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Citrix unveils its masterplan for taking the region into the cloud

Emcredit reveals the reasoning behind its latest IT innovations

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Aligning business and IT strategies for the Middle East

Aligning business and IT strategies for the Middle East

ELECTRIC DREAMS DEWA lands IT Department of the Year prize at ACN Awards Full details of all the winners inside

An ITP Technology Publication | Licensed by Dubai Media City


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Contents November 2010 | Volume 23 Issue 11

5 News Update This month in Innovate: the Gulf’s IT stars are recognised at this year’s Arab Technology Awards, Abu Dhabi Police call on Etisalat, Citrix lays out its vision of personal IT choice, DEWA chooses Cisco for its IT infrastructure and Nokia looks to court Arabic developers. Whilst in Update, Dell’s CIO says the Middle East can take the lead in IT, Microsoft displays its confidence in WP7, IBM announces a cloud security drive, HP launches the first Windows 7 tablet in the US, and eHDF enters the cloud.

14 Online ACN rounds up the top stories from


32 Do IT Yourself When Emcredit decided to update its IT infrastructure, it looked around and decided it would be cheaper, and better, to do it in house. CIO Emad Khatib tells Arabian Computer News more about the project.


36 Virtual Reality

15 Mobile and PC sales statistics We analyse Gartner and IDC’s latest numbers from these two important enterprise hardware markets.

Citrix’s regional director Antoine Aguado and CEO Mark Templeton tell Arabian Computer News why the future of enterprise IT is about personal choice.

42 Insurance and Securities Emirates Insurance recently upgraded its IT infrastructure with ESET’s NOD32. We speak with IT manager Shah Ata Ahmed about why the company chose that solution.

16 Comment

The Arabian Computer News Arab Technology Awards saw the region’s top CIOs and vendor executives come together at the exclusive Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa. We take a look at who won what, and what the highlights of the 2010’s ceremony were.

As vendors target the burgeoning SMB market, ERP software is undergoing a dramatic change; one that will have a major impact on enterprises, as well.

48 Tablets in the Enterprise With the rise of the Apple iPad, we break down the current trends in the tablet industry to help you understand its future better.

52 Rising Stock

Every month, ACN brings you opinion from key figures within the Middle East enterprise market. This month, experts from Kaspersky and Xerox write about their opinions of the issues affecting CIOs in the Middle East.

18 ACN Awards Review

Enterprise Resource Planning

Arabian Computer News speaks with upand-coming vendors who feel they have what it takes to get on your must buy list.

54 Recruitment


Employment news, including promotions, moves and new jobs around the region.

Windows 7: One year on...

56 After Hours

Microsoft released its new OS at GITEX 2009. We look at how successful it has been at overturning Vista’s legacy.

Arabian Computer News sits down with leading figures from around the industry to find out just what makes them who they are.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010



Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 50024, Dubai, UAE Tel: + 971 (0)4 444 3000 Fax: + 971 (0)4 444 3030 Web: Offices in Dubai & London ITP TECHNOLOGY PUBLISHING CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director Karam Awad General Manager Peter Conmy Publishing Director Natasha Pendleton EDITORIAL Group Editor Andrew Seymour Tel: +971 4 444 3320 email: Editor Ben Furfie Tel: +971 4 444 3643 e-mail: Contributors Piers Ford, Imthishan Giado ADVERTISING

Heads in the cloud


f there was one thing that came out of this year’s GITEX technology week, it was that there is a lot of confusion surrounding cloud computing. Part of the bewilderment surrounding the technology is down to the impact it will have on IT. While the concept of cloud computing is fairly simply, the real challenge in understanding it comes when you try and relate it to the myriad of existing concepts and technologies that permeate the industry. How does it tie in to my security? What impact will it have on my infrastructure? Are you telling me that the $3 million I just spent on new desktops was a waste of money? Even for someone who spends all day reading and writing about the technology, it can be extremely confusing. I must have learnt about three or four major concepts that I hadn’t come across before starting to write for Arabian Computer News, and I’ve been following the rise of the technology since ‘cloud’ was coined as a buzzword, at least in terms of the IT industry anyway. The biggest problem is that much of the material that has been produced has been done so at the bequest


of the sales department who of course have an agenda to fulfil. It’s a fair point to blame much of the confusion on the sales department of many vendors – even the vendors we’ve spoken to agree that the confusion caused by sales talk has gotten to the point where it’s more damaging that it is helpful. Some are doing it deliberately to boost the price they can charge for various services offered in the cloud; others because they lack a clear understanding of what the technology is themselves. It’s something that is driving CIOs to madness, especially as I said before, cloud computing as a technological concept is beautifully simple. The other problem with existing materials are that they are focused on more developed markets, and the issues that they face when adopting cloud technology like legacy systems, while neglecting major issues for the Middle East like bandwidth availability. This problem is something we’ll be looking to address in January with the release of our idiot’s guide to cloud computing. There will be no sales speak. No confusing jargon for the sake of making it sound futuristic. My aim with the guide is to write something that you can give to one of your C-level colleagues and after reading, they’ll have a firm understanding of what cloud is, what the benefits are, what the pitfalls are, and how it impacts the rest of the business. Ben Furfie, Editor

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

Publishing Director Natasha Pendleton Tel: +971 4 444 3193 e-mail: Advertising Manager Sean Rutherford Tel: +971 4 444 3482 email: STUDIO Group Art Editor Daniel Prescott Senior Designer Michel Al Asmar PHOTOGRAPHY Director of Photography Sevag Davidian Senior Photographers Efraim Evidor, Jovana Obradovic Staff Photographers Isidora Bojovic, George Dipin, Murrindie Frew, Lyubov Galushko, Shruti Jagdesh, Mosh Lafuente, Ruel Pableo, Rajesh Raghav PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager Basel Al Kassem Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami CIRCULATION Head of Circulation & Database Gaurav Gulati MARKETING Marketing Executive Martin Chambers Event Manager Preeta Panicker ITP DIGITAL Assistant Editor Georgina Enzer Tel: +971 4 444 3723 e-mail: Group Sales Manager ITP Digital Websites Ahmad Bashour Tel: +971 4 444 3549 e-mail: Ahmad Senior Sales Manager, Nathalie Akl Tel: +971 4 444 3520 e-mail: ITP GROUP Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors KM Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 444 3000 Printed by Color Lines Printing Press. Controlled Distribution by Blue Truck Subscribe online at The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

Published by and Copyright © 2010 ITP Technology Publishing Ltd. Registered in the B.V.I. under Company Registration number 1402846.



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Gulf’s IT stars recognised at this year’s Arab Tech Awards Regional technology bosses gather at the Armani Hotel, Dubai to celebrate 2010 winners AWARDS

THE CREAM OF the Middle East IT industry turned out in force on Monday, October 18th for the sixth annual Arabian Computer News Arab Technology Awards. CIOs and senior executives from leading enterprise vendors including Microsoft, Citrix, HP, AMD, Al Futtaim Technologies and Dubal gathered at the gala dinner, held at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa. A total of twenty awards were presented to honour the region’s top vertical projects,

vendors, integrators and service providers, following a record number of entries for the 2010 Arabian Computer News Arab Technology Awards. Ben Furfie, editor of Arabian Computer News said: “The real value of the Arab Technology Awards is that they are genuinely seen by the industry as a bellwether of success in the previous year. The calibre of guests is a reflection of the esteem with which these awards are regarded, and those that won should be proud of their achievements.

“We would like to thank all the winners, nominees, our judging panel, key figures from the industry and our sponsors. The event also provides an invaluable opportunity for the region’s IT industry to come together and celebrate the hard work and innovation shown in the past year,” he added. Amongst the winners were Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai Bank, Jumeirah Group, Doha Bank, EMC, Avaya, HP, Citrix, Abu Dhabi Commerical Bank CIO, Lee North and Al Batha Group CIO, Saji Oommen.

AD Police calls on Etisalat’s help GOVERNMENT

ETISALAT AND ABU DHABI Police Department signed a memorandum of understanding at GITEX 2010, with the aim of helping the law enforcement agency cut down on the amount of money it currently spends on IT support. The agreement between the two organisations will see Etisalat providing technical support, co-operation and assistance in the development of the department’s telecommunications infrastructure.

Abu Dhabi Police Department will be using Etisalat’s IT expertise to help it cut costs.

According to Etisalat, the agreement will enable Abu Dhabi Police’s IT department to benefit from the telecoms provider’s technical experience and infrastructure in areas ranging from networking and equipment testing through to meeting international standards. “Etisalat fully supports the government in its efforts to ensure the safety and security of our country,” said Abdulla Hashim, vice president of marketing at Etisalat’s enterprise solutions division. “We are proud to provide our expertise and experience.”

Arabian Computer News | November 2010



Citrix lays out vision of personal IT choice


BIRMINGHAM TRIALS WIMAX The UK council has begun a test of WiMax wireless broadband at Birmingham Science Park Aston as

CEO Mark Templeton says virtualisation will enable users to choose their hardware based on their own preferences

part of its plans for a citywide rollout. APPLE BRINGS APPS TO MAC


iPad and iPhone vendor Apple is to

THE BOSS OF Citrix has used the company’s first Synergy event in Europe to describe his vision of how virtualisation will enable new ways of working. Speaking at the keynote, CEO Mark Templeton said that he believes virtualisation technology, such as its own Xen Suite, will allow users to break away from the traditional approach of having the hardware platforms they use dictated to them by their company. The company used the event to demonstrate the latest versions of its Xen Suite, including Xen Desktop, Xen Server and Citrix Receiver, including how they can work on almost every platform in use by enterprises today, including on Apple’s iMac and iPad. “We made a promise to be available on any platform, and we mean it,” said Templeton.

bring the hugely popular App Store to its Mac OSX platform in an attempt to increase market share. UK POLICE GET BLACKBERRYS South Yorkshire Police Force has equipped its officers with RIM’s smartphone technology in a bid to reduce the amount of time spent Virtualisation will allow employees to have more say in the platforms used in enterprises.

filing paper work at stations. NHS TO OPEN PATIENT RECORDS

XenApp is crucial to the vendor’s vision of the future, according to Templeton. “The ability to download different applications, to different virtual machines, on different platforms, is the very crux of what we’re trying to achieve with the latest version of Xen Suite.”

The UK’s National Health Service has announced plans to allow patients to view their own health records online, including GP and hospital reports, and medical letters.


If there was only one consensus that came out of this year’s GITEX event,

DEWA to boost eServices with new Cisco IT deal

Jordan Ahli Bank partners with Shift Technologies

it was that the myriad of vendors operating in the cloud space are doing themselves no favours by confusing


DUBAI ELETRICITY AND Water Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding at this year’s GITEX, as part of its push to increase the availability of eServices. “This new accomplishment is an inherent part of our strategic plan to increase the competency, productivity and professional development of DEWA staff and foster the technological development of telecommunications networks as well as providing technological support in the design networks of DEWA,” says Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA.



