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HEALTHCARE IT: CUTTING EDGE SOLUTIONS IMPROVING HEALTH An ITP Technology Publication

August 2013 | Volume 26 Issue 8

User Experience Tailoring enterprise applications to bring better usability

Aligning business and IT strategies in the Middle East for 28 years

BUILD OR BUY? DATA CENTRE DECISIONS 58

Dr Michael Dobe, President and CEO of International Horizons College

PLUS

Proving ID Mobile services require more than two-factor authentication Skills certification Certification is essential to prove competence and achievements

ERP OPTIMISATION CORE APPLICATION GETS NEW CAPABILITIES 52

Dubai Financial Market cuts downtime Hosted backup helps DFM to stay online 46

End user

Create the cloud campus International Horizons College selects an all-SaaS, no server, set-up to create agile, cost-effective learning environment 40


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/CONTENTS

August 2013 VOLUME 26 ISSUE 08

46

46

DUBAI FINANCIAL MARKET STAYS ON WITH EHDF

Hassan Abdulrahman Al Serkal, Executive Vice President, Chief Operations OfďŹ cer, Head of Operations Division, Dubai Financial Market.

Hosting services from eHDF helps Dubai Financial Market to maintain its online presence.

August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

1


/CONTENTS

THE FRONT

05

22

34

64

/START

/ANALYSIS

/COMMENT

/AFTER HOURS

The latest news headlines and

Usability and user experience

Certified training is vital to

John Wilson, head of services

vital data from the local and international IT markets.

analysis are coming to enterprise applications.

being able to prove skills to employers, says CompTIA.

CNS, on career highs and spending time out of the office.

40

58 52

21

40

52

Cloud computing decisions need collaboration between the CFO and CIO says Deloitte and Touche.

International Horizons College implements server-less SaaS strategy with hosting through telco du.

Core business applications getting optimised and integrated, going mobile and moving to the cloud.

C-LEVEL CLOUD COLLABORATION

2

COLLEGE CAMPUS IN THE CLOUD

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

ERP SYSTEMS EVOLVING

12 58

DATA CENTRE: BUILD OR BUY? Should organisations build their own data centres, or look to source data centre capacity by other means?


ITP TECHNOLOGY PUBLISHING ANALYST OPINION: MAKING SENSE OF TECHNOLOGY INNOVATIONS

FUTURE NETWORKS: INFRASTRUCTURE GETS SIMPLER, SMARTER An ITP Technology Publication

DCIM rising Getting to grips with data centre management

Aligning business and IT strategies in the Middle East for 28 years

SUMMIT REPORT SHARING KNOWLEDGE

54

Beyond Mobile Device Management BYOD 2.0 brings clarity to mobility

Ahmed Niyas, IT manager for Freightworks, talks uniďŹ ed communications and technology upgrades.

DISASTER RECOVERY CLOUD SOLUTIONS INCREASE DR/BC 58

Getting to grips with GRC The role of IT in keeping compliant

52

Osama Hilal, IT Manager, Al Ain Ahlia Insurance Company

36

End user

Delivering UniďŹ ed Comms

46

End user

PLUS

PLUS

Reboot the data centre

Flexible Licensing Why software vendors need to rethink approaches to licensing Framing Security GBM wants end users to put policy at the heart of security efforts

PaaS Potential Developers embrace open source platform to cut headaches Network Change Automation key to securely managing network conďŹ guration

Vol. 11 Issue. 07

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Building and delivering IT solutions for the Middle East

Cloud Services The potential for cloud services reselling

An ITP Technology Publication

Enterprise Apps Opportunities for solution providers 40

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PLUS

Santosh Varghese, GM, Digital Products & Services, Toshiba Gulf

Channel KSA Awards 2013

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Meet this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s winners of the KSA awards P31

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Mobile computing devices are increasingly inďŹ ltrating the workplace, creating solution provider opportunities (32)

JULY 2013

AN ITP T E C H N O LO GY P U B L I C AT I O N

JULY 2013

Critical analysis for telecommunications executives

COUNTRY FOCUS

Spotlight on Qatar //p32

An ITP Technology Publication www.commsmea.com

P4//EXPANSION Zain Group seeks acquisitions in 2013

VOLUME 19 ISSUE 7

THE GREAT CABLE DEBATE: IS CAT 6A CABLE TESTING NEEDED? //30

P11//OPERATIONS CEOs lambast Jordanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high telecoms taxes

TRAINING

MIKKEL VINTER// p2

Ciscoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s security track training g explained //54

CLINIC DEMAND FOR DATA FUELS THE SATELLITE SECTOR

CHANGE MAKER

How Du plans to transform enterprise services

Hatem m Bamatraf, B Bamatraf E EVP P enter e prise, pri ise, D Du

The telecom market in Saudi Arabia is the most valuable in the ME region, and getting a licence here is an important stepâ&#x20AC;?

ITP TECHNOLOGY PUBLISHING CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director Karam Awad Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell General Manager Peter Conmy Editorial Director David Ingham EDITORIAL Senior Group Editor Mark Sutton Tel: +971 4 444 3225 email: mark.sutton@itp.com Contributors Keri Allan, Georgina Enzer, Stephen McBride, ADVERTISING Sales Director George Hojeige Tel: +971 4 444 3203 email: george.hojeige@itp.com Business Development Manager Josephine Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Sa Tel: +971 4 444 3630 email: josephine.dsa@itp.com

2013¢¤G¢M

40

www.itp.net JULY 2013

Al Ain Ahlia Insurance Company rebuilds and virtualises data centre to improve uptime and prepare for future growth

42

_www.itp.net_

Logistics provider Freightworks deploys uniďŹ ed communications to connect its staff and enhance customer services

An ITP Technology Publication

EIPA, DCG TO PARTNER IN FIGHTING PIRACY BROTHER SIGNS HOSHAN PLAN TO OUST MICHAEL DELL REDINGTON, NEXANS PARTNER ALMASA TO DEVELOP THE MOBILITY CHANNEL

Data Forensics Legal issues for forensic data collections

Aligning business and IT strategies in the Middle East for 28 years

COST CONTROL MANAGING IT SPEND

STORAGE SOLVED MANAGING GROWING DATA REQUIREMENTS

26

July 2013 | Volume 26 Issue 7

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June 2013 | Volume 26 Issue 6

An ITP Technology Publication

Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: + 971 (0)4 444 3000 Fax: + 971 (0)4 444 3030 Web: www.itp.com Off ices in Dubai & London

//50 VENDOR PROFILE Gartner talks regional goals for 2013 and beyond //52 FEATURED PRODUCT What is Riverbed Granite and how can it benefit you?

UNDER PAR REGIONAL COMPANIES ARE NOT IMPLEMENTING PROPER DISASTER RECOVERY //42

BOOST YOUR NETWORK

OOREDOO AND COMMSCOPE DEVELOP VENDOR NEUTRAL TOWER TOPS WITH A HOST OF BENEFITS

The Middle Eastâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Leading IT Magazines are read by The Regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Most Important IT Leadersâ&#x20AC;Ś To have your copy delivered directly to your doorstep, SUBSCRIBE online by logging on to:

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STUDIO Head of Design Daniel Prescott Principal Creative Simon Cobon PHOTOGRAPHY Chief Photographer Jovana Obradovic Senior Photographers Efraim Evidor, Isidora Bojovic Staff Photographers George Dipin, Juliet Dunne, Murrindie Frew, Shruti Jagdesh, Mosh Lafuente, Ruel Pableo, Rajesh Raghav, Verko Ignjatovic PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager Basel Al Kassem Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami CIRCULATION Head of Circulation & Database Gaurav Gulati MARKETING Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell Marketing Manager Michelle Meyrick Deputy Marketing Manager Shadia Basravi ITP DIGITAL Sales Director George Hojeige Tel: +971 4 444 3203 email: george.hojeige@itp.com Business Development Manager Josephine Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Sa Tel: +971 4 444 3630 email: josephine.dsa@itp.com ITP GROUP Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Seraf in Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors KM Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Seraf in Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 444 3000 Printed by Emirates Printing Press Dubai, L.L.C Controlled Distribution by Blue Truck Subscribe online at www.itp.com/subscriptions Arabian Computer News is audited by BPA Worldwide Average Qualified Circulation: 10,235 ( July-Dec 2012) 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 readersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; 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 Š 2013 ITP Technology Publishing Ltd. Registered in the B.V.I. under Company Registration number 1402846.

4

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013


GOVERNMENT

eGovt services should be self-funding Regional e-government services need to switch to self-sustaining models says Booz & Co

R

egional e-government efforts need to switch to self funding models, according to analyst company Booz & Co. The company says that as e-government programs in the region expand, they are facing growing social and financial challenges, and need to develop ways to fund growth and new services, particularly as government spending shifts to new priorities such as housing, social welfare, and employment. “Governments must therefore find ways to sustain, or regain, their momentum toward e-government realisation. “This can only be achieved if these schemes become self-sufficient,” said Dr Raymond Khoury, a partner with Booz & Company. “This requires evolving beyond the traditional model — in which governments pay all costs — to one in which governments share the benefits of such programs with strategic partners, generating revenue, and delivering better services to constituents.” Booz & Co suggests four ways in which e-government programs can become self-sustaining. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), where governments partner with a private vendor that deploys its capabilities and funds to design, build, maintain, enhance, and market e-government services, can raise revenue by charging fees for services. This model means that governments are able to gain access to the superior expertise of the private sector, but charging fees for services may dissuade uptake. Open data platforms, where government data is made available to businesses so that they can create their own services has gained some traction in the region already, with federal governments in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE launching open data platforms for service delivery schemes. Data held by governments such as transactional government information, geospatial data, maps, and statistics can all be made public and used to create new services and applications by the private sector. Data does need to be amended to protect privacy, and the approach involves some spending by the government entities. Advertising on government channels is an obvious source of revenue, although governments should ensure that any advertisers are appropriate to the channel; public egovernment platforms can also be used to offer commercial services, although again, this should be under strict guidelines. This model is already in place in Bahrain, where the e-government portal serves as a platform for national mobile operators Zain and Viva to provide payment and credit recharge services to their customers. “Although fiscal self-sufficiency may initially seem like an undue burden, the right

Khoury: E-government services need to evolve to models in which governments share the benefits of such programs with strategic partners.

approach — implemented in conjunction with the private sector — can actually help governments achieve some of their core goals, which include sustainable growth, development, and enhanced efficiency,” said Fady Kassatly, a principal with Booz & Company. To facility this shift to generating revenue from e-government services, Booz said that authorities should also ensure that the legal framework to govern this is in place; that there is sufficient IT infrastructure to support interaction with the private sector; change management programs should be instigated for government officials, and governments should take care to work with suitable partners.

