ECMEA June 2024

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PAGES 62 INSIDE Partner Profitability/ Big Data and Analytics

Boosting the bottom line

As anyone familiar with the channel business would tell you, it’s all about margins. As I pen this editorial, I recall the past two decades when I was privy to the evolution of the channel landscape in this region. Back then, it was dominated by box pushers, and we had a thriving re-export market; margins were in double digits. The model was rather simple—just ship, deliver and provide technical support for hardware.

But, things started changing with the advent of new technologies, forcing many channel partners to rethink their business models and shift to a value-added approach. Today, if you look at the channel landscape, product margins are slimming down due to increased competition focused on pricing. The sad truth is some channel partners generate little or no profits. This is why profitability is now an excellent topic for discussion in the channel business.

Make no mistake- it is time for vendors and distributors to acknowledge that maximizing channel profitability is the only way to foster long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with their partners. Unfortunately, many tech vendors remain unaware of how their programs impact partner profitability. While these vendors invest heavily in sophisticated CRM systems to bolster relationships with end-users, they rarely consider the benefits of sophisticated channel analysis or invest in advanced partner relationship management systems.

So, what is the secret sauce to partner profitability, you might wonder. To state the obvious, it always starts with something very basic – offer higher margins and implement incentive programmes for meeting sales targets. More importantly, empower your partners with comprehensive training and support, and devote enough resources to ensure your partners have the know-how to serve your customers in the best way possible.

It is heartening that many tech vendors have already started simplifying their partner onboarding process with a laser-sharp focus on certification as a requisite. They offer free training encompassing technical, sales, and marketing, and provide actionable insights into customer demographics and buy behaviors. While hand-holding can go a long way in supporting channel partners, it should also be tempered with an efficient lead management system that can help them close deals more effectively.

In this edition of EC, we have featured some of the top value-added distributors that have placed partner profitability at the heart of everything they do with some really innovative programs. They offer tools and resources to help partners streamline their operations and reduce costs, directly impacting profitability.

Now, this begs the question – is the onus only on vendors and distributors? The answer is a resounding no. In this age of digital transformation and ever-evolving tech landscape, channel partners must embrace new business models and become trusted advisors to their customers. Specialise in a domain and add value – let that be your mantra for a robust bottom line.







MANAGING EDITOR Jeevan Thankappan







Phone: + 971 555 120 490

Content Writer KUMARI AMBIKA











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Leading the change

Connor, in association with GEC Media Group, organized a roundtable discussion on the topic of ‘the agile CIO— navigating the innovationcost paradigm.’ The US-headquartered Connor provides contract compliance and software asset management services. The event was kicked off by the company’s regional head, Siddharth Tiwari, who stated that the role of the CIO has evolved beyond merely managing IT infrastructure; they are now integral to strategy creation and execution, making today’s IT leaders agents of change.

“The pandemic obviously triggered a massive transformation in companies, some forced and others proactive. This change gave IT leaders some flexibility in budgets, which also brought about huge expectations. After all, we are all working towards strategic

business goals with high expectations,” he said.

However, during economic downturns, CIOs focus on smart investments and optimizing existing solutions to create value.

“So, imagine if I told you that we can help you unlock the riches hidden within your software assets. We are essentially helping organizations maximize value, acting as treasure hunters to unearth the gold within your software assets. But we’re not just focusing on what’s buried; we’re helping you see the invisible,” he added.

The roundtable discussion, anchored by Jaykumar Mohanachandran, Group CIO of Buzeki Enterprises, delved deep into a variety of topics including how technology investments directly contribute to revenue generation and redefining CIO-CXO partnerships. ‘Controlling the costs related to IT software requires collaboration between

IT, procurement, and other departments,’ he remarked.

The CIOs in attendance unanimously agreed that tech innovation has the potential to drive business growth and profitability, but it must be presented in a clear and compelling manner to business stakeholdersThe participants in the discussion included Damian O’Gara, Chief Digital and Information Officer, Kent; Aus Alzubaidi, CIO, MBC Group; Aamir Khan, Head of Enterprise and Data Architecture; Khaldun Al Khaldi, VP-IT from a leading financial institution in the UAE; Vijaykumar Mali, Head of Digital Transformation, Lamprell; Mohamad Gholoom, Governance, and Risk Assessment expert, Ministry of Health and Prevention; Mohammed Ragab, Applications Development Section Head, RTA, Yousif Odeh, IT Manager, Emirates Driving Institute; and Padam Kafle, Head of Innovation, Aster Digital Health.

6 JUNE 2024 | EVENTS |

CAAS Research spotlights digital transformation trends in healthcare

CAAS Research unveiled its report, Middle East IT Industry Foresight 2024 –Healthcare, which delves into the transformative impact of digital technologies on the healthcare sector in the Middle East. It highlights the integration of telehealth and remote monitoring technologies, leading to more accessible, efficient, and patient-centered care. Technological advancements, including highspeed internet, mobile technology, wearables, and AI, are improving diagnostic accuracy, personalizing patient care, and extending healthcare services to remote populations.

The report examines the challenges and opportunities associated with this transformation, such as interoperability and data security. It provides insights into the potential impact of telehealth and remote monitoring on the healthcare industry. Overall, it aims to equip stakeholders with knowledge to harness digital health innovations for a resilient and high-quality regional healthcare system.

Historically, the healthcare industry has

faced challenges in adopting IT at the same pace as other sectors. However, the pandemic has acted as a catalyst, turbocharging digital innovation in the industry . This acceleration is a testament to the industry’s commitment to improving patient outcomes and operational efficiencies

Jaykumar Mohanachandran, chief research officer at IamCaaS said: “This transformative journey, marked by the integration of telehealth, remote monitoring, EHRs, AI, and cybersecurity, signifies a notable transition towards healthcare that is more accessible, efficient, and patient-centered.

“Our in-depth analysis, based on extensive surveys and research, provides insights into the adoption rates, impacts, and future trajectories of these technologies. We explore the opportunities presented by these innovations as well as the challenges faced by healthcare organizations.”

Explaining the methodology, Shoeb Mohammad, Lead Research Analyst at IamCaaS, said the survey was designed to include a variety of healthcare professionals, from IT directors to CIOs. “Our survey

captured insights from over 150 participants across the Gulf region, representing a broad demographic spectrum. This included 72% male and 28% female participants, with designations ranging from IT directors to CIOs.”.

The survey was unveiled at a virtual event with a panel discussion featuring Dr. Ismaeel M Almakrami, Executive VP of eHealth at Health Holding Company, Najran Cluster, and Dr. Salim Al-Shuaili, Director of AI and AT Projects Unit at MTCIT.

Al-Shuaili shed light on the challenges healthcare providers face in integrating IT solutions into healthcare. “Limitations in terms of infrastructure and connectivity hinder the implementation of advanced technologies such as AI. Data privacy and security are another concern.”

Almakrami commented: “Ensuring the security of sensitive patient data is a global challenge, not just limited to our region. Healthcare organizations need to invest in robust encryption and access control technologies, and conduct regular security audits and risk assessments.”

7 JUNE 2024 | EVENTS |

Breakthrough innovation for the channel with HP’s Amplify Partner Program

In today’s era of increased competition and narrowing profit margins, channel partners are looking for ways to drive profitable growth – a fundamental aspect crucial for any sustainable and successful channel program. In fact, this stands as the one of the most important tenets for IT vendors to consider when fostering relationships within the channel. HP, known for its longstanding commitment to partner support, exemplifies this understanding.

Unlocking AI-driven Growth Opportunities

This commitment was palpable at this year’s HP Amplify Partner conference in Palo Alto, where the company unveiled a comprehensive suite of benefits aimed at propelling partner

growth, particularly in the domain of AI (artificial intelligence).

The new benefits of the Amplify Partner program announced at the Amplify Partner conference include the first role-based AI partner training and certification program and a new ‘Growth Play’ opportunity tailored for AI data science. Boasting a portfolio of over a hundred AI-enabled solutions and the company’s ‘Future Ready’ strategy, HP says it is unlocking new opportunities for partners to create long-term sustainable growth.

Speaking at the event, Kobi Elbaz, SVP and GM of Global Channel, Sales Innovation, and Operations at HP, said the Amplify Partner program is the only channel program in the industry to go beyond performance models. “Partners are essential to unlocking growth opportunities and serving customers and we

aim to provide the right program, the right training, and the right growth opportunities and benefits to make it easier to sell our worldclass products and services. Together we have the Future Ready portfolio, operations, and partners to win.” he said.

HP is confident that AI will open new opportunities for market expansion and operational improvements for its partners while also elevated customer experiences. However, HP underscores the critical importance of trust in the integrity of AI technology, a confidence that can be established only through robust collaboration with a trusted vendor.

To transform partners into trusted advisors for customers seeking the right AI products and solutions, HP has partnered with NVIDIA to create the initial series of advanced training modules of its Future Ready AI MasterClass.

8 JUNE 2024 | EVENTS |

Powered by HP University, subsequent releases will strive to continuously enhance the skills and capabilities of HP Amplify partners, enabling them to remain at the forefront of the rapidly evolving AI landscape.

Amplify Plays on Growth

Starting in May, all HP Amplify commercial partners will gain access to Amplify Growth Plays, a fresh program centered on HP’s growth categories. Growth Plays provides tools, advanced capabilities, and compensation elements, rewarding partners with customized benefits to boost incremental profitability.

Furthermore, HP is streamlining the Amplify partner membership framework to enhance access to its expanded product and

service lineup. Amplify members can now take advantage of HP’s new customized approach to address customer needs, facilitated by a unified framework and a two-track structure – synergy and power.

As part of the power partner track, HP has introduced new distinctions for enrolled partners: power elite and global power elite. This structure rewards partners who operate on a large scale and deliver significant revenue and capabilities.

HP is also expanding its partner sustainability assessment and training initiative, HP Amplify Impact, to distribution partners in nearly 50 countries. Launched in 2021, this program has already provided essential knowledge and tools to over 40 percent of Amplify partners,

enabling them to advocate for positive change. By emphasizing sustainability as a crucial competitive edge, HP says Amplify partners can make a substantial impact in areas like climate action, human rights, and digital equity.

Following the new partner program announcements, the event marked the launch of what HP asserts is the industry’s most extensive range of AI PCs. Spanning from HP Elite laptops engineered for seamless collaboration to Z by HP mobile workstations, these AI-integrated devices promise to enhance productivity and user experiences in hybrid work settings. Particularly noteworthy among the new announcements was the unveiling of the AI Creation Center, offering data scientists a comprehensive workstation solution for AI development.

9 JUNE 2024 | EVENTS |

How AI is reshaping retail

Under the aegis of IGOAI, GEC Media Group organised Retail AI Summit yesterday in Dubai. The summit powered by Adeptmind delved deep into the impact of AI in retail and trends in omnichannel strategies.

The event kicked off with a presentation by Dr. Jassim Haji, President of IGOAI, which is the world’s largest-growing AI community. “The IGOAI aims to lead in AI innovation and applications. It fosters a community of AI professionals and enthusiasts, offering professional programs, certifications and various resources on AI technologie,” he said.

This was followed by a presentation by G Wu, CEO of Adeptmind, which shed light on how to create an engaging online shopping experience by leveraging AI.

Adeptmind, created by the same team that developed AI behind the voice assistant for brand such as Samsung, LG, and Tesla, started off working on search functionality for retail websites, allowing users to find specific items. “After this, mall owners started approaching us, asking if we could extend this search capability to entire malls, allowing users to search for items across multiple stores. This was a challenging problem, but we took it on,” said Wu.

He added: “In 2018, we began scraping product catalogs from various retailers to build a comprehensive search capability for shopping malls. This allows users to search for items, and find all the stores in a mall that have them in stock. Today, Adeptmind powers 95.3 percent of the world’s organic mall product traffic. We work with 52 malls in North America and Europe, tracking 88.4 million products.”

Wu said Adeptmind can reduce the time to launch an omnichannel digital mall platform from 2 years to 3 months, and provide 2 million sessions of traffic out of the box. “By adopting Adeptmind, you can have the majority of your resources freed up to work on loyalty and gamification.”

The summit was attended by some of the bigget retailers and mall operators in the UAE, including: Abuzar Zoher, Senior Manager, Nakheel; Sachin Chaudhry, Business Development and AI Manager, Apparel Group; Anish Mohammed, CIO of Lulu Group; Alaa Alyaseen, GM-UAE, Omnichannel at Majid Al Futtaim; Alaa Elayyan, AVP-IT at Deyaar Development; Aamir Khan, Head of Enterprise and Data Architecture at Al Tayer Group; and Chris Cooper, Partnerships, Adeptmind.

10 JUNE 2024 | EVENTS |

Highlights from the 8th Global Security Symposium 2024 – UAE


The 8th Global Security Symposium, held on 14th of May, at Taj, Dubai, was a resounding success, drawing cybersecurity experts, thought leaders, and professionals from around the world. Hosted by the GEC Media Group, the symposium provided a platform for insightful discussions, knowledge sharing, and networking opportunities aimed at enhancing cybersecurity practices globally.

The symposium commenced with a warm welcome from Ronak Samantaray, CEO of GEC Media Group, followed by an enlightening opening keynote by speakers such as Mr. Tarek Kuzbari from Picus Security and Gopan Sivasankaran from Secureworks who shared valuable insights into emerging threats, including the rise of “Hunter-Killer” malware and new trends in cyber attacks and data breaches. Their presentations provided attendees with a deeper understanding of the evolving threat landscape and the importance of robust cybersecurity measures.

The symposium featured engaging panel discussions on a range of topics, moderated by industry experts: SIEM and Response Management: Moderated by May El Barachi, Director of Computer Science and IT at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, this panel explored

strategies for effective Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and response management. In a discussion, Saquib Farooq Malik, Head of Information Security, Al Tamimi and Company stated that “ CISO’s are becoming more hands on and talking in their own language to take authority of the situation”.

Busting the Myth of Zero Trust: Led by moderator Sona Saha Das, Head of Data Strategy and Governance at IT, this panel challenged conventional notions of Zero Trust Security, with panelists providing insights into its practical implementation. Osama Salah, Senior Information Technology Security Architect during the discussion stated that “ end users are the key components in security” Fraud Detection and Prevention: Moderator Oma Martins, Associate Director and Head of IT GRC at IHS Towers, facilitated a discussion on fraud detection and prevention strategies, featuring industry leaders sharing best practices and insights.

‘Everywhere Secure’ for New Age Enterprises: Moderated by Jayakumar Mohanachandran, Group CIO at Buzeki Enterprises, this panel explored strategies for securing enterprises in the digital age, with panelists discussing the importance of comprehensive security measures. Evita Faustina Francis, Head of Business Resilience

Middle East and India stated that “there should be a multi facet approach which can be compliance and purposeful driven.”

Recognition of Excellence: The symposium also celebrated excellence in cybersecurity with the Future Security Awards 2024 and CISO Awards 2024. These awards honored individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to cybersecurity, recognizing their dedication and innovation in the field.

To add to the event Venkatesh Mahadevan, Founding Board Member, CAAS did a keynote and provided attendees with actionable insights to navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape. Mahadevan’s presentation offered valuable perspectives on emerging trends and future challenges in cybersecurity. He emphasized on the role of CIO’s in every business and how CAAS can become one stop shop for all the enquiries and problemsof the industries.

The symposium reaffirmed the importance of collaboration, innovation, and continuous learning in addressing the evolving cybersecurity threats facing organizations worldwide. As attendees depart with new knowledge and connections, the Global Security Symposium remains committed to fostering a safer digital world through ongoing dialogue and cooperation.

11 JUNE 2024 | EVENTS |

The World CIO 200 Summit UAE Edition: A landmark event in IT leadership

The UAE edition of the World CIO 200 Summit UAE Edition was held in the Lapita Resort in Dubai, drawing top tech leaders. This year’s edition continued the legacy of being the world’s largest CIO Leadership excellence program, providing a unique platform for CIOs to engage in meaningful discussions and share new insights.

Opening Remarks by Ronak Samantaray, CEO of GEC Media Group

Ronak set the stage with a thought-provoking note on the evolving role of CIOs in the current era. His address highlighted the critical contributions of CIOs in driving technological innovation and strategic growth within


The World CIO 200 Summit’s UAE country ambassador, Peter Gesper, kickstarted the summit with a powerful presentation on the future of infrastructure and corporate applications in the global IT landscape. His insights from industry leaders provided a robust foundation for the discussions that followed.

Unleash the Might: Creating a Unified Vision Moderated by Feras Al Jabi, CEO/GM of ITQAN Al Khaleej, this session featured an esteemed panel of IT leaders:

• Dr. Latha Suresh, Director – Global Information Technology, Taghleef Industries

• Dr. Kalthoom Al Blooshi Mohammad AlBlooshi, Chief Innovation Officer / Director – Training and Development Center, Emirates Health Services

• Mike Asfar, EMBA, Director of Information Technology Digital Transformation, Abdul Latif Jameel International

• Anchal C., Group Head of IT and Projects, Leading Banking and Insurance

• Sourav Sinha, Chief Information Officer, BeOnd Airline

• Adam Docrat, Head of IT, Chemist Warehouse UAE

The discussion emphasized the importance of creating a unified vision within organizations to drive technological advancement and achieve strategic objectives. Each panelist shared valuable insights from their respective industries, highlighting the role of leadership, crossfunctional collaboration, and strategic alignment.

Charbel Zreiby, Regional Director of Channel Data Centre Specialists CEEMETA at Dell Technologies, delivered an insightful session on

12 JUNE 2024 | EVENTS |

how Dell is transforming data management with AI. His presentation provided attendees with advanced strategies for leveraging AI to enhance data management and operational efficiency.