JORDAN AHLI BANK has signed a partnership agreement with IT consultancy Shift Technologies, to aid it in a comprehensive enterprise architecture upgrade program. Shift Technologies will provide consultancy and application services to assist the bank in setting up an enterprise erchitecture foundation to introduce new technologies to transform the business. The project will aim to provide the organisation with a robust, future-proof IT infrastructure, and to provide effective governance through technology.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

customers with technical jargon and conflicting sales talk. Several of the big and small vendors that are looking offer cloud services in the region told

Arabian Computer News that they were becoming increasingly irritated by the confusion surrounding the technology.

ACN VIEW: Admission is the first step towards rehabilitation. What the industry globally needs to do is work out a way to describe cloud services simply and accurately.



UAE: Du has signaled its intention to provide a range of online services specifically aimed at the Arab world

Nokia aims to bolster Arabic mobile apps

including a new social network, and entertainment hub. Named anayou – a combination of the Arabic word

Phone giant hoping to attract new enterprise business by focusing on strengthening Ovi’s local software offering

for me and the English word you – the service will also be available on a


range of mobile devices.

FINNISH MOBILE VENDOR Nokia has announced its intention to capture the local enterprise smartphone market by focusing on improving the availability and development of Arabic-language applications. The company’s recent attendance of GITEX was focused on attracting local development talent to its Ovi platform, which it hopes will help it entice enterprises away from its smartphone rivals, Apple and RIM. Nokia’s head of marketing for the Middle East, Steve Lewis revealed to Arabian Computer News that the company believes its best chance to steal market share back from the iPhone and the Blackberry is to make the Ovi Store the premiere platform for Arabic-language enterprise applications by attracting local development talent to its devices.

“Arabic content is growing very quickly and Nokia is determined to have the best content, in terms of quality and quantity, for our customers, be them enterprises or consumers,” said Lewis. “There is a real appetite for mobile content in the region.”

Saudi’s Mobily moves into managed services sector

Abu Dhabi Ports Authority goes live with Oracle suite

QATAR: Telecoms company Qtel has announce a partnership with mobile coupon and ticketing vendor bCODE to supply its customers with access to a range of new services over its 3G network. The new services will allow users to scan an SMS at various booths around the country to gain access to services including Qtel’s Mobile Money. UAE: Dubai World Trade Centre offered visitors to GITEX the opportunity to download the show catalogue on their Apple iPad devices for the first time this year. The new

Nokia used this year’s GITEX event to reach out to local Arabic-language content developers.

app included all the information from the print edition of the publication, including floor maps, product listings and conference schedules. EYGPT: The Software Engineering Competency Centre has announced that it now has six Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) v3 Foundation certified companies operating under its umbrella. The body is looking to ramp up the number of companies that it puts through the training process after gaining training centre status. UAE: Etisalat is set to increase its focus on the managed services, connectivity and eBusiness sectors in the UAE following the announcement of its aggressive market plans for the next year. The telecoms company is looking to take advantage of the growing demand for managed services from enterprises and SMBs in the country and wider region.


MOBILY HAS ANNOUNCED that it plans to launch managed services for business in Saudi Arabia, based on Cisco solutions. The telecommmunications operator intends to launch its managed services portfolio to expand its offerings for all size of business within the Kingdom. Initial plans are for four service offerings, two for managed datacentre services; a managed hosted-server service and a managed back-up and recovery service, plus a managed firewall security service and a managed business communications service.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010


THE ABU DHABI Ports Company (ADPC) used this year’s GITEX event to announce that it has gone live with a major deployment of Oracle’s eBusiness Suite. The ADPC, a developer of ports, industrial zones, trade and logistics zones, is responsible for the new Khalifa Port development between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The Port is intended to become a major transport and industrial hub as part of the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision, and the Oracle deployment will provide management of processes and insight into the systems at the port.



Region can take IT lead, says Dell CIO Lack of legacy infrastructure an opportunity for enterprises


The share prices of the 10 largest enterprise vendors with operations in the Middle East saw another positive month on the stock markets, thanks to some positive Q3 financial figures beginning to emerge.


DELL CIO ROBIN Johnson named the Middle East as the region in the strongest position to benefit from IT innovation, in his keynote speech at the vendor’s Virtual Era conference last month. Echoing several other companies in the region, Johnson urged approximately 60 attendees from across the Middle East to take advantage of the lack of aging IT systems and leap ahead of the pack by accessing open, capable and affordable systems that can be easily integrated, without too much cost, into their existing computer systems. “The priorities for CIOs are similar across the world, however, there is a difference in how these priorities can be addressed in the Middle East,” he said in his speech. “Many of the CIOs in the Middle East are at a distinct advantage when it comes to innovation within the IT infrastructure as they don’t have to contend with the legacy systems inherent throughout older markets like the U.S. and Europe. Today, enterprises in the

Mid East ERP vendor looks to capture local market BUSINESS

QATAR-BASED SOFTWARE development company Pracoss Technologies is hoping its enterprise resource planning solution will be able to offer Middle East businesses a better experience after it launched YSer at GITEX. The ERP is intended to offer a strong planning framework for Middle East companies to manage processes and provide business intelligence, and to scale to enterprise-level requirements. The solution includes ERP, along with CRM and SCM functionalities, and includes capabilities for individualised customer and supplier management to give transactional fluidity, incisive strategic analysis and smooth procurement and sales, with strong financial and production operations. The Doha-based company is targeting the region’s retail and manufacturing sectors.


Google and Dell both had the best months, with it being a bumper month if you happen to own the shares in the search engine giant, after they climbed by just over $90 each during October. All prices correct as of October 26th 2010

Lack of legacy systems could see the Middle East enterprises leapfrog their Western rivals.

region can leapfrog these legacy technologies to adopt efficient solutions that will minimise maintenance costs and free up budget and IT resources for innovation,” he added. Dell has recently introduced new capabilities and services for its Virtual Integrated System (VIS) architecture. The new capabilities allow businesses to still fully use their existing data infrastructure without undertaking costly replacement strategies.

































MS: WP7 superior to rivals TECHNOLOGY

MICROSOFT IS CONFIDENT that it can make significant inroads into the smartphone market, after it hailed the interest around Windows Phone 7 at GITEX as astounding. The company revealed to Arabian Computer News that it expects to have launched

Anticipation is high for Windows Phone 7.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

the first devices into the Middle East market within the next two months. However, it was still in the process of finalising carrier deals at the time of GITEX. Enterprise users are one of the major targets for the company, with it hoping its integrated support for Exchange server and several other enterprise-level software packages will entice users to the device. “Windows Phone 7 is a key part of our threescreen and the cloud strategy,” explained Charbel Fakhoury, general regional manager at Microsoft Gulf. He also dismissed suggestions that Microsoft is too late with its new smartphone OS, saying that the extra time had allowed it to work longer on the devices and software to make sure it was “superior in all aspects to the competition”.


IBM to secure the cloud for concerned enterprise clients Over three-quarters of CIOs voice worries about security management in the cloud BUSINESS

IBM HAS ANNOUNCED a new initiative that focuses on the security of the cloud. The initiative is intended to make cloud computing safer for businesses, and includes new cloud-based security services, cloud security planning and assessment services, along with security research which will be incorporated into new products and services. The move is in part driven by research conducted as part of IBM’s Institute for Business Value 2010 Global Risk Study, which showed that cloud computing raised serious concerns with respondents about the use, access and control of data, with 77% of respondents believed that adopting cloud makes protecting privacy difficult, 50% are concerned about a data breach or loss and 23% that weakening of network security is concern. The services will also reflect the need for solutions and strategies tailored to each individual business, rather than a generic model, to reflect the diverse environments and requirements of different organisations.

IBM is responding to concerns raised by enterprise customers about security in the cloud.

“IBM understands the ‘one-size-fits-all’ cloud security strategy will not work for most businesses,” said Steve Robinson, general manager, IBM Security Solutions. “Our clients are looking for a trusted advisor to provide the right mix of security consulting services and offerings to match. By offering these

new services and innovations, we aim to help them create tailored solutions that will allow them to get the most out of their cloud.” The initiative will include a range of services from IBM, to help companies to plan and assess their security strategy for the cloud, as well as cloud-based security services.

HP launches first Windows 7 tablet in US TECHNOLOGY

THE FIRST TABLET PC from HP has gone on sale in the US, with the vendor hinting a launch in the Middle East ‘within months’. The HP Slate 500 is the first Windows 7 tablet device to enter the rapidly growing market, and is aimed at enterprises. Only two months ago, Blackberry vendor Research in Motion announced its enterprise-focused tablet device, the PlayBook. HP’s first tablet features an 8.9-inch touchscreen and has been designed to work with both natural touch and digital pens. The vendor has also launched a slew of accessories aimed at executive users, including the Slate Dock and the Slate Portfolio. The presence of Microsoft’s Windows 7 on the device means it is significantly more pow-

erful than rivals like the iPad, but analysts believe much of this extra performance will be taken up by the much more resource hungry operating system. In terms of storage, the device comes with 64GB of flash storage, and the ability to playback high-definition video content at 1080p. It has also included a number of features missing from some of its competitors, including a camera on the front for video conferencing, However, several analysts have raised serious doubts about the viability of the device, with some describing it as a lame duck. “This was never meant to be an enterprise device,” said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis. “HP simply repositioned it after it realised a Windows 7-based device had no chance in the consumer market.”

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

Analysts have cast doubt on the 500’s chances.



Sahara Net planning major network expansion in Saudi ISP also eyeing potential acquisitions as it looks to grow cloud and virtualisation business

The Saudi ISP is looking to build upon its long history of innovation within the Kingdom. BUSINESS

SAUDI-BASED INTERNET service provider Sahara Net has announced plans to significantly increase its network in the Kingdom, as well as its intention to expand into new markets around the Middle East.

Leviton adds to green calls in the Middle East market place BUSINESS

CABLING SPECIALIST LEVITON has become the latest company in the Middle East to the growing calls for green action. The company used last month’s GITEX trade show to display its latest range of green cabling solutions, which it says is an area many companies neglect when considering how best to implement green IT procedures, but the company believes it is the vendor’s responsibility to highlight these issues. “We are launching our C1 Ultra which is a patch panel that’s customisable, 100% recyclable and green-friendly,” said Asef Baddar, business development manager for the Middle East at Leviton. “Some are familiar with green technologies. They may not necessarily know the full details about it, but they are aware of the overall concept.”


According to Kais Al-Essa, operations and technical services manager at Sahara Net, the coming expansion is part of its plans to solidify its grip on the lucrative business and corporate markets in the Kingdom, as well as those in the wider region.