August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

5


/START

Microsoft restructures around engineering One Microsoft restructure will focus on single strategy, not separate product groups

IDC expects tablet shipments to outpace the entire PC market (portables and desktops combined) by 2015, although businesses are not abandoning desktops just yet. The analyst company says the decline is mainly in consumer sales, with corporates keeping their desktops due to their superior security, longevity and resilience, and business applications’ requirements for larger screens and full-size keyboards. 80M

Down 11.4% MEA

PCs Q1

6

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

60M

Down 14.1%

Down 14.1% GLOBAL

70M

GLOBAL

MEA

PCs Q2

GLOBAL

50M

40M

30M

20M

10M

MEA

Tablets Q1

Source: IDC

Getty Images

PC markets still in decline

Down 13.9%

Ballmer: Restructuring is a “farreaching realignment of the company”.

The move will have the effect of “focusing the whole company on a single strategy, improving our capability in all disciplines and engineering/technology areas, and working together with more collaboration and agility around our common goals,” the memo said. The move will mean the break-up of the Windows group, which will be merged with elements of the entertainment and devices team. The restructure will see a number of personnel changes. Kurt DelBene president of Microsoft Office division is retiring, and Rick Rashid will move from running Microsoft Research into a new role driving core OS innovation. Craig Mundie, the former chief research and strategy officer, who had already announced his leaving Microsoft at the end of 2014, will now step down, from the senior leadership team, and take on a special project for Ballmer.

Up 142.2% Up 184%

Microsoft has announced a major restructuring of the company, to focus on engineering and to take a holistic of the company’s diverse product lines rather than separate teams working on each product line. CEO Steve Ballmer announced in a company memo that Microsoft will be restructured into several new divisions - Engineering, Marketing, Business Development and Evangelism, Advanced Strategy and Research, Finance, HR, Legal, and COO — with four engineering divisions — Operating Systems Engineering; Devices and Studios; Applications and Services; and Cloud and Enterprise Engineering. In the company statement, Ballmer said the ‘One Microsoft’ strategy was a “far-reaching realignment of the company that will enable us to innovate with greater speed, efficiency and capability in a fast changing world.”

BUSINESS


/START

ACN launches IT Salary Survey ACN Salary Survey to gain insight into ME IT work issues

IT budgets and staff skills are often at the forefront of the conversation in the Middle East, but the question of salaries — a fine balance between being able to afford the right skilled staff without breaking the budget — is often overlooked. With disparities in pay between countries and vertical sectors, high demand skills sets attracting premium salaries and recruitment from a global talent pool, it is often hard to draw a baseline for salaries in the region or to tell if IT professionals feel they are getting their just rewards. The ACN IT Salary Survey 2013 aims to bring more transparency and insight into IT salaries in the region, along with related issues such as skills and certification, job satisfaction and prospects.

BUSINESS

See www.itp.net for the ACN Salary Survey 2013.

The survey will cover the GCC, and wider Middle East, and will sample all levels of IT professionals from across the public and private sector. The survey is completely anonymous, with no personal data required. The results of the survey will be revealed in the October issue of ACN. To take the survey, please see www.itp.net.

PRODUCT FOCUS

Cloud-ready enterprise drives Seagate Terascale HDD aims to provide high-capacity, lowpower storage, optimised for multi-drive, large scale cloud infrastructures and data centres 3.5-inch format, 5900RPM, transfer speed of 4.6Gb/s via SATA interface

Power consumption as low as 4.8Watts

Drive available in 4TB capacity, with 64MB cache

THE BIG PICTURE July 10 Mumbai, India An employee sorts incoming telegram messages at the Central Telegraph Office in Mumbai, ahead of the close down of the Indian telegram service on 14th July. The 163-year-old service, the last major commercial telegram operation in the world, provided a primary means of long-distance communication until the rise of mobile phones and the internet in the past two decades. Image: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

8

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013


/START

9


/START

Poor backup leads to ‘accidental architecture’ Business units deploying their own backup due to lack of confidence in central backup EMC is warning that lack of confidence in enterprise backup provided by IT departments is causing application owners to deploy their own backup solutions, created uncontrolled ‘accidental architecture’ The trend towards ‘bring your own backup’, where application owners, virtual machine administrators and storage and server administrators have used their own physical or cloud backup solutions, has been driven by a lack of faith in enterprise back up competence and capabilities, the company said. A 2012 survey conducted on behalf of EMC found that 64% of companies in the Middle East region had suffered data loss in the past 12 months, while 82% of decision makers were not confident of the capabilities of their organisation to restore lost data from backup. Fady Richmany, senior regional director, Backup and Recovery Systems Division, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East. EMC, commented: “The major problem is, there is no confidence. All those enterprise customers, the decision makers, they have little confidence in their backup. The IT team is not able to satisfy the appli-

STORAGE

Richmany: EMC’s new data protection storage architecture is intended to give stakeholders better visibility and control over backup of application data.

cation owners, there is a rift between business and IT, and the application owners, because of the lack of confidence and trust, go and do their own backup.” The emergence of these accidental architectures causes issues for organisations in terms of cost, ownership of data, organisational efficiency and data discovery, Richmany added. Despite the lack of confidence, backup solutions remain a priority for IT investment in the region, and EMC says that new additions to its backup portfolio can help restore

trust in centralised backup, while giving stakeholders greater visibility and control into backup processes. The company has announced new EMC Data Domain systems, to deliver better scalability and cost per gigabyte for storage, along with updates to to its EMC Data Protection Suite, to deliver deeper integration with Data Domain systems and EMC storage, new optimisations for virtual environments and greater visibility and control for the protection of enterprise applications. The new solutions are intended to consolidate storage in a single platform, while providing the performance and visibility to internal customers, and therefore to eliminate storage silos. “Deployment of a Protection Storage Architecture, which arrests the proliferation of the accidental architectures we talk so much about, is the best strategy for ensuring effective data protection. The products we’ve announced today pave the way for our customers to consolidate their data protection strategy and infrastructure, and enable them to proactively prepare for the data protection challenges that accompany transformational IT initiatives,” Richmany added.

Average impact of lost data is equal to:

man hours (for a 2,000 person company)

GB of data

million emails

EMC’s Disaster Recovery Survey 2012: Middle East, Turkey and Morocco sampled 1,000 organisations in the region, and found that 64% had lost data and or suffered systems downtime in the last year, with hardware failure (55%), software failure (40%) and security breaches (36%) cited as the primary causes of data loss and downtime.

10

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

Source: Vanson Bourne/EMC

working days


Image: Carsten Koall/Getty Images

/START

QUOTE OF THE MONTH “This co-CEO model worked so fabulously but it only works in certain situations and with certain people. We had two special people who could work together without jealousy and without complexity. That worked fabulously, in the future we will go ahead with a single CEO.” HASSO PLATTNER, CO-FOUNDER OF SAP AND CHAIRMAN OF THE SAP SUPERVISORY BOARD, ANNOUNCING THE END OF SAP’S TWO-CEO SETUP. BILL MCDERMOTT WILL BECOME CEO, WHILE JIM HAGEMANN SNABE WILL BE ELECTED TO THE SAP SUPERVISORY BOARD.

KPIs

Tech Mahindra completes Satyam merger, sees stock rising 1200 1160 1120 1080 1040 1000 JUN 27

JUL 4

JUL 11

JUL 18

Tech Mahindra Ltd TICKER: BOM:532755 GLOBAL NEWS: Tech Mahindra finally completed the acquisition of the former Satyam Computer Services at the end of June, and then saw a 10% rise in its shares throughout July, mainly attributed to cheap evaluations against its peers. The company is now India’s fifth largest IT services provider, with revenues of $ 2.7 Billion, a team of 84,000 professionals

servicing 540 customers across 46 countries. Analysts believe the company stock could continue to rise now that the merger has completed. LOCAL NEWS: Tech Mahindra hosted an event with Software AG in Abu Dhabi at end of June. The session focused on how government entities can take advantage mobile, social, cloud and big data, using Software AG suite.

New Oracle database available now

Oracle Database 12c now on general release, includes cloud, big data features Oracle has announced general availability of the latest version of its flagship database product, Oracle Database 12c. Oracle Database 12c, which the company says is the result of 2,500 person-years of development and 1.2 million hours of testing, includes 500 additional features, with new enhancements for cloud use, security, management and big data. The new release includes a multitenant architecture that simplifies the process of consolidating databases onto the cloud; enabling customers to manage many databases as one, without changing their applications. By supporting multi-tenancy in the database tier, rather than the application tier, Oracle Multitenant makes all ISV applications that run on the Oracle Database ready for SaaS. The company has also included automatic data optimisation features, including a ‘Heat Map’ which monitors database read/write activity enabling Database Administrators to easily identify the data that is used the most or the least, with smart compression and storage tiering, and server-managed policies to automatically compress and tier OLTP, Data Warehouse and Archive data based on the activity and age of data. The release includes security features, such as redaction

DATABASE

Mendelsohn: Oracle 12c is built for cloud.

capabilities and Run-Time Privilege Analysis, and better analysis features for big data. “The innovations in Oracle Database 12c were developed with our customers’ cloud requirements very much in mind,” said Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president, Database Server Technologies, Oracle. “The new multitenant architecture makes it easier for customers to consolidate their databases and securely manage many as one. It also offers customers other capabilities for cloud computing such as simplified provisioning, cloning and resource prioritisation without resorting to major application changes.” Oracle Database 12 c is available for download from Oracle Technology Network (OTN).

August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

11


/START

CAN’T REPLACE FACE-TO-FACE

How we communicate

15% 25%

Superiority of in-person communication drives demand for video systems

I

nformation technology has revolutionised business communications, with over sixty percent of business communications today taking place outside of real-time, with email making up the lion’s share of interactions. The value, and benefits of in-person communication, however, is creating a shift away from impersonal communications back to in-person communications. Global research from the Economist Intelligence Unit, on behalf of Cisco showed the value placed on in-person communications by business leaders, with 75% of business leaders surveyed saying that in-person communication is critical to business success. The research highlighted the importance of in-person communications in over 30 business processes, and also highlighted the increased risk of misunderstandings in non-real time interaction. Inperson communications are generally accepted as the best way of solving complex problems quickly and effectively, of growing customer relationships, and being creative.

12

With organisations and partner and customer ecosystems that are widely distributed over geographic areas, physical face-to-face meetings are even more impractical, but organisations are still keen to put video communications in place as part of collaboration strategies. Market analyst Canalys predicts that demand for business video devices will spike this year and next, and despite declining demand for dedicated video conferencing solutions, sales of PBX-based solutions have doubled in Q1 2013 from a year ago. The growth in demand is in part being driven by end user familiarity with consumer technologies like Skype. The proliferation of video cameras on personal mobile devices, and greater real time sharing and collaboration by consumers is also increasing uptake. Better network capabilities to support video are also enabling the shift and increased commitment by vendors to interoperability Video adoption is also being driven by increased use of video collaboration for small collaboration groups.