The Three Commitments of Exceptional Leaders : Ali El Kontar, CEO of Zero&One, captivated the audience with his session on “The Three Commitments of Exceptional Leaders.” He explored the essential commitments that define leadership excellence, inspiring attendees to integrate these principles into their leadership practices.

The Path Forward and Hybrid Multicloud Raif Abou Diab, Country Manager for UAE, Oman & Pakistan at Nutanix shared his expertise on hybrid multicloud solutions. His presentation offered valuable insights into the future advancements and adaptability of hybrid multi-cloud technologies, emphasizing their critical role in modern IT infrastructure.

Gen AI – Use Cases, Infrastructure Readiness, and Adaptability Moderated by Jeevan Thankappan,Managing Editor, GEC Media Group, this panel included:

• Manny Johal, Chief Information Officer, Premiera Education Group

• Alaa Alyaseen Kurbag, Director-Information Tech., MAF Retail Carrefour

• Vipul Singhal, Digital Transformation Leader

• Arun Kumar Mohta, Group IT Head, FJ Group

The discussion delved into the real-world applications, infrastructure readiness, and

adaptability of Gen AI. Panelists shared their experiences and strategies for integrating AI technologies to drive innovation and operational efficiency.


Wassim Abi Saab, Regional Alliances and Channel Manager at Pure Storage led a session on the integration of innovation, technology, and sustainability. He emphasized the importance of sustainable practices in advancing technological innovation and achieving long-term success.

Navigating the Future of Cybersecurity: Nagesh Konduru Nagesh Konduru, Founder & CEO of Banyan Cloud Inc., USA, provided an in-depth look into the future of cybersecurity. His session on “Governance & Continuous Monitoring” offered valuable guidance on enhancing cybersecurity measures to protect against evolving threats.

Agility and Adaptability: Moderated by Amir Ashour, Project Manager – International Expansion at haifin (e& enterprise), this panel featured:

• Ali Katkhada, Group CIO, Depa United Group

• Shumon A Zaman, Chief Information & Digital Officer, Ali & Sons Holding LLC

• Vishal Anand, Head of Digital Excellence, Sinyar Hospitality

The discussion centered on how CIOs are enabling organizations to pivot and innovate rapidly, ensuring they stay ahead of the curve. Panelists shared their experiences in fostering

agility and adaptability within their organizations. AccelerateEnterpriseTransformationwith Practical AI: Imran Abdulla, GM for Middle East and Africa at Orbus Software, discussed practical AI solutions to accelerate enterprise transformation. His session empowered attendees with strategies to thrive in the digital era through innovative AI applications. FutureofCollaborationTechnology: Ektaa Puthran, Head of Sales APAC & MEA at Barco, unveiled the latest innovations in collaboration technology. Her presentation highlighted the impact of advanced collaboration tools on enhancing organizational efficiency and connectivity.

Announcement of GCF Future Innovators, STEM Challenge

The summit concluded with the announcement of the GCF Future Innovators, STEM Challenge. This initiative aims to foster innovation and support the next generation of technology leaders, underscoring the summit’s commitment to nurturing future talent and driving technological advancements.

The World CIO 200 Summit UAE Edition was a remarkable success, thanks to all attendees’ enthusiastic participation and insightful contributions. We look forward to continuing this journey of innovation and excellence in future editions of the summit.

Stay connected with us for more updates and upcoming events!

13 JUNE 2024 | EVENTS |

GCC GRC Day 2024: A comprehensive exploration of governance, risk, and compliance

The annual GCC GRC Day was held yesterday, providing a platform to share best practices in risk management, compliance, and enhancing resilience across cyber and operational domains.

Rajeev Dutt, GM -MEA and APAC at Swiss GRC, kicked off the summit. He emphasized that GRC is crucial for addressing interconnected risks in this digital age. According to him, proper tools and visibility are essential for managing risk effectively, though navigating rapidly changing regulatory landscapes can be challenging.

He highlighted the need for a strategic vision and stressed the importance of integrated GRC in mitigating risks and ensuring compliance.

Rajeev urged all attendees to take immediate action and implement an integrated GRC solution, which would provide a unified view of all risk areas, and enable the development of response plans for organizations to recover from disruptive events and maintain critical processes.

Rajeev’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion on navigating the challenges and opportunities in the GRC landscape. The panel featured prominent risk leaders such as Evita Faustina Francis, Head of Business Resilience

for the Middle East and India at Marsh; Srihari Upadhya, AGM of IS Risk and Compliance at Aster DM Healthcare; and Mohamad Gholoom, Governance and Risk Expert at MoHAP.

The panelists explored a wide array of topics, including the impact of emerging technologies on GRC frameworks, strategies for fostering cross-departmental collaboration, and the skills and competencies essential for emerging risk leaders.

The conference saw robust participation, with attendees engaging in dynamic discussions and panels that covered a wide array of topics, including cyber security, operational resilience, and the integration of strategic business planning with regulatory demands.

Key Highlights:

• Insightful Keynote Speeches: Prominent speakers from leading organizations shared their expertise on current GRC trends, innovative risk management strategies, and emerging cyber security threats. they included: General Manager MEA and APAC, Swiss GRC; Osama Al Rahma, Head of Business Development and Wealth Management, Emirates Investment Bank; Doniella Mckoy,

Faculty Lecturer Business Continuity and Emergency Management, Rabdan Academy, Khalid Jalal, Group CIO, GARMCO

• Expert Panel Discussions: Panels comprised seasoned professionals delved into critical issues such as regulatory compliance, cyber resilience, and the future of risk management.

Event Outcomes:

• The event fostered a collaborative environment where attendees exchanged valuable insights and actionable strategies. The discussions underscored the importance of aligning business objectives with evolving governance and risk management demands, emphasizing the need for continuous adaptation and innovation in the face of new challenges.

• Participants lauded the event for its comprehensive coverage of GRC topics and the quality of the discussions. Feedback highlighted the value of networking opportunities, with many attendees establishing new connections that promise to drive future collaborations.

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DRIVING OPERATIONS AND PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE Phone: +971528732716 | Email: hello@opx | Cloud & Digital Transformation Enterprise Applications Analytics & Automation AI & ML as a Service Cyber Security Solutions Management Consulting, Advisory and Quality Assurance YOUR PARTNER FOR “Delivery centres in US, Middle East and India” An unit of

New security brief: Millions of messages distribute LockBit Black ransomware

observed on the cybercrime landscape so far in 2024, the high-volume nature of the messages and use of ransomware as a firststage payload is notable.

What happened

Proofpoint observed high-volume campaigns, involving millions of messages, facilitated by the Phorpiex botnet delivering LockBit Black ransomware. This marks the first time Proofpoint researchers have seen LockBit Black ransomware (also known as LockBit 3.0) being distributed via Phorpiex at such a scale. The LockBit Black sample used in this campaign was likely created using the LockBit builder leaked in the summer of 2023.

Messages were from “Jenny Green” with the email address of Jenny@gsd[.]com. The emails contained an attached ZIP file with an executable (.exe). This executable was observed downloading the LockBit Black payload from Phorpiex botnet infrastructure.

The emails targeted organizations in multiple verticals across the globe and appeared to be opportunistic versus specifically targeted. While the attack chain for this campaign was not necessarily complex in comparison to what has been

The attack chain requires user interaction and starts when an end user executes the compressed executable in the attached ZIP file. The .exe binary will initiate a network callout to Phorpiex botnet infrastructure. If successful, the LockBit Black sample is downloaded and detonated on the end user’s system, where it exhibits data theft behavior and seizes the system, encrypting files and terminating services. In an earlier campaign, the ransomware was directly executed, and no network activity was observed, preventing network detections or blocks.


Proofpoint Threat Research has not attributed this campaign to a known threat actor. Phorpiex is a basic botnet designed to deliver malware via high-volume email campaigns. It operates as a Malware-as-a-Service and has garnered a large portfolio of threat actor customers over more than a decade of operation (earlier versions were first observed on the threat landscape circa 2011). Since 2018, the botnet has been observed conducting data exfiltration and ransomware delivery activities. Despite disruption efforts throughout the years, the botnet persists.

Proofpoint has observed a cluster of activity using the same “Jenny Green” alias with lures related to “Your Document” delivering Phorpiex malware in email campaigns since at least January 2023.

LockBit Black (aka LockBit 3.0) is a version of LockBit ransomware that was officially released with upgraded capabilities by the ransomware affiliates in June 2022. In September 2022, the confidential ransomware builder was leaked via Twitter. At the time, multiple parties claimed attribution, but LockBit affiliates claimed the builder was leaked by a disgruntled developer. The leak allows anyone to adopt the configuration for customized versions.

Why it matters

Ransomware as a first-stage payload attached to email threat campaigns is not something Proofpoint has observed in high volumes since before 2020, so the observation of a LockBit Black sample in email threat data on this global scale is highly unusual. Additionally, this campaign has been particularly notable due to the high volume of messages in the millions per day, volumes not commonly observed on the landscape. The number of messages and cadence associated with recently observed LockBit Black campaigns are at a volume not seen in malspam since Emotet campaigns.

16 JUNE 2024 | RESEARCH |

Nutanix widens coverage for cloud native users with expanded project beacon

We announced Project Beacon a year ago to share our vision for decoupling applications and their data from the underlying infrastructure to truly enable application mobility across clouds. As we shared this vision with customers over the last year, we saw an opportunity to expand the scope of the project to benefit the developers building Kubernetes-based modern applications across clouds and the operators tasked with deploying, securing and managing these Kubernetes environments.

Developers building new applications need fast, easy access to resources and services on reliable, scalable infrastructure. These include both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) data services such as blocks, files and objects, as well as more advanced platform-as-a-service (PaaS) data services such as databases, streaming, caching, and increasingly AI inference endpoint services.

The challenge with existing cloud native storage services-just like with platform data services is that they are native to just one particular public cloud. This means, for example, developers and operators who want to deploy an application that was built on AWS, and relies on Amazon’s native storage services, to another public cloud or a private cloud will need to find an alternative storage solution and rewrite the application logic.

Finally, for an application to be easily portable between clouds and on-premises, it falls to Kubernetes Platform Engineering teams to deliver consistent Kubernetes platforms with these data services across all these environments, and do so in a way that is secure, complies with enterprise policies and ideally remains manageable over time.

Expanding Project Beacon

The recently announced Nutanix Kubernetes Platform will on day one delivers a unified management plane for CNCF-compliant Kubernetes distribution, including cloudnative Kubernetes services such as EKS, and AKS. With a single pane of glass, Platform Engineers will be able to consistently deploy,

secure, manage and operate large fleets of Kubernetes clusters, across on-premise and public clouds.

For infrastructure data services, we are expanding the scope of Project Beacon to include cloud native block and file storage services that can be consistently managed natively in public clouds, in on-premises private data centers, and at the edge.

This will give platform teams and developers building and running modern applications seamless, fast, and secure access to the same powerful data and storage services no matter where they choose to deploy.

Introducing new Cloud Native Data Services

As a key step in this journey, we are developing Cloud Native AOS, which will take our proven and resilient AOS stack and deliver it in a containerized platform. The first use case available will be Nutanix Data Services (NDK) powered by Cloud Native AOS, which brings enterprise-grade data protection and data management capabilities to cloud native apps starting with AWS EKS with a vision to expand across any hyperscaler and K8s environment.

A critical target use case for Cloud Native AOS is building cloud native applications that can simply maintain data access in the face of availability zone failures, full region or even cloud failures. This level of resilience has traditionally required fully re-architecting applications to have the application itself manage data replication between availability zones and regions.

17 JUNE 2024 | VIEWPOINT |

AI market research: The pivotal role of generative AI in cybersecurity

AI is the hottest topic in the universe. Pair AI with cyber security and the possibilities (and challenges) are staggering. For many security professionals, it’s a foregone conclusion that incorporating intelligence into cyber security will improve cyber defenses battered by sophisticated cyberattacks. Unfortunately, cybercriminals, too, have jumped aboard the AI bandwagon, weaponizing their digitized assaults.

Check Point partnered with market researchers at Vanson Bourne to understand how security professionals are adopting Generative AI (GenAI) is their practices. A handful of key findings from their research are discussed here.

Skills gap puts a damper on security effectiveness

Despite over 70 percent of respondents feeling confident about their organization’s defenses, eighty-nine percent countered their optimism by acknowledging that employing qualified people was challenging. The cyber security skills gap puts a serious damper on how effective organizations can assemble the right defenses against AI-infused cybercrime.

Surveyed professionals said the skills gap significantly hampers an organization’s ability to conduct efficient security operations. A substantial 98 percent of those affected reported an “impact” on their security operations, with 40 percent citing a “strong impact.”

Enter GenAI: A reason for optimism

No organization, large or small. can ignore the potential impact of a major cyberattack. As a result, surveyed organizations said they have turned to AI-powered tools to boost cyber security, including incident response, malware protection, and data loss protection. Clearly, AI is etching its role in providing better protection of the digital landscape.


overwhelming 89% of IT and security professionals report a significant skills gap, underscoring the urgent need for innovative solutions.

97-99% of organizations utilize AI-powered tools, with a significant shift towards GenAI for a comprehensive security strategy.

18 JUNE 2024 | RESEARCH |

GenAI benefits and adoption

Organizations have also embraced GenAI for strategic purposes. A significant portion of respondents said they have been leveraging GenAI for over a year to enhance cyber security against sophisticated threats. Improving incident response rates was cited as an example.

All global regions said GenAI tools offer a better understanding of user behavior and anomalies. However, respondents in Europe were less in agreement on whether AI can be linked to higher efficiency such as enhanced threat prevention and detection, streamlined security operations and resource allocation, and reduced manual work for their teams. Nearly 50 percent of APAC professional indicated GenAI offering streamlined security operations and resource allocation, the highest of the three global regions.

The skills gap paradox and GenAI

Bridging the Gap: GenAI can be an ally in addressing the skills gap. It offers a way to augment existing capabilities and improve efficiency, especially in sectors with a high demand for cyber security proficiency.

Industry-specific insights

The impact of GenAI varies across sectors, with particular benefits observed in healthcare and finance. These sectors recognize Gen-AI’s potential to significantly reduce manual work and increase the efficiency of incident response.

To this survey question, “Thinking about GenAI / AI/ML Deep-Learning, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements,” most respondents agreed that AI tools will improve their efficiency, increase their incident response rates, and help close skills gaps in their organizations.

Investment and Implementation: The Road Ahead

The commitment to integrating GenAI into cyber security is strong, with 90 percent of organizations planning to prioritize AI/ML and GenAI tools. This is accompanied by an anticipated increase in budget allocations for GenAI tools.

Conclusion: Navigating the GenAI Transformation

While the outlook is optimistic, concerns and challenges do remain. Organizations highlight the importance of keeping AI models updated while being cognizant of the challenges, such as ensuring compliance with data regulations.

The journey towards a GenAI-integrated security landscape will offer security leaders both rewards and challenges.

Gen-AI is instrumental in closing the cyber security skills gap, with 98% of affected organizations recognizing its impact on operational efficiency.

90% of organizations prioritize investments in GenAI tools, reflecting a strategic shift towards innovative cyber security solutions.

19 JUNE 2024 | RESEARCH |


employs a consultative sales approach to boost customer value for its ITSM solutions.

SolarWinds has introduced a new consultative approach to enhance the value of IT service management (ITSM) solutions for enterprises. This approach aims to minimize costs and staffing needs associated with high-level IT consultancy. SolarWinds now offers a free online evaluation and assessment tool, providing enterprises with insights into their current ITSM practices and a customized roadmap for operational excellence, cost reduction, and improved service delivery.

While most enterprises today leverage ITSM solutions to simplify day-to-day IT operations, standardize processes, and streamline workflows, ongoing challenges prevent them from realizing ITSM’s full potential. The SolarWinds ITSM Maturity Model provides an unparalleled way for IT professionals to understand, evaluate, and advance their technical and strategic readiness to deal with complexities and resolve issues amid escalating IT complexities.

Cullen Childress, Senior VP of Product at SolarWinds, said, “SolarWinds is proud to offer the best of both worlds: the ease and simplicity of our solutions, complemented by the kind of expert, consultative support typically associated with much higher price tags. Our goal is to demystify the complexities of IT service management, making the journey towards maturity as seamless and straightforward as possible.”

As IT environments become increasingly complicated due to hybrid and multi-cloud configurations, IT agents are often overwhelmed and issues can be slow to resolve. SolarWinds offers step-by-step guidance on tailoring IT services to specific organizational needs, promoting proactive strategies to minimize the frequency and impact of IT problems, and integrating ITSM into the broader business strategy to drive future growth.

Strategic partnership between Liqid and StorIT in the Middle East

StorIT Distribution, and Liqid, have announced a strategic partnership that promises to reshape the AI infrastructure landscape in the region.

This partnership combines Liqid’s dynamic GPU pooling capabilities with StorIT’s extensive market experience. By

joining forces, both companies aim to empower organizations across the Middle East with unparalleled performance, power efficiency, and agility in managing their GPU resources, essential for modern workloads like AI.

“We are very excited to work with Liqid. As their Distributor partner, StorIT aims to deliver unparalleled value for business growth to our reseller partners across the MENA region by catering to the rapidly growing customer’s’ need for dynamic resource allocation and improved efficiency in data centres using Liquid’s innovative technology that sets new benchmarks for superior AI infrastructure performance” said Suren Vedantham, Managing Director at StorIT Distribution.