The company, which was one of the first ISPs to emerge in Saudi Arabia back in the early 1990s, has recently been making strides in providing additional services to its enterprise customers, including cloud computing and virtualisation. However, it is keen to capitalise upon the momentum it has gained and has build upon position as the largest hosting provider in the region. “We currently provide all kinds of hosting services, from basic shared hosting to co-location and managed services,” said Al-Essa. “We’ve now started making headway into the cloud computing and virtualisation markets in the region. “Our expansion will be focused on the corporate market, as that’s where most of our customers are, and we feel, the users who are set to gain the most from the new services. Our services are in four main classes: connectivity, security, optimisation, and hosted services, which suit enterprise clients,” he adds. The company has said it plans to expand via a mix of natural growth and acquisitions.

eHDF enters cloud market TECHNOLOLGY

MANAGED SERVICES SPECIALIST eHosting DataFort has said that Middle East enterprises are in a much better position to adopt cloud computing technology than their counterparts in Western Europe and North America where legacy systems pose issues for CIOs and IT managers.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

The company said that increasing datacentre capacity in the region is providing Middle East-based enterprises with a golden opportunity to leapfrog their international rivals. However, the biggest problem facing many companies in the region when it comes to adopting cloud is that there is a lot of confusion surrounding exactly what it is. “One of the things we’ve realised at this year’s event is that there is a lot of confusion about exactly what the cloud is and how it will work once their business has implemented it,” revealed Sachin Bhardwaj of eHosting DataFort. “Most of the confusion is from small-to-medium sized businesses, but there is still some uncertainty in the enterprise market, without a doubt, and it needs to be cleared up.”


Full public cloud 10 years from reality Regulatory and confidence issues to hamper public cloud adoption in some industries until 2020 warns Microsoft POLICY


WHAT: Saudi ICT Conference WHERE: Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia WHEN: 12th – 15th December 2010 ABOUT: A four day conference and two day strategic conference aimed at helping enterprises and vendors get a better grip on the rapidly growing Saudi IT market place. REASON TO ATTEND: It is the first event held in Saudi aimed at providing a forum for the country’s leading enterprises and vendors from the hardware, software and telecoms sectors to meet and discuss local issues. MORE DETAILS: You can visit the event site at

MICROSOFT HAS SAID that adoption of full public cloud services in sensitive sectors like financial services and healthcare is at least 10 years away from reality, due largely to current legislation and concerns around the security of data store on the internet. Speaking to Arabian Computer News, Microsoft’s general manager of strategy for server and tools marketing, Oliver Sharp warned that any provider choosing to offer only public cloud services was in for a rude shock. “The public cloud represents a huge number of changes to the status quo, all at the same time,” he said. “This is a problem for many of the major verticals like finance, where legislation is slow to change to new technological possibilities. It may well be the case that in 10 years they will be able to store their data online, but at the moment there is no legal way to do so. “Any vendor only offering access to the cloud through public offerings will therefore find themselves locked out of those markets.”

SHARP: Providers who only offer public cloud services will find certain verticals locked.

Atos Origin returns to the Middle East BUSINESS

FRENCH IT SERVICES company Atos Origin has made a return to the Middle East, with offices planned in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and an aggressive plan to target the GCC, five years after it pulled out of the region. Atos Origin Middle East was one of the largest service providers in the region, employing around 500 people, operating primarily in oil and gas, telecoms, and security, with a client list including Saudi Aramco, Qatar eGovernment, STC, Batelco and Emirates Airlines. The business was sold in a management buyout in February 2006, with the parent company citing that the local operation did not ‘provide support for Atos Origin’s international clients on a material scale’. The local business was then bought up by HP in October 2007.

Atos Origin sold its ME business to HP in 2005.

For the new operations, Atos will have offices in Egypt, with around 100 employees, and has formed a partnership with a local investment company, based in Riyadh, to serve the

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

GCC region. The Saudi business is set to be established by the second quarter of 2011. The new operations will be headed up by Samir El Awadi, who moves from a sales vice president role at Atos Origin. “Atos Origin has an ambitious growth plan and setting up operations in Egypt and the GCC countries is a clear example. Samir’s international sales experience and his extensive political and cultural knowledge of the region and its markets will be a considerable asset to accelerate growth in this strategic and growing market”, said Charles Dehelly, senior executive vice president at Atos Origin. “My goal is to increase our business in this region achieving profitable growth,” said El Awadi. “I look forward to working with our global and local experts.”



75 million THE NUMBER OF IPADS SOLD BY APPLE UP TO SEPTEMBER 30TH 2010 Source: Apple earnings call


en Saji Oommen CIO, Al Batha a

“I think we kind of nailed it. When you see [Windows Phone 7] you just go ‘ooooh’. Make no mistake, we’re all in. I get these kind of questions about ‘what if you don’t do this or that, or blah, blah, blah. BOOM baby, that’s what we’re going to do!” Microsoft’s ever quiet and reserved CEO STEVE BALLMER may have finally lost it. Speaking at the Professional Developers Con-

In some ways, the decision n about the Editor’s Choice award at this year’ss ACN Arab en made Techs was had already been before we sat down, largelyy ave because few companies have taken the opportunity thatt the recession has brought to crush their competition. Much of the success that the Al Batha Group has enjoy hass been down to Oommen’s est determination to get the best of technology and not to n view it as a solution, but an enabler for enterprises. The recent developn ment and release of its own iPhone app demonstrates Oommen’s approach to IT down to the last line of code. Because of that, itt would seem wrong if we didn’t choose to take this opportunity to congratulate his hardwork again. Saji Oommen has demonWe really can’t wait to strated time and again, his see what else he, and his approach to IT works. s. team, have up their sleeves.


Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer is often accused of being slightly mad.

ference, Ballmer launched into a tirade about how it is always being questioned, and becomes incoherrent in the process.

“I think it’s going to be a challenge for [RIM] to build a competitive platform, and to convince developers to create apps for yet a third software plaform after iOS and Android. With 300,000 apps on Apple’s AppStore [for the iPad], RIM has a high mountain to climb.” Apple CEO STEVE JOBS makes a rare appearance during the company’s earnings call and uses it as an opportunity to lay in to rival Research in Motion over its recently announced tablet device, the PlayBook. He also used the same call to attack Google Android, accusing it of being too fragmented to ever beat iOS.

“For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field we know that 7-inch tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Flash support matters to those who want a real web experience.” Following on from Steve Job’s earnings call rant, JIM BALSILLIE, RIM’s co-CEO felt it neccessary to launch his own verbal assault on the competition, slamming much of what Jobs said as gospel as fiction, and slinging Blackberry’s sales figures around a bit.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

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Samer Ramez Abu-Ltaif takes over regional general manager role with immediate effect.

Larry Ellison continues his battle against HP threatening to involve it in the ongoing case.





Juniper also predicts Apple will keep control of the market, holding off multiple rivals.

Kaspersky Labs names Middle East city as one of the metropolitan areas with the most attacks on enterprise architecture.

MOST READ 1 AMD provides snapshot of future 2 Customer-driven cloud live 3 Goodbye, Mr PC 4 AMD outlines cloud strategy 5 Blackberry Bold 9780 launches MOST READ ACN STORIES 1 Microsoft shakes up management 2 Oracle aims to drag HP into spat 3 Intel unveils Cloud 2015 vision 4 Tablet market to hit 81m by 2015 5 Dell CIO calls for ME innovation


Security vendors need to start being more honest about where they get their infected figures from. We know it’s from their own software failures.” Reader MindSmith voices his dismal of the latest batch of security figures from the big vendors, allegding that they need to begin being more honest about where they obtain the figures.


Intel registers record quarterly revenues, breaking the $11bn barrier for the first time in the chip maker’s 42 year history Source: Intel revenue report


Have you moved your PC infrastructure over to Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7?

38% 24% 36% Yes


No plans to

64% of companies in the Middle East have already – or are planning to – move to Windows 7. Staggeringly, 36% have no plans to do so.


The Middle East and Africa was amongst the best performing regions for Acer, recording 12.4% growth, as revealed during its recent third quarter earnings call Source: AMD financial report


Arabian Computer News | November 2010


Nokia holds on at the top IDC BUSINESS REPORT

Smartphones are driving growth within the mobile phone sector, with Apple entering the top five vendors for the first time since the launch of the first iPhone back in 2007. According to the latest figures from IDC, smartphones drove growth in the market, with it predicting the smartphone sector will grow by a further 55% during 2011. “The entrance of Apple to the top five vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst at IDC’s Mobile Device Technology and Trends team. “Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone changes are amongst the fastest growing firms. “Vendors that aren’t developing a strong portfolio of smartphones will be challenged to maintain and grow market share in the near future,” he added.

30.5% Others

32.4% Nokia

3.6% RIM 4.1% Apple 8.3% LG

21% Samsung


Despite recent changes at the top of its board due to concerns over its ability to compete in the new mobile market, Nokia not only retained its lead at the top of the market, but managed to increase its lead, albeit by 1.8%. However, IDC has warned that the vendor 2011 is shaping up to be an incredibly tough year for the vendor, with smartphone competition expected to increase even further. “Nokia still leads all vendors by a significant margin for converged mobile devices and mobile devices as a whole,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Device Technology and Trends team. “However, Nokia’s grip on the traditional mobile phone market has somewhat been loosened, as multiple Chinese vendors have gained ground, especially in emerging markets.” A total of 340.5m handsets where sold during the third quarter of 2010 worldwide.

iPad and co cannibalise PC sales GARTNER BUSINESS REPORT

Sales of PCs and laptops slowed in EMEA during the third quarter, according to the latest information from Gartner. Overall, the market grew by 7.3% compared to the same point in 2009, but analysts have warned that single digit growth in this key quarter suggests that tablet devices, such as the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab are having a substantial impact in driving money that would have otherwise been spent on full systems to the new form factor, by both consumers and more importantly, enterprises. “The single digit growth experienced in the third quarter signals a slowdown in the EMEA PC market after a very strong second quarter of 2010,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “Undoubtedly consumers and businesses are delaying PC purchases as device choice broadens, and as they await attractive seasonal offers in the fourth quarter of 2010,” he added.


22.5% Acer


19.1% HP

5.9% Lenovo

8.7% Asus

9% Dell


Arabian Computer News | November 2010

“At this stage, they hype around the iPad and other media tablets has led consumers to consider the tablet at least as a complementary device, if not a substitute.” However, Atwal warned that the worst was still to come for traditional PC vendors as non-early adopting consumers and enterprises that were finishing their trials of the form factor may increase demand for the devices substantially, at the cost of the traditional markets. “Looking forward, as consumers beyond the early adopters consider media tablets, competition for already constrained disposable consumer spending will rise. Further delay in PC purchases is increasing the risk of slower growth of consumer mobile PC markets in 2011.” Enterprise spending was also lower than expected warned Gartner, pointing to concerns over the strength of the global economy and the risk of heading into a double-dip recession.



Aleks Gostev

The genuine threat to security Why programme vulnerabilities aren’t going anywhere


oveLetter, Mydoom, Storm Worm and several thousand trojans and other programs have been infecting users’ computers for a period of almost 10 years now, most without any particularly complex technologies or devious proliferation methods. Most types of protection can easily be bypassed, providing that the cybercriminal persuades a user of the necessity to launch a given file. Now however, the situation has changed radically. The main method of infecting a computer these days is to attack it by exploiting a range of different vulnerabilities. This applies to both home and business machines alike. There are very many reasons why this shift has occurred, but the main one is that multiple vulnerabilities have recently been discovered in some of the most used progams including Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Acrobat Reader and Flash to name but a few. This has led to the situation that exists today. Currently, the majority of cases of virus infection occur while the user goes about their business on the internet. The now ubiquitous drive-by-download, which has pushed the threat up to new levels. The exploitation of vulnerabilities has become an even more effective means of proliferating viruses than social engineering techniques.