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

60% Colleagues

9%

58%

34%

Customers

9%

64%

27%

Partners

E-mail Telephone IM/Web conference

$563.4m Worldwide enterprise videoconferencing and telepresence equipment and software market, Q1 2103


/START

Types of meetings with greater need for in person interaction

Project kick-off First introductions Brainstorming Management of problems Crisis management Coaching team members Importance of collaborating with others in a business relationship Words someone is using Tone of voice Facial expressions Conscious movements or gestures Subconscious body language Engagement and focus on shared content

0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80%

90% 100%

Benefits (Reported benefits of using Cisco TelePresence for in-person communication)

of business communications don’t occur in real time

of leaders say faceto-face is critical for business success

Organisational Volkswagen cut problem resolution from 2 months to 2 weeks Partner engagement StatOil cut repair time by 50% through better access to subject-matter experts August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

13

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit/Cisco, IDC

+60% 75%

Customer interaction Multinational high tech firm Sales cycle accelerated 10% Sales wins increased 2%


114th Canton Fair

China’s biggest trading event to open in October

C

hina Import and Export Fair, renowned as the “Canton Fair”, is an important channel of China’s foreign trade and a demonstration of the country’s opening up policy. It plays a key role in advancing the development of China’s foreign trade and the economic and trade exchanges between China and the rest of the world. Canton Fair is cohosted by the Ministry of Commerce of PRC and the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and organized by China Foreign Trade Centre. It is held every spring and autumn in Guangzhou, China. Since its establishment in 1957, Canton Fair has enjoyed the longest history, the largest scale, the most complete exhibit variety, the best business turnover in China, and the biggest buyer attendance from the broadest range of countries for 113 sessions. The 113th Canton Fair concluded on May 5, 2013 attracted 202,766 buyers from 211 countries and regions; buyer attendance increased by 7.06% over the 112th session. These figures reflect the huge commercial value of Canton Fair and its importance in contributing to global trade. Focused on international demand, Canton Fair exhibits over 150,000 categories of quality products, both from China or overseas. These are products with famous brands, traditional design or creative innovation, all reflecting the latest feature of different sectors. Canton Fair is also a comprehensive and specialized trade event. About 24,000 outstanding enterprises from all over the world participate in each session. For the coming 114th session, we will improve information collection and layout of exhibits in the National Pavilion in a more professional way; optimize and differentiate the standards of exhibit categorization, so as to improve the effect of the Fair. Canton Fair will also improve qualification review of exhibitors, adopt the standard of 5% annual turnover rate of exhibitors, and improve the quality of exhibition organization. The International Pavilion, inaugurated since the 101st session to promote balanced growth of import and export, has been held for 13 sessions. Since the 108th session, the International Pavilion was also opened in Phase 3, which makes the ex-

hibition more professional and international. In the 113th session, there were 900 stands in the International Pavilion; 562 enterprises from 38 countries and regions exhibited their products, 10 enterprises more than the last session. For the 114th session, we will step up the review of professional standard of exhibits in the International Pavilion, invite more exhibitors from countries and regions that have trade deficit with China, and improve the quality of exhibitors. In the 109th session, Canton Fair Product Design and Trade Promotion Center (PDC) was set up as a platform for international design institutes and Chinese manufacturers. PDC organizes various events including design shows, design forums and match-makings according to different categories of products in different phases of the Fair. PDC, in the 113th session, attracted 45 design institutes/

For further information please visit: www.cantonfair.org.cn

companies from 10 countries and regions, and 160 specialists such as industrial designers, brand marketing experts and authorities in trend analysis and forecast. Exhibitors and buyers participated in the PDC activities for more than 100,000 persontimes. PDC has promoted the exchanges between overseas design services and Chinese industrial manufacturing, brought more products with new and special design to overseas buyers, and is applauded by representatives from design institutes, exhibitors and buyers. Canton Fair witnesses the development of China’s foreign trade and IPR protection, especially the progress in IPR protection of the exhibition industry. As the earliest exhibition in China to protect IPR, Canton Fair always attaches great importance to IPR protection. In the 85th session in 1999, an IPR complaint station was established to deal with IPR infringement. After years of efforts, a comprehensive system of IPR protection that suits the Fair’s practical situation is now in place. Canton Fair E-commerce Platform has been officially launched. The Platform relies on authentic resources of buyer information, global promotion channels, online and offline interconnectivity, one-stop trade services and credit and compensation system. With these 5 advantages, the E-commerce Platform will create a credible and effective trade environment, and become an authentic and state-level platform of e-commerce and international trade. This is an important step towards the “Smart Canton Fair”, and will bring about historic breakthroughs. Currently, the international economic situation is complicated and volatile. As the quality platform for economic and trade cooperation between China and other countries, Canton Fair will attract more attention from the world. The exhibition duration and phase, product section and exhibition scale of the 114th session will remain the same as in the 113th session. The 114th Canton Fair will be held in China Import and Export Fair Complex from October 15 to November 4, 2013. The Fair will be arranged in 3 Phases; Phase 1: October 15-19, Phase 2: October 23-27, and Phase 3: October 31-November 4. The intervals are: October 20-22, and October 28-30.


/START

PROJECTS

Arabian Computer News brings you a regional roundup of recently announced and ongoing enterprise IT projects

1 / JORDAN

Jordan Islamic Bank gets Aastra contact centre Jordan Islamic Bank has selected Aastra solutions for its new customer contact centre. The bank rolled out the Aastra Solidus eCare Multimedia Contact Center solution, which will enable customers to contact service agents via telephone, email, SMS and chat, along with telebanking services. The contact centre was implemented by UNITEL, an authorised Aastra systems integrator. UNITEL ensured that the solution was integrated with the bank’s business processes and systems in order to automate routine customer requests and service requirements.

2 / JORDAN

3 / EGYPT

4 / SAUDI ARABIA

Jordan Ahli Bank turns to IBM to transform

STS provides IP surveillance network to Hurghada

Mobily services deal with King Abdullah Economic

Jordan Ahli Bank has selected IBM to deliver hardware, software and IT services as part of a major revamp of its entire operations. The bank’s ‘DNA’ business transformation program, includes IT overhaul, to enable smarter products and services, improved client satisfaction, better time to market services, increased banking application performance and improved energy consumption. The project will include Temenos banking application, IBM’s SOA platform and hardware.

Summit Technology Solutions (STS) has completed roll out of a an IP surveillance camera network for the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. The Hurghada City Wireless Surveillance project for the Red Sea governorate is intended to monitor public places and important locations in the resort, to enable discovery, tracing and tracking of any crimes or accidents that occur. The systems uses solutions from Redline and Pelco, with 79 IP outdoor, high quality day & night CCTV cameras.

Saudi telecoms operator Mobily has been signed to develop and operate the telecommunications network at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). Under the agreement, Mobily will provide an advanced infrastructure for telecommunications services, data transmission services and broadband Internet services through a secure, fibre optic network for the 168 million square metre city development. The company will also provide a data centre and Smart City services.

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ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013


/START

5 / SAUDI ARABIA

6 / SAUDI ARABIA

KFMC organises staff with Infor WorkForce solution

INET powers contact centre division with Altitude

DEPLOYMENT

A regional enterprise project at a glance

King Fahad Medical City (KFMC) has deployed Infor Workforce Management (WFM), to enhance the quality of care and productivity for the hospital, by providing better management of staff and human resources. The WMI solution, which is being used by 2,500 users at KFMC, will help the organisation to adjust staffing more quickly to meet demand, so that staff qualifications, proficiencies, certifications and licenses are more properly matched to the assignment.

Virtual network operator INET has selected Altitude unified customer interaction solutions to power its new Contact Centre Outsourcing division. The division will provide outsourced contact centre solutions for organisations in the region, with a focus on IT, government and telcos. The Altitude uCI Contact Centre Suite has been deployed at INET to support all of inbound and outbound service, and INET says it has already gained a 72% boost in contact centre productivity.

7 / UAE

8 / UAE

Jumbo Electronics refreshes data centre infrastructure

UAE Ministry of Education connects with Microsoft

Jumbo Electronics has signed a deal with Alcatel-Lucent and Al Futtaim Technologies to refresh the data centre and network at its Dubai headquarters. Under the agreement, Al Futtaim will deploy and maintain new Alcatel-Lucent switching, LAN infrastructure and Wi-Fi solutions, which are intended to reduce costs, lower energy consumption and improve workflow. The project includes Alcatel-Lucent core and top of rack switches, Wireless LAN controller and Omnivista Network Management.

LINK Development has delivered a two part call centre for the UAE Ministry of Education, which will provide services to students and parents, and employees. The call centre, which is based on Microsoft technologies, comprises an Automated Voice Service (AVS) system and Call Centre services. The new AVS is built on Microsoft Lync Server 2012 unified communications architecture, while the Call Centre Services will provide call centre agents with a Customer Management Relationship solution.

User: Paris Gallery Project: PG Connect The product: Avaya and Eutech Cybernetic UC solutions The objective: To connect Paris Gallery’s network of stores with a powerful UC system What they said: Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, CEO, Paris Gallery Group: “PG Connect will not only increase the productivity of our personnel, but it will also help maintain a healthy work-life balance, which will result in them being more responsive and attentive to the needs of our customers. It will reduce maintenance costs and aid in efficiently utilising space, enabling us to put more resources into serving our clientele.” “By putting in place the right support tools and resources, we can achieve the communication culture that we have envisioned across the entire organisation. With these solutions, our personnel will now be able to fully realize and reach their potential.”

August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

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/START

SAP’s fast, local solutions Module to deliver quick HR solutions for UAE SAP has announced a new set of rapid deployment solutions (RDS) tailored for the MENA region, starting with an HR module tailored for the UAE. The SAP HR Core Functions for United Arab Emirates rapid-deployment solution has been developed by SAP local and global teams along with local HR experts, to provide an HR system that caters to local HR requirements and practices, which is deployed on top of existing SAP deployments. Gharaibeh: RDS is The system can typiintended to be a costeffective, evolving and cally be deployed in unscalable solution. der 12 weeks.

APPLICATIONS

In future, the company plans to release Saudi Arabia HR RDS, as part of several such solutions for the region. SAP said it was releasing the solutions for MENA because the region is growing rapidly, creating demand for quick and scalable solutions that can bring best practices and standards. “SAP HR Core Functions for United Arab Emirates rapid-deployment solution is not just a bolted on quick fix, but an evolving, cost-effective and scalable technology. It is an extremely powerful example of our on-going localisation efforts,” said Qais Gharaibeh, managing director, UAE, SAP MENA.

ITP.NET MOST READ

1 Apple to investigate iPhone electrocution 2 Lenovo launches six new smartphones in UAE 3 Windows 8.1 reinstates Start button 4 Google gives Street View treatment to Burj Khalifa 5 Trend Micro’s top 10 cyber threats for 2013 6 Nokia launches imageconscious Lumia 1020 7 Android flaw exposes 99% of handsets to cyber attack 8 Russian ex-spy proposes to NSA whistleblower

Six types of money-making CIOs

9 Seven risks to your mobile device on holiday

Gartner says the role of the CIO is changing, with IT increasingly focused on initiatives to develop new business and create revenue, with six types of money making CIOS:

10 First Firefox OS for smartphones hits market

The business development CIO — retains IT-business planning, designing and implementation responsibilities, but hands over operational IT to someone else.