’The Liqid Team is thrilled to work with StorIT to architect optimized GPU solutions, catering to emerging AI performance and efficiency demands and expanding our global reach in the EMEA market,” said John Dauskurdas, Senior Vice President of Sales at Liqid. “Integrating Liqid’s AI enablement solution with StorIT’s robust network of value-added resellers enables collaboration with our channel partners and delivers highperformance solutions tailored for AI.

Suren Vedantham, Managing Director at StorIT Distribution
20 JUNE 2024 | CHANNEL |
Cullen Childress, Senior VP of Product at SolarWinds

Liferay launches technology partnership with SugarCRM

Liferay announced the establishment of a technology partnership with SugarCRM, provider of the award-winning AI-driven sales automation platform.

Trusted by thousands of organizations in over 120 countries, the Sugar platform enables sales and marketing teams to work more efficiently by streamlining data collection and delivering a complete view of the customer. By leveraging the robust segmentation and personalization capabilities of Liferay DXP in conjunction with data in the Sugar platform, B2B organizations are able to deliver impactful, relevant, experiences to their audiences.

Brian Chan, CEO, Liferay, said, “It puts the right information at the right time in the hands of employees, partners, and customers, enabling B2B organizations like manufacturers to compete on what truly differentiates them from the competition, experience.”

Long established as a best practice in

the B2C space, the ability to deliver a truly personalized experience is becoming

critical for manufacturers and other B2B organizations. B2B customers expect to be able to access digital self-service capabilities tailored to their role and interests on demand and across devices, just as they can in their personal lives as consumers.

In addition to powerful segmentation and personalization capabilities enriched by Sugar customer data, Liferay DXP delivers low code, drag-and-drop site building functionality allowing business users to quickly roll out new digital experiences without having to rely on overburdened IT teams.

“In the manufacturing sector, customer experience has a significant impact on revenue, cross-sell/up-sell potential, and customer retention,” said Clint Oram, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder, SugarCRM. “Our partnership with Liferay enables industrial companies to deliver world-class digital experiences with a high return on investment.”

Developers spending more time firefighting issues than delivering: Cisco report

Cisco has released the results of a survey revealing that software developers are spending over 57% of their time in ‘war rooms,’ tackling application performance issues.

Software developers play a critical role in building, launching and maintaining the applications and digital services that are essential to the way modern organizations operate today, and the pressure on them has never been higher. Globally, 85% of those surveyed report encountering increased pressure to accelerate release velocity, while 77% point to mounting pressure to deliver seamless and secure digital experiences. Lack of Critical Insight into Application Performance

Developers report that the issue is down to their organizations not having the right tools and visibility required to understand the root cause of application issues. They believe this stems from IT departments lacking a full and unified view into applications and the supporting IT stack. Developers are acutely concerned about the potential consequences this could have, with three quarters (75%) of those surveyed fearing that the lack of visibility

and insight into IT performance is increasing the chances of their organization suffering downtime and disruption to business-critical applications.

The situation is significantly affecting morale amongst developers, with 82% admitting that they feel frustrated and demotivated, and 54% increasingly inclined to leave their current job. These findings should ring alarm bells for organizations who are now dependent on developers to create the compelling, intuitive digital experiences that customers and users expect.

“While most IT departments have deployed a multitude of monitoring tools across different domains, they simply fall short when it comes to today’s complex and dynamic IT environments, leaving technologists unable to generate a full and unified view into their applications and the supporting IT stack,” said Shannon McFarland, Vice President, Cisco DevNet.”

Brian Chan, CEO, Liferay
21 JUNE 2024 | CHANNEL |
Shannon McFarland, Vice President, Cisco DevNet

Mitsumi and Samsung partner to drive enterprise mobility innovation in UAE

Mitsumi partnered with Samsung Gulf Electronics to host a System Integrators (SI) workshop in Dubai, UAE. The event brought together IT System Integrators, banks, and financial institutions to explore how enterprise customers are adopting mobility solutions to improve business outcomes.

The workshop aimed to support growth for Mitsumi and system integrator partners while highlighting Samsung’s B2B service offerings. By collaborating with system integrators, the event sought to expand the reach of innovative B2B mobility solutions and build a robust enduser customer base.

Attendees experienced demonstrations of Samsung’s enterprise mobility products and solutions, showcasing their commitment to developing business-ready devices. Discussions focused on how organizations are enhancing efficiency and optimizing operations using Samsung Enterprise Edition devices and ruggedized models built for extreme durability in challenging work environments.

Samsung innovations feature extended lifecycle support and the Samsung Knox Suite, ensuring out-of-the-box readiness with data protection through Samsung’s defense-grade security platform. By understanding the needs of organizations of various sizes, Samsung delivers innovative mobile technology to address challenges and create opportunities.

The event also featured customized vehicle mounting solutions for transportation, logistics, defense, security, and healthcare sectors. These tailored solutions demonstrate the adaptability of Samsung’s offerings to meet industry-specific requirements, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

Mitesh Shah, Managing Director of Mitsumi, shared his vision for the partnership, stating, “Our partnership with Samsung brings a new era for enterprise mobility in the UAE. Mitsumi’s extensive network and market penetration, combined with Samsung’s technological innovations, will set new standards for business mobility solutions. We are committed to delivering a portfolio of cutting-edge Samsung products and solutions tailored to enhance operational efficiencies across various sectors.”

Fadi Abu Shamat, Head of the Mobile eXperience Division at Samsung Gulf Electronics, added, “Samsung is dedicated to advancing technology to deliver exceptional

Fadi Abu Shamat, Head of the Mobile eXperience Division at Samsung Gulf Electronics

mobile experiences. Our partnership with Mitsumi helps us expand our reach and deepen our impact in the region. Together, we aim to drive technological adoption and innovation in the B2B segment, delivering value to our customers and transforming business operations across the Gulf region.”

The event concluded with interactive sessions and demonstrations, providing System Integrator Partners with insights into Samsung’s product ecosystem and the benefits of collaborations and strategic partnerships to drive sustainable growth and success.

Mitesh Shah, Managing Director of Mitsumi
22 JUNE 2024 | CHANNEL |

Yango play introduces My Vibe: real-time personalized endless music stream

Yango Play, has introduced My Vibe, a unique feature within its Music section that adapts to the user’s music preferences during the listening process. The new feature represents the next evolutionary step in personalized music streaming. Users discover up to 66% of their new ’favorite artists’ through My Vibe.

Unlike traditional playlists that offer a static list of songs, eternal My Vibe recommendation dynamically adapts to the listener’s immediate preferences and mood shifts. It harnesses an advanced recommendation algorithm that considers over a thousand variables “both about user’s behavior and the content” to curate tracks, artists, and genres that perfectly align with the listener’s selected preferences, mood, and historical interactions. This new feature is designed to learn from user behavior, including track skips, dislikes and completion, to continually refine and enhance the listening experience, while discovering new music that users like.

If a user skips several instrumental tracks, for example, My Vibe quickly learns to favor vocal tracks. It employs deep neural models to understand the evolution of users’ musical interests. By analyzing listening history, track

sequences, and other factors, it can grasp the direction of a person’s musical taste development and predict their inclinations. This seamless adaptation ensures every music session is fresh, engaging, and deeply personal.

There is a suite of AI algorithms dedicated to analyzing the music content. They study tracks from the inside out, analyzing their spectrogram, frequency ranges, sound, beat, rhythm, vocal tone, genre, and more. Once all that data is in place, the algorithm looks for tracks with similar parameters, suggesting them to users based on likes, dislikes, and other factors. A group of collaborative filtration algorithms also leverage data on the compositions users with similar preferences select. For example, a listener in a different city discovers a soundtrack from a new TV show, and then finds and adds one of the tracks to Yango Play. My Vibe can pick up on that addition and suggest it to listeners who share a similar music preference.

Hytera celebrates 10th anniversary of UAE subsidiary

Hytera celebrated the 10th anniversary of its subsidiary company in the United Arab Emirates with an impressive light show at Burj Khalifa during its partner summit of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region in Dubai on May 16th.

Over the past decade, Hytera has taken on a starring role in driving digital transformation across various verticals in the Middle East with its UAE branch as the regional powerhouse, revolutionizing public safety communications systems whilst enhancing operations safety and efficiency of the utility, transportation, and energy sectors through cutting-edge technologies of critical communications, control room, body-worn camera (BWC) and digital evidence management (DEM), etc.

Having played a pivotal role in reshaping the Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) communications landscape for ten consecutive years, Hytera UAE welcomed industry stakeholders, partners, and guests to join the Hytera Global Partner Summit (HGPS)-MEA at Atlantis The Palm. Alongside celebrating a series of key partnerships, projects, and

achievements since 2014, the occasion was marked by the Hytera branding show featured on the iconic Burj Khalifa’s LED display –symbolizing a decade of local partnership, progress, and innovations across MEA territories.

Stanley Song, VP of Hytera and head of Hytera UAE said, “The 10th anniversary of our UAE office not only marks a significant milestone but also underscores our enduring commitment to driving innovation and fostering partnerships throughout the region. From the very beginning, establishing Hytera operations across the Middle East markets was

pursued with an aspirational vision to meet rapidly evolving communications needs across key sectors.”

Through a series of strategic partnerships and innovative solutions, Hytera achieved significant market penetration in the last ten years. Approximately 50% of communications devices such as two-way radios, LTE and PMR dual-mode radios, and ruggedized smartphones used by public safety agencies in the region were from Hytera. The company also built a dominant presence in sectors such as energy (70%) and mass transit (50%). Hytera has played a pivotal role in upgrading safety and connectivity standards with its intrinsically safe (IS) explosion-proof radio series across high-risk working environments such as fire rescue, oil and gas, refinery, chemical, and mining.

Recent years have seen the company embark on a series of new projects. These include establishing a Training & Factory Acceptance Test Centre in Dubai (2022) and signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Omani service provider Omantel (2023).

23 JUNE 2024 | REAL LIFE |

Dyna.Ai announces global launch

Singapore-based Dyna.Ai has officially announced its global launch at the Dubai Fintech Summit in Dubai. As part of its multi-market global expansion, Dyna.Ai has also unveiled a range of modern, innovative solutions, for application across multiple industries.

Dyna.Ai operates at the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enhance key business functions within financial and other industries. Its solutions are pivotal in elevating marketing, customer acquisition, risk management, and operational productivity.

“At Dyna.Ai, our mission is simple: empower work, enrich life. The global financial services sector is at a critical juncture, requiring enterprises to adapt rapidly to the AI disruption that’s happening right in front of them. Faced with numerous challenges, business leaders

desire solutions that equip them with cuttingedge technology to stay ahead of competitors in this rapidly evolving ecosystem,” said Tomas Skoumal, Chairman of Dyna.Ai.

In the Middle East and Africa, Dyna.Ai is already in the process of opening offices in the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria.

Both solutions offer LLM-powered, taskspecific solutions tailored for banks, fintech, and various businesses, enhancing natural language interactions to make conversations more realistic and engaging.

“We are thrilled to kickstart our global expansion from the Dubai Fintech Summit. Dyna.Ai not only provides professional AI solutions in the financial field, but also offers a unique and innovative RaaS (Result as a Service) business model. Dyna Ai supports pay for performance and provides services that can generate business results for banks, insurance, wealth and fintechs,” said Skoumal.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi ranks in top 5 preferred global work destinations, reveals BCG study

According to recent data, the UAE has made significant progress in attractiveness, now ranking 14th. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the respondents’ 3rd and 4th most preferred cities. In a global survey, an impressive 73% of respondents cited the quality of job opportunities as the main reason for being drawn to the UAE. At the same time, income, tax, and cost of living considerations ranked 62% and quality of life at 61%. These elements collectively position the UAE as a top destination for professionals. Additionally, these factors resonate with the broader motivations for working abroad, which include safety, stability, and inclusivity. In April 2022, the UAE Cabinet introduced new visa schemes to attract global talent, expanding opportunities in burgeoning sectors like private equity, venture capital, and AI.

“The UAE continues to carve a reputation as a fertile ground for career growth, drawing talents, especially from the Middle East and beyond,” said Maya El Hachem, Managing Director and Partner, UAE BCG Office Lead. “The report presents a UAE that is not just keeping pace but setting the pace in the global talent marketplace. The strategic positioning of the Emirates, accentuated by its safety and progressive outlook, makes it

El Hachem, Managing Director and Partner, UAE BCG Office Lead

a burgeoning hotspot for the global workforce. In addition, the confluence of exceptional job quality, competitive incomes, and an enriching lifestyle makes the UAE a beacon for ambitious

professionals. The UAE’s advancement in global ranks further substantiates its commitment to cultivating an environment thriving on diversity and opportunity.”

Maya Tomas Skoumal, Chairman, Dyna.Ai.
24 JUNE 2024 | REAL LIFE | 24 APRIL 2024

Secureworks introduces AI-powered threat prevention and detection with Taegis NDR

Secureworks has launched Secureworks Taegis™ NDR to thwart threat actors moving through networks. With the rise of cloud apps and remote work, network traffic has surged by over 20% from 2023 to 2024. Adversaries exploit this surge to evade detection. Taegis NDR uses AI to uncover hidden threats, combining threat prevention, detection, and response to stop malicious activity on networks.

Secureworks data, from its global customer base, indicates that Taegis NDR can block 99% of identified malicious activity on networks. With threat actors increasingly obfuscating their behavior, traditional network controls like IDPs and firewalls are struggling to keep up. A multilayered cybersecurity approach is essential.

“Taegis NDR empowers us to proactively mitigate cyber risks to our business,” said, Steve

Hey, Senior Vice President of Information Technology, Infrastructure, and Operations, National 9/11 Memorial & Museum. “It adds an extra layer of intelligence that fortifies our cyber defenses. When Taegis NDR sends us an alert, I know there’s an issue so I can quickly assign my resources to tackle it and protect our business.”

“Network connected devices represent an opportunity for cyber criminals, as few organizations have the central governance, and strong policies, to ensure 100% up-todate coverage at the endpoint. Threat actors continue to develop stealthy and evasive techniques to enter networks, that if not detected, inflict serious operational and financial damage on an organization,” said Kyle Falkenhagen, Chief Product Officer, Secureworks.”

Unveiling Samsung’s 2024 TV lineup: A new era of AI TV experiences arrives in the Gulf

Samsung Gulf Electronics revealed its 2024 TV and soundbar lineup at the Dubai Unbox & Discover event. The showcase included the latest Neo QLED 8K and 4K, OLED TVs, and soundbars. Samsung, the world’s top TV manufacturer for 18 years, presented AI TVs aimed at enhancing home entertainment for Gulf consumers with advanced, AI-powered features.

Unbox and Discover 2024 explores Samsung’s commitment to sustainability, smart connectivity, and transformative technology. It aims to demonstrate how screens can enrich our lives, with a focus on creating a connected, AI-enabled home environment.

AI remains a strategic focus in the Gulf, with the region poised to harness AI’s potential to revolutionize industries and contribute significantly to the economy. Samsung’s AI-powered TVs resonate with this vision, bringing advanced AI capabilities to homes across the region, aligning with the region’s growing interest in smart homes. Samsung’s latest TV offerings are, therefore, a step towards the interconnected, AI-driven future that the GCC aspires to lead.

Nikola Aksentijevic, Director and Head of Visual Display Division, Samsung Gulf Electronics, said, “We are thrilled to introduce our latest lineup of cutting-edge TVs and soundbars to the Gulf region. Our 2024 products showcase Samsung’s unwavering commitment to delivering unparalleled

home entertainment experiences through AI-powered innovation and user-centric design. We are confident that consumers in the GCC will appreciate the advanced features and seamless integration that our new lineup offers, elevating their viewing and listening experiences to new heights.”

Shaun Clowes, Chief Product Officer at Confluent
25 JUNE 2024 | PRODUCTS |

Huawei launches new laptops, tablet, and more in UAE, emphasizing creativity and fashion

Huawei has unveiled a series of exciting new products at its Innovative Product Launch event on May 7th. The global launch event, held at Atlantis The Royal in Dubai, saw the presence of high-ranking officials, journalists, and popular social media figures from across the globe. The new products include the HUAWEI WATCH FIT 3, HUAWEI MateBook X Pro and HUAWEI MateBook 14, powered by the latest Intel Ultra Series processors, HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i, and HUAWEI MatePad 11.5”S. Huawei also unveiled new colour editions of its popular wearable products.

This product launch was of great significance for the brand as it is Huawei’s first international event of this scale in recent years, featuring simultaneous launches of multiple innovative hardware products across markets. The company also unveiled self-developed software called the GoPaint app. Huawei is holding another event in Dubai on the day immediately following the product launch event. Titled ‘A Heartwarming World—12 Years of Huawei Photography’, this event will celebrate

Huawei’s contribution to the world of mobile photography.


Huawei’s latest addition to its smartwatch lineup, the HUAWEI WATCH FIT 3, is a sleek and fashionable wearable that boasts an ultrathin body, a modern square-faced design, and an expansive 1.82-inch screen. This new smartwatch promises to revolutionise the way you monitor health, stay connected, and express your personal style. The watch has a remarkably thin body measuring 9.9mm and weighing only 26g (watch body only), making it comfortable to wear all day long.

The WATCH FIT 3 is also equipped with a range of advanced health and fitness monitoring features, including the new HUAWEI TruSleep™ 4.0 science-based sleep tracker and the upgraded HUAWEI TruSeen™ 5.5 health monitoring, which ensures precise heart rate readings and efficient analysis of workout performance and daily health.

HUAWEI WATCH FIT 3 is available in the

26 JUNE 2024 | PRODUCTS |

UAE on May 7, at a price starting from 529 AED from Huawei’s online platforms as well as certified retailers.