Many software development companies that produce programs containing vulnerabilities appear to struggle when it comes to restructuring their processes, not just from the point of view of reducing the number of vulnerabilities, but also in how efficient they are at addressing the problem. The security issues facing the business of the creation of other popular internet resources – in particular social networks – is equally woeful. XSS-vulnerabilities are being detected in some of the most popular resources with alarming frequency, which adds yet another layer of threats to the already sizeable problem being considered. Thus the exploitation of vulnerabilities in order to spread malware and steal information is now extremely commonplace and not at all the rarity that it once was. Right now, even cybercriminals without any proper knowledge of programming are able to use ready-made ’exploit packs’ to distribute trojans. This provides them with the ability to reach a much larger number of devices than they could ever have reached through the use of social engineering alone. However, the most dangerous emerging trend is that of cyber warfare, the most high profile care being the Stuxnet worm that was first detected during the summer of 2010.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

Its target was to gain access and information from the systems that manage production of Siemens Simatic WinCC and which work on the SCADA platform. Apart its unusual functionality, the worm exploited a zero-day vulnerability in Windows for the purposes of self-proliferation. This vulnerability was known to the cybercriminals at least half a year before security experts managed to detect it, so we can only guess who has been using it and for what purpose. What is even more alarming is that a conflict of interests between the cybercriminals and governmental institutions can be expected in the field of industrial espionage. Previously, the scope of the cybercriminals attacks was limited to harassing the everyday user en-masse and only rarely did they carry out successful attacks on financial organisations, payment systems and online shops. Back then the criminals’ main aim was to gain access to user accounts. However, during the course of its evolution, the world of cybercriminality performed a spiral maneuver which has seen it return to the same point from which it started, but on a new and higher level. Aleks Gostev is Kaspersky Labs’ chief security expert and specialises in IT and mobile malware


Dan Smith

Driving value from managed print services Why it makes sense to consider simplifying your printer infrastructure


he economic climate raised the profile for print and document output as the last unmanaged frontier when it comes to optimising IT infrastructure. Now, more than ever, companies are turning to managed print services to save money. MPS is a service offering that helps companies of all sizes better manage the way documents are printed, shared and updated throughout their business. It brings multiple print budgets and output devices – like printers, copiers and fax machines – under the management of a single vendor. MPS takes many forms, and the most important is the one that matters to the client decision maker: drafting a well-executed MPS strategy, one that drives value in clearly defined and measurable areas. MPS is certainly creating a tremendous market opportunity for vendors, but it’s important for clients to understand that success in MPS comes from effective execution, not up-front promises. Are you benefiting from your current investments? Consider what went into the decision-making process for your company’s current output environment, including the current fleet of multi-vendor copiers, printers and other hardware. Is it still delivering

what you need? Could it do more like scanning and imaging for easy access? Can your technology keep up? As a business changes and evolves, so must its output solution. If the current technology is unable to keep up with the demand from additional employees and increased usage, it is merely a drain on your financial and human resources. Or, if your current strategy does not provide flexibility as the total employee population fluctuates up or down, you have an opportunity for improvement. While the economic environment may mean you need to hold onto your technology assets for a longer period of time, MPS will still reduce costs by combining the right technology with software, services, and proven best practices so your business can streamline workflow, eliminate time consuming manual tasks, speed up access to critical information and reduce operational costs. Implementing MPS not only tackles cost and productivity goals, but it can offer sustainability benefits as well. For example, by decreasing the number of output devices from 10,000 to 3,500, One company addressed a corporate commitment to reduce paper consumption, decrease power usage and eliminate several tons of landfill waste. By strategically rationalising the ratio of out-

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

put devices to its employee population, the company reduced energy usage – leading to reduced carbon production and greenhouse gases. Eliminating unnecessary output also helps save a significant amount of fresh water and trees via the reduction in the paper and pulp manufacturing process. One of the fundamental challenges when assessing printing expenses is determining what is being spent and where. When your IT department is constantly fixing hardware while employees are unable to effectively print, scan and handle documents, all departments suffer. Printing costs are often buried in various department budgets, and each employee likely has a personalised work process that may not be optimal to reducing overall printing costs. While MPS is not a new solution, it continues to be an overlooked opportunity for companies to save money. Businesses are eager to innovate and give their employees new ways to work efficiently – to win new business, to get products to market, to get invoices processed, and to communicate more effectively with customers. A properly implemented MPS strategy creates a platform that integrates with overall IT strategy. Dan Smith is general manager of Xerox MEA




Arabian Computer News | November 2010



ubai’s Burj Khalifa provided a dramatic and somewhat appropriate backdrop for the 2010 Arabian Computer News Arab Technology Awards. Intended to recognise and reward those in the Middle East who reach beyond what others have achieved to set a new benchmark, the world’s tallest building reflected what many of those who attended seek to do every day: achieve the impossible. Hosted on the second night of GITEX, the Arabian Computer News Arab Technology Awards saw the cream of the Middle East’s IT industry, from regional vendor bosses through to IT heads of enterprises from Iraq to Saudi Arabia, gathered to celebrate the achievements of their colleagues.

Indeed, this year – as with 2009 – has been tough for all those involved in the IT industry, whether they are an enterprise or a vendor. Despite a tough financial landscape, there has been a raft of new technologies that have forced CIOs and vendors to find new ways to keep up with their competitors. Those who have succeeded haven’t just reaped the benefits of financial success; they have laid the groundwork for a long and prosperous couple of years. These awards aren’t just about who has made the most money in the past 12 months, but who has shown initiative and foresight. If that means they make the most money, then that’s a benefit, but it’s not what the Arabian Computer News Arab Technology Awards are about.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

It’s something that our judging panel had to keep at the back of their minds when deciding who they feel deserved the prestigious accolade. If there was one thing that came across from all those who attended the awards – from nominees to sponsors, supporters to winner – it was this: things are getting better. And it was this sense of optimism that helped to raise those who won to new heights. The past year may have been better economically than 2009, but it was by no means easy. It is this that makes the achievements of those who won, as well as those who were nominated, even more important. Because it shows that despite a hard year, the Middle East is on the up.




GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE YEAR Winner : Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority

With GITEX Technology Week having just celebrated its 30th anniversary, attracting more than 3,500 companies from around the globe, and visitors from more than 65 countries, it should be no surprise that Dubai World Trade Centre

Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority has embarked on several initiatives to improve the way it manages its regulatory requirements and international operations in its particular sector, one of which was the development and execution of a major

walked away with the inaugural award for Outstanding Contribution to the Middle East ICT Industry. Few companies have had such an impact on the success and fortunes of so many IT companies and enterprises in the Middle East.

Runner Up : The UAE Roads and Transport Authority

performance management system project. This three-stage implementation impressed the judges for its execution and the level of systems integration with legacy platform, especially in terms of data management and dashboard generation.

EDUCATION IMPLEMENTATION OF THE YEAR Winner : King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia by ITS

ENERGY AND UTILITIES IMPLEMENTATION OF THE YEAR Winner : Saline Water Conversion Corporation

Runner Up : Qatar Foundation

Runner Up : Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)

King Faisal University is an institution that continues to play a huge part in Saudi Arabia’s movement towards a knowledge-based society. It is renowned for integrating the latest ICT into its operations and recently implemented a


lecture capture solution to improve student learning. Since the initial pilot phase, this innovative learning management system has been expanded to serve more than 15,000 users, making it a compelling digital solution for staff and students.

Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation successfully oversaw a comprehensive Oracle-based deployment during 2010. That roll out has led to significant business process consolidation gains, thanks to consolidation

Ara Arabian Comp Computer om uter News ws | November November 2010 2010

of time and resources required to file and record various business processes, and enhanced internal efficiencies among its 10,000-strong workforce, which is spread out across the companies many facilities in Saudi Arabia. www i



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Runner Up : Etisalat

Runner Up : Societe Generale

This year, Etisalat Misr led the way by embarking on a giant Symantec-based project to deliver a flexible, cost-effective and high availability information storage environment. As a company that serves 96% of its domestic market, data

replication is a fundamental strategy for it to protect data across multiple environments. One component of the project saw the introduction of point-in time copies of customer data facilitated by the replication of information between systems.

Dubai Bank’s transition from commercial financial institution to a Sharia compliant organisation is one of the most complex IT overhauls the region has ever seen. Almost every facet of the bank’s internal systems was affected. However, rather than

just dealing with what needed to be done, the bank’s CIO Faizal Eledath chose to drive through many new technologies and services at the same time, laying the ground work for a highly successful IT infrastructure that is paying dividends.



Runner Up : Al Nahdi Medical Company, Saudi Arabia

Runner Up : Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

With a mission to increase productivity and improve overall patient care in the process in the emirate’s healthcare sector, Dubai Health Authority undertook a project to transition to a managed services model based on strict ITIL guidelines.

www w.i .itt p.n et

With a total of 6,500 ICT devices across three major hospitals and 30 locations, this cloud-based project got the judges’ nod for the improvements it has made to the organisation’s systems up-time and asset management.

Winner : Jumeirah Group

This category was extremely close, but in the end the judges selected the organisation that found a way to overcome the growth limitations of operating distributed data centres by moving to a dynamic cloud-based infrastructure. While cost was a

Arabi bia ia a n Computer News wss | November No 2010 201 010 0 Arabian

relevant factor, it was important for this organisation to stay competitive by modernising their datacentre with a customised strategy that didn’t just involve racks and servers, but every major system that makes up the infrastructure.





Runner Up : HP

Runner Up : HP

Each of the nominees in the Green Implementation of the Year category has gone about the concept of environmental friendliness in a different way. Doha Bank, however, stood out from the crowd by deploying a unique enterprise-wide energy

saving solution that reduced its carbon footprint by more than 40% and led to zero ewaste through the reduction of CO2 emissions by 864 tonnes per annum. It was this that the judges felt set the Qatar-based bank above its rivals for the award.

The names competing for the Enterprise Hardware Vendor of the Year award are all well-known names, but EMC clinched victory on the strength of its commitment to expanding its enterprise resources throughout the region and the extension

of solutions-based training courses for customers. In particular, it’s commitment to helping enterprises in the region prepare for the coming cloud computing revolution set the company apart from many of its rivals for the accolade.



Runner Up : SAP

Runner Up : Cisco

McAfee has significantly expanded its regional business during the past 12 months and this has helped it secure major projects wins throughout the Gulf, Levant and North Africa with customers such as ANB Saudi Arabia, Orange Jordan


and the National Bank of Egypt. Despite its recent purchase by Intel, much of the talk during the judging sessions revolved around what the company had achieved in the previous 12 months for its enterprise customers in the Middle East.