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The cost optimisation CIO — uses superlative IT procurement, operations and decommissioning methods to help enterprises reach earnings targets. The business innovation CIO — places IT staff members within the product or service development areas of the enterprise.

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

“Good news. Virgin will be looking to shake up the market, and the best partner to go with was STC. Overall this should mean that competition will increase, which will positively improve both the prices and services available to Saudi residents.”

The revenue-creating CIO — exploits IT technologies, products and services that will measurably increase enterprise revenue. The public-serving CIO — capitalises on the time value of money by significantly shortening each taxreceipt-related government process with the public.

Source: Gartner

The entrepreneurial CIO — generating sales based on assets such internally developed IP.

COMMENT OF THE MONTH

ANDY WELCOMES VIRGIN MOBILE WINNING A MOBILE VIRTUAL NETWORK OPERATOR (MVNO) LICENCE FOR SAUDI ARABIA.


/START

Judging panel appointed for ACN Awards Nominations open for 2013 ACN Arab Technology Awards until 21st August The judging panel for the 2013 ACN Arab Technology Awards has been appointed. The industry experts who will be tasked with deciding the winners of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s awards include past winner of the CIO of the Year award Ahmad Almulla, VP of Information Technology for DUBAL, Mohammad Shah of Head of IT & Business Solutions, AMS Baeshen Company; Peter Job, founder of Intergence, Philip Hughes MD of SIMS Recycling Solutions Middle East, and YS Shashidhar of MD for Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, Frost & Sullivan. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner which will be held at the JW Marriot Marquis Hotel in Dubai, on 21st October. More than 300 leading technology profes-

ACN AWARDS

Ahmad Almulla, VP of IT for DUBAL, will be one of the judges for the ACN Arab Technology Awards.

sionals are expected to attend the ceremony. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s awards includes 19 different categories, with awards for key verticals for the region including, Public Sector, Banking & Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Logistics, Transport & Aviation, Manufacturing, Energy & Utilities, Education, Healthcare and Retail & Trading; along with awards that recognize the leading vendors in the full range of enterprise IT sectors. Nominations can be made by end users, IT departments, vendors or systems integrators and are made by completing the online nomination form. Nominations for the awards can still be made via the Awards website up until the closing date, Wednesday 21st August, 2013. For details see www.itp.net/acnawards

August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

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/START

Attacks on UAE govt websites stopped Telecoms regulator says hackers from Egypt tried to attack websites The UAE TRA co-operated with the Egyptian authorities to stop the attacks, says Al Ghanim.

SECURITY WATCH

Social media usage must be managed, not blocked Alongside the risks to corporate reputation of mismanaged social networking, social media is causing creating additional, potentially more serious risks, through users’ risky behaviour in clicking on adware and surveys that may contain malware and through a relaxed attitude to file sharing on these sites, Kaspersky Lab warns. Companies are still opting to block social media however, rather than manage use and educate users, to be able to objectively assess their security status.David Emm, senior regional researcher at Kaspersky, commented “To outlaw the use of social media across the board would be akin to trying to turn back the tide: far better to work out how to manage it.”

SOPHOS SOCIAL MEDIA POLL SHOWED THAT OUT OF 2,000 SOCIAL MEDIA USERS:

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“We agreed to provide the Egyptian authorities with a list of IP addresses from which the cyber-infiltration attempts originated,” Al Ghanim was quoted by WAM as saying. He also expressed hopes that further attempts will be stopped and that the perpetrators would be identified. In June, a survey of IT experts across the region said GCC countries have become prime targets for cyber crime, with the Gulf viewed as a ‘cash cow’ for computer hackers. The region’s potential to fall victim to cyber crime was highlighted in May when members of a global cyber crime ring were arrested after attacks at the start of the year which successfully stole $45m from two Gulf-based banks, by hacking into credit card processing firms and withdrawing money from ATMs.

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

71% 46% 45% had been spammed on a social network

had been phished on a social network

had been sent malware on a social network

BANNED AND RESTRICTED ON CORPORATE NETWORKS ONLINE GAMES SOCIAL NETWORKING FILE SHARING/P2P VIDEO STREAMING WEBSITE ACCESS INSTANT MESSAGING WEBMAIL FILE HOSTING VOIP

BANNED

FTP

RESTRICTED

0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80%

Source: Kaspersky Lab, Sophos

The UAE’s telecommunications regulator reported that it had thwarted several attempts by cyber hackers to attack government websites in mid-July. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said it stopped “Egypt-originated attempts” to damage some government websites on Friday, official news agency WAM reported. The TRA said its Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT) succeeded in neutralising the danger and repairing the limited damage caused by the attack. Mohammed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of TRA, said the authority had worked on tracing the source of danger. TRA contacted the relevant Egyptian authorities in order to co-ordinate the efforts of the two countries on this matter, the news agency added.

SECURITY


/ANALYSIS

CFOs and CIOs collaborate on cloud Cloud decisions go beyond the IT department, says Deloitte and Touche report, and should involve the CIO and the CFO to ensure all aspects of the decision — financial, operational, risk — are given proper consideration

C

FOs and CIOs should work closely together to determine cloud computing strategies, according to a new report from Deloitte and Touche. The company says that the decision on cloud computing is broader than the information technology department and requires a productive working relationship between the CIO and the CFO, to best determine what and when to move to cloud computing. The CFO Insights report emphasises the role of the CFO in becoming a catalyst for cloud adoption while executing on strategic and financial objectives at the same time as ensuring an intelligent risk structure. In turn, the CIO, with the backing of the technology department, can increase their visibility as valued service providers to the broader organisation. Commenting on the report James Babb, partner, CFO Program Leader, Deloitte Middle East said: “Aligning the various stakeholders is an important task for the CFO in partnering with the CIO to adopt a cloud computing environment in an organisation. In addition, a cloud computing environment will often allow a CFO to know better the true cost of the IT function where the running costs of applications are often hard to determine with precision. “Cloud computing has real benefits to the finance function in particular where efficiency and productivity gains are available, Babb added. The report said that unapproved or unsanctioned use of cloud solutions was common, as different business departments signed up for cloud independently, which may meet the needs of the business user, but also created concerns around where data is stored and its security, governance issues

The CFO needs to align various stakeholders and partner with the CIO for successful cloud adoption, says Babb.

and service issues. Instead the CFO and CIO should work together to determine what to move to cloud, when to move it, and how to transition. Organisations should assess their ‘cloud comfort level’ to identify what type of applications are candidates for the cloud and which will not be moved until the distant future. Applications should be assessed on three criteria — customisation required, process complexity, and application risk. The less customisation required to align the application with business processes and requirements; the less inter-relation between organisational processes and the technology platform; and the less the sensitivity of the data or the criticality of the application to the organisation, the sooner can the application be moved to the cloud with less risk.

CLOUD COMFORT LEVEL • Customisation required: The extent that software or technology customisation is required to align with processes or to satisfy business requirements. • Process complexity: The degree that organisational processes are inter-related with technology amplifies change management implications to moving to a different technology platform. • Application risk: The consequences of ‘what could go wrong’ and the sensitivity of the data that resides in the application. Risk aversion among decision-makers also plays a role.

August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

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/ANALYSIS

Understanding the art of usability End user’s experience of using enterprise and web applications has often taken a back seat to design or development processes, but organisations in the region are starting to understand the importance of user experience

T

he discipline of user experience (UX), assessing and tailoring applications and web assets for their usability, is relatively unheard of in the Middle East, although that is changing, according to the founders of the digital consultancy Red Blue Blur Ideas (RBBI). While usability engineering, a mixture of behavioural psychology and computer engineering has been around since the mid1980s, it is still a very small field; user experience, which puts more focus on human experience using an application, emerged later, driven mainly by the need for efficient web design and the extension of computing over diverse platforms such as mobile, and has until recently had very little exposure in the Middle East. Now, however, there is a steadily growing interest in UX and usability in the region, including from enterprise organisations, which was a leading factor in founding RBBI, according to Devesh Mistry, digital technologist, director and co-founder. “We realised one of the key things that was missing in this market, is that everyone was looking at digital from a very marketing angle, no-one was actually adding value to digital, in a real way, as simple as being able to make user-friendly websites. For example, how long do you spend paying a bill online? It is something that is supposed to be convenient for users, and at the same time, they should enjoy using the interface.” It is a small field — in the Middle East, RBBI is the only agency accredited by the User Experience Professional Association (UXPA), it is also the only Middle East member of the UX Fellows network, which focuses on global user experience research, and the agency employs four Certified Usability Analysts, out of just a handful working in the region at present.

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ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

(l-r) Devesh Mistry and Amol Kadam, founders of Red Blue Blur Ideas.


/ANALYSIS

“WE SAW THE NEED TO BRING ERP SOLUTIONS AND OTHER BACK-END HEAVY SOLUTIONS, AND GIVE IT A FACELIFT FROM THE USER’S POINT OF VIEW.” While the UX discipline is primarily focused on web applications, there is increasing awareness of the need to focus on usability of enterprise applications as well, and the company has been involved in a number of engagements to assess and enhance the usability of internal enterprise applications. Amol Kadam, creative strategist, UX director and co-founder of RBBI explained: “When we looked at the market, we saw there are two types of companies that work in the region — pure technology companies, where the IT people develop the intranet, the call centre scripts, anything that is not end user facing. The other part of the business is the digital marketing side — there are so many agencies who will do microsites and apps and those sort of things, but there was no agency that could look at the technology side of things, and the aesthetics of the user side of things, and marry them together to give an experience that is technologically very sound and that serves the business proposition, but at the same time is not dry and boring, which most of the IT solutions are. We saw the need to bring ERP solutions and other back-end heavy solutions, and give it a facelift from the user’s point of view.” The tools for assessing usability are varied. While design, particularly for things like company websites, is subjective, the disci-

pline aims to understand exactly how a user interacts with an application. The company uses Eye Tracker devices, from Tobii Technology, which use projection patterns and optical sensors to gather data about gaze direction or eye movements as a user interacts with an application. By being able to see where people are looking, and through heat maps that show where focus in concentrated, the consultant is able to gain an insight into the user’s mind as they perform certain tasks. Usability also looks at things such as the number of steps required to complete a process, labelling of buttons in an application and other steps to optimise the procedures. End user questionnaires are also commonly used to assess the experience. Kadam highlighted the example of an online dashboard, which had been created for agencies, advertisers and publishers for mobile ad-serving. The dashboard had been put online by the IT department of the agency that owned the platform, but it was facing a lot of user resistance, and the agency was receiving 25-30 support calls per day. Through the use of the Eye Trackers, RBBI was able to analyse how the users were interacting with it, and identify key problems with the platform — mainly due to a focus on development over design when the platform was put online. Once the dashboard had been optimised,

support calls dropped to four to five per day. Usability studies can also identify unusual issues that might be impacting on performance. The company recently carried out a usability study for a news channel that was using a bespoke Arabic font on its website, Mistry explained: “The font was brilliant in print. We conducted tests on the legibility of the font, developed the same page in three different fonts, and analysed it using the eye tracker. The readability of the font was not there — it was taking 18-20% more time to read the text than with other fonts.” In terms of engagement, RBBI works directly with clients where it will assess and make recommendations through a usability audit, or to also provide design and development services. The company has also worked alongside several systems integrators in the region on ERP deployment, where the usability services provide a differentiator between systems integrators who are implementing the same solutions. For a typical engagement on an ERP project, the agency will usually come in at three different phases, Kadam explained: “The three major milestones are the discovery phase, where the technology companies understand what needs to be implemented, what modules. That is where we come in from a user’s point of view, so what kind of