HUAWEI MateBook X Pro

The new HUAWEI MateBook X Pro is an ultralight powerhouse, weighing in at just 980 grams and packing class leading performance, representing a leap forward in ultra-lightweight design and performance. The laptop body is built from magnesium alloy with a skinsoothing finish that makes it highly scratch and smudge resistant and powered by the latest generation Intel® Core™ Ultra 9 HighPerformance processor.

It boasts a stunning 14.2-inch flexible OLED display with a 3.1K resolution, offering an immersive visual experience with breathtaking clarity and vibrancy. With a generous 70 Wh battery and 90W SuperCharge Turbo mode, you can work for a full two hours after just a 10-minute charge. And thanks to the advanced 3D Metaline Antenna technology, you’ll enjoy fast and stable Wi-Fi connections up to an

impressive 330 meters.

The HUAWEI MateBook X Pro will be available for pre order in the UAE from May 24, starting at AED 6999.

HUAWEI MateBook 14

The HUAWEI MateBook 14 is a next-gen smart PC featuring a flagship-level 2.8K OLED touchscreen, light and thin body, and fashionable design and comes in a new and distinctive green. This stunning display offers a high resolution, wide colour gamut, high brightness, and robust eye protection. The MateBook 14 inherits the exquisite design and craftsmanship of previous MateBook models. The aluminum alloy body is built to withstand the hazards of daily life while remaining incredibly portable, weighing just 1.31 kg and measuring only 14.5 mm thick. The MateBook 14 is capable of powerful performance thanks to a 1st Gen Intel® Core™ Ultra processor and a dual Shark fin fan system that efficiently dissipates heat. On a full charge, the MateBook 14 can support up to 19 hours of 1080p video playback, providing genuine all-day use.

The HUAWEI MateBook 14 will be available for pre order in the UAE from May 24.

HUAWEI MatePad 11.5”S

The HUAWEI MatePad 11.5”S redefines tablet displays with its innovative new generation PaperMatte Display. This remarkable 11.5-inch HD FullView Display boasts an 87% screen-tobody ratio, stunning 2800 x 1840 resolution, 144 Hz refresh rate, and wide P3 color gamut for exceptional visual quality. It’s the industry leader in simulating a paper-like feel for reading and writing, with built-in eye protection. The PaperMatte Display is meticulously crafted using a multi-layer nanoscale process. It minimizes glare, emits soft, eye-friendly light, and reduces screen reflectivity to just 2%. The MatePad 11.5”S works perfectly with the HUAWEI M-Pencil (3rd generation) and HUAWEI Smart Magnetic Keyboard, both featuring NearLink technology. HUAWEI MatePad 11.5”S will be available in UAE in June at a price of AED1499 from Huawei’s online platforms as well as certified retailers. GoPaint: Huawei’s Very Own Painting App Huawei also released its self-developed GoPaint app at the event. It features over 100 different virtual brushes and realistic textures, giving users realistic and natural canvases to paint on. GoPaint supports a large number of layers, low latency, and a high frame rate for instant response to brush strokes delivering an

authentic creative experience. The GoPaint will have a complete set of tutorials to help users master the tools within the app.

HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i feature advanced Intelligent dynamic ANC 3.0 for seamless noise cancellation. Real-time model building and an advanced algorithm seamlessly optimise the ANC for 34 different scenarios. The earbuds feature a 11mm ultra-magnetic driver, designed to deliver exhilarating, punchy bass with thunderous lows reaching down to 14Hz. They support the LDAC HD audio codec and has earned the Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification. With ANC off, you get up to 35 hours of playback with the charging case, and 8 hours on each earbud. Even with ANC on, you can enjoy 20 hours of total playback with the case and 5 hours on each earbud.

HUAWEI WATCH 4 Pro Space Edition

The HUAWEI WATCH 4 Pro Space Edition was inspired by the de Laval nozzles of rocket engines, which help accelerate rockets to supersonic speeds, thereby propelling them into space. Huawei integrated AerospaceGrade DLC Titanium and a dual-colour red and black Nanocrystalline Ceramic Bezel into the new watch’s design. A conceptual crown and the exclusive LAVAL watch face complete the look of the HUAWEI WATCH 4 Pro Space Edition.

Moreover, the watch has been upgraded to support Health Glance 2.0, which includes enhanced smart health features. Equipped with HUAWEI TruSeen™5.5+, users can now gain access to more accurate heart rate and blood oxygen readings.


The HUAWEI FreeClip, initially launched in Purple and Black colours, is now also available in all-new Beige. This Beige version introduces a neutral sand-toned look to the FreeClip line. Crafted with a silky material that glides effortlessly across your skin, the Beige version is easy on the eyes and smooth to the touch. Huawei has also added a new swipe gesture control to the FreeClip that lets users swipe up or down along the C-Bridge to effortlessly adjust the music’s volume.

HUAWEI Care+ protects your device with multiple services, including Accidental Damage Protection, so you can put your mind at ease. For smartphones, PCs, and tablets, Huawei provides battery replacement services as well. Please stay tuned for more service activities, such as HUAWEI Service Carnival and HUAWEI Service Day.

27 JUNE 2024 | PRODUCTS |

In the digital world, where technology has become the backbone of every aspect of business operations, it is imperative for organizations to partner with technology service providers that have a proven track record. Though a relatively new entrant, F9 Infotech is carving out a niche with a portfolio of solutions and services aimed at fasttracking digital transformation, says the company’s Co-founder and CTO, Rajesh Radhakrishnan.

Can you elaborate on how F9 Infotech’s portfolio of solutions and services accelerates your customers’ digital transformation journeys?

Our journey began a few years ago in the

UAE, driven by a vision to transform the technology services industry. Since then, this goal has become a remarkable reality, leading to exponential growth in our team, capabilities, and revenue.

At F9 Infotech, our solutions and services are all about accelerating our customers’ digital transformation journeys. Our four main focus areas—multi-cloud, disaster recovery (DR), business continuity, and cybersecurity—aren’t just industry jargon; they are the core principles that shape everything we do. Our deep expertise in these domains allows us to create tailored services that adapt to the evolving needs of our customers. We don’t just support their business growth; we actively drive it forward in the fast-paced world of digital competition. What sets F9 Infotech apart is the

unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction. This customer-centric approach has made our clients our biggest advocates, propelling our brand forward. Our clients don’t just do business with us; they become lifelong partners and brand ambassadors. This obsession with perfection and client satisfaction has enabled F9 Infotech to grow significantly across six countries in a short span of time, outpacing competitors. Now, we are on a mission to elevate F9 Infotech’s position as one of the leading global system integrators focused on cloud and cybersecurity. Our goal is to deliver exceptional service continuously, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to meet and exceed our clients’ evolving needs. We are committed to innovation and excellence, striving to set new industry benchmarks and

28 JUNE 2024 | COVER STORY |
29 JUNE 2024 | COVER STORY |

ensuring our clients remain at the heart of everything we do.

At F9 Infotech, we believe that our success is intricately tied to the success of our customers. Every achievement is a testament to the trust and support of our cherished clients, whose partnership has been instrumental in our journey. Together, we are not just building a company; we are creating a legacy of excellence in technology services.

How do you leverage your partnership with hyperscalers to migrate your customers to multi-cloud environments?

We collaborate with hyperscalers, particularly AWS, and leverage our core capabilities in infrastructure, security, and managed services to facilitate our customers’ migration to a multi-cloud environments. Partnering with industry giants like AWS enables us to access extensive resources, experience, and infrastructure, allowing us to deliver seamless and efficient multi-cloud migration solutions to our customers. Thanks to our expertise in infrastructure, security, and managed services, we make it easier, and more secure for our customers to transition to multi-cloud environments. Through our strategic alliance and broad capabilities, we help organizations fully utilize multi-cloud environments, boosting their innovation, agility, and competitiveness in the digital world.

Do you offer consulting services for cloud migration?

Indeed, at F9 Infotech, we offer comprehensive consulting services to assist organizations in their cloud migration process. Our professional consultants work closely with clients to understand their needs, assess their current infrastructure, and design migration plans aligning with their business objectives. With our knowledge and experience in cloud technologies, we provide complete guidance from the planning and assessment phase to the implementation and optimization phase of the migration process. Whether the choice is public, private, or hybrid cloud environments, our consulting services ensure a smooth and successful transition. This enables organizations to realize the full potential of cloud computing while increasing

efficiency, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.

Are you leveraging emerging technologies such as AI and ML?

We’re using cutting-edge technologies like AI and ML to enhance our solutions and services. Our approach involves incorporating AI and ML algorithms into different elements of our products to drive innovation and boost productivity.

For example, we use AI-based threat detection algorithms in cybersecurity to identify and eliminate potential security threats in real-time. In multi-cloud management, AI and ML help us automate tasks, allocate resources, and forecast performance trends. We also leverage it in data analytics to gain valuable insights, simplify decision-making, and improve overall business performance.

What is your competitive advantage in the domain of managed IT services?

We’re a major player in the IT services industry thanks to our holistic approach, which focuses on offering customised solutions to each client. We prioritize preventive monitoring, quick incident response, and continuous improvement to ensure the best performance, security, and reliability for our customers’ IT infrastructure.

Additionally, our team of certified experts has the know-how and experience across various technologies and industries, enabling us to provide strategic advice and innovative solutions that drive business growth and success. What sets us apart is our dedication to our customers, openness, and responsibility, which are the foundations of our lasting partnerships based on trust and mutual success. In short, our unwavering commitment to excellence, combined with our state-of-the-art tools and methods, makes us the go-to organization for those seeking the most reliable and efficient managed IT services.

How do you assist your customers in strengthening their cyber resilience strategies and meeting regulatory compliance requirements?

We offer a comprehensive package of services and solutions to help our customers build their cyber resilience strategy and stay

compliant with regulations. Our approach covers a wide range of elements, such as XDR, MDR, threat hunting, log management, EDR, NGAV, NDR, OT security, vulnerability management, and managed services.

Using these modern technologies and methodologies, we provide continuous threat detection, incident response, and monitoring of endpoints, networks, and cloud environments. Our team of cybersecurity experts works closely with customers to create solutions that fit their exact needs and ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards, effectively mitigating cyber risks. Through our holistic approach and comprehensive service package, we help organizations enhance their cyber resilience and protect their critical assets from everevolving cyber threats.

Which technology trends do you expect to have the maximum impact on businesses in the coming years?

In the coming years, technology trends are going to shape the business landscape. For starters, the shift to the cloud is going to pick up even more speed. This will give businesses more scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. With cloud technology, companies can easily access and manage their data and applications from anywhere, which really helps drive innovation and operational agility.

Besides that, advanced analytics is going to be a game-changer. With the big data boom, we’ll see an equally big boom in analytics. Businesses will increasingly rely on advanced analytics to understand customer behavior, market trends, and operational efficiencies. Using data analysis, companies can make better decisions, enhance customer experiences, and optimize business processes.

Moreover, cybersecurity will be a big deal in the future because threats in this area are always evolving. Businesses must invest in strong security measures to protect their data and systems from cyber threats. This means choosing next-generation security solutions, like AI-driven threat detection and response, to defend against increasingly sophisticated attacks.

All these trends—cloud migration, advanced analytics, and enhanced cybersecurity—will shape the future of business operations. They will be key to growth, innovation, and resilience.

30 JUNE 2024 | COVER STORY |

A Strategic Imperative

TechOps Competency Framework

Streamline their IT infrastructure and improve operational efficiency, which can result in lower costs and increased productivity.

Assess your current capabilities architecture and identify areas for improvement, helping you to make informed decisions about where to invest your technology resources

TechSust Align Biz Insights

Optimize and improve your technology systems, ensuring they are operating at peak efficiency and effectively supporting your business goals.

Provide advanced analytics services, leveraging the latest technologies and techniques to help you turn your data into actionable insights.

Develop a digital strategy that aligns with your business objectives, enabling you to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing digital landscape.
DXT I am CaaS

Enhancing partner

Ahmed Diab, Chief Operating Officer, Starlink talks about their commitment to partner profitability. Through strategic innovation and collaboration, they empower their channel partners to evolve and thrive, ensuring mutual growth and success.

into specialized roles. This entails enhancing their technical proficiencies, enabling them to operate autonomously, and delivering tailored, cutting-edge technologies to address customers cybersecurity needs effectively.

Today a sizeable portion of Starlink’s business is through our MSSP ecosystem. This underscores our commitment to empowering our partners to assume specialized roles and to be fully equipped to provide enhanced service

Our goal is to nurture a positive working relationship and promote collaboration towards common objectives. We foster strong camaraderie by sharing resources, expertise, leads, and supporting marketing and sales efforts.

Ahmed Diab, Chief Operating Officer,


their customers.

How do you ensure that the partnership agreements mutually benefit your company and your partners?

Aligning with partners and cultivating a shared vision is paramount. Before we sign up, the evaluation process helps us generate a strong assessment of our joint strengths and regional capabilities. This involves gaining access to new markets, technologies, resources, and expertise. We ensure that our channel partnerships effectively capitalize on these strengths, starting with a clear understanding of each other’s capabilities from the outset of our collaboration with all partners.

Transparency and trust form the foundation of our partnership. Our goal is to nurture a positive working relationship and promote collaboration towards common objectives. We foster strong camaraderie by sharing resources, expertise, leads, and supporting marketing and sales efforts.

How do you foster collaboration and communication with your partners to drive profitability?

Our channel teams are constantly in touch with the partner community with regular business intelligence and market insights on the challenges and opportunities. We design collaborative programs that reward joint efforts for mutual success. This encourages partners to work together towards a common goal and drive profitability through shared achievements.

This data-driven approach helps in making informed decisions to capitalize on the opportunities and to optimize profitability. We track performance metrics and provide regular feedback to partners to evaluate progress and identify areas for improvement.

From a technology perspective, the constantly evolving threat landscape calls for emerging technologies and specialized expertise. The demand for cyber and cloud solutions is growing and it is our responsibility to prepare our partners to be ready to support this growing demand, be it enterprise, midmarket, or SMB market.

We foster a culture of continuous innovation and enablement by encouraging partners to share best practices. This collaborative learning environment helps in building a strong expertise, becoming specialized and staying ahead of the competition.

How do you balance the need for profitability with maintaining strong, long-term relationships with your partners?

Balancing the need for profitability and maintaining strong partnership requires a strategic approach that prioritizes financial focus and trust. First and foremost, mutual value creation. Strategizing jointly to add value – be it helping to enhance geographical reach, creating new business opportunities, scaling up to becoming specialized etc.

We remain flexible and adaptable in our approach to partnership management. This means being willing to adjust strategies, processes, and agreements as needed to accommodate changing market conditions,

technological advancements, and the evolving needs of both parties. By adopting these strategies, we are able to strike a balance between profitability and maintaining strong, long-term relationships with our partners, ultimately driving sustainable growth and success.

What future initiatives or plans do you have in place to continue driving partner profitability?

We are driving new initiatives to enable our partners and to strengthen their capabilities to become specialized and stay relevant with the market requirements. This is a continuous process that is an integral part of our Channel GTM strategy.

To stay ahead of the curve, besides onboarding new cutting-edge technologies, we utilize our market intelligence and onboard new technologies and harness our joint expertise in these high growth markets and aim to become mission critical partners of our customers. For example, focusing on the cloud security solutions and GenAI adapted technologies will help our partners build a more profitable GTM strategy.

When it comes to market growth, we are focusing on commercial and mid-market opportunities along with enterprise business where we help our partners position their services in a less competing and more profitable domain. On the other hand, we are building an MSSP channel team who will be able to help our partners to plan their MSSP roadmap and position the best offerings that differentiate each MSSP with their unique solution package offering.


Redefining channel partnerships

Steve Lockie, MD of TechBridge Distribution, explains how the company is empowering mid-market partners.

With a market teeming with distributors, TechBridge stands out by redefining the traditional VendorDistributor-Channel ecosystem. Introducing the Channel Value Added Distributor (CVAD) model, TechBridge is poised to transform the landscape for mid-market partners in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The IT distribution market has evolved significantly, with established players and new entrants alike. However, amidst this overcrowding, mid-market partners often find themselves overlooked. Recognizing this gap, TechBridge aims to bring unparalleled support to this crucial segment of the market. Despite 91.5% of global tech spending occurring through channels, the full potential of these channels remains underleveraged.

“At TechBridge MEA, our vision is to become the leading Channel Value Added Distributor for mobility, cybersecurity and infrastructure solutions. While tier 1 partners enjoy extensive vendor support, mid-market players often find it more challenging. We aim to level the playing field, providing these partners with the support and resources they need to succeed. Think of us as the ‘Robin Hood’ of distribution— championing the challengers and nurturing their success,” says Steve Lockie, Managing Director of TechBridge MEA.

According to him, the move to pioneer the CVAD model is a bold, almost contrarian move in today’s tech distribution landscape. “We’re doing what’s right by the market. We’re leveling the playing field and empowering mid-market partners with the support they need to thrive.”

Maximizing profitability with CVAD

To enhance partner profitability, TechBridge’s

CVAD model offers comprehensive support:

• Pre-sales and Marketing Assistance: Including Marketing-as-a-Service, readymade campaigns, and incentives.

• Technical and Sales Training: Ensuring partners are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills.

• Innovative Solutions Selling: Tailored for specific verticals and as integrated solutions to address the challenges of end users.

“Our goal is to create a strong partner landscape that is central to a thriving IT economy. We are committed to the success of our partners and vendors alike,” states Steve.