With the launch of several new enterprise products, and a spectacular year stealing market share from its fierce rival Cisco, it was little surprise that Avaya walked away with the Enterprise Networking Vendor of the Year award. The company

Ara Arabian Comp Computer om uter News ws | November November 2010 2010

has provided solutions to more than 350 new customers across the MENA region during the past year and as a result of its global expansion policy it now lays claim to one of the most comprehensive voice and data portfolios in the industry. www i

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Runner Up : EMC

Runner Up : Symantec

Citrix has massively expanded its cloud-based solutions portfolio over the past year, especially with the release of its latest Xen Suite. Rather than taking a horizontal approach that attempts to cater to every customer regardless of size and

focus, its solutions are based on the core philosophy that a workload-centric approach is needed to successfully deliver cloud services. As its CEO Mark Templeton recently said: “We want to be on every device the customer wants us to be.

This category really did split the opinion of the judges – and even caused a couple of raised eyebrows on the night – but in the end Kaspersky was chosen for the measures it has taken to enhance its enterprise product training and the increased direct

engagement it has had with enterprise customers following the former consumer-only vendor’s move into the enterprise space. This award shows that the company has not only succeed in breaking into the market, but exceeded expectations.



Runner Up : Emitac Enterprise Solutions

Runner Up : BT Frontline

MDS remains a leader in its home market and continues to blaze a trail in its field by carrying out some of the biggest infrastructure projects in the Gulf. Recent deployments include a major HP OpenView enterprise management software

eHosting DataFort operates the kind of state-of-the-art datacentres that have helped it rack up a string of prestigious customers, including numerous enterprises and government departments in the region. It has also launched a wealth of new services in


implementation with Daman Insurance and a comprehensive enterprise storage area network project with the National Health Authority of Qatar. It is for these reasons that the judging panel felt there was only one choice for the SI of the Year award.

Ara Arabian Comp Computer om uter News ws | November November 2010 2010

the past year to enhance its virtualisation, disaster recovery and business continuity offerings. The judges’ choice was validated by its strong showing at this year’s GITEX Technology Week, as well as its managed service launch. www i





Runner Up : Sun Innovations

Runner Up : EMC

Arabian Computer News readers voted in their droves for the first Enterprise Product Launch of the Year award, with it coming down to an unbelievably close battle between HP and Sun Innovations. Eventually though, the region’s

largest enterprise vendor, HP managed to pull ahead and win the much desired award with its BladeSystem Matrix platform. It meant that HP became the first ever Arabian Computer News Arab Technology Awards reader decided accolade.


This was another closely fought battle, Blue Coat just managed to pip runner up EMC to the post at the eleventh hour. Arabian Computer News readers chose to award the accolade to Blue Coat because of its recent moves to bolster its after-sales

service offering during the past year, with a range of new initiatives that include its first professional services programme and the expansion of its popular BlueTouch training services to include virtual classroom training in the Middle East.

CIO OF THE YEAR Winner : Lee North

Runner Up : Dubal

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is an organisation whose IT department has worked tirelessly to improve the flexibility and security of the government agency’s IT infrastructure, while also developing a comprehensive portfolio of

www w.i .itt p.n et

eServices to meet its ambitious strategic objectives. It is one of the United Arab Emirate’s leading lights when it comes to expanding eServices through to its customers, including the development of iPad, iPhone and Android applications.

When Lee North joined Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank six years ago it didn’t even have an email system in place. However, it is now thought of as one of the most forward thinking companies in its vertical sector thanks to this North’s dynamic

Arabian Arabi bia ia a n Computer News wss | November No 2010 201 010 0

approach to IT management. He has led his team to successfully deliver some of the most impressive datacentre, managed security and enterprise software projects seen not just in the Middle East, but around the world as a whole.



EDITOR’S AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT Saji Oommen, Al Batha Group With more than 25 years of expertise in the field, Saji Oommen’s proactive leadership has resulted in the adoption of technologies that have provided a competitive edge for his business and improved cost efficiencies. The number of successful and innovative projects he has managed are far too comprehensive to list here, suffice to say that this person’s track record is one of the reasons he is held in such high regards by his peers and one of the major reasons he deserves this recognition.


Anup Das Managing Director of AKDC and former senior technology officer for emerging markets at Barclays Bank


Fawzi Bawab Management and Partner Consultant at Meirc Consulting Group

Abhijit Pendse

Gassan Mutwali

Senior Engagement Manager at Cedar Management Consulting International

ICT Consulting Manager for the Middle East and North Africa at Frost & Sullivan

Ara Arabian Comp Computer om uter News ws | November November 2010 2010 www i


ACN Awards Gallery


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Arabian Computer News | November 2010


Do IT yourself When Emcredit’s CIO Emad Khatib decided it was time for the company to embrace cloud, he considered his options carefully. With the rest of the world still reeling from the impact of the credit crunch and subsequent global recession, he made a bold decision. The company would build its own private cloud. By Ben Furfie ew companies can claim to have implemented a cloud solution, never mind done it in house, but that is precisely what Dubai-based credit bureau Emcredit has achieved. And all despite recessionary pressures that have seen it eschew the usual channel of hiring a vendor partner to come in and implement a full solution. However, despite the daunting challenge that faced the company’s CIO Emad Khatib, he feels that the result of handling the process in house has paid dividends, not just in terms of the money the policy has saved the company, but also in terms of the knowledge his staff have gained. “In all honesty, because of the current economic situation, we’ve done the majority of work internally in order to minimise and control our costs,” reveals Khatib. In terms of exact figures, he says it is hard to estimate, but that by handling it in-house he knows Emcredit has saved a substantial amount. “In terms of the infrastructure alone, we would have had to rent it through the cloud. So rather than go straight out and spend money on an external solution, we looked at the hardware we had as redundancy and came to the conclusion that we should look at building a private cloud. “We pushed the staff and finally – when we had acquired the knowledge and understanding of how to do it – we went ahead and built one. So when you look at it, all of the hardware were already

capital assets of the company, and because we eschewed bringing in external consultants, we saved on costs there too. So really, it was a saving of 100% over the alternative.” The risk, of course, when handling a project of the scale and complexity of a cloud deployment, is that it could go wrong and end up costing the company more down the line. However, Khatib is adamant that his approach of carefully and methodically handling the implementation in house allowed him and his team to spot potential issues far more effectively than relying on a vendor or a systems integrator would have. “I personally oversaw the project, managing the risk in terms of doing things step-by-step, “he reveals. “A vendor or systems integrator could have done the project in maybe half the time, but by handling it in house and taking our time to implement it, we managed to not only save money, but came up with a system that we feel that is much more stable and suitable for purpose, because we carefully managed the risk. “In addition, the staff had to educate themselves and put a proper plan in place,” he says. “I think we benefited a lot from this approach, if I’m honest. It has taught the staff that they need to be independent, as well as aggressive to find ways of cutting costs. It forced them to become innovative in terms of how they can come up with solutions internally. “Finally, it told them how to manage risk, how to predict it and how to mitigate any potential risks during a project ahead of time and therefore remove any potential issues later on,” he adds.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010



I feel the CIO plays a vital role within the company, especially when they roll up their sleeves and get into the nuts and bolts of the job.” Despite growing pressures from the CFO and other board members to control costs, while maintaining efficiencies, Khatib reveals that the idea of handling the deployment in house was entirely driven from within the Emcredit’s IT department. One benefit of this approach, he believes, is that it sets an example for other companies in sensitive industries that they can, and should, look to develop solutions in house. “As a credit bureau, we have to have the great confidentiality when it comes to our data,” says Khatib. “It simply had to be managed internally. Most creditors should manage their IT in house in order to ensure that

KHATIB: Having a strong internal IT department is key to being able to manage risk. IN NUMBERS


What Emcredit saved building its own cloud


The number of people in Emcredit’s IT department 34

the security is there. In addition, we’re ISO 27001 certified. It’s something we gained at the end of 2008, but we’ve managed to retain it even after we moved our IT management strategy entirely in house.” With such a strong personality driving the team, he is surprisingly willing to allow people to come to him with issues and solutions, as well as not being afraid to get stuck in. “I have all kinds of roles,” says Khatib. “One is a leadership role. I have an open door policy when it comes to communicating issues and ideas. If one of my staff members has an issue, they are welcome to come to my office and discuss it. I’m also extremely hands on. If it is a problem that I’m not entirely sure how to solve, I am more than happy to get my hands dirty and get involved in trying to rectify the issue.” When asked if he feels its important for a CIO to have that level of approachability, he says: “Absolutely. Really, I think that the CIO plays a vital role within the company, especially when they roll up their sleeves and get into the nuts and bolts of the job. It’s one of the things that makes the CIO role a little bit unique when it comes to executives. They have to straddle the dual role of being able to get stuck into a problem, while at the same time, being able to articulate in clear and precise business terminology how it is a solution and exactly the challenges it can address within the enterprise. “They also have to be able to align the business with the IT strategy, so it involves someone who has extremely strong will and can make their colleagues realise that IT isn’t simply a solution to a problem, but it is an enabler, and as such, they have to be willing to understand what has to be done to make it work, at least in the way they expect it to when they envisage it,” he adds. The most pressing question when it comes to how committed the company is to the policy of handling as much of their IT infrastructure internally is, had the recession not happened, or it wasn’t as bad as it turned out to be, would Emcredit still had considered eschewing approaching a vendor or a

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

CIO CV EMAD KHATIB 2008 – Present

Chief Information Officer, Emcredit 2005 – 2008

Implementations Manager, SAS 1998 – 2005

Senior Principal, Oracle QUALIFICATIONS 1992

MS Systems Analysis and Management The George Washington University, Washington DC, USA 1985

BS Civil Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

systems integrator? “That’s a very interesting question,” replies Khatib. “The reason why is because really, I would think I would continue to look for internal ability first, through assessing whether or not we were capable of it as an IT department, before going to an outside provider. “Like I said previously, I feel handling the IT internally like we have sets a good example for businesses, not just in sensitive industries like ours, but also in other sectors, to consider whether or not it is possible to do it internally, because the pay off can often be much more than financial.”


