose its aggressively priced tablet over other Android tablets like Google’s Nexus, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, which are priced at $199. HP is relying on Google for delivery of music, movies and TV shows to its tablets, but has said it could offer its own cloud service when the time is right.

What it does: Acer’s latest all-inone consumer desktop is the 19.5-inch Aspire ZC-605. As is the case with most all-in-one desktops, Acer’s new unit puts strong emphasis on having a clean design. Encasing the display is a thick black bezel that looks like a high-quality photo frame. The capsuleshaped speaker and port bay is also pretty eye-catching. To ensure users don’t ruin the sleek looks with ugly wires running everywhere, Acer has fitted hooks to the ZC-605’s stand, so that cables can be kept in place. What you need to know: Behind the pretty face, there are plenty of practical applications to the new design. The tilt can be adjusted from 10 to 30 degrees, and the 1-megapixel HD webcam is also adjustable. Users can spec up to 16 GB of DDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, and up to 1 TB for storage, which comes in the form of a 7200 rpm, 3.5-inch SATA 3 GB/s hard disk drive. Graphics are dealt with by Intel HD Graphics. The new Acer comes preloaded with Windows 8, and it will also throw in AcerCloud, the firm’s own public cloud service.

Product: 298P4QJEB (29-inch AH-IPS monitor) Vendor: Philips What it does: Philips has launched its new “ultra-wide” 29-inch AH-IPS monitor with MultiView in the Middle East, dubbed the 298P4QJEB. The new monitor uses an advanced 21:9 panoramic AH-IPS panel with true 8-bit colour depth, delivering a great colour accuracy. Philips’ TrueVision technology achieves more than 99 percent RGB colour space, the company said, delivering Quad-HD 2,560 x 1,440 or 2,560 x 1,080-pixel images. What you need to know: Graphics and images should come alive with this monitor, thanks to the high-performance panels with a high density pixel count, the 178/178 wide viewing angles and the high-bandwidth source inputs such as Displayport, HDMI, Dual-link DVI or optional Thunderbolt. The monitor’s MultiView display technology enables dual connect and the viewing of multiple devices side by side simultaneously.

may 2013

Computer News Middle East


Column The word on the street

Joe Lipscombe CNME’s man about town gives his spin on the latest IT news and trends.


Computer News Middle East

Nok’ing on heaven’s door no more


he war of the smartphones reminds me somewhat of the movie Lawrence of Arabia. On countless occasions, my father has tried to make me sit through this epic piece of cinema, and on countless occasions, I’ve drifted in and out of consciousness throughout its 228 minutes of screen time. You know that you won’t stay awake throughout and will need someone to provide you with a brief catch-up – and of course, someone always dies - but most of all, the biggest comparison is that, much like the smartphone war, Lawrence of Arabia never shows any sign of ending. The recently released Q1 results in the smartphone market have given something for tech reporters around the globe to feast on for a short while, it’s given analysts the chance to say, ‘I told you so,’ and it’s given CEOs the chance to say, ‘Why I did I let them talk me into that?’. But, for the first time in a long time, it wasn’t Stephen Elop over at Nokia, the company that no doubt had the same sensation when reading the results as my mother did when she read my A-Level results - elation mixed with a sense of utter confusion. In the first quarter of this year, Samsung shipped (and I’ve read a few different numbers) somewhere around 70 million smartphones globally. Nokia shipped less mobile units combined (61.9 million), but that’s not the whole story. Nokia tells me that it’s finally in the growth phase of its transition – and that growth is coming from an innovative smartphone device, not its traditional feature phone line, which it has been clinging to for the past I don’t know how long. I imagine there is still some chap, somewhere, pitching Snake IIII to the developers of Angry Birds. Let it go. Its feature phone segment reportedly dropped 30 percent – that’s massive. But

May 2013

the results showed that overall, smartphones had outsold feature phones for the first time ever. Fifty-one percent of mobile shipments were smartphones. This is big news. We’ve finally crossed the line into the smart world – officially. And it appears that Nokia may have leapt from the platform and caught this train just as it was pulling away from the station. The Lumia, which it claims will be its leading device in the market, sold 5.6 million units, as opposed to 4.4 million the previous quarter – that’s a growth rate of 27 percent. The tide changes on a freakishly regular basis in the smartphone world – it was only 2007 that Nokia held 40 percent global market share. We recently bathed in the glory of the mobile phone’s 40th anniversary, and Nokia would have made many an article that week, for very sentimental reasons. However, sentimentality and innovation are on opposite platforms at the station, and Nokia certainly boarded the slow train. But what it has done is show that its change in strategy and gutsy dive into the smartphone pool is paying off. It’s still fully submerged, wrestling with BlackBerry, while Samsung floats nonchalantly on a Galaxy-shaped lilo above, but it’s making waves – well, ripples. Positive ripples. And this is a really good sign for Nokia, which many would have written off a year or so back, expecting Elop to turn his back on the Finnish company, simply shrugging one of those European* shrugs where his shoulders rise above his ears and his chin grazes the floor, and say, “I tried.” It’s fair to mention that its collaboration with Microsoft, and its decision to elect an external operating system on its hardware was a wise move. Windows 8 is a very attractive OS, built by a company that knows its way around. I genuinely hope that Nokia can once again stake its claim as one of the top mobile phone makers and that the Microsoft/Nokia partnership can be as dominant as it is on paper. Samsung may be the almighty ruler as we speak – but Lawrence of Arabia is a very long film. *Though I am aware he himself is not European.

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