LAERL consultative selling strategy

TechBridge has developed a unique LAERL Consultative Selling Strategy to support its partners in Landing the deal, Adopting the technology, Expanding the footprint, Restating the solution at renewal, and finally ensuring that at the end of the product lifecycle we can offer new technology solutions rather than abandoning the end user-partner community. “Our goal is to fully empower our partners with the tools and resources they need to thrive in a competitive market. A notable success is our recent VMware replacement campaign, helping partners navigate the challenges posed by the Broadcom acquisition,” says the MD.

Fostering collaboration and communication with partners is a cornerstone of the strategy at TechBridge MEA. “We utilize a multifaceted approach that includes regular partner meetings, dedicated account managers, and access to resources, training and support. Additionally, we host annual partner summits and webinars to share insights, updates and best practices. By maintaining an open and

transparent dialogue, we ensure that our partners are well-informed and equipped to leverage our solutions effectively,” adds Steve. This collaborative environment helps to identify new opportunities, address challenges, and ultimately drive profitability for both TechBridge and its partners. A recent example is the launch of its healthcare campaign, which not only supports channel partners with existing healthcare clients but also identifies new partners interested in healthcare opportunities, thereby creating net new revenue streams for them.

Training for autonomy

TechBridge offers extensive sales training and certification programs including on demand and on prem training, ensuring the partners are always ahead of the curve. In addition, the VAD conducts use case workshops for different verticals where participants can meet and engage with subject matter experts.

Balancing profitability and longterm relationships

“Our success is intrinsically linked to our partners’ achievements. We build strong, long-term relationships by emphasizing trust, delivering consistent value, and maintaining transparency. Our flexible business terms and partner-first approach ensure sustained growth and mutual respect,” says Steve.

Promoting Sustainability

He further adds that TechBridge is deeply committed to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The VAD actively promotes eco-friendly products from vendors like TSC and Newland, who are at the forefront of developing sustainable technologies. These initiatives not only support the environment but also offer its partners sustainable solutions

Our success is intrinsically linked to our partners’ achievements. We build strong, longterm relationships by emphasizing trust, delivering consistent value, and maintaining transparency.

that meet the growing demand for green technology.

“We believe that promoting sustainability is not just good business practice; it’s a responsibility. By supporting eco-friendly vendors, we help our partners offer solutionsthat are not only innovative but also environmentally responsible,” says Steve.

Future initiatives for partner profitability

Looking ahead, TechBridge is committed to further enhancing its CVAD model to drive partner profitability. “We are investing in advanced training programs, developing new marketing tools, and expanding our portfolio with cutting-edge technologies. Our future initiatives include launching a dedicated innovation lab where partners can collaborate on new solutions and receive hands-on support. Additionally, we plan to enhance our digital platforms to provide realtime insights, analytics, and support to our partners. By continuing to innovate and invest in our partners, we aim to create a dynamic ecosystem that fosters growth, profitability, and long-term success for all stakeholders,” Steve concludes.


Empowering partners

Anastasia Platon, Regional Channel Manager from emt Distribution, discusses the VAD’s strategies and initiatives to maximise partner profitability.

What strategies or initiatives has your company implemented to maximise partner profitability?

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, we understand the importance of continuously enhancing the value we bring to our esteemed partners, offering a suite of benefits and incentives tailored to empower our common business growth and maximize profitability.

At emt Distribution we are dedicated to providing them with unparalleled support, resources, and incentives to help them thrive in an increasingly competitive market. From specialized training and certification programs on our solutions, to exclusive marketing collateral, funds and sales tools, our aim is to equip our partners with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed.

Below are some strategies and initiatives that we have implemented.

Training and Certifications: emt offers comprehensive in-person and online training programs and certifications for reseller partners, ensuring they can effectively sell and support products.

Progressive Enablement: emt provides topnotch sales materials, such as product manuals, datasheets, and demos. Partners start by relying on emt resources and gradually learn to pitch, market, implement, and maintain solutions independently.

Value-Add Distributor: emt enhances partner profitability with value-added services beyond product sales, including technical support, marketing assistance, and additional resources, fostering loyalty.

Marketing Support: emt offers market development funds for events, advertising, and promotional activities. They assist with lead generation, co-marketing opportunities, and sharing best practices.

Incentive Program: emt recognizes and rewards dedicated partners through timebound incentives, exclusive promotions, performance-based rewards, and training spiffs, aligning their business growth goals with emt’s.

How do you ensure that the partnership agreements mutually benefit your company and your partners?

Some measures are established at the early stage of the partnership to ensure that channel partners are aligned with emt Distributions’ business goals and values, benefiting both parties. We maintain open and transparent communication with our channel partners, sharing our business goals and values, and encouraging them to share theirs.

During the onboarding process, we educate partners about our company’s mission, values, and long-term objectives, emphasizing how their role in the partnership contributes to the overall success of the business. We also co-develop business plans that outline mutual objectives and strategies. We have defined specific performance metrics and KPIs with our strategic alliances that reflect our common business goals and values.

How do you foster collaboration and communication with your partners to drive profitability?

Nurturing existing channel relationships is crucial for long-term success and profitability. To foster collaboration and communication with our reseller partners, we prioritize several key initiatives. One of them is regular communication—maintaining open and transparent communication with our channel partners through regular meetings, updates, and check-ins helps foster a sense of partnership.

We maintain open lines of communication

through various channels, including email newsletters, partner portals, and scheduled conference calls and webinars. These channels allow us to share important updates, product information, and marketing resources with our reseller partners on a regular basis.

We provide a dedicated single point of contact for each strategic channel partner to offer support, address concerns, and meet their needs. Additionally, we actively seek feedback from our reseller partners through surveys, advisory boards, and one-on-one discussions. This feedback helps us understand their needs, identify areas for improvement, and continuously enhance our partner program to better support their success.

How do you balance the need for profitability with maintaining strong, long-term relationships with your partners?

We believe that profitability and strong, long-term relationships with our partners are not mutually exclusive but rather mutually reinforcing. By prioritizing transparency, mutual success, investment in partner success, relationship management, valueadded services, flexibility, and a long-term perspective, we are able to strike the right balance between profitability and partnership longevity.

What future initiatives or plans do you have in place to continue driving partner profitability?

To continue driving partner profitability, we are committed to implementing the following future initiatives and plans:

• Artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics are increasingly used to gain insights into partner performance,


One of them is regular communication— maintaining open and transparent communication with our channel partners through regular meetings, updates, and check-ins helps foster a sense of partnership.

customer behavior, and market trends. We are using predictive analytics to help us optimize channel strategies.

• Personalized marketing and improved customer experiences have become central to channel development. Tailoring marketing materials, content, and communication to specific partner needs and customer segments is a growing trend. At emt we are in constant search and trials of different automation and prospecting tools to implement in our campaigns to reach new and relevant audience.

• In the face of changing market dynamics, we are aiming to be more agile and adaptive in our channel development strategies. The ability to pivot quickly in response to market shifts has become crucial.

The business landscape is continually evolving, it’s essential to keep monitoring industry publications, attend relevant conferences, and engage with industry experts and peers to gain insights into the most recent developments and best practices in the industry to constatly work on enhancing the value proposition we bring to our channel partners to continue driving partner profitability.


Partnering for success

What strategies or initiatives has your company implemented to maximise partner profitability?

Westcon-Comstor’s entire ethos as a business revolves around enabling our partners to grow and become more profitable. This laser-like focus on partner success has seen

Lab offering – which allows multi-vendor cybersecurity solutions to be tested against specific use cases in a dynamic virtual demo environment – has attracted more than 1,500 users and generated more than US $25m in new business for partners since its launch a

experiment with different combinations of solutions from vendors prior to purchase and implementation.

By road-testing concepts against use cases in Westcon-Comstor’s secure cloud environment, users can learn new technologies and explore integrated solutions for cloud security, ransomware protection, zero-trust access, data protection, and more.

During the year, 24 use cases were

We recently embarked on a recruitment drive to support Cisco’s growth in the cybersecurity domain, demonstrating our agility and ability to drive revenue for our vendors and partners where there is an

Westcon- Comstor Middle East


experienced by more than 1,500 users in 27 different lab environments. Half of those environments showcased the value of multivendor integrations.

The US $25m-plus generated in new business for partners is across solutions by 12 vendors and represents deals that have been secured following 3D Lab demos. The total pipeline generated for partners in terms of new opportunities stands at US $100m.

Another initiative is PartnerCentral, a multi-vendor marketplace where our partners can configure, quote, and order complex hybrid solutions—software, hardware, services, or a combination of all three. Built in close collaboration with our leading channel and vendor partners, PartnerCentral represents a transformative shift in the way we work with our partners. It was developed with users in mind and a focus on providing access to educational resources, digital tools and data-driven processes essential to partner success.

It is designed to accelerate and simplify the move to cloud and everything-as-a-service (XaaS) business models by:

• Simplifying the procurement and management of recurring subscription and as-a-service offers at scale, making it easier to provide these services to end customers.

• Providing a single platform for hybrid procurement, so partners can purchase hardware, software, and services, with a mix of subscriptions and one-off purchases., on platform. This makes the process far simpler despite the potential for increased complexity.

• Making self-service easy from one intuitive interface, allowing partners to better control procurement, user management, cloud usage and more.

• Automating pricing, quoting, and ordering processes, improving quote accuracy, speeding up sales cycles and helping track orders with ease.

Westcon-Comstor’s recent Bridging the Gap research report found that 97% of partners see data as important in their journey to an XaaS future. At the same time, access to the right data is the biggest obstacle facing partners in their pursuit of recurring revenues. We are determined to help them overcome this obstacle, which is why we have invested heavily in our data offering.

For example, we recently launched Partner Insights, a new tool that sits within PartnerCentral and allows partners to

monitor key performance metrics, embed a data-driven approach to performance analysis and put data at the heart of their growth strategy.

By gaining a holistic and consolidated view of transactional data, partners can track trends by geography, end user, product type and more, giving actionable insights and enabling more effective resource allocation and planning.

Key use cases include the ability to monitor how hardware versus software and services spend with Westcon-Comstor is evolving over time. Partners can also compare growth and performance by vendor against industry benchmarks.

Meanwhile, Intelligent Demand – our proprietary, data-driven lead generation program based on advanced analytics and our own customer insights platform – goes from strength to strength. The success of Intelligent Demand demonstrates our ability to predict market trends and enables us to provide a more consultative strategy to deliver value to our partners.

How do you ensure the partnership agreements mutually benefit your company and your partners?

We pride ourselves on our ability to forge strategic, long-lasting relationships with both vendors and channel partners. For us, if a partner is doing well, then so are we – and so is the vendor whose products or solutions are being placed with the end user. For me, ensuring that agreements are mutually beneficial is therefore a natural part of the role of a value-added distributor. One thing that helps in terms of expectations is to set out very clear agreements at the start of a relationship, in terms of both commercials and the operational workings of the collaboration.

How do you foster collaboration and communication with your partners to drive profitability?

We believe that shared learning is vital, and we do everything we can to foster collaboration and communication with our partners. One example of how we do this is through Tech ConneX, the interactive peerto-peer platform that we launched recently to enable technical professionals at partners to engage with vendors, each other, and our own experts in a sales-free environment. Tech ConneX allows technical

cybersecurity and networking professionals from across the IT channel to share knowledge, crowdsource answers to questions, connect with like-minded experts, and build their own communities.

It is thought to be the channel’s first and only distributor-led, multi-vendor, tech-totech platform. It is open to members of our exclusive Tech Xpert community, which has grown to more than 2,300 participants across Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) since its launch in 2022.

Tech ConneX members gain access to a network of peers, as well as more than 100 solution architects from WestconComstor and market-leading cybersecurity and networking vendors in the WestconComstor portfolio.

Cisco joined Tech Xpert earlier this month, bringing the Comstor line of business into Tech Xpert for the first time and taking the total number of participating vendors to 16 as the growth of the community gathers momentum.

The platform offers the ability to receive near-real-time responses to direct messages, Q&As, and forum discussions, find and connect with local peers, join vendor groups, develop skills, and more. By actively using Tech ConneX features, partners will improve their ability to better support customers and increase new logo wins, leading to business growth.

How do you balance the need for profitability with maintaining strong, long-term relationships with your partners?

For me, the two go hand in hand and complement each other in a virtuous circle. There is no need for a trade-off between profitability and strong relationships. If anything, the opposite is true: being close to partners and becoming an extension of their businesses through our expertise and value-added offerings makes for greater profitability across the channel.

What future initiatives or plans are in place to continue driving partner profitability?

Cybersecurity and networking are key growth drivers for us. We recently embarked on a recruitment drive to support Cisco’s growth in the cybersecurity domain, demonstrating our agility and ability to drive revenue for our vendors and partners where there is an opportunity. Another area where

39 JUNE 2024

we see a major opportunity is cloud.

Migrating workloads to the cloud and maintaining security resilience are two of the biggest challenges faced by end-user businesses. This represents a significant opportunity for the channel, but many of our partners do not have the AWS migration and security skills needed to support their customers on this journey.

That’s why we recently acquired Rebura, an award-winning AWS (Amazon Web Services) advanced service partner and solution provider. Thanks to the exciting acquisition, our partners will now be able to access key cloud capabilities through Rebura as part of a seamless and unique proposition.

The deal enables Westcon-Comstor partners to provide a comprehensive suite of AWS solutions to their customers, encompassing cloud consultancy, migration services, FinOps, AWS Marketplace excellence and security-aligned professional services.

Building on the cloud story, AWS

Marketplace is another key opportunity for driving partner profitability.

The rise of AWS Marketplace is leading end-users, from enterprises to SMBs, to change their purchasing behaviour as they strive towards the pre-defined budgets and flexible pricing on offer, including the ability to leverage AWS credits and retire spend commitments.

Forrester found recently that channel partners selling in AWS Marketplace can close deals up to 50% faster, while Canalys predicts that global sales of third-party vendor software and services through cloud marketplaces will hit US $45 billion by 2025, up 84% CAGR over five years.

That’s why we were so excited earlier to launch our innovative AWS Marketplace programme earlier this year. The agreement with AWS provides partners with a simplified and streamlined route to transacting on AWS Marketplace, creating new growth opportunities for partners and vendors and securing the role of the channel in the cloud

marketplace economy.

Several key vendors including Cisco have joined the programme. The agreement with Cisco means Westcon-Comstor, which through our Comstor arm has a relationship with Cisco dating back more than two decades, can now privately list Cisco’s cybersecurity, observability and networking and collaboration-focused software products in AWS Marketplace.

Partners gain the ability to transact and serve end-user customers as part of an integrated, end-to-end sales process within AWS Marketplace, enabling them to benefit from accelerated transaction times, expanded deal sizes, higher win rates and shortened sales cycles while driving adoption of Cisco’s market-leading solutions.

We are very excited about the potential of this new growth area for both partners and vendors and we believe the future is bright for distributors, vendors and channel partners who continue to innovate and push boundaries in the pursuit of new opportunities.


Applying generative AI to analytics for automated insights

Nearly every company, large and small, has become its own super-productive data factory, but as data complexity rises, the only way to truly shorten the path to insights and harness its value is to automate the process of data discovery, preparation and blending of disparate data.

Organisations across the MEA region is already sitting on a mountain of data and untapped business intelligence, all stored across various internal and external systems. With global data volumes forecasted to continue increasing, achieving data-driven decision-making at speed and scale will remain impossible for those companies not able to take advantage of analytic automation paired with accessible AI. As organisations race to become more digitally enabled, generative AI is the linchpin to propelling companies toward a truly automated data-driven future. How? By offering the perfect capability for decision-makers with no data science skills to deliver insights via a natural language prompt. Thus, reducing time to insight derived from data while lowering barriers to entry for non-technical users to extract value from data. All of which helps to ensure that the business can unlock the potential of their data and people to accelerate time to insight and deliver decision intelligence at scale.

Alteryx’s integration of AI in analytics platforms is transformative for businesses wanting to effectively harness mountains of big data for business value delivering insights. Applied to business use cases, automated analytics and AI can stretch as far as covering every stage of the analytics lifecycle – data collection, preparation, accumulation, analysis, report building and beyond – to move the needle in terms of accelerating time to insight. As we continue embedding AI into our products, our customers can be more efficient and deliver high-value insights at unparalleled speed as our innovative and powerful multimodal approach to AI-driven analytics enables every persona to leverage their tool of choice to collaborate in real-time to develop analytical insights.

Our recently announced Alteryx AiDIN Copilot, is the industry’s first AI assistant designed to empower users to seamlessly build analytical workflows for improved revenue and business efficiency. Alteryx AiDIN Copilot gives customers a conversational interface to interact with data. This approach not only makes analytics tools easier to use, but also substantially improves the quality of automation that can be applied across the data analytics life cycle. And the organizations that can answer the tough questions by learning from their data to discover new insights and implement changes first will win. They’ll leave their competitors in the dust.

The explosion in AI across the enterprise ecosystem has also reignited regulation discussions about navigating the complexities of data used in the age of GenAI. AI models rely on large volumes of data to train,

test and validate model performance. AI is designed to create extremely convincing sounding arguments, regardless of the quality of input, so the processes that generate data must be auditable, explainable, and reproducible. When delivering data insights via AI, clear data governance frameworks that prioritize end-to-end traceability, privacy and security are critical to mitigating risk. However, the challenge is ensuring employees are data-literate and aware of significant regulatory and compliance considerations like data quality, privacy, security, and data sovereignty requirements.