Virtual reality Citrix recently held its first Synergy conference outside of the United States, where it unil d a raft ft off new software, ft i d partnerships, t hi ll focused f d on helping h l i it become b veiled services and all the first choice for CIOs when it comes to enabling virtualisation and cloud computing. We find out just what the company has install for the Middle East market. By Ben Furfie t’s the last day of what has been a long, but productive week for Citrix. The company has just held its first major partner event outside of the US, and announced the release of new software and services to the mix of partners, customers and the press. Antoine Aguado, Citrix’s regional director for the Middle East relaxes into his chair, smiling. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the response we’ve had,” he begins. “I know that what we were showing was exciting, but the response we’ve had was beyond anything we were expecting. We not only sold out the event, but the enthusiasm we saw was amazing. People really seem to be excited about what they’ll be able to do with our new products.” Amongst the software and services the company announced at the show is Xen Desktop 5. “If you look at the technology we’ve seen at Synergy, it is obvious the value it can bring to any kind or size of organisation: whether it is a small law firm of two or three people, or a very large company like Aramco,” he says. “As we’ve seen over the past couple of years, the needs of organisations in the Middle East are changing. Right now, there is more connectivity, there are more devices that staff are using to access their business and therefore, they are more mobile. It creates new requirements due to the change in user expectations.” One of the points he is keen to address is the issue of bandwidth, or the lack thereof in the Middle


East. Citing Citrix’s range of solutions that are designed to help reduce bandwidth use, Aguado says the issue is no longer the barrier to the adoption of new technologies, such as desktop virtualisation, as it used to be. “If you look at recent trends, the main concern has moved away from bandwidth, and towards cost savings. It’s something that we as a company have become acutely aware of in the past 18 months,” he reveals. “Companies are a lot more conscious about how they spend their money, but at the same time, they are demanding far more out of the solutions they purchase. It has meant the CIO has become stuck between two competing and seemingly incompatible demands. So the question is, how can they do more, with less? I, and several of the partners I’ve spoken with this week, feel that with the new range of solutions we have released this week, we may have just solved that problem,” he adds. Taking it to extremes, Citrix suggested at the event that CIOs could do away with almost all of their IT infrastructure, offering staff the opportunity to use their own IT equipment – regardless of what operating system they have installed – without putting the enterprise’s network or data at risk from employee misuse, loss, theft or malicious software. The reason for this is its approach to virtualisation in the cloud computing age. “Imagine being able to use your own laptop – it might be an Apple MacBook running OS X, for example – now, normally, there would be no way to do that,” explains Aguado. “Because of our ap-

Arabian Computer News | November 2010


Arabian Computer News | November 2010





The number of Xen Desktop licences Citrix has sold around the world during the last three financial quarters


The percentage of new virtualised servers that will be running Citrix’s XenServer cloud computing application Source: Synergy Berlin Conference

AGUADO: Bandwidth is still an issue for the Middle East, but technology is helping cut its impact.

“Our partnerships with Microsoft, Cisco and McAfee are intended to bring the benefits of cloud computing to enterprises throughout the world. proach to virtualisation, CIOs can split the work use and personal use by offering the employee two virtual desktops. By virtualising the two desktops separately, it means there is much more flexibility to control what users can and can’t do – for example, you may allow them to plug in personal devices, and allow them to interact while on the personal virtual desktop, but when they switch over to the work virtual desktop, those devices are disabled to prevent unauthorised data leakage. “It also means both desktops can be stored on either a private or public cloud,” he adds. “It means that an employee that needs to work outside the office can access their virtual desktop, say from their iPad, without any of the data being displayed or created being stored on the device. It not only allows the CIO to restrict access to certain times of the day, but also removes the risk of data being comprised by the device being lost or stolen.” It is this approach that Aguado feels is one of the main benefits of Citrix’s solutions. “The partnerships that we have been signing, such as with Microsoft, Cisco and McAfee are all intended to give enterprises what they need to be able to take full advantage of the


benefits that cloud computing will bring to the future workplace.” Of course, the biggest technological challenge in the Middle East without a doubt is bandwidth availability and cost. However, Aguado is confident that the company has what it takes to help companies save money. “We saw a tremendous cut in bandwidth use

between Xen Desktop 3 and Xen Desktop 4,” says Aguado. “Bandwidth remains a crucial area, but with the advances in scalability, compatibility and integration of data has cut bandwidth demands substantially,” he reveals. So by using things like Citrix NetScaler, Branch Repeater and Xen Desktop, enterprises can negate many of the issues. As Citrix’s CEO Mark Templeton said on stage at Synergy Berlin during his keynote: “When we said that we will bring a seamless consumer experience to any device, like the iPad, for enterprise use, we meant it. This is the Citrix vision.”

TEMPLETON: We’re bringing together devices and allowing the user to decide what they work on.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

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Windows 7: One year on 12 months ago, Microsoft showed the successor to Windows Vista off to the public for the first time. To find out what a difference a year makes, Arabian Computer News spoke with Wilson Xavier, Windows client business group lead, Microsoft Gulf. Windows 7 is one year old. How have the past 12 months been for Microsoft’s new OS in the Middle East? It was a great journey in the region, starting with a very exciting launch during GITEX 2009, where we launched Windows 7 for commercial customers at GITEX and for consumers at GITEX Shopper. Most importantly, we continued our promotion throughout the last year with our OEM partners, system integrators, resellers, retailers, training partners, software developers to ensure continuous engagement with our customers. This time last year, Microsoft was struggling to get enterprises on board with Windows Vista. Has that changed with the launch of Windows 7? Enterprise adoption has surpassed expectations. Analysts initially forecasted a 50-60% up take in Windows 7 migration. We’re now seeing nearly 89% of enterprises moving to Windows 7 within the next 24 months, according to IDC. In addition, customer satisfaction levels have never been higher. Here in the Gulf, we see even faster adoption across most enterprises.


How does the enterprise adoption rate of Windows 7 differ compared to Windows Vista and XP? Windows 7 is the fastest selling operating system to date. Sales of Windows 7 have already crossed the 240m copies mark worldwide. Enterprise adoption has really picked pace in the last eight months, and the current trends indicate the fastest adoption rate ever for an operating system in the region. What has been the main attraction of Windows 7 for enterprises in the Middle East? It is important to note that Windows 7 was released during a tough economic period. This not only helped businesses relate to the value proposition of Windows 7 with better productivity, mobility, manageability, security, power management, but made them to realise that the modern desktop could be an IT enabler for process innovation. Can you name some of your big enterprise wins in the region? It is very encouraging to state that we see Windows 7 Enterprise adoption across all sectors in the region, including government,

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

telecoms, oil and gas, aviation, education, banking, retail and the media. Many of these customers are at various stages of Windows 7 deployment. Emirates, Kuwait Oil Company, Petroleum Development Oman to name a few, are some of the large enterprises to have deployed Windows 7. Have there been any other benefits for Microsoft since the release of Windows 7 12 months ago? Windows 7 defi nitely helped to strengthen our eco-system of partners and customer alike in the industry, and further raised our product and solution value to IT professional audiences and business decision makers in the region. HP has just launched the fi rst Windows 7 tablet in the US. Do you think it has what it takes to compete with iOS, Android and WebOS in the tablet space? HP and Microsoft have a long-standing, strategic relationship spanning many areas, including Windows-based PCs, servers and cloud technologies. Together, we continue to drive hardware and software innovation forward.



“Windows 7 is the fastest selling operating system to date. Sales of Windows 7 have already crossed the 240m copies mark worldwide.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010



Virus insurance Emirates Insurance is one of the largest insurance companies in the United Arab Emirates, but until recently it found itself at the mercy of frequent attacks and over zealous antivirus suites. Today it explains how it solved the issues that threatened to swamp its small IT department.


Arabian Computer News | November 2010


PROJECT BRIEF Organisation: Emirates Insurance Company, Abu Dhabi Industry: Finance Challenge: Improve detection and removal of viruses, and reduce the hardware strain caused by existing antivirus solution from Symantec Solution: ESET NOD32 Project length: Two months


iruses. They are a perenial problem for CIOs, as is the software that is suppose to protect their IT infrastructure. Frequent complains revolve around sluggish performance, poor detection rates and software that tends to cause more crashes and errors than the things it is supposed to protect their computers and network against. This was the problem that faced Emirate Insurance. Faced with frequent infections, software that crashed the network more often than it protected it, and an overwhelming number of support ticket requests for the small four man team, the company’s IT department decided it was time to consider another antivirus solution to replace the Symantec solutions it had been using. “We had a lot of problems to do with viruses not being caught, and then the network being down because of it, PCs running slowly because the antivirus solution took up inordinate amounts of RAM, and users getting annoyed because of all of it,” reveals Shah Ata Ahmed. “It was all the motivation we needed as a company to begin looking at other solutions on the market.”

ABOUT EMIRATES INSURANCE Emirates Insurance was incorporated in Abu Dhabi in 1983. It is listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities market and is one of the longest established insurance companies in the United Arab Emirates. It employs over 200 staff across 13 offices through the country. It’s main offices are in Jebel Ali and Al Ain and has numerous desks in traffic departments.

After comparing all of the available solutions available, the company decided to test ESET’s NOD32 platform. “We originally moved over to ESET NOD32 when it was still relatively new to the Middle East and Europe. At the time, Symantec and McAfee were market leaders, which we found strange as our test had shown that both were the worst when it came to overusing resources,” adds Ahmed. “We were keen to move away from Symantec, so finding a solution that was light on resources, while giving us good antivirus capabilities. It also had to be robust enough to be rolled out in an enterprise environment.” The response it got from the vendor surprised the company. “ESET was extremely helpful,” says Ahmed. “At the time, it was still new to the market and was extremely keen to help us evaluate its software. It offered us full versions of the software to roll out across our network on a trial basis with no commitment to purchase it at the end of it. That gave us a lot of confidence about its solution.” The company was extremely happy with the solution, and has been using ESET’s solution for the past four years. Last month it upgraded to ESET’s latest enterprise solution, NOD32 Antivirus Business Edition. “Since rolling NOD32 out, we haven’t had a single virus outbreak on the network,” reveals Ahmed. “It has been very robust in terms of dealing with viruses and intrusions. It has also meant that we’ve seen an end to when the network was down, not because of a virus or other piece of malware, but because of the antivirus suite itself.” The latest version has brought with it additional benefits aimed at enterprises. “We use ESET’s mirror server solution to minimise the disruption to users. As far as they are aware, nothing has happened, there has been no update and no inteferance from the antivirus. The trick is that the server solution constantly checks for updates and patches and collects the latest data on the server. Once a user logs in, it pushes the update to them all at once so instead of finding that their computer is becoming locked up during the day searching for updates, they don’t notice a thing,” says Ahmend. “It’s cut down on the number of users trying to turn the antivirus off because of it getting in the way of them being able to do their job.”

Arabian Computer News | November 2010



The number of users that ESET NOD32 protects at Emirates Insurance


The number of major virus outbreaks after rolling out ESET NOD 32

NEOPHYTOU: It is important for us to be able to give our customers enough freedom to work.

The software, and its features, has had another benefit he explains. “Since we adopted NOD32, we’ve found that the number of help tickets from users concerning viruses has dropped to almost zero – not just because the software does such a good job at protecting our systems, but also because it is much friendlier to the PC’s resources.”

VENDOR VIEW “For ESET, customer’s personal freedom directs how they design their products and solutions. We are pleased Emirates Insurance chose NOD32, as it will offer it another layer of IT security.”

Neo Neophytou, Managing Director, ESET Middle East partner ADAOX




Arabian Computer News | November 2010


Resourceful IT ERP software is back in vogue, with the sector undergoing a revolution as vendors seek to win business from the largely untapped small to medium business market. But while that is of little consequence to CIOs of large enterprises, the ripples of change are beginning to be felt as the software adapts to break into new markets. By Piers Ford s a market, ERP has been ‘happening’ in the Middle East for the best part of a decade. Yet despite the marketers’ insistence that it has been a hive of activity and constant advancement – the big vendors are all well established in the region and have their sights firmly set on the potential of the SMB sector – there is still a sense that it has been moving forward in fits and starts rather than a steady evolutionary flow. In 2010, announcements by the industry has reignited an appetite for ERP and generated intense interest among customers who, in the past, have been put off the idea of integrated business systems by the perceived magnitude of the software deployment and complexity of the interfaces on offer. In July, SAP launched an Arabic version of its Business All-in-One ERP platform, targeting both its 800-strong existing customer base and the hitherto cautious mid-market and SMB sector. “The strength and vibrancy of the mid-market sector in the MENA region comes as a result of companies continuously striving to innovate,” says Sergio Maccotta, managing director, SAP MENA. “Region-relevant business solutions that cater for this important market are crucial to its success. “With an average of two new customers selecting SAP business solutions in the region per week, and the mid-market sector accounting for more than 50 percent of SAP’s revenue, we are committed to supporting our customers in this field with tools that allow companies to leverage industry best practices and the agility to respond quickly to market changes and in Arabic as well.”