August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

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/ANALYSIS

“THE EXPECTATION OF INTRANET PORTALS, [IS THE SAME] IN EVERY COMPANY - NO USER WANTS TO USE IT!” language are we using, what labels are there, how many steps are there in each of the processes that a user wants to do. “Then we come in again in the design phase. In the design phase, these solutions are normally skinned, not really designed. So we design the solutions, the screens and templates and we hand it over to the ERP consultants or technology partners. “Then we come in after the platform is ready and in beta, and that is when we do tests with the users, to find out if there are any barriers still there; that could be as simple as placement of a button, or getting the labelling of a button right. Those kind of things would be indentified at the user testing phase. Normally what we see is whenever we are called in at the last phase, the changes, the impact on development, redevelopment, or even the budget, ultimately, is higher,” he added. While usability assessment and optimisation can add as much as 15-20% to the budget for a project, there are many benefits in terms of efficiency, user uptake, and financial return, Kadam said. Through experience with

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ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

customers in the region, he said that optimisation of an online banking service can improve the number of transactions that are conducted per visit by 28-30%; e-commerce or transactional sites can see spending increase by 25-30%, and lead generation sites can gain 50-60% extra leads. For internal or external systems that are optimised for efficiency and process times, efficiency gains can be as much as 150%. Kadam and Mistry said they see a growing awareness of usability from organisations in the region, with more RFPs coming directly from IT departments, rather than marketing departments. In part, it represents a shift in mindset in the IT organisation of having to use the application ‘as is’, and relying on training or hiring staff with experience of a particular application to get the most out of it, to an understanding of the need to meet the user’s requirements. One area where the company is seeing the shift is intranet and internet portals, which have often in the past been developed internally by IT departments, with little thought

to usability. Mistry commented: “The expectation of intranet portals, [is the same] in every company — no user wants to use it!” Organisations are now seeing portals not as an IT project, but approaching them from the end user’s perspective, to encourage usage. It is particularly an area of focus for universities, which have their own challenges in addressing a younger user group. Kadam explained that organisations will need to give more focus to usability in future, to cater to younger users who have grown up using different, and more interactive platforms. “Whether it is a university internet portal, or anything where youth are interacting with solutions, we have seen that they have more frustrations than our generation, because their generation, their browsing habits, their expectations from interfaces and solutions is completely different compared to ours. What they expect is what they are using — whether it is smartphones, or iPads, their expectations are based on that. So if you throw an ERP solution developed a few years back at them, they are not going to like it.”


/TRENDS

HEALTHCARE HEROES

The healthcare sector is turning to IT to help improve the management and delivery of health services — Gartner predicts that spending by the sector will be $4.4 billion in the Middle East & Africa this year — and while this is just one tenth of US spending, the region is implementing some solutions to match the best in the world.

Strategic insight Clinical informatics helping Dubai Health Authority to create best possible healthcare “Clinical informatics is a medical sub-specialty discipline that sits at the intersection of information science, computer science, and health care,” comments Dr Mohammad Al Redha of the Dubai Health Authority. Clinical informaticians are healthcare professionals who work with IT, to bring their unique knowledge to assess the systems needs of healthcare professionals and patients, refine processes, and work towards continuous improvement of clinical information systems, he explains. The discipline impacts on health in numerous ways, such as identifying disease and health trends and their impact, and supporting drug development, care programs and information programs to manage those issues. Among DHA’s strategic initiatives to improve healthcare are a Health Information Network to facilitate transfer and sharing of data among all stakeholders and the Dubai Health Data Dictionary, for standard vocabularies and messaging formats. DHA has also set forth an World Class eHealth Roadmap that includes the development of an Electronic Health Record, Centralised Registers and Patient Portals.

DR MOHAMMAD ABDULQADER AL REDHA

DIRECTOR — HEALTH DATA & INFORMATION ANALYSIS DEPARTMENT, DUBAI HEALTH AUTHORITY

August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

25


/TRENDS

MICHAEL VESSER

CHIEF, CLIENT ORGANISATION CERNER MIDDLE EAST

Connecting ecosystems Cerner solutions help manage data, automate processes for healthcare providers Globally there is a huge increase in demand for healthcare, according to Michael Vesser of Cerner, due to factors such as growing, and ageing populations, lifestyle diseases and so on, and for supply to keep up with demand, healthcare organisations need to be more efficient in how they manage resources and data. Cerner is one of the leaders in hospital and health systems, including software and hardware, integrated devices and terminals, as well as solutions to help improve lifestyle to reduce poor health. Accurate healthcare systems should help automate processes and reduce risks of human error. The company has a strong customer base in the region, with good buy-in from government. “People get the value of the technology, they provide funding for it,” Vesser says. “Here they understand the impact that this type of technology can have on improving healthcare, and they feel it is part of the commitment to their citizens.” One of the challenges with healthcare systems is interoperability between different systems, to ensure that data can be shared while remaining secure. Cerner is committed to open standards, and interoperability with other systems, and believes it is a “moral obligation to be interoperable and share data”.

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ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013


THE EW WINNERS IN Find out who o earned earne ed recognition recogn nitiion at the CommsMEA Awards

58

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A NECESSITY, NOT A LUXURY

IDC expects less growth in 2012 P41

FROM ATM TO IP/ ETHERNET:

NINE KEY TERMS TO UNDERSTAND IN CLOUD DEALS

Virtual ual delivers vers value e

DATA CCENTRE ENTR DS FO OR 2013 TRENDS FOR

Data centre virtualisation tu ualiisation m for for growth creates platform for Hellmann Logistics ogistics

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30

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Fahem Al Nuaimi, CEO of Ankabut, discusses connecting the UAEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s academic sector and creating collaboration culture.

58

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A BRIGHT BRIG OUTLOOK O UTLLO

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Amin Mortazavi, VP, Acer MEA

58

NETWORK CONVERGENCE STRATEGY

James Coughlan P28

COMPANIES TO WATCH

ACER STREAMLINES ME OPERATIONS INFOR OPENS SUPPORT CENTRE XEROX EGYPT GETS NEW GM AXTROM, BDL PARTNER AOC APPOINTS LIBYA DISTIE CEREBRA BROADENS PORTFOLIO

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BUILDING AND DELIVERING IT SOLUTIONS FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

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DISASTER RECOVERY: DI

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Vol. 10 Issue. 11

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Gulf Air streamliness IT T je ec t as private cloud project proves its value

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/TRENDS

Tracking health trends IBM solutions bring cutting edge technology to healthcare strategy and implementation Lina Shadid, Healthcare Leader for IBM’s services arm, says the company began increasing its capabilities in the Middle East over seven years ago, after seeing that healthcare was underserved. Today IBM services is working mainly on eHealth strategy and awareness with governments, which are strongly committed to improving healthcare systems: “We are starting to see the transformation happening, we are in the early stages of implementing IT in healthcare. All the big projects that you see are pockets of excellence, really, the whole ecosystem in implementing IT has not yet happened.” IBM has recently deployed a cloudbased, big data system in Saudi Arabia, which will be used to track and analyse outbreaks of infectious disease, in part to manage the disease risk of millions of pilgrims arriving in the Kingdom each year. Worldwide, IBM is also deploying its Watson natural language AI to support physicians in cancer diagnosis. While there is some resistance by clinical staff to using technology, that is changing, Shadid adds: “It is a mindset shift — technology is an instrumental element in the delivery of healthcare.”

28

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

LINA SHADID

HEALTHCARE LEADER GBS CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA, IBM


The Middle Eastâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading technology website

Wired for Wisdom

CLOUD

DEVICES

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In association with

ANALYTICS


/TRENDS

Cutting-edge care

HUGH HASKELL-THOMAS PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT AZIMUTH

30

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

Healthcare institutions are adopting a wide range of technologies in a variety of different areas Systems integrator Azimuth, a specialist in the healthcare sector, has a portfolio that reflects the sheer scope of solutions available today. The Bahrain-based company is providing Infor EAM to support facilities and clinical engineering; real-time location from Ekahau for patient and staff safety, temperature monitoring and asset location, coupled to Passive RFID capabilities from Active Identity, Impinj and RFID, which support drug administration, infant security and rapid inventory management; Wavemark RFID smart cabinets to manage medical devices, and its own Symphony solution to provide centralised visualisation and management of assets and people. Further integration with systems including OR Scheduling, Electronic Patient Records, ERP and so on, all go into a modern healthcare facility. Hugh Haskell-Thomas explains that the aim is to create systems that provide real benefits to the care process without adding complexity. “Our overarching aim is to deliver relevant solutions in a simple to use, clinically aligned manner that focus on the provision of care, not technology. Recent advances in the sector, when applied in a healthcare organisation are now capable of delivering many increased benefits, in efficiency savings, clinical governance and operational visibility,” he says. “The healthcare sector is increasing in scale and raising standards right across the region. We are seeing an increase in state of the art technology in hospitals, from both specifiers and institutions alike.”


RECOGNISING EXCELLENCE IN ENTERPRISE COMPUTING

Monday 21st October 2013, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Now in their 9th year, the ACN Arab Technology Awards will acknowledge the best implementations, innovations and vendor contributions to the Middle East ICT sector in the past 12 months. To nominate your companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s achievements, please visit www.itp.net/acnawards or contact one of our team for more information.

NOMINATION DEADLINE: WEDNESDAY 21ST AUGUST, 2013 For nomination enquiries:

For sponsorship enquiries:

Mark Sutton

George Hojeige

Senior Group Editor Ph.:+971 4 444 3225 E: mark.sutton@itp.com

Sales Director Ph.:+971 4 444 3203 Mob:+971 50 502 5532 E: george.hojeige@itp.com

For table bookings and other information:

Daniel Fewtrell Head of Marketing Ph.:+971 4 444 3684 E: daniel.fewtrell@itp.com

For more information

www.itp.net/acnawards

CATEGORY SPONSOR


/TRENDS

Managing care Managed care service providers using market analysis to manage healthcare solutions

EINSTEIN ROZARIO IT MANAGER MEDNET UAE

32

ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS August 2013

An important part of the healthcare landscape, especially in territories such as Dubai which are dominated by private healthcare institutions, are the insurance companies. MedNet, part of Munich Health, is a managed care service provider, which works with insurance providers and healthcare providers, to help ensure that insured individuals can access quality healthcare. In terms of systems, the company has its MedNeXt core insurance application, and online systems to improve customer service. The company also uses Cognos Cubes Business Intellience, to analyse market trends. Einstein Rozario says that the market has grown in terms of both regulatory requirements and the sophistication of the private sector. “After being in the industry for nine plus years I have seen the evolution of IT in Healthcare. In the, UAE since the establishment of regulations by the regulatory bodies of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the usage of IT has picked up. Having said that, insurance companies and managed care organisations have also invested in upgrading their IT systems to enhance customer experience,” Rozario explains. “In the region, the UAE seems to be in the lead along with Saudi Arabia, compared to the rest of the region, but it still has a way to go before we could catch up with the more mature markets.”