A governed approach that provides guardrails that prioritise endto-end data traceability, privacy and security will build company-wide confidence moving forward. By embedding transparent data ethics and governance practices within the everyday business of the whole organisation, companies will mitigate risk by ensuring there is no misuse of data. Built on Alteryx’s Responsible AI Principles, IT leaders can trust in Alteryx’s governance capabilities, such as Private Data Handling, Referenceable AI, or Upskilling Program, to serve as guardrails to democratizing the power of AI.

In conclusion, the snowball of AI and analytic automation benefits for businesses - from a strategic standpoint, from improved collaboration to greater efficiencies - serves as only further proof that the impact of generative AI for analytics is clear. With the Alteryx AiDIN AI Engine for Enterprise Analytics, Alteryx makes navigating the generative AI landscape within an organization smoother and more manageable for analytics. Overall, the platform helps organisations get value from their generative AI investments by applying generative AI to their data to enhance customer experiences, streamline operations, and drive personalised interactions.

Karl Crowther, VP – MEA, at Alteryx

AI-driven analytics for actionable insights from vast data pools

In recent years, the evolution of big data and analytics has reshaped the landscape of business and technology, transcending its origins as a term describing unwieldy datasets. What began as a challenge of storage capacity has evolved into a complex arena of governance and optimization, as organizations grapple with data sprawl across hybrid cloud environments. However, within this complexity lies significant opportunity.

The fusion of big data with artificial intelligence (AI) has unlocked unprecedented possibilities. Through AI-driven analytics, organizations can sift through vast datasets to extract actionable insights, facilitating informed decision-making and fostering innovation. Predictive analytics, personalized recommendations, and autonomous systems represent just a glimpse of the potential offered by this synergy.

Moreover, the emergence of modern data architectures has revolutionized data management practices. Technologies such

customer satisfaction.

By consolidating data into a single platform across multiple clouds, organizations can gain unprecedented visibility into their data, driving actionable insights for competitive advantage and operational efficiency.

as data lakes, cloud-native platforms, and agile infrastructures facilitate seamless data integration and analysis, optimizing resource utilization and driving down costs.

Industries reaping the greatest benefits from Big Data and analytics

Across various industries, the transformative impact of big data and analytics is evident. In the banking and finance sector, data-driven insights are driving substantial revenue growth and operational efficiencies. Similarly, retailers are utilizing analytics to fine-tune demand forecasts, thereby optimizing inventory management and bolstering

In healthcare, the adoption of AI-powered solutions is revolutionizing patient care and accelerating the development of life-saving drugs. Real-time patient monitoring and predictive analytics empower healthcare professionals to administer precise and timely treatments, ultimately improving outcomes and saving lives.

Manufacturing is also experiencing a paradigm shift, with data analytics driving preventive maintenance, enhancing product quality, and optimizing production operations. For instance, Continental Tires’ digital monitoring platform illustrates how data analytics enhances road safety and operational efficiency in this sector.

Furthermore, telecommunications providers are leveraging analytics to tailor personalized offers based on customer preferences. Meanwhile, transportation entities like Metro de Madrid are optimizing operations and elevating service quality through predictive maintenance and real-time data analysis.

Managing the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of data

Cloudera helps organizations run quick analytics on all data at a massive scale. Our clients trust Cloudera with more than 25 exabytes of data. It eliminates data silos and allows data teams to collaborate on the same data with the tools of their choice on any public cloud and private cloud.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents agree that having data sitting across different cloud and on-premises environments

Karim Azar, Regional VP of Emerging Markets at Cloudera

makes it complex to extract value from all the data in their organization.

Solving these challenges is essential for unleashing the transformative power of the most in-demand technology: analytical and generative AI and whatever comes next. Companies need to regain control of their data, analytics, and AI with a unified platform built on openness.

A true hybrid data platform enables enterprises to analyze and bring GenAI models to their data wherever it lives (i.e., hybrid, multi-cloud, or on-premises).

Cloudera help businesses manage and analyze all types of data— machine, structured, transactional, and unstructured data—in clouds like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, on-premises data centers, and at the edge where machine data originates.

Integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning into our big data solutions

As a data platform company, Cloudera has two very clear priorities. First, we must help customers get AI models based on trusted data into production faster than ever. And second, we need to build AI capabilities into Cloudera to give more people access to data-driven insights for their everyday roles.

Cloudera enables customers to manage and unlock value from their data across private and public cloud environments. Cloudera’s open data lake house combines

the capabilities of a data warehouse and a data lake to power business intelligence, AI and machine learning (ML) solutions. What benefits do AI-enhanced analytics bring to your clients?

Cloudera Machine Learning is a scalable and generally available collaboration platform where engineers explore data visually, conduct experiments, and register, deploy, and monitor models in production. Equipped with CML, AI-ready customers such as OCBC Bank deployed production-grade Generative AI safely, securely, and cost-effectively with their own data.

CML is a hybrid multi-cloud platform that offers the ultimate flexibility to run AI applications securely and costeffectively on their optimal platform, including on-premise or in any cloud environment. Customers can choose the AI Services or foundation models best suited for their use cases and future-proof their applications to reduce technical debt. Cloudera offers a range of capabilities to bootstrap AI projects. Our field teams are ready to guide customers on the best ways to incorporate AI to transform businesses. CMLs Applied Model Prototypes (AMPs) are example applications that can be customized to customers’ use cases.

To drive value from their data and succeed with enterprise AI in a trusted, secure and responsible manner,

Cloudera’s LLM Chatbot Augmented with Enterprise Data brings a blueprint for generative AI based on large language models to companies. An AI-driven SQL assistant, a Business Intelligence (BI) chatbot conversing with your data, and an ML copilot accelerates machine learning development.

Helping clients derive actionable insights with analytics tools

Cloudera’s mission is to empower organizations to transform complex data into actionable insights faster and easier. Data for almost all companies is growing faster than ever, but a lot of data is never used in decision-making. At the same time, the world is changing faster than ever, as seen during the past pandemic years, with organizations having to react ever faster to innovate and differentiate. A critical metric for this is the time to value in deploying new use cases. For a large part, this is achieved by unlocking and understanding the available data faster and enabling more users to use data and analytics in a self-service manner. Just think of low-code and no-code approaches: they accelerate driving insight and value from data by making the tools to do so available to more, less technical users. Low and no-code unlocks data and analytics to more users. Large language models now unlock it for anyone who can formulate a question.


AI and machine learning power big data solutions

In recent years, big data and analytics have undergone rapid and transformative evolution, reshaping industries and redefining business strategies. The following key changes have marked this evolution:

Proliferation of data sources

The explosion of data sources, from IoT devices to social media and mobile usage, has provided organizations with vast amounts of information. By leveraging these diverse sources, businesses gain comprehensive insights into operations and customer behaviors.

Advancements in AI and ML

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have become increasingly sophisticated, integral to big data solutions. Technologies such as automated machine learning (AutoML) empower users without deep technical expertise to implement ML models, democratizing data science.

Real-time analytics

The demand for real-time data processing has surged. Businesses now require immediate insights to make swift decisions, particularly in dynamic sectors like logistics and online retail. Technologies like Apache Kafka and other streaming platforms have become essential for supporting real-time analytics.

Cloud-Based big data platforms

The shift to cloud computing has made big data technologies more scalable and cost-effective. Cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure provide robust analytics tools, eliminating the need for expensive on-premise infrastructure.

and protect consumer information.

Democratization of data

Efforts to make data accessible to non-technical users have intensified. Tools like Shipsy simplify data analysis and visualization, enabling stakeholders to leverage data insights for improved decision-making, cost reduction, and enhanced customer service.

ShipsyBI, is designed to transform raw data into actionable insights, significantly enhancing decision-making processes for businesses

Data privacy and regulation

With the advent of regulations such as GDPR and CCPA, there is a heightened focus on data privacy and security. Companies are investing in secure data practices and governance frameworks to ensure compliance

Enhanced data quality and management

As data volume grows, robust data management and quality assurance become critical. Organizations are adopting sophisticated integration and quality management tools to ensure data remains clean, prepared, and usable.

Industries benefiting from big data and analytics

Several industries are reaping significant benefits from big data and analytics:

l Logistics and Transportation: Optimizing routes, predictive maintenance, inventory management, and enhancing delivery experiences through real-time analytics.

l Healthcare: Predicting patient admissions, managing chronic diseases, and personalizing treatment plans.

Dhruv Agrawal, COO and Co-Founder, Shipsy

l Retail: Utilizing analytics for inventory management, customer behavior prediction, and supply chain optimization.

l Financial Services: Enhancing fraud detection, risk management, and customer segmentation through advanced data analytics.

l Manufacturing: Improving efficiency, predictive maintenance, and supply chain operations using real-time data insights.

Handling the 3 Vs: Volume, Variety, and Velocity

Ships’s platform efficiently manages the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of data:

l Scalability: Cloud-based architectures dynamically scale to handle data volume increases without performance loss.

l Data Integration: Integrates data from various sources like IoT devices and ERP systems for a comprehensive logistics view.

l Real-time Processing: Utilizes streaming data technologies for real-time analytics and reporting, crucial for instantaneous decision-making.

l Advanced Analytics: Applies machine learning and predictive analytics to transform vast datasets into actionable insights.

Integrating AI and ML into big data solutions AI and ML are pivotal in enhancing decisionmaking and operational efficiency:

l Predictive Analytics: ML algorithms forecast trends and behaviors, aiding in demand forecasting and resource optimization.

l Automated Decision-Making: AI automates real-time decisions based on data inputs, improving delivery times and reducing delays.

l Natural Language Processing (NLP):

Analyzes human language data for automated customer service interactions and insights.

l Optimization Algorithms: ML algorithms solve complex logistics problems like vehicle loading and delivery schedules, reducing costs and improving quality.

l Anomaly Detection: AI monitors data for unusual patterns, identifying potential fraud or inefficiencies.

l Enhanced Data Visualization: AI enhances data interfaces, offering dynamic visualization tools for accessible and actionable insights.

Benefits of AI-enhanced analytics

AI-enhanced analytics provide numerous benefits:

l Improved Decision Making: AI analyzes vast data for insights, enabling datadriven decisions.

l Enhanced Efficiency and Optimization: AI optimizes routing, load management, and scheduling, reducing costs and improving efficiency.

l Real-Time Visibility and Monitoring: Offers real-time tracking of shipments and inventory, improving supply chain management.

l Risk Management: Identifies and assesses risks by analyzing historical data patterns.

l Personalized Customer Experiences: Enhances customer service through personalized interactions based on data insights.

l Sustainability: Optimizes operations to reduce carbon footprints and select ecofriendly materials.

l Cost Reduction: Lowers operational costs through improved efficiencies and

predictive capabilities.

Deriving actionable insights with ShipsyBI

ShipsyBI transforms raw data into actionable insights, enhancing decision-making:

l Efficient Data Collection and Analysis: Streamlines data collection and analysis, reducing delays and business losses.

l Interactive Dashboards and Reports: Low-code environment for creating engaging reports and dashboards.

l Real-time Insights: Provides real-time analytics for swift responses to trends and challenges.

l Strategic Decision-Making: Empowers leaders with timely insights for better planning and resource allocation.

l Enhanced Business Meetings: Facilitates efficient boardroom meetings with compelling data storytelling.

Best practices for data governance frameworks

Establishing robust data governance is crucial:

l Define Clear Data Policies: Align policies with regulatory requirements and business objectives.

l Establish Data Stewardship: Assign stewards to ensure data quality and compliance.

l Implement Quality Control: Regular audits and validations for data accuracy and consistency.

l Promote Data Literacy: Foster a dataliterate organizational culture through training programs.

l Leverage Technology: Use technology solutions like data catalogs and automated tools for governance.

This comprehensive approach to big data and analytics demonstrates how advancements in AI and ML, coupled with effective data governance, can drive significant value across various industries.


The evolution of big data and analytics

Big data and analytics have undergone a transformative evolution in recent years, driven by the growing recognition of data as a critical asset. This shift is crucial for enterprises striving to remain competitive, understand their customers, and continuously innovate their products. The transition from an oil economy to a data economy is vital for survival, particularly in the Middle East, where cloud adoption and data strategies are vigorously pursued. National transformation initiatives, giga-projects, and data localisation legislation further bolster this shift. According to PwC, 44% of businesses are prioritising data modernisation in 2024, focusing on enhancing analytics capabilities and AI integration.

A significant change is the harnessing of unstructured data, which constitutes about 90% of all data. This has led to a 123% increase in the processing of formats like videos and documents, enhancing advanced AI applications. This shift unlocks previously underutilised data, providing immense value and an edge to applications driven by large language models. Generative AI allows less technical users to interact with data using natural language, democratizing data access and reducing reliance on data scientists. However, a robust data foundation remains essential for reliable decision-making.

The explosion of large language model applications and AI-driven chatbots signifies a shift towards more interactive and sophisticated tools. The success of AI strategies hinges on a robust data foundation, as solid data management and governance are crucial for leveraging AI and ML technologies effectively.

Additionally, integrating apps and data on a unified platform simplifies operations and enhances security and governance. This transformation represents a significant shift, emphasizing bringing work to the data rather than the other way around.

sciences use data to improve patient outcomes and accelerate market readiness. Manufacturing and retail optimize operations and supply chains, while public sector agencies enhance service delivery and compliance.Technology and telecom industries improve infrastructure management and customer experiences.

With over 9,400 companies relying on Snowflake, Snowflake provides a flexible foundation for using and customising generative AI, supported by code templates and serverless inference options in Snowflake Cortex.

Industries benefiting from big data and analytics

Industries across the board are revolutionized by data, though the pace varies. Advertising, media, and entertainment leverage data for enhanced advertising and customer services. Healthcare and life

Construction and real estate, traditionally slow in technology adoption, are now harnessing sensors and software for feedback. Drones provide project updates, and AI-enhanced robotic bricklayers improve efficiency. Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, utilizing cloud technologies, aids in project planning, design, and construction.

Handling increasing data volume, variety, and velocity

Snowflake’s platform, built in the cloud, excels in managing workloads from generative AI and ML to data engineering, offering nearunlimited scalability. This flexibility supports cost-efficient and actionable data-driven decisions. During peak periods, such as retail spikes over Christmas, retailers can scale operations up or down without worrying about permanent overheads or long-term vendor contracts.

At the core of Snowflake’s offerings is a single, unified platform with a multi-cluster, shared data architecture that processes large data volumes rapidly and efficiently. This architecture supports

Mohamed Zouari, General Manager - META at Snowflake

diverse workloads and offers near-instant elasticity. The Snowflake Marketplace enhances this ecosystem by enabling secure data and application sharing, enriching possibilities for data-driven insights and collaboration across industries. Per-second, usage-based pricing ensures cost-effective scalability, making Snowflake’s platform both powerful and economically viable.

Integrating AI and ML into big data solutions

Snowflake is pioneering enterprise AI, making AI easy, efficient, and trusted. The introduction of Snowflake Arctic, a state-of-the-art large language model, has significantly boosted organizational productivity. Arctic excels in complex enterprise tasks, leading industry benchmarks in areas like SQL code generation and instruction following. Snowflake’s unified platform simplifies LLM deployment and GPU infrastructure management, empowering enterprises to develop products, create AI-powered applications, and build machine learning models efficiently.

In 2023, an average of 90 AI apps were built per day, and over 33,000 LLM applications were created in nine months on Snowflake’s platform, showcasing its robust capabilities. Snowflake provides a flexible foundation for using and customizing generative AI, supported by code templates and serverless inference options in Snowflake Cortex. This comprehensive approach streamlines AI adoption and empowers users across

various skill levels to enhance productivity and creativity.

Benefits of AI-Enhanced analytics

AI-enhanced analytics transform decisionmaking, productivity, and customer outreach. In the GCC, 62% of organizations integrate AI into at least one business function. Snowflake’s use of LLMs and multimodal models allows users to process text and documents, providing richer, more contextual data understanding. Snowflake’s managed services model enables businesses to scale resources as needed, paying only for what they use.

Strategic partnerships with industry leaders like Microsoft, NVIDIA, AWS, and LLM providers like Mistral AI ensure access to cutting-edge AI tools while managing data securely. Snowflake’s platform supports high-scale data analytics and visualization, facilitating seamless integration with analytics and BI tools for detailed insights and robust decision-making.

Deriving actionable insights from data

Snowflake enhances data management and processing speeds, enabling data centralization while facilitating decentralized access. This approach ensures insights are accessible across departments, promoting a data-centric culture. Snowflake’s infrastructure optimizes data query execution, reducing latency and ensuring timely insight delivery, streamlining decisionmaking, personalizing customer experiences,

and boosting productivity.

User-friendly interfaces and advanced features empower non-technical users to leverage complex analytics tools, fostering a more data-driven organization. Companies adopting integrated data strategies are three times more likely to achieve significant improvements in decision-making.

Best practices for data Governance

A 142% increase in queries for accessing policy-protected data indicates a deliberate and proper use of data across industries on the Snowflake platform. Effective data governance involves leveraging existing opportunities to refine data management with small, manageable changes. This includes setting up change management processes to ease new governance practices.

Identifying data domains and defining controls is crucial. Map out all data sets and access points, establish automated workflows, approval thresholds, and mechanisms for issue resolution. Regularly measuring progress against defined metrics ensures continuous improvement.

Snowflake’s platform, enhanced by partnerships with governance experts, provides tools supporting risk assessment and data masking, ensuring high standards of security and compliance. This approach helps create a sustainable, repeatable process adaptable to growing data volumes and sources.