Even more recently, at GITEX 2010, Oracle announced a host of ERP-related products, including the Exadata Database Machine and the Exalogic Elastic Cloud, designed to enable tight integration throughout the entire computing stack. “The Middle East is one of the fastest growing emerging markets for Oracle and has constantly maintained leading positions for various applications and databases,” declared Dana Murugan, marketing director, Oracle Middle East and Africa. “GITEX is simply the ideal platform for Oracle to showcase its technology solutions, underline its leadership and renew its commitment to current and potential customers in the region, to always respond to and beat their expectations in innovating solutions that drive growth to their businesses.” Abu Dhabi Ports Company (APDC) is typical of the customers on the software giant’s regional radar, having just invested in Oracle eBusiness Suite, which provides a single web-based solution that brings together all its legacy systems behind an intuitive interface and delivers the ERP vision of fully integrated business processes: greater operational efficiency, more informed management decision-making thanks to real-time business intelligence, and a more secure IT infrastructure. These are all goals that, according to Tamer Elhamy, Dynamics lead, Gulf Region, at Microsoft, are driving businesses to consider ERP adoption further down the food chain. He says that many SMBs are still using bespoke or point solutions. One organisation, Dubai-based recruitment consultancy Iris Executives, typifies the ongoing popularity of point solutions – and the battle that ERP players still face to convince some market sectors that they are not just touting big ticket solutions for big name companies.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010



EVOLVING INTERFACES Complex user interfaces have long been an obstacle to ERP adoption. Vendors like Infor and Epicor are quick to point out that their ERP systems have long since bought into the look and feel of

Windows, and welcome Microsoft’s advancements on the SharePoint front, which will bring commonality across desktop and web-based solutions. “Our new user interface will provide greater productivity for users, whether on desktop or mobile devices,” says Paul Hammond, general manager, Middle East at Infor. “It will provide better navigation, provide users with familiarity with existing Microsoft-type interfaces and a single sign-on to multiple applications. It will also give multiple channel access for integration with business networks and social media. Fundamentally, customers will have the same look and feel access to all their applications to boost productivity and facilitate the faster adoption by users.” “We believe that access to ERP solutions through browsers and webbased applications will be the future of all corporate dashboards,” states Basil Daniells, senior director, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and India, at Epicor. “The ability of a user to access our ERP solution through social media platforms like Twitter, mobile devices like Blackberry and the iPhone, and across the leading browsers, is testament to this growing trend.”


Iris CEO Hamza Zaouali recently took the strategic decision to buy Bullhorn’s application tracking and CRM recruitment software, using the SaaS delivery model. “It is an adaptable system that I can customise to our business – the only one that we could tailor to recognise the regional issue of filling UAE jobs with local employees. It’s something the average global system doesn’t have to cater for. I didn’t even consider an ERP system. It’s way too heavy for SMBs. Recruitment companies don’t need a lot of modules. I’ve been a software consultant and I wouldn’t even think of starting a small SAP or Oracle project in this market. They are too complex and deep, and not as flexible.” “The majority of organisations are using ERP for transaction processing and automation of business flows,” says Microsoft’s Elhamy. “Recently, organisations started using KPIs, dashboards and collaboration tools to extend the usage of basic ERP. We have one organisation who has started using Dynamics ERP integrated with SharePoint and Office Communication to communicate with different offices, vendors and suppliers. Organisations today are looking at ERP as an important way to increase integration, efficiency and control, and to reduce costs.” Elhamy says the economic squeeze has had a mixed impact on ERP spending in the last 12 months. Some customers have delayed investment, while others have seen it as a chance for cost savings and efficiencies. “Customers who assessed ERP have focused on reducing costs, increasing collaboration between departments, implementing savings policies in their procurement departments, increasing inventory turnovers, implementing accurate costing schemes, and coping with limited resources by maximising the roll-out of automation,” he says. “These are examples of how customers have used ERP to cope with the economic situation.” Paul Hammond, general manager Middle East at another ERP vendor Infor, says the return of investment to large, governmentfunded infrastructure projects, is revitalising the market, and pushing all-important cash down into private enterprises.



The average growth rate the ERP sector is expected to experience from 2006 to 2011


The amount that will be spent on applications delivered via SaaS, including ERP, by 2014


Of all money spent on software by 2014 will be done via the cloud, such as through SaaS Source: IDC

“We’re witnessing this in project-based manufacturing companies that we feel have turned the corner, and this is being reflected by increasing customer demand for our IT solutions,” says Hammond. He offers Metito Overseas in Sharjah, a specialist in the design and supply of water, wastewater treatment and desalination systems, as an example of a customer who uses ERP to manage multiple operations. “It uses our Infor ELN to get benefits in three crucial ways,” he says. “Firstly, to provide visibility across its supply chain and turnkey utility projects from across its sites in UAE, Egypt and Qatar. It really helps it to plan and coordinate construction projects to meet its customer delivery projects. “The second area is in improving cashflow. For this, it uses ERP LN’s multi-company financial support and cost control capabilities. The third area is providing better visibility into cost planning to improve Metito’s ability to provide accurate estimates during the budding process.

“Customers who have assessed ERP have focused on reducing costs, increasing collaboration within the business... and coping with limited resources. Arabian Computer News | November 2010

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Cure for the headache? Tablet devices are increasingly finding their way into enterprises, even when it is against the wishes of the IT department. However, analysts are warning that a crackdown on the devices may be counterproductive and are urging CIOs to accept the new reality that consumer gadgets are increasingly becoming a part of the landscape and look at ways to accomodate them within their IT infrastructure plans. By Ben Furfie hen Apple announced the iPad back in January, few could have predicted the impact the device would have upon businesses. The idea of tablet PCs had been around for years – and in many guises – but as with the iPod and the iPhone before it, Apple took the concept and turned it on its head. The result? What is essentially a consumer device has invaded enterprises around the world, and brought about a monumental shift in the way that we think about what a computer is. For an industry that is used to rapid change, the speed that the iPad has had an impact on market has been slightly surreal. By September 30th 2010 – just over six months after it went on sale – Apple had sold 7.5m iPads, with as many of them ending up in offices as homes. This success hasn’t gone unnoticed by Apple’s rivals. Many of them, including Microsoft and Google on the software side, and Samsung, HP and Research in Motion on the hardware side have found themselves on a backfoot. Even enterprises have found themselves unsure of what to make of the devices, and their role within the IT infrastructure. The biggest questions facing CIOs are the same when it comes to other devices like smartphones and netbooks. Do you ban them outright, and only allow them if they fit into your tightly controlled


IT strategy, or do you allow your employees to use the devices to help boost their productivity and mobility. Then you’ve also got the quandary of whether you allow them to use their own personal tablet, or whether you only allow them to use the tablet device you choose suitable. Considering how disruptive the form factor has been, it’s no surprise to find that few vendors agree on issues, especially those around security. “Tablets lack effective infrastructure and management tools compared to traditional computers and laptops,” says Bulent Teksoz, channel technology officer for Emerging Markets at Symantec. “But the biggest risk posed by these devices is that because they are portable, they are easily misplaced or stolen compared to a PC, or laptop.”\ However, despite these protestations from vendors, high profile analysts have issues stringent warnings to their enterprise clients that trying to resist allowing tablet devices into the workplace is not only incredibly foolish, but is also about as likely to have the same result as ignoring cloud. “The consumerisation of IT is something that Gartner has been written about extensively as a phenomenon for some time,” says Mark McDonald, vice president at the analyst’s executive programmes division. “While it presents challenges to CIOs and IT executives, there is a deeper and more profound change going on. The consumer market is beginning to matter more

Arabian Computer News | November 2010


Arabian Computer News | November 2010




CIOs need to stop looking at ways of resisting the rise of consumer electronics. Nothing they do will stop it. However, they can introduce effective ways of protecting data on those devices.” to technology providers than the business marketplace and [its] demands. The sale of three million iPads – approximately $1.8bn in revenue – in 80 days is one indication of the attractiveness and the power of the consumer marketplace. Every one of those iPads was sold at list price. CIOs who wanted a discount when they were buying 300 units were informed that there was no discount. In addition to that, the software – the thing that makes these devices so desirable for enterprise users – is clearly orientated in one direction – the consumer.” And within lays the problem. As a consumer device –especially one owned by the user – there is the risk that personal activities may bring the risk of viruses and Trojans that IT use policies in the work are designed to protect against. In addition, as a device owned by the employee, it is likely to leave the office every day, increasing the risks posed to corporate data. However, rather than use this conundrum as an excuse to clamp down on the devices, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton believes CIOs should look for a technological solution. “These devices increase productivity in ways no company owned device can – in addition, because it is owned by the employee, they’re much more likely to ensure that they don’t lose it,” he tells Arabian Computer News. “CIOs need to stop looking at ways of resisting the rise of consumer electronics. Nothing they do will stop it. “If you look at our virtualisation suite, it is possible to allow devices like the iPad access sensitive corporate data, from anyway, without it ever being stored on the device,” he adds. “It is new ways of thinking that will enable CIOs to benefit from the rise of consumer technology in the workplace, while also fulfilling their security responsibilities when it comes to data.”


75m The number of iPads sold by September 30th 2010

IPAD Apple’s device is the undisputed leader in the new tablet space. The range of apps aimed at enterprises is staggering. Almost every large vendor has an iOS version of their software, including Salesforce, Citrix, WebEx, SAP, and Juniper. It is also compatible with Microsoft Exchange server.

BLACKBERRY PLAYBOOK Research in Motion’s entry into the tablet market focuses on satisfying the needs of enterprise clients. The Playbook itself is little more than a dummy device, with all data stored on the user’s Blackberry device, which most enterprises already have an established IT security policy in place for.

SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB As the first Android tablet to hit the market, the Galaxy might be focused predominately on the consumer market, but benefits from Android’s huge range of enterprise-focused applications. Not as polished as the iPad and lacking the depth of applications, it is still a strong contender for enterprise users.

AVAYA FLARE Tablet is perhaps the wrong term for the Avaya Flare. Focused 100% at enterprises, the Flare is huge compared to its rivals, sitting snuggly between the wrist and elbow. However, its range of communications options and telecoms support market it an attractive proposition for CIOs.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010


Rising stock What they currently lack in regional presence, they more than make up for in potential. Welcome to Arabian Computer News’ Rising Stock: your guide to the emerging companies making their mark in the Middle East.