/COMMENT

Cloud security: new buzzword, same challenges When companies move to the cloud, whether it is public or private, many enterprises assume the security is provided by the cloud provider says Brian Chappell, director of Engineering, EMEAI, BeyondTrust

I

t is easy to be seduced by the hype around the cloud, but while many non-IT executives may be attracted by the scalability and cost benefits, network and IT professionals are treading more cautiously. According to analyst firm IDC, 74% of IT executives and CIOs have cited security as the top challenge preventing their adoption of the cloud services model. This is perhaps no surprise, considering that the cloud means trusting sensitive corporate data – including customer data, intellectual property and other content, such as information on new products – to a third party. The reality is that wherever data is hosted, vulnerabilities and exploits do not discriminate. The same opportunities exist for cyber thieves within cloud providers as exist for data storage on-premise. The problem is that when some companies move to an external cloud – public, or more frequently for enterprises, virtual private clouds – they may assume that the cloud provider responsible for security. However, while cloud providers are responsible for securing the cloud management infrastructure, in practice they might not even know when a breach of a particular cloud server has occurred. In a 2011 Ponemon study, 42% of respondents of cloud service providers indicate they would not know if their customers’ cloud apps or data was compromised by a security breach or data exploit. Of course, any reputable cloud provider is going to have security measures but enterprises do not abdicate responsibility for what in effect is just an extension of the corporate network. For instance, if someone within the enterprise has left default passwords unchanged, or installed software with vulnerabilities, or does not keep up with patch levels, then the organisation is responsible. Organisations need to think in terms of protecting data, not just

“74% OF IT EXECUTIVES AND CIOS HAVE CITED SECURITY AS THE TOP CHALLENGE PREVENTING THEIR ADOPTION OF THE CLOUD MODEL.”

Enterprises cannot abdicate responsibility for securing their cloud says Chappell,

physical machines. Responsibility for those assets travels, regardless of the environment. Wherever a company’s IP goes, it needs to be protected, whether that is in the cloud, on-premise, printed-out, on a mobile device or any number of storage types. Enterprises must extend their security practices to the cloud environment and ensure that the tools and processes they use are able to address the particular challenges of a virtual environment, so they need systems that scan both the local environment and virtual servers. Ideally, both the cloud provider and the enterprise should overlap their security measures. For the enterprise, this means making sure that all individual machines are secured, as well as the entire system. So, if someone manages to knock a hole in the system’s protective wall, all the ‘pieces’ within the corporate network are as robustly protected. In short, we need to abandon our fortress mentality and realise that often the threat is already within the walls. And of course, the cloud provider also needs to apply the same approach to the security of its infrastructure as much as possible. Whatever the type of cloud, the same operating systems – Windows, Linux, etc – are still used, and bring with them their associated security challenges. The only real difference is the additional concern of securing the system that is provisioning the cloud environment and that is the responsibility of the service provider. For network owners, the same security risks that were already there still apply: organisations just need to protect themselves as securely as possible, across all end points, regardless of whether they are on-premise, remote or virtual.

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Time and technology waits for no one The IT industry operates on a base of standardised platforms, of which certified skills training should be considered a vital component, argues John McGlinchey, vice president for CompTIA in Europe and the Middle East

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ow much does your business plan to spend on IT training this year? Often the team is not a profit centre so that can immediately impact the budget made available. As a result, individuals look for conferences to attend where networking or sales leads are also on offer, or are encouraged to find ‘cost effective’ training programmes to develop knowledge. In the Middle East, according to our 2013 International Technology Adoption & Workforce Issues research, regional investment in IT skills education is high with 94% of IT staff engaging in some form of training in the last 12 months. And any training is better than none, right? …Wrong!

McGlinchey: Training without certification means employees or customers have no proof of your skills.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE Certification is the sometimes forgotten, but always important, part of training. Training without certification never delivers its full value for money. It’s akin to boarding a plane and landing several hours’ later at the airport from which you took off. You gained all the experience of the journey but you didn’t get a stamp in your passport that says you reached any destination. The cost might be kept down, but you’re missing half the value! Think about why your company invests in training. The progress of technology innovation is relentless, meaning that skills can quickly become outdated and knowledge gaps are a natural and recurring feature. Training is usually aimed at equipping teams to close those gaps and prepare the business to move forward with the right technology and capabilities. If you don’t certify, you have

no idea whether the training achieved what it was supposed to. In cloud computing, for example, our survey shows that Middle East businesses are ahead of the global average with 62% of respondents either experimenting with or fully using cloud computing technology today. Yet 40% highlight staff skills and experience as a major hurdle. Companies are spending to build IT skills in the workplace, and many are also actively recruiting this year. Without some kind of standardised certification on which to benchmark skills, training, and the calibre of prospective candidates, how can a business make an informed decision and invest with confidence?

TURNING UP THE VOLUME

“YOU WOULDN’T TRUST A DOCTOR UNLESS YOU WERE CONFIDENT HE MET AN ACCEPTED INDUSTRY STANDARD, AND RIGHTLY SO. SO WHY NOT ALSO DEMAND HIGH STANDARDS OF YOUR IT STAFF.” 34

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The call for IT certification amongst the region’s business executives has never been louder. Four-fifths of executives predict that the value of recognised certification will grow over the next two years, although many do not state any specific position on certification at present. This suggests we are on the verge of a swift upswing in demand for formal accreditation, as executives realise its business value. Already 82% of regional executives believe that staff holding industry-led certifications are more valuable to the organisation, and extend benefits to the whole team. Faced with a gap in the quantity and quality of skilled professionals in the market that many regard as ‘extensive’, regional executives are beginning to look for ways to identify the strongest candidates. For individuals, industry-led certification not only bolsters


/COMMENT

The industry needs to develop standard certifications to prove skills.

your CV, it also indicates that you are able to learn and expand your skills in the future. We find that business executives view certified employees as more effective problem solvers, and more confident in embracing new technologies. It suggests that you can make an immediate, positive contribution to the organisation. Pressure is also coming from customers that outsource their IT services, who are increasingly aware of the importance of skills validation by their chosen partner. Certification can be a key differentiator in the procurement process, particularly when a business is comparing bids from different countries and looking for common ground for evaluation. Companies whose staff are trained but not certified risk losing out on lucrative contracts because they can’t demonstrate their staff meet the required standards — even if they do.

TOMORROW’S SKILLS, TODAY It is critical for education and training in the IT industry to cover the skills needed to meet the real-life challenges being faced. But we also need to assess that training to ensure it delivered, and to show others that those who went through the training meet the standard expected of them. You wouldn’t trust a doctor unless you were confident he met an accepted industry standard, and rightly so. So why not also demand high standards of your IT staff.

“FACED WITH A GAP IN THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF SKILLED PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKET THAT MANY REGARD AS ‘EXTENSIVE’, REGIONAL EXECUTIVES ARE BEGINNING TO LOOK FOR WAYS TO IDENTIFY THE STRONGEST CANDIDATES.” Academics tend to be vocal about qualifications and accreditation, constantly reviewing standards and updating them to address the changing environment they serve. Similarly, industries such as science and engineering are active in calling for relevant skills to be taught in schools and universities to bring a constant stream of new talent into the market. Surprisingly, the IT profession has been much quieter, despite its critical importance to today’s commercial world. Knowing what the industry challenges are and developing the right solutions is one of our biggest tasks, and if it’s not addressed then the skills gap we see in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world will only be exacerbated over time. CompTIA, as the global IT trade association, has long been involved in developing IT certifications in collaboration with industry. We consult widely with our members about their needs and identify which areas would benefit from new or updated certifications so that our accreditation stays relevant. We ask businesses to be open about their problems and take an active role in the training solutions to resolve them. With these experts involved from the start, we can confidently say that CompTIA certified professionals have received training in the best practice and skills genuinely needed by the industry.

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Me, myself and ID Going beyond two factor ID to find a third element to security, could help solve concerns over mobile money, says Ray Wizbowski, VP of strategic marketing for enterprises Identity & Access Management at Gemalto

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o matter how secure the system, there will always be fraudsters who dupe consumers into surrendering their details. So how do we protect users from their own vulnerability? The answer may be ‘multi-factor’ authentication. Gene Spafford, professor of computer science at Purdue University once said about IT security: “The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards — and even then I have my doubts.” It’s a pretty dramatic and pessimistic statement. However, there are powerful arguments to suggest that, in the absence of concrete, we can turn to strong authentication to keep people’s identities safe. There’s no doubt that the most vulnerable part of the chain when it comes to mobile payments is the user. According to a Verizon/Secret Service data breach study, 86% of records breached across all industries were the results of stolen login credentials. In today’s connected world, stealing IDs is more serious than stealing payment details because it enables criminals to set up multiple scams. Typically fraudsters steal IDs using ‘social engineering’ — by developing a fake app that records key presses or sending a bogus charity appeal that requests personal details — and their scams get more and more sophisticated as consumers wise up. So what can the industry do to protect users from themselves? First off, be realistic. There’s always a balance to be struck between convenience and security because — obviously — the more layers of protection you put in, the more friction there will be for the user. In this sense, it all comes down to context. A consumer using Gmail, for example, will probably implement minimal protection because they wouldn’t send high security information through it and they know that Google is tracking them anyway. But for mobile payments, a much stronger form of security is needed. Typically, mobile payment systems are processed using a single PIN

Two factor authentication is strong, but a third factor, usually biometric-based, can add an additional layer of protection and security, explains Wizbowski.

or password. And this is where the vulnerability comes in, since people often use guessable passwords such as, well, ‘password’. Moreover, the speed with which criminal’s computers can crunch through millions of combinations makes even apparently secure passwords vulnerable to attack too. A much safer form of protection, then, is two factor authentication using a one-time password (OTP). Here, the service in question pushes the OTP to the user’s phone, and he or she types that password into the system. This makes the authentication process a blend of what you know (the password) and what you have (the phone). It’s a powerful combination, as the criminal cannot use the stolen card details unless they have the phone too. This immediately prevents industrial level harvesting of card data. The technique can also return some control back to the user, who can vary the level of friction based on their own preferences. So, for example, a consumer could request an OTP notification whenever they are outside of pre-defined locations or when they’re abroad. Mobile

“THE MOST VULNERABLE PART OF THE CHAIN IS THE USER. A VERIZON STUDY FOUND 86% OF RECORDS BREACHED ACROSS ALL INDUSTRIES WERE THE RESULT OF STOLEN LOGIN CREDENTIALS.” 36

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/COMMENT

Adding an element of ‘what you are’ to authentication can create confidence around mobile payments.