Microsoft’s approach to big data: innovation, integration, and industry impact

There have been several significant changes that we have observed over the past few years, driven primarily by advancements in technology and a deeper understanding of data’s strategic value. The biggest evolution that we have witnessed has been the shift from descriptive analytics to predictive analytics. What this means is that, historically, the focus was on analysing data to make sense of what had already happened; today, with the integration of the latest Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence technologies, we can analyse the data we have to predict future trends and prescribe actions to optimize outcomes. This shift is complemented by the rise of real-time analytics. Businesses today are operating in an environment where the ability to process and analyse data in realtime is crucial as it allows them to respond swiftly to changing market conditions, customer behaviors, and operational challenges.

Another notable development has been the impact of cloud computing on making big data accessible to a wider range of organizations of all sizes. Cloud-based solutions and user-friendly interfaces have made advanced analytics, that were once confined to data scientists, accessible to users across all departments, empowering them to enhance decision making and fostering a data-driven culture within the entire organization.

Most recently, we have seen Generative AI experiences such as ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot take the world by storm. These experiences have the extraordinary potential to transform the way we all work and live, enabling users to delegate mundane and repetitive tasks to AI to lessen their workloads and to focus on more creative and fulfilling work instead. And now, with services like Microsoft Azure AI Studio, organizations of all sizes and across all industries have the ability to create their own Generative AI solutions experiences.

Industries Reaping the Greatest Benefits from Big Data and Analytics

Big data and analytics are driving efficiency, innovation, and growth across every single industry. In healthcare, for instance, organizations are leveraging the technology to gain insights into patient care, clinical decision-making, research, and operational efficiency. An excellent example of this is Microsoft’s collaboration with M42, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the International Center for Genetic Disease to leverage Terra, a scalable and secure platform for biomedical research. Powered by Microsoft Azure, Terra allows researchers to access and analyze anonymized genomic data from the Emirati Genome Program, which has completed over 500,000 whole genome sequences to date. Applying AI technologies to this rich data source will support scientists in not only advancing clinical genomic research and disease prevention, but also supporting precision medicine and life science strategies globally.

United Arab Emirates

To further empower medical researchers, we have also announced the public preview of healthcare data solutions in Microsoft Fabric which enables healthcare organizations to break down data silos and harmonize their disparate healthcare data in a single unified store where analytics and AI workloads can operate at-scale.

To empower finance professionals, we recently launched Copilot for Finance, which helps streamline operations by pulling and reconciling data with a simple prompt, simplifies collections by automating


communication and payment plans, and accelerates financial reporting by detecting variances with ease. Similarly, we also launched Azure Data Manager for Energy, an enterprisegrade OSDU™ Data Platform solution.

And we are also empowering farming organizations to effectively harness data collected from various sources such as sensors in the soil and satellites orbiting the earth to accelerate the development of cutting-edge solutions through Azure Data Manager for Agriculture.

How Our Solutions Manage the Growing Volume, Variety, and Velocity of Data

Microsoft’s solutions are carefully designed to effectively handle the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of data, ensuring that organizations can derive meaningful insights and drive informed decision-making. Azure Synapse Analytics, for example, offers limitless

scale to rapidly deliver insights from all your data across data warehouses and big data analytics systems. The solution is being utilized by Netherlands-based scents and skincare company, Rituals, which has over 1,200 stores in 33 countries around the world including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman, to streamline operations and make complex business forecasting easier and more reliable. Azure Data Factory, our fully managed serverless cloud service, scales on demand and enables seamless data movement and transformation across diverse data stores and services. This flexibility ensures that organizations can aggregate data from different sources, including databases, IoT devices, social media, and enterprise applications, into a unified analytics environment. Americana food company, for example, has been leveraging the advanced capabilities of the solution, along with several other Microsoft products, to empower its finance, sales, revenue, HR, and

operations teams to spend less time on tedious administrative work and make more informed decisions regarding operations.

And Microsoft Fabric combines the best of Microsoft Power BI, Azure Synapse Analytics, and Azure Data Factory to create a single, unified software as a service (SaaS) platform with seven core workloads — each purposebuilt for specific personas and specific tasks.

Integration of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Our Big Data Solutions

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are an integral component of Microsoft’s big data solutions, enhancing a user’s ability to process, analyze, and derive actionable insights from vast datasets. We have integrated these technologies across our platforms to provide advanced analytical capabilities, automate processes, and enable predictive and prescriptive analytics.


Transformative solutions for modern industries

In recent years, big data and analytics have seen remarkable evolution, driven by advancements in data processing, AI, and machine learning technologies. One of the most notable changes is the shift from basic data collection to the extraction of actionable insights from that data.

Modern analytics tools have become more adept at handling the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of data, enabling organisations to make real-time, data-driven decisions. The convergence of IT and OT (Operational Technologies) has played a crucial role in this transformation, allowing for enhanced monitoring and management of physical assets through digital means. Technologies such as IoT, cloud computing, and advanced machine learning algorithms have facilitated this integration, providing deeper and more comprehensive analyses.

Additionally, the development of sophisticated data management platforms that allow for the ingestion, processing, augmentation and storage of diverse data, has significantly improved data accessibility and utilisation. Such platforms enable seamless data integration from various sources, offering a unified view of operations and supporting predictive maintenance and optimisation.

This evolution has empowered organisations to enhance operational efficiency, reduce downtime, and improve overall profitability. The shift towards AI-enhanced analytics has further amplified the ability to derive meaningful insights from complex data sets, driving substantial improvements in business outcomes.

Industries which are benefitting the most from big data and analytics

A raft of different industries is experiencing significant benefits from big data and analytics, with manufacturing, utilities, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals among those leading the way. In the manufacturing sector, advanced analytics are being used to optimise production processes, improve quality control, and implement predictive maintenance strategies that reduce downtime and extend equipment life.

For utilities, the application of data analytics is transformative, significantly enhancing grid reliability and improving customer service.

In the pharmaceutical industry, data analytics accelerates various stages of drug development. It optimises clinical trials by identifying the most promising candidates and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, ultimately speeding up the time it takes to bring new drugs to market. Similarly, the chemicals industry harnesses the power of analytics to streamline production processes. This not only reduces waste but also promotes sustainability by enabling more efficient use of resources. These sectors, characterised by their asset-intensive nature, are particularly well-positioned to leverage the comprehensive data management and analytic capabilities provided by rapidly emerging new data management platforms.

By integrating data from various sources and applying advanced analytical techniques, these industries can make more informed decisions, improve operational efficiency, and drive profitability.

Increasing volume, variety, and velocity of data

We address the challenges posed by the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of data through our robust data management solutions like AspenTech Inmation, which specialises in real-time data integration and management.

AspenTech Inmation facilitates the seamless ingestion, processing, augmentation, and storage of diverse data streams, ensuring that data from various sources is integrated into a unified system. By providing real-time data access and analysis, AspenTech solutions help to


transform raw data into actionable insights that can be used to enhance decision-making and optimise operations.

The scalability and flexibility of our solutions enable them to handle large volumes of data without compromising performance. Advanced data processing techniques and machine learning algorithms are employed to manage the variety of data types, ensuring that structured and unstructured data can be effectively analysed.

Moreover, our solutions are equipped to handle the high velocity of data generated by modern industrial processes, providing realtime monitoring and analysis capabilities.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning integration

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are seamlessly integrated into our big data solutions to enhance predictive analytics and operational efficiency. Our AI-driven tools, such as Aspen Mtell and Aspen ProMV, utilise machine learning algorithms

to analyse historical and real-time data, identifying patterns and anomalies that might otherwise be overlooked. These tools provide early warnings of potential equipment failures and process deviations, enabling proactive maintenance and quality control measures.

By continuously learning from new data, our AI solutions optimise processes, reduce downtime, and improve overall asset performance. This integration allows organisations to make data-driven decisions with greater accuracy and confidence. For example, Aspen Mtell can predict equipment failures well in advance, providing actionable insights on how to prevent them, thereby minimising operational disruptions. Similarly, Aspen ProMV helps in maintaining process health by providing real-time alerts on behaviours indicating potential issues, allowing for quick intervention and optimisation.

Benefits of AI-enhanced analytics

AI-enhanced analytics offer a multitude of benefits to our clients, including improved

operational efficiency, reduced downtime, and enhanced decision-making capabilities. By providing predictive insights, these tools help clients anticipate and address issues before they escalate, thereby minimising disruptions and maintenance costs. AI-driven analytics enable more accurate forecasting and optimisation of production processes, leading to higher quality outputs and reduced waste.

Clients benefit from the ability to derive actionable insights from complex data sets, facilitating more strategic and informed business decisions. For instance, predictive maintenance powered by AI can significantly reduce unplanned downtime by identifying potential equipment failures before they occur. This not only extends the lifespan of assets but also improves overall operational reliability.

The latest analytics can also help clients better understand their customers’ behaviours. They can track how customers use their website, or get insights into how many people use a computer-based or SaaS-based ERP system, for example.


Big data revolution with AI integration

In recent years, big data and analytics powered by artificial intelligence (AI) have undergone significant evolution, revolutionizing decision-making processes across various industries in the Middle East, including the UAE. The integration of AI has enabled organizations to effectively process, analyse, and gain valuable insights from vast amounts of data. This evolution has positioned the UAE, particularly du, as a key player in harnessing datadriven solutions for digital transformation and innovation.

The telecom industry, exemplified by du in the UAE, is one of the sectors benefiting immensely from big data and analytics. du has made significant strides in leveraging data analytics and AI to enhance its network, improve customer experiences, and drive digital transformation. du has been strategically implementing big data analytics in various areas to drive operational efficiency and improve customer experience. They’ve leveraged big data for network optimization, enhancing connectivity, minimizing downtime, and improving service quality. Additionally, they utilize big data to personalize offerings, address issues in real-time, predict equipment failures, and detect fraud, ensuring better customer satisfaction and data security.

Moreover, du harnesses big data for marketing campaigns, IoT applications, and developing enterprise solutions, aligning with their focus on innovation, digital transformation, and creating a hyper-connected future in the UAE. Additionally, du has played a vital role in advancing 5G capabilities, which are closely intertwined with data analytics, contributing to the UAE’s vision of a hyperconnected smart city.

Managing data growth:

du’s solutions are adept at handling the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of data through the seamless integration of advanced data processing techniques and scalable infrastructure. du ensures that its solutions can efficiently manage and analyse large datasets in real-time, meeting the dynamic demands of its clients’ data processing needs. We aim to drive the agenda of AI, sustainability, and cybersecurity in the UAE through innovative solutions and collaboration.

du ICT division is working on a digital marketplace for its enterprise and small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers. The marketplace will include unique packaged offerings on IoT, sustainability, Generative AI, Call Center Analytics, and enhanced security services through an Intelligent Cloud Security Operation Center.

The digital marketplace will offer unique and innovative solutions for customers. This shows thecommitment we have as a company to drive the AI, sustainability, and cybersecurity agenda for the UAE. This will support du’s vision to delight customers, attract the best talent, and create value for shareholders through business excellence and innovation.

Integration of AI and machine learning:

In du’s big data solutions, artificial intelligence and machine learning are seamlessly integrated to enhance data processing, analysis, and decision-making capabilities. These technologies empower du to predict trends, personalize customer experiences, and drive operational efficiency through predictive modelling and anomaly detection, ultimately empowering the organization to make datadriven decisions.

du has secured a strategic partnership with Emirates NBD (ENBD), a leading banking group in the MENAT region. This partnership involves ENBD choosing du’s Tier III data centers to host their complete IT systems, including primary and disaster recovery setups. The agreement aims to deliver for ENBD in hosting their confidential and critical bank systems and customer data in a secure and highly qualified data center. This partnership demonstrates ENBD’s confidence in du’s technical capability and commitment to providing a secure and reliable hosting environment and underscores du’s expertise in compliance regulations and data sovereignty measures. This collaboration is expected to enhance operational efficiency for ENBD and further strengthens the relationship between the two companies while solidifying du’s position in the BFSI sector.

Benefits of AI-enhanced analytics:

AI-enhanced analytics bring invaluable benefits to du’s clients by unlocking actionable insights from their data, enabling predictive analytics, identifying trends, and optimizing business processes. By leveraging AI-driven analytics tools, du empowers organizations to improve operational efficiency and enhance customer experiences, ultimately fostering business growth and innovation.

Jasim Al Awadi talks about du’s innovative use of big data and AI integration, revolutionizing industries and driving digital transformation in the UAE.

The next frontier in financial innovation

Insights from Chainalysis’ regional VP, Nicola bonnano, on building a robust crypto ecosystem.

Could you please tell us about yourself and the company’s operations in the region?

I lead Chainalysis’s Southern Europe, Middle East, Central, and South Asia teams. I joined the company over two years ago to build the team and create a structure closer to our customers and partners.

My journey into the crypto world began roughly five years ago when I became increasingly interested in the potential applications of this new technology. Before joining this Chainalsys, I spent ten years in various leading roles at Google Cloud in Italy. It was a time when many people were discussing the cloud, but few understood its actual applications. I was fortunate to witness the evolution of the cloud industry and its mainstream adoption. This experience made me eager to participate in a similar transformative journey, which led me to Chainalysis.

When I joined Chainalysis, our team in EMEA was small, with only one person on the ground in the Middle East. My first initiative was to build and develop a team in this region, leveraging my previous experience in the Middle East and Africa. I recognized the immense potential of this market and was convinced that it was the perfect environment for growth and innovation.

I moved to Dubai a year ago, and I am now deeply involved in the success of our team, and our customers and partners. Due to the excellent results we have achieved and the overall growth of the industry, we have been hiring extensively over the past two years, particularly in Dubai.

Recently, we have opened our first office in Dubai and announced our legal entity. Currently, the Middle East team is the largest in terms of personnel within the Southern Europe, Middle East, and Africa region.

Can you provide an overview of the broader crypto ecosystem in the UAE, including trends, challenges, and opportunities for innovation?

Overall, the trend is positive and continues to rise globally. When we talk about the UAE, it is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, which is quite remarkable. Several factors are specific to the UAE, such as the high percentage of people owning cryptocurrencies, indicating mature and robust adoption and a strong awareness of the opportunities related to crypto assets. Furthermore, the average size of transactions is relatively high, often linked to institutional investments.

The regulatory and legal framework that the UAE has developed in recent years have been instrumental in attracting institutional investments. This framework creates the necessary guardrails and foundation for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. The level of sophistication in the UAE is notably high, making it the number one region in terms of DeFi (Decentralized Finance) adoption in the Middle East.

In the crypto space, most people typically interact or transact

Nicola buonanno, Area VP Southern EMEA at Chainalysis
53 JUNE 2024 | INTERVIEW |

Could you please tell us about yourself and the company’s operations in the region?

I lead Chainalysis’s Southern Europe, Middle East, Central, and South Asia teams. I joined the company over two years ago to build the team and create a structure closer to our customers and partners.

My journey into the crypto world began roughly five years ago when I became increasingly interested in the potential applications of this new technology. Before joining this Chainalsys, I spent ten years in various leading roles at Google Cloud in Italy. It was a time when many people were discussing the cloud, but few understood its actual applications. I was fortunate to witness the evolution of the cloud industry and its mainstream adoption. This experience made me eager to participate in a similar transformative journey, which led me to Chainalysis.

When I joined Chainalysis, our team in EMEA was small, with only one person on the ground in the Middle East. My first initiative was to build and develop a team in this region, leveraging my previous experience in the Middle East and Africa. I recognized the immense potential of this market and was convinced that it was the perfect environment for growth and innovation.

I moved to Dubai a year ago, and I am now deeply involved in the success of our team, and our customers and partners. Due to the excellent results we have achieved and the overall growth of the industry, we have been hiring extensively over the past two years, particularly in Dubai.

Recently, we have opened our first office in Dubai and announced our legal entity. Currently, the Middle East team is the largest in terms of personnel within the Southern Europe, Middle East, and Africa region.

Can you provide an overview of the broader crypto ecosystem in the UAE, including trends, challenges, and opportunities for innovation?

Overall, the trend is positive and continues

to rise globally. When we talk about the UAE, it is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, which is quite remarkable. Several factors are specific to the UAE, such as the high percentage of people owning cryptocurrencies, indicating mature and robust adoption and a strong awareness of the opportunities related to crypto assets. Furthermore, the average size of transactions is relatively high, often linked to institutional investments.

The regulatory and legal framework that the UAE has developed in recent years have been instrumental in attracting institutional investments. This framework creates the necessary guardrails and foundation for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. The level of sophistication in the UAE is notably high, making it the number one region in terms of DeFi (Decentralized Finance) adoption in the Middle East.

In the crypto space, most people typically interact or transact using centralized exchanges, which function similarly to banks. However, transacting through the DeFi ecosystem, despite being at the core of the crypto industry, requires a deeper understanding of how the crypto space operates. DeFi represents the very essence of blockchain technology due to its transparency, as everything is observable and visible.

There’s a trade-off between transparency and ease of use. Remarkably, in the UAE, more than half of all transactions occur in DeFi, highlighting the advanced and knowledgeable use of cryptocurrency in the region. Combined with significant institutional investments, this indicates that the UAE is becoming a credible, robust, and advanced crypto hub for the world.

In what ways does your organization contribute to enhancing transparency and security within the crypto space?

We work closely with regulators across the region, especially in the UAE, supporting the full spectrum of activities required for effective regulation. This includes providing data, platforms, and solutions that enable regulators to monitor and control the industry. Additionally, we collaborate with law

enforcement agencies to prevent and respond to illicit activities such as ransomware scams, stolen funds, terrorist financing, and drug-related crimes.

Another focus area is compliance. Our team partners with major exchanges and banks to ensure they can trust the blockchain and the crypto industry. We provide the same level of monitoring found in traditional finance, including anti-money laundering and counterfinancing solutions. Notably, we have signed an MOU with Emirates NBD and joined their digital lab for crypto assets, further demonstrating our commitment.