Securing against intrusion With cyberwarfare and criminal attacks on the rise, enterprises in the region are looking to protect themselves against growing threats claims SourceFire. Arabian Computer News caught up with EMEA channel director Anthony Perridge at GITEX 2010 to find out more.


PERRIDGE: We feel a hands on approach when selling is important to gain trust.


ecurity as an enterpr enterprise segment is fiercely competed ov over. Alongside the big names in both software have a raft of and hardware, you ha alw consumer-focused vendors always eager to enterp break into the lucrative enterprise market. So when a small, focused sec security vendor enters the market, it can be har hard to believe it will make an impact. But tha that is precisely Maryland-bas Sourcefire what Columbia, Maryland-based has achieved. Founded in 2001 2001, by Martin Roesch following the success o of his intrusion prevention security Snort Snort, and the subsequent demand from busin businesses for an enterprise level version of the ssoftware, the company has quietly been conc concentrating on developing its channel operatio operations throughout the US and Western Europ Europe. However, despite its strength in those markets, the company isn’t satis satisfied with its lot. “France, Germany and the UK are what m we consider our strongest markets,” says Anthony Perridge, E EMEA channel director at S Sourcefire. “However, ou our main focus emerg is on emerging markets, such as the Middle East, where we can come he build up in and help awarene of our soluawareness th benefits tions, the wh they are a and why better fit for the region enterprises gion’s th our than c competition.”

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

The company has a strong focus on targeting key segments, reveals Perridge. “The main segments we sell into currently are government, oil and gas, and the financial sectors; they all require the type of solutions that we can offer,” adds Perridge. These markets reflect the need for high-end intruder prevention systems, he says. “We really focus on segments that have a clear and definable need for security against hackers, DDOS or other similar malicious attacks.” Though SourceFire is still relatively unknown in the Middle East, the company’s heritage – and founding product – has a much better awareness, says Perridge. “One of the things that is really playing in our favour is that we are the company behind Snort, so that has helped act as an icebreaker. Enterprises in the Middle East may not have heard of Sourcefire, but you can almost guarantee they have heard of Snort, even if they aren’t using it.


EMEA Channel Director, Sourcefire 2004 – December 2007

Vice President, EMEA, AirDefense 2002 – 2004

Sales Director, Niksun 1998 – 2002

Sales Manager, Network Associates


On the radar



The number of copies of Snort downloaded


Sourcefire’s US government contract revenues “When customers look at Sourcefire, they can see what they are getting and how well it will integrate with their existing system and requirements,” he adds. “When a lot of our existing clients were looking at our intrusion protection system, they were looking to address certain concerns that are the same the world over. Things such as regulatory compliance, as well as security risks posed by new types of threat, such as StuxNet, which is looking like the first instance of nation-backed cyberwarfare.” The company’s strategy of paying close attention to the region as part of its emerging markets strategy is paying dividends, with the company already securing deals. “We’ve already managed to secure three large customer wins in the region,” reveals Perridge. “The first two are wins from our rivals. They are already using sophisticated technology and need to ensure that they aren’t at risk of outside intrusion. They already have a good idea of what they need and how they will implement it,” he adds. “What we did was come in and proves to them that we had the best solution. That they chose our solution, we feel, reinforces what we believe about our product. “The third is a company that was looking for a solution that is plug and play; that is one that they could implement within their corporate network and leave it alone with the confidence that it would do the job. “What we’re trying to achieve with our local strategy is to develop our channel structure and allow them to help our potential clients understand what the benefits of the solution are, while also working to develop new products that will deal with the next generation of threats.”

Company: Lumension Specialist area: Endpoint security

Company: iPanema Specialist area: WAN management

Endpoint security vendor Lumension used

French WAN management specialists

GITEX 2010 to show off its first intelligent

iPanema has launched its Middle East

whitelisting product, which is due to be

operations at GITEX 2010.

released during the first quarter of 2011.

The company’s main product focus was

The new product is part of the vendor’s

its WAN management software, which it is

Lumension Endpoint Management Security

positioning at the centre of cloud comput-

Suite, which it hopes to release to exist-

ing strategy, thanks to the growing interest

ing customers this month, with a general

in combining the benefits of cloud comput-

release before April, has been designed as

ing and wide area networks.

a platform to manage patch and remedia-

“We’re very new in the Middle East,” said

tion, as well as application control, as part

Manelli Hosseini. “We’ve seen some very

of its wider data loss prevention software

good sales leads throughout the region,

package, said Amer Al Sharkawi, regional

many of which should be closable this

director for the Middle East and Africa.

quarter. Where we are different – and the

“We felt GITEX was the perfect platform

place where it is paying off for us – is that

to show off our upcoming solutions to

we focus on providing SLAs on the applica-

enterprises in the Middle East,” he said. “We

tions rather than the network. It means

wanted to allow our customers to be able

we have a much stronger ability to exact

get hands on with it and experience it.”

change and effect the SLA properly.”

Move of the month Aconex Construction collaboration solutions

ments and correspondence items, includ-

provider Aconex, has won a contract to

ing drawings, reports and RFIs. Without

provide its web-based project manage-

a collaboration system such as Aconex,

ment system for the Regent Emirates

managing and tracking this volume of data

Pearl hotel in Abu Dhabi, which is cur-

would be extremely difficult, increasing

rently under construction.

the risk of disputes and delays,” said Peter

The system will provide all parties involved in the development with a document management and access system. “During the design and construction of Regent Emirates Pearl, we anticipate that

Hedlund, Aconex general manager ME. Project members with system rights will be able to access, distribute and archive their data in real time at any time. “On complex joint venture projects such

hundreds of project team members will

as this, efficient cross-company communi-

exchange tens of thousands of docu-

cation is crucial for on-time delivery.”

Arabian Computer News | November 2010



Recruitment Your monthly round-up of the latest executive appiontments, announcements and regional vacancies from the across the industry.

Google takes aim at Mid-East Appointment of Abdel Wahed Bendaoua part of strategy to attack local enterprise rivals


merican search engine giant Google has hired ABDEL WAHED BENDAOUA as its new head of enterprise business, as it looks to significantly increase its presence in the growing Middle East market. Bendaoua, who has previously worked for France Telecom, Microsoft and HP, has over 20 years experience behind him, and is has been set the challenge of bolstering the company’s presence in the region. In particular, he is taksed with driving adoption of the company’s enterprise software and cloud computing services in the region. HCL Technologies has promoted VINEET NAYAR – CEO and whole time director – to the position of vice chairman. As part of his new role, he will retain his responsibilities as CEO and whole time director of the cloud infrastructure specialist.

Speaking about Nayar’s promotion, HCL Technologies chairman and chief strategy officer Shiv Nadar said: “Vineet’s dedication to the success of the company has catapulted it to a position of unparalleled market and thought leadership today. His visionary management philosophy of ‘employees first, customer second’ has today become a beacon for employee engagement excellence across the globe.” Meanwhile, Computer Data Networks has announced the appointment of LOAY ALMALAIEKA as vice president for operations in Iraq. The company has a number of contracts with the Iraqi government and has played a crucial role in the reconstruction of the war-torn country’s IT infrastructure, including the building of its national voice gateways, and internet exchanges, as well as management of its fibre optic network.

Bendaoua will be responsible for helping Google ME gain ground in cloud computing.

MOBILY LOOKS TO BOOST ARABIC MOBILE CONTENT Mobily has become the latest company in

Berry, Google Android, Windows Mobile

the region to announce a project to support

and Symbian. Mobily will also host the

developers of Arabic mobile content.

best applications on its own page on

The project, called the Mobily Developers Forum, aims to create a resource for developers who are creating Arabic-language

Arabic apps as well. Khalid Bin Omar Al Kaf, CEO of Mobily,

applications, to encourage the growth of

said that the aim was to make the MDF

localised content.

into the cornerstone of the world’s larg-

Membership of the MDF will be open to professional and hobbyist developers, as well as software companies, with a focus on


the Apple Store, and publicize the best

est Arabic content and app website, and to create innovative, valuable services. The announcement came just days

smartphones on a range of platforms and

after Nokia highlighted its attempts to

operating systems, including Apple, Black-

promote Arabic content development.

Arabian Computer News | November 2010


Khwaja Saifuddin

After hours Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s CIOs and IT leaders tick. This month: Khwaja Saifuddin, director of sales for Middle East, Africa and South Asia at Western Digital. How did you end up where you are now?

What is your greatest achievement?

I began my professional career in Dubai. I’ve enjoyed a long and successful twelve years in the IT industry, working in various sales positions at both regional and multinational firms like EMITAC and Samsung. In mid-2004, I joined Western Digital as a sales manager. I’m currently responsible for the regions’ strategies, planning and implementation holding the position as sirector of sales for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, also covering Turkey and the CIS countries.

Although I am sure this has yet to happen till date this has been, being entrusted with the responsibility of managing a region spanning over three continents and 62 countries, by management in my current role.

How many people do you manage and what is your management philosophy?

I have a team of 20, out of which eight are based in our Dubai office. As the majority of my team is based remotely, I place a great amount of trust in them, allowing them the freedom to do their jobs and empower them to take decisions in a confident manner. I have an open-door/open-phone policy towards all team members to ensure that I am aware of what they are working towards and that the company objectives are being met.

What is your biggest IT mistake?

Professionally – none, haven’t made it yet! What is your fondest memory of working in the industry?

Having been based in Dubai since 1998, I have had the opportunity to network with numerous acquaintances, and build on professional relationships within this industry,

GETTING PERSONAL Nationality: Indian Number of years in the industry: 12 Favourite Food: North Indian

What’s the best way to deal with stress?

Immerse oneself into a hobby or recreational activity to deviate your mind away from the stress. You also need to remind yourself that if you have done your best, and nothing more can be done to resolve a situation, then there is no point in worrying about it. How do you relax in your spare time?

Spend quality time with my family – I enjoy taking them out for long drives, and visiting the many indoor attractions available for children in Dubai, especially during the summer months. We also take short breaks once in a while to get away from the monotony of everyday routine.

Holiday destination: London Song: Jai Ho by Pussycat Dolls

If you hadn’t got into IT, what would

Car: Range Rover Sport

you have loved to do instead?

Gadget: Blackberry

Being a huge car enthusiast (or ‘petrolhead’), I probably would have ended up opening and running a garage for modifying and restoring cars!

Book: Baba Nama Movie: Shawshank Redemption and

What was your first computer, and

The Godfather series

when did you first use it?

Piece of advice: Only commit to

My first computer was an HCL 486, which I had at the age of 15.

what you are able to deliver…


many of which have lasted for more than a decade. I am proud to say that some such professional relationships have transcended into long-lasting friendships.

Would you like to take part in ACN’s ‘After Hours’ section? If so, please contact:

Arabian Computer News | November 2010

• • found in a complete approach. •

Management can help you reduce risk, and prevent the


ACN - November 2010  

Arabian Computer News (ACN) - November 2010 - Volume 23 - Issue 11 "60 Pages" ITP Technology Publishing, Dubai, UAE

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