OTPs allow you to quickly and cost-effectively strengthen your security with strong authentication, especially for remote users accessing cloud services. But we need to evolve to stronger forms of authentication and always be thinking that the more layers of security you can implement, the better. So how can the industry go beyond two-factor authentication? The answer is by adding a third element to something you know and something you have: something you are. The obvious candidates here are biometrics, such as face recognition, fingerprint or iris. All parties in the mobile money value chain are appraising these technologies. It’s noteworthy that Apple made a corporate swoop for biometrics specialist Authentec in 2012. Still, none of these concepts is perfect. Biometrics are interesting but the tech is at an early stage. Take face recognition. There are question marks over how well it works in low-level light. And what about using it while driving? That’s hardly practical. For these reasons Gemalto is carefully tracking another concept that’s almost ‘hardwired’ into the phone itself: device fingerprinting. Every phone is unique. It has its own serial numbers, but more than that it comprises a certain amount of memory, music files, photographs and so on. These details may change, though not dramatically — taken together they provide a powerfully unique identity.

But there’s more. A significant and complementary security technology could be the trusted execution environment, which buries encryption inside the chipset of the device rather than inside a download app or in the OS. In this instance, when a user wants to authenticate a transaction they retrieve their details from an encrypted area in the microprocessor, which is virtually impossible for criminals to break into. Gemalto is leading this drive as one of the partners in Trustonic, a JV promoting ARM’s Trust Zone technology. Taken together, all these ideas could make mobile money — the subject of so much fear and caution among consumers — far safer than online or even plastic transactions. The fact is, people have their plastic cards cloned, and they still use them. People will get used to mobile payments, and they’ll get past their security fears as they realise that their mobile identities can protect them better than anything that came before. It’s up to the industry to make mobile payments seamless and secure. I am confident that the industry has the will to make this happen too. You’d have to be foolish not to believe that mobile will be at the centre of people’s financial lives. The VC money pouring into the space proves it, and every financial services company has a mobile strategy now. They know it’s coming, and they’re preparing for it.

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Healthcare IT makes headway Healthcare, along with education, is one of the top areas of expenditure for governments in the GCC, and with expanding, young populations, it is an area where there is little room for compromise. Government commitment to the sector is strong, with considerable investment in facilities and training, to provide the healthcare needed to meet demand. IT is also playing its role in the build out of healthcare services in the region, identifying the shortfalls in facilities and expertise, and bridging the gaps to enable better access to healthcare, through things like telemedicine, and speeding up processes, so that facilities are used more efficiently. At a strategic level, there is also strong commitment, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to ensure the best possible coverage of healthcare to serve citizens. Projects to analyse the requirements of the population, and to work out where resources can be applied for maximum effect are driving models of healthcare for the region. At the level of individual hospitals and clinics, there are many different solutions being put in place. Mobility is an important part of the emerging healthcare IT landscape, helping carers to have access to the systems and records they need to provide ‘bedside’ care. At the same time, remote monitoring of patients enables care givers to keep an eye on their charges without physical checkups. Digital record keeping is also another area that is seeing uptake, with the aim of promoting sharing of data, better access to records, creating greater consistency across healthcare services, removing human error and creating a discov-

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erable pool of data that can be used for high level analysis of health trends. All in all, IT in healthcare should help to elevate standards of care and make the most of resources – but although one of the main aims of automated systems is to remove human error, there is always the human factor. A recent trip to the doctor highlighted this. The doctors still seemed to be using paper files for patient records, with handwritten notes, although all the insurance paperwork went into the system. X-rays had gone digital, and were saved and shared via screen and inkjet, but once it came time to picking up the prescription, the system seemed to go amiss. The printed prescription was linked to a label that popped out of a printer, but the pharmacist somehow knew the dosage was wrong — and ‘corrected’ the label with an unreadable biro squiggle. The label was wrong on the packet of pills, but how he knew that I don’t know. Prescription errors are still one of the biggest issues facing the medical sector, one that system automation is meant to eliminate. Whatever the idiosyncrasies of the system, wherever the breakdown between doctor, keyboard and chemist, it just goes to show that no system that involves end users can ever be foolproof. ACN is conducting its salary survey, to gain a better understanding of salaries and employment issues in the region, and we need your help in getting as much data as possible, through completing the survey. The survey is completely anonymous, and the results will be announced in October’s edition of the magazine. You can find the survey at www.itp.net, so please assist us by taking the survey today.

Mark Sutton Senior Group Editor mark.sutton@itp.com


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/INTERNATIONAL HORIZONS COLLEGE

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Dr Michael Dobe, Ph.D, president and CEO of International Horizon’s College, a new American Honours College in Dubai.

CREATING A CAMPUS IN THE CLOUD

WHEN INTERNATIONAL HORIZONS COLLEGE SET UP OPERATIONS IN DUBAI, IT WANTED TO KEEP ITS SYSTEMS SIMPLE YET ENABLE POWERFUL COLLABORATION BETWEEN STUDENTS AND STAFF. IT TURNED TO DU, TO DEVELOP AN EXTENSIVE MANAGED SERVICES PACKAGE, INCLUDING NETWORKS, HARDWARE AND EDUCATION APPLICATIONS IN THE CLOUD BY MARK SUTTON August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

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IHC has a ‘no servers now or in future’ policy, with all applications taken on a SaaS basis, and virtual docs preferred over hard copy.

etting up green field operations can be an expensive and time consuming business for any organisation, but for the education sector, where expenditure ideally is focused on learning rather than support structures, it is even more important that every dollar is spent wisely. With the education sector increasingly moving towards connected classrooms and a much greater degree of technology in teaching however, delivering the modern systems and infrastructure to enable state-of-the-art learning while keeping IT investment under control is a difficult proposition. For International Horizons College (IHC), a new American Honours College, based in Dubai, the solution to how to deliver a 21st century learning experience without major investment, was to turn to the cloud. Dr Michael Dobe, President and CEO of IHC, said that the college, which offers two-year Associate of Arts degrees, aims to take a global, collaborative approach to learning, and to give its highperforming students an advanced and open learning environment, to prepare them for study in leading US academic institutions. The college teaches the American curriculum, and has a partnership with another two year college in the US, to provide pathways into the prestigious University of California system. IHC was accredited by UAE authorities in December, and took on a small group of students in January. The college will have a full launch in Autumn, with the aim of taking on 50 students. As a ‘start-up’ operation, with no existing infrastructure, IHC could be flexible in terms of IT, but it was very much committed to putting technology, such as videoconferencing at the heart of teaching, Dobe explained. Solutions such as high-definition video are a vital part of IHC’s vision of a Global Classroom, which enables faceto-face collaboration between students and faculty in Dubai, and with their counterparts at the partner college in the US. The aim is to expose students to US teaching methods, and foster collaboration, rather than to create a distance learning program. “We don’t use it as a distance education platform, we use it as a face-to-face virtual enhancement. We are all about the global classroom, the physical facilities are critical to us,” Dobe said. “We really

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value face-to-face, whether it is physical or virtual, we value the interaction between students and faculty, and we share the skepticism about the quality issues of fully online distance programs. Our model is face-to-face, where the quality of instruction and interaction between the faculty and students is at the heart of the experience — you can’t replace that with a blog.” The solution to putting in high end solutions, without the attendant costs, support requirements, time to deploy and complexity, was to look to managed services. Dobe has previous experience with managed services, both in the region and the US and Europe, and has even worked as a managed service CIO. IHC turned to UAE telco du, to see what could be developed in terms of managed services. Using his past experience with managed solutions, Dobe


/INTERNATIONAL HORIZONS COLLEGE

“WE BELIEVE STRONGLY THAT THE PLACE FOR OUR IT PEOPLE IS WITH STUDENTS AND FACULTY, HELPING THEM WITH THEIR LEARNING, NOT IN THE BACK OFFICE WRITING CUSTOM CODE OR SETTING UP SERVER INFRASTRUCTURE.” worked with du to develop a wide-ranging deal, which involves du providing connectivity to the campus, hosting applications, and providing the hardware and software systems such as video conferencing cameras, all delivered in a hosted model. “We have a unique relationship with du, they are a very agile company, they have been very co-operative and very flexible,” Dobe said. “We are getting solutions from du — we don’t focus on the equipment, we focus on what we need the functionality to be. du is able to meet our needs in a way that blends networking, hardware and software, so that it is transparent to us which components we are actually getting from them. The equipment in the classrooms, no one has ever gotten that as part of a bundle [before], we developed that with du as a complete end-to-end solution.”

IHC is a ‘campus in the cloud’ both physically, as well as technological. Located on the forty-second floor of the U-Bora Tower in Dubai’s Business Bay, the college benefits from being in a brand new building, with good IT infrastructure and connectivity. With all of the college’s systems in the cloud, a stable, resilient network connection was required, and du provides a two fibre run to IHC to ensure constant availability and no single point of failure. In terms of applications, IHC has committed to an all Softwareas-a-Service model, with no in-house coding and no servers on the premises, now or in future. The student information management system is sourced from a cloud provider in the US, and because the UAE Ministry of Education has based its best practice approaches on US accreditation

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All of IHC’s infrastructure and solutions have been provisioned from du as managed services, saving cost and complexity, says Dobe.

KIT LIST Google Apps for Education Polycom RealPresence video solutions Polycom EagleEye Director cameras Polycom RealPresence Desktop 3.0 Blackboard Learning Management System Vaddio Cameras Vaddio whiteboard Squiggle Kit Steelcase media:scape collaboration systems MacBook Pro Google Android Nexus Tablets Samsung S3/S4 smartphones BlueCoat Systems managed video caching services

bodies, maintenance of course materials and so on, this meant that the system could be used out-of-the-box, costing 10-20% of what an on-premise system would have cost. For the learning and collaboration applications, IHC selected Google Apps for Education, Dobe explained: “We use a number of different systems that are cloud-based that enable collaboration with faculty and students. The baseline that we established was Google apps, we thought the email was a great fit, but it is more than just email. Google Apps for Education includes docs, spreadsheets, videos, groupware, you can have a common discussion group etc. “We use the full range of Google Apps for Education to provide people with the ability to collaborate on the cloud. That means they have a time when they are sitting in the same room, they can be working through the cloud on their laptops, or they could continue

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that conversation when they are back at their apartments, so a student can collaborate with another student, they can reach out to a faculty member, they are always connected. Remote collaboration is not a substitute for face-to-face, it is a way of extending it, and continuing the conversation even though you are not physically in the same room,” he added. One benefit of the SaaS approach is that, as a relatively small learning establishment, IHC is able to access powerful solutions without having to scale down systems meant for larger organisations. It also has green benefits, Dobe said. “Everything for us is born digital, and we can ad hoc produce the print copies. We have only used three reams of paper on our printer since opening, so we think that’s a win for green computing. It is just more logical, I travel a lot, and I have to have to access to all of the materials, and I can’t just bring it with me. It is an operational


/INTERNATIONAL HORIZONS COLLEGE

“REMOTE COLLABORATION IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR FACE-TO-FACE, IT IS A WAY OF EXTENDING IT, AND CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE NOT PHYSICALLY IN THE SAME ROOM.” necessity, an academic benefit, and an environmental benefit too.” The hosted systems also means a much smaller IT staff requirement — the college has just one IT support person, compared to the 12 that Dobe estimates an inhouse approach would require. The managed services also mean more time for the IT staff to work with students and faculty. “We believe strongly that the place for our IT people is with students and faculty, helping them with their learning, not in the back office writing custom code or setting up server infrastructure that is just not a good use of higher ed. dollars,” Dobe explained. One fifth of all the courses and lessons are delivered from the partner campus in California, using Blackboard’s Learning Management System, and it is here, as well as in connecting faculty and students to each other, that the Managed Video-as-a-Service (MVaaS) solution that du is hosting plays a vital role. The solution uses Polycom RealPresence HDX video systems equipped with Polycom EagleEye Director cameras, Vaddio cameras and interactive whiteboard solutions in the classrooms, to give very high quality telepresence. The system includes a cloud-based Polycom RealPresence Collaboration Server and Polycom RSS recording and streaming software delivered by Polycom local partner FVC and du. The whole systems is integrated and managed by du. IHC also has a Steelcase media:scape collaboration workspace system, for collaborative work groups. The system is used not just for learning, but for faculty meetings and interviewing. Mobility is also a big part of the infrastructure, with all students, faculty and staff being issued with MacBook Pro, with Polycom RealPresence Desktop 3.0 software, to enable remote video conferencing. The same model of MacBook Pro is used throughout, to simplify administration and ensure a uniform experience. Students also have Google Android Nexus tablets while staff have Samsung S3 and S4 smartphones to also enable a wide degree of flexibility for mobile connection.

Dobe says that in future the college will look at mobile device management solutions, not to close off systems, but to facilitate better collaboration and interaction. It is part of an open approach to sharing of content and access. “One of the things that has always been a real frustration to faculty, is all of these layers of complex passwords, user names, segregation of access, it has been a long history, the last couple of decades, in higher ed. of blocking and filtering and not allowing people to get access to things,” Dobe said. “We don’t do that — our access is open, the whole model is to keep it open, and allow faculty, staff, students and visitors to use the systems. Where we need to protect our student data we do so, but we want our users to share Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Higher Education is not about guarding secrets, but rather about broadening the corpus of human knowledge.”

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Al Serkal: We are trying to have 100% availability, which is sometimes challenging. Availability is crucial.”

DFM AIMS FOR 100% UPTIME WITH EHDF

DUBAI FINANCIAL MARKET’S WEBSITE PROVIDES REAL TIME STOCK PRICES AND OTHER SERVICES TO INVESTORS — DOWNTIME IS NOT AN OPTION. BY MARK SUTTON August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

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Hassan Abdulrahman Al Serkal, executive VP, COO and head of operations division, Dubai Financial Markets.

or financial markets, keeping trading systems live and keeping investors connected is critical — when a delay of less than a minute can mean the difference between profit and loss, the ability to trade in a timely manner becomes crucial. For Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the Dubai exchange established in 2000, the situation is no different. With around 65 companies listed on the exchange, along with trading in bonds and investment funds, the DFM is one of the leading financial institutions in the region. While the exchange is home to a number of brokers and traders doing business on the floor, the DFM also caters to a wider market of investors who are not physically present, but instead who operate remotely, via the DFM trading platform, and brokers. For this community, DFM’s website plays a vital role in keeping them up-to-date on movements in stock prices and other news and services. The website provides real time stock prices for around 24,000 registered Dubai Financial Market users, along with a host of other services including information on companies on the exchange, trading history of those companies and any disclosure notices; investor registration, online statements and investor portfolios, and services from the clearing house. With important services such as these, DFM cannot afford any downtime to the site, so it relies upon a hosting and services agreement with eHosting DataFort. While the website is hosted at DFM’s own data centre, it also has complete replication and backup provided by the hosting company, along with other managed services, to provide a backup in case of service interruption, high levels of demand or other occurrences that could risk the service.

Hassan Abdulrahman Al Serkal, executive vice president, chief operations officer, head of operations division, Dubai Financial Markets, said that while historically DFM had experienced some bandwidth issues at peak times, since 2005 when it signed the agreement with eHDF, it has not had any problems. There were a number of reasons why DFM selected eHDF for its hosting partner. Data is transferred to the eHDF facility in real time, using an MPLS connection, to update the servers, storage and applications which are hosted by eHDF. Al Serkal said that in terms of location and telecommunications provision, DFM is reliant on UAE operator Etisalat, while eHDF is primarily connected through du. By using two different operators, the setup includes an extra degree of redundancy, so if one operator’s network goes down there is a failover.

“WE ARE TRYING TO HAVE 100% AVAILABILITY, WHICH IS SOMETIMES CHALLENGING. ONE REASON WE CHOSE EHOSTING DATAFORT IS THEY ARE TIER 3, WHICH GIVES YOU 99.98% AVAILABILITY OF THE SERVICE.” 48

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/DUBAI FINANCIAL MARKET eHDF provides support and strategic planning to ensure the best possible uptime for DFM, says Al Serkal.

“WE ARE ISO 9001, 27001; EHOSTING DATAFORT ALSO IS CERTIFIED… IT MEANS WE HAVE THE SAME CONCERNS IN TERMS OF INFORMATION SECURITY, PROCESSES AND CHANGE MANAGEMENT. THIS MATTERS FOR US, AND IT MAKES LIFE MUCH EASIER.” eHDF’s Tier 3 data centre was another factor in DFM selecting them for hosting provision: “We are trying to have 100% availability, which is sometimes challenging,” Al Serkal said. “One reason we chose eHosting DataFort is they are Tier 3, which gives you 99.98% availability of the service. Availability is crucial. “We are ISO 9001, 27001; eHosting DataFort also is certified — so even before we signed with them we knew they were certified,

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that makes us more comfortable dealing with them, and it means we have the same concerns in terms of information security, processes and change management. This matters for us, and it makes life much easier,” he added. Another important aspect of the deal with eHDF, Al Serkal explained, are the services which eHDF provides that complement DFM’s own IT capabilities. eHDF consults DFM on technology areas and regular reviews, and is also able to offer expertise in areas such as security, where eHDF provides constant monitoring, or load balancing, to make sure services are always available. “They have a good technical team, with different skills, this makes us comfortable, also the security aspect of it, and the bandwidth, they are very flexible with us, if we require more bandwidth they deliver it on the fly. We don’t need to wait or call, it is automatic. This makes things much easier,” Al Serkal said. eHDF also provides a smooth service in areas like updates, to ensure there is no service interruption from these: “They plan changes, which makes it much easier for us, and makes us much more confident that our service will not be interrupted.” Going forward, DFM is planning to expand the services available through the website, to better serve its investor customers. Al Serkal says that the hosting relationship with eHDF provides a host of benefits, but most importantly of all, it helps ensure that the market’s services are available, to preserve its reputation. “Our reputation matters,” he notes. “It is not just money we are saving, we are saving more than money — it is our reputation if something happens.”


/ERP

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ERP systems may have been around for over 20 years, but the technology has not stood still, with new capabilities, new features and new platforms all adding to the evolution of ERP.

EVOLVING STATE OF ERP SOLUTIONS

ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING SOLUTIONS CONTINUE TO ADAPT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF NEW SECTORS SUCH AS SMB, TO INCLUDE NEW TECHNOLOGY AND CAPABILITIES SUCH AS MOBILITY AND ENHANCED ANALYTICS, AND TO BRING GREATER DEGREES OF CONSOLIDATION AND OPTIMISATION TO IT ENVIRONMENTS BY KERI ALLAN August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

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Flemming: ERP over SaaS is gaining traction, but there are still reservations about adoption voiced by some companies.

Mudlapur: Companies in certain sectors in the region are still transitioning from manual systems to automated ERP.

Users are looking to mobile ERP solutions, with similar features and functionality to their mobile devices, says Hyder.

RP systems are ubiquitous in the Middle East, sitting at the core of many organisations’ IT systems. They are one of the first things a company considers implementing in order to manage processes, drive efficiency and keep operational costs down. Having been around for over 20 years, many organisations are already on their second generation of ERP solution. Uptake continues to rise, thanks to reassessment of current solutions, changes in technology and increasing demands for customisation from users. Analysts have seen adoption of modern ERP solutions accelerating over the past four years, as Dhiraj Daryani, research manager — Enterprise Software Solutions at IDC MEA highlights. “The period after 2009 saw significant growth in adoption as various vendors that were not present in the region set-up direct local offices; others who already had local presence expanded their operational footprint. Lately, leading vendors have been investing in expanding their partner ecosystem [and] this had a visible impact on ERP investments, especially in the large and medium-sized companies. “Prior to 2009, the majority of companies that were using ERP systems either had in-house developed applications that were often not comprehensive in their functionality, or had

“MENA COMPANIES ARE CONCENTRATING ON TRANSITIONING FROM MANUAL ENVIRONMENTS TO FULL AUTOMATION OF BACK-OFFICE SYSTEMS WITH AIMS TO BOOST EFFICIENCIES.” 54

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an old legacy ERP solution that hadn’t been upgraded. ERP companies have capitalised on this, and have been aggressive in capturing the opportunity to migrate or upgrade the systems of these companies,” he explains. As far as competition is concerned, the market is presently dominated by global giants such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, whose ERP solutions account for 60-80% of the total ERP revenue across the GCC. In terms of sectors, enterprise, financial services and government industries are popular ERP customers. As many Middle Eastern countries transform from being more oil-based towards professional and financial services, there has been a significant rise in interest in ERP. “Organisations in Qatar are spending significant money on ERP implementations, given that they have been bidding for larger sporting events in the coming years,” highlights Gurudatt Mudlapur, vice president and global head, Oracle Practice at Tech Mahindra. “While the collective spending between Dubai and Abu Dhabi may give the UAE the region’s highest growth,


/ERP

Saudi Arabia also accounts for a significant part of the GCC’s total IT spend. All these regions are predicted to spend in excess of a couple of billion dollars on ERP projects in future. “In the United Arab Emirates, the retail sector alone is spending heavily on enterprise application software such as CRM, ERP and HRM solutions, spurred on by additional competition in the property management and retail space, businesses are beginning to invest heavily in these enterprise-wide applications. We have been noticing that the MENA companies are concentrating on transitioning from manual environments to full automation of back