Our team consists of subject matter experts, tech experts, and industry professionals who offer various professional services. These services support investigations and compliance, helping our clients navigate the complexities of the crypto space.

Also, a major part of our efforts is capacity building. We have a team of trainers and experts dedicated to creating understanding and focusing on education. Two years ago, we started an MOU with the Ministry of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Economy to develop the necessary capabilities and know-how to manage this industry effectively. This is what we plan to continue doing at various levels in both the public and private sectors. We aim to be not just a vendor but a trusted partner, working together to shape the industry, regulate beneficial opportunities, prevent negative aspects, and ensure that the industry thrives.

Our goal is to help the UAE attract more investment and companies that choose the UAE as their home base to serve not only the region but also the rest of the world. All of this can be achieved with trust, visibility, and transparency, which are core to the blockchain. While this can sometimes be complicated, having the right data and platforms to keep everything in sync is essential. We are proud to collaborate and partner with everyone to support this evolving industry.

54 JUNE 2024 | INTERVIEW |

Evolution, vision and AI integration

Giovanna Sangiorgi, Senior Vice President and General Manager EMEA & LATAM at NetApp discusses the company’s transformation into a data-centric enterprise, its strategic future vision, and how it harnesses AI to empower customer success.

Can you elaborate about your role in Netapp and vision of Netapp in future?

I serve as the General Manager for NetApp in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.Talking about NetApp , we have been a pioneer in innovation since its inception, with a clear vision of technological and economic changes shaping our environment. Businesses and organisations today need to find new ways to stay competitive, driving the adoption of more demanding technological requirements. NetApp’s vision directly touches on its core essence. NetApp is often recognized as one of the most innovative storage providers, known for its customer focus, excellent partner relationships, and superior customer service, which often sets it apart when customers choose their storage technology. However, this perspective is somewhat outdated. NetApp has evolved from being a storage company to a data company. Our focus has shifted from merely storing data efficiently to enabling our customers to manage their data effectively. Today, data holds a different level of importance for organisations. Data-driven companies that know how to unify and harness their data for competitive advantage exhibit significant growth advantages, whether in business growth, operational efficiency, or public sector performance. NetApp provides the technology to support our customers’ data-driven journeys and ambitions. We define ourselves as the intelligent data infrastructure company. While data infrastructure has always been our forte, it is now about creating intelligent data infrastructures designed to help customers deploy the advantages of being data-driven effectively. Regarding how NetApp adapts to the macroeconomic environment, it’s important to note that the current climate is one of rapid change and unpredictability. The numerous impactful events on the global economy make it challenging to adapt quickly. In fact, by the time an organization adapts, new dynamics and trends have likely emerged. Therefore, instead of merely adapting, NetApp focuses on enhancing our agility and maintaining a steadfast commitment to helping our customers achieve their goals. Our aim is to enable customers to leverage the growth and efficiency advantages they need to navigate macroeconomic challenges.The macroeconomic situation varies across regions, with the US, Europe, and the Middle East each experiencing different dynamics. Despite regional growth, there is always an element of volatility and unpredictability. Our approach is to remain extremely agile and customer-focused, which is essential for dealing with these economic fluctuations effectively.

Can you share insights into NetApp’s transformation and how it is enhancing business execution?

The transformation of NetApp is primarily focused on securing and providing an intelligent data infrastructure that enables our customers to


55 JUNE 2024 | INTERVIEW |

become data-driven organisations. This allows them to harness the power of data for their business purposes effectively.

The first aspect of our transformation is the development and implementation of an intelligent data infrastructure. This is achieved through our advanced portfolio and technology, which provide a unified view and management of data regardless of the workload, data type, or architecture. Whether data is stored on-premises or in the cloud, our solutions ensure seamless data management.We recognize that most businesses still maintain their core data on-premises, while a significant amount is already on the cloud. Many advanced companies are identifying hybrid architectures as their future. NetApp’s technology enables consistent data management capabilities across hybrid, on-premises, and cloud environments. Each of these environments, supported by first-party cloud services based on NetApp technology, serves as a crucial enabler of transformation. Our transformation positively impacts how we work with our customers. We continuously adapt our go-to-market strategies to better capture

customer needs and support them in achieving their missions. This adaptability and customer-centric approach are key components of our ongoing transformation. By focusing on these elements, NetApp is enhancing business execution for our customers, helping them leverage data more effectively and efficiently in an everevolving technological landscape.

How do you perceive AI particularly generative AI, as an opportunity, and how are you helping your customers leverage it?

Intelligent data infrastructure is perfectly suited to support artificial intelligence workloads, which is clearly a significant trend in this region. AI is not just a trend; it is a crucial component of the economic development plans for the country and the region for the next 30 to 100 years. Artificial intelligence is pervasive and particularly advanced here. It presents an incredible opportunity for customers, businesses, and organizations. Technological companies have a significant role in helping customers harness this opportunity.

Predictive AI is already widely adopted across various verticals and business

challenges, identifying trends that help customers create efficiency where needed. Generative AI goes a step further, not only identifying trends but also generating new ones to improve quality of life and business operations across different sectors.It is well understood that AI can only be as effective as the data it relies on. Obtaining good data is a challenge since it comes from various sources, formats, architectures, and workloads. A robust data infrastructure that simplifies the integration of different workloads, architectures, and data structures is crucial for the success of AI applications. This is how we are helping our customers leverage AI: by providing the necessary data infrastructure. Additionally, we emphasize partnerships with key industry players. AI is not solely about data; it also involves computational power and collaboration. Our long-standing partnerships with major market players and continuous expansion of these collaborations create added value for our customers. By working with leading partners, we ensure our customers can fully capitalize on the advantages of artificial intelligence.

56 JUNE 2024 | INTERVIEW |

Force for growth

In this exclusive interview, Steve Corfield, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Global Alliances, Channels & Emerging Products at Salesforce, explains why the partner ecosystem is critical to the tech giant’s growth plans.

Salesforce’s revenues are expected to reach 38 billion this year, and you are targeting 50 billion by 2026. Are you on track to achieve this?

You must have seen massive innovation in our product portfolio, particularly around data, cloud, and AI. One of the analysts we work with has sized that marketplace at $128 billion by 2028. We expect to be a major player in that space. Additionally, when you think about partners and the revenues we generate, 70% of every dollar of ACV (average contract valis executed by partners. So when you think about the 50 billion mark, that also comes through the ecosystem.

Today, we have about 250,000 accredited consultants globally, and to meet future demands, we would need around half a million accredited consultants. This would create a 2 trillion dollar Salesforce ecosystem involving about 11 million people. As we look ahead, my job is to envision what the next generation of the partner ecosystem will look like to facilitate that kind of growth in size.

Salesforce has recently simplified its partner engagement strategy and the onboarding process. Can you quickly walk us through that?

We have around 120,000 partners globally, including about 6,000 ISVs on our AppExchange, where we are doing significant work. Brian Landsman, my peer, and I work under Jim Steele, the president of alliances business. Brian focuses on initiatives like our new transactive marketplace and developing new partners on the platform. Additionally, we have approximately 6,000 consulting partners, which is my primary area of focus.

Globally, there are around 22 partners responsible for about 56% of the world’s systems integration. Naturally, we need to align ourselves with some of these larger partners to maximize our impact and success in the market.

But we also need to drive massive scale. When we look at a region like the Middle East, we have some of the most successful partners here. They are in-market, have relationships, understand the culture, and know the customers. The question is, how do we create a working environment with these partners such that we can recruit them, onboard them, and nurture them to their first piece of business?

In many cases, Salesforce Ventures—our capital investment fund— requires us to ensure that we’re backing some of these companies. Then, how do we create a more frictionless way of working with them? How do we give them access to our technology, skills, and enablement without requiring a partner account manager, allowing them to do that seamlessly through technology?

That is what we’re building right now; it will probably take another six to 12 months. We’re reimagining our partner experience and PRM (Partner Relationship Management). PRM is a massive component of the future of partners. While we have had one previously and have focused on it, we’re now considering what the next-generation partner experience platform needs to look like to

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create that frictionless environment.

The number of certified partners has grown 39 percent year over year. Are you pushing your partners to specialise in domains such as AI?

Yes, we look at the 250,000 accredited individuals and analyze the specific accreditations they hold. We then create a global heatmap to ensure we have adequate coverage. Next, we focus on the partners in regions where we feel we are under-indexed. One of the changes in the new partner program is shifting the focus from the number of accreditations to the specific types of accreditations. Our goal is to be ready when the tipping point of AI, especially in areas like Data Cloud, occurs. We anticipate an explosion in demand and want to be prepared to facilitate it. In fact, we recently announced that we will train 20,000 new people for free in Data Cloud. And then we’re looking at AI because we know we need to ready ourselves for the amount of work that’s about to come.

Data Cloud is Salesforce’s fastest growing product portfolio. How does AI fit into that?

So I think the AI piece is a natural extension of our portfolio. Particularly with certifications, we’ve seen a massive uptake in AI. Most of our partners and customers see AI as an extension of our portfolio and an integral part of our technology. Once these use cases show their ROI and benefits, particularly in areas like Service GPT,which promises huge productivity gains and significant customer benefits, they will resonate with customers. We will see AI adoption really take off soon.

Though GenAI is generating a lot of buzz, are you actually seeing any enterprise use cases that justify investments?

From a Salesforce perspective, we’ve been very clear on what a trusted technology and data platform should look like. When we work with partners, a significant focus is on data strategy. This involves ensuring the

customer has the necessary skills, that the data is in the right place, and that it can be surfaced effectively so that technologies like Data Cloud can perform optimally. Right now, getting that data strategy nailed down is a primary focus, and we are working closely with partners to achieve this.

In reality, there are thousands of use cases, but as CIOs will probably tell you, they have limited budgets. Any spending on GenAI means they need to cut back somewhere else. Therefore, we’re working with partners on use case validation. This involves creating a solution studio where customers can discuss their use cases, which we then push through a validation framework to determine the ROI.

Our partners, who are highly knowledgeable in industry and business specialization, help us create business value. This enables us to approach CIOs with due diligence on use cases, demonstrating clear benefits such as generating revenue, saving money, and improving productivity and operational efficiency.

Can you shed more light on your Bring Your Model (BYOM) strategy for LLMs?

The great thing is we have our own proprietary LLMs, but we also want to be open. We know you need access to AWS, Databricks, Snowflake, Microsoft, etc. Think of Data Cloud as an air traffic controller for data, allowing us to surface all of it effectively. You must have seen our announcement about the Zero Copy Partner Network, which enables us to harmonize and interrogate data without creating multiple duplications. This is huge for us because we can be an open standard while offering our proprietary software.

How do you manage partner conflicts when they are competing for the same projects?

There’s healthy competition everywhere, but we want to avoid is a situation where it’s just a commercial race to the bottom on price.

We are creating an open field because we want our customers to have the very best commercial and technological outcomes. The bit we watch very carefully is the quality of the implementation.

So, when you think about our partners, as I said earlier, 70% of every dollar of ACV we sell is implemented by a partner, whether that be a Big Five firm or reseller. What we’re interested in is the lifetime value post-implementation. Have they done a good job? Do they have what we call revenue accounts? If not, why? Perhaps they won a piece of business but needed more certification, and that’s on us to ensure our partners deliver high-quality work.

We’ve introduced what we call the customer success score. In our customer success group, we are looking at how we can integrate this score into the ecosystem. It serves two purposes: it gives us a good opportunity to see the quality index of the partner’s deliverable, and it protects our customers by preventing any odd behavior. We absolutely want an open commercial marketplace to ensure our customers get the best price and quality.

What is your message to the partner community in this region?

You only have to look around the region to see what’s happening with the amount of infrastructure going up. There is a huge growth opportunity here. At Salesforce, we’ve serviced this region from all around the world, but now we have achieved a critical mass in the region. We are opening a new office here and have built technical and infrastructure capabilities. While we will continue to support it globally, we now have a substantial footprint here with pre-sales, sales, service, and marketing capabilities. When you consider what we’re doing in the region, we’re just getting started. As the biggest enterprise software company in the world, saying we’re just getting started highlights the tremendous opportunity ahead.

58 JUNE 2024 | INTERVIEW |

What’s trending


Sophos appoints Joe Levy as CEO and Jim Dildine as New CFO

Sophos has appointed Joe Levy as the company’s chief executive officer (CEO), a position he has held on an interim basis since February 15. To play a crucial role in executing his strategic vision for the future of Sophos, Levy has appointed Jim Dildine as the new chief financial officer (CFO) and a member of the senior management team.

Levy is a nearly 30-year veteran of innovating and leading cybersecurity product development, services and companies. During his nine-year tenure at Sophos, Levy drove the transformation of Sophos from a product-only vendor into the global cybersecurity giant it is today, including an incident response team and managed detection and response (MDR) service that defends more than 21,000 organizations worldwide. Levy also created SophosAI and Sophos X-Ops, an operational threat intelligence unit that joins together more than 500 cross-departmental cybersecurity operators and threat intelligence experts.

As CEO, Levy plans to expand Sophos’ already strong customer base in the midmarket, which includes nearly 600,000 customers worldwide and generates more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue. As a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions for the midmarket, Sophos has a unique ability to further scale its business and the business of its partners by helping organizations in dire need of basic and expanded defenses against opportunistic and

targeted cyberattacks. These organizations include the critical substrate, small- to mid-sized organizations that comprise the machines of the world’s economy and are just as susceptible to cyberattacks as major corporations.

“When midmarket organizations – the global critical substrate – are paralyzed due to ransomware or other cyberattacks, business activities linked in our supply chains also stagnate, slowing our economy down. Operations of all sizes and shapes suffer collateral damage when dependencies in their supply chains are attacked. This can be devastating in often unpredictable ways because of the increasing complexity of how the modern industrialized global economy works,” said Levy.

“Having worked in technology and finance for more than 30 years, it is exciting to join Sophos at this juncture, when the company is well on its way to breaking through to the next level. Everything the company has accomplished thus far is impressive, including how dedicated Sophos is to constantly be innovating its cybersecurity technology and managed security services for customers in the midmarket. Sophos is also equally committed to supporting its channel partners, MSPs, and staff around the world,” said Dildine. “I am looking forward to helping Joe accelerate growth and further position Sophos as a leader in the industry.”

NetApp appoints José Manuel Petisco as Vice President for EEMI

NetApp appoints José Manuel Petisco as VP for the EEMI region, covering Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, Spain, Portugal, and Latin America. With over 30 years of IT experience, Petisco previously served as General Manager of NetApp Iberia and Cloud Director for Ibero-America.

Before joining NetApp, Petisco spent 19 years at Cisco in various management roles in Sales, Marketing, and Business Development in Spain and Europe. He also held key positions at 3Com, Alcatel, Ericsson, and Veritas.

In his new role, Petisco will lead NetApp’s global strategy implementation in key regions, focusing on digital transformation and intelligent data infrastructures for private and public cloud environments, working closely with customers and partners to drive growth and profitability.

“This opportunity, taking on this new role, represents a significant challenge and, at the same time, an immense responsibility,” said, José Manuel Petisco. “During my years at NetApp, I have been fortunate to work at the forefront of digital transformation, collaborating closely with teams and customers to implement innovative solutions in data management and cloud services. “

Giovanna Sangiorgi, Senior Vice President of NetApp EMEA and LATAM, said, “Jose Petisco has led the business in Iberia and get Spain to climb the ladder and get to the top ranking.”

Jim Dildine, CFO, Sophos
Joe Levy, CEO of Sophos

Is your communication secure?

This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicola Bonanno, the Regional VP of Chainalysis. During our chat, I discovered that many people in the UAE own cryptocurrencies. As these digital currencies grow in popularity, the need for strong security becomes even more important.

This led me to think about quantum cryptography—a technology that, while still new, has the potential to transform how we protect our data. Remember when AI was just a buzzword about a decade ago? Look at how essential it has become in our lives today. The same could happen with quantum cryptography.

So, what exactly is quantum cryptography? Simply put, it’s a way of encrypting information using the principles of quantum mechanics to ensure that data is kept safe. Instead of traditional methods, quantum cryptography uses tiny particles of light called photons to send data through fiber optic cables. Because it’s based on the laws of physics, this method is much more secure and harder to hack.

The main reason we need quantum cryptography is its unbeatable security. Traditional encryption methods, while still useful, can be broken by powerful computers, especially the upcoming quantum computers. These advanced machines could crack today’s encryption codes, putting sensitive information at risk. Quantum cryptography offers a solution that’s virtually impossible to hack, thanks to its foundation in quantum mechanics.

One of quantum cryptography’s biggest advantages is that it can detect any attempts to eavesdrop on communication. If someone tries to intercept the data, the quantum state of the photons changes, alerting both the sender and the receiver. This makes the encryption incredibly secure.

Another key benefit is the secure exchange of cryptographic keys. Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) allows keys to be shared safely, with any interception attempts being immediately noticeable. In a world where cyberattacks and data breaches are common, using quantum cryptography can build trust by ensuring that sensitive information stays protected.

Although quantum cryptography is still in its early stages, its potential is enormous. Just as AI has revolutionized various fields over the past decade, quantum cryptography could do the same for data security. By learning about and adopting this technology, we can prepare for a future where our information is safeguarded by the fundamental laws of physics.

To the readers, I would say that we should welcome the possibilities that quantum cryptography brings. By doing so, we can ensure a more secure and trustworthy digital future. What do you think about quantum cryptography’s potential for securing our digital lives? Share your thoughts and join the conversation.

61 JUNE 2024 | LAST WORDS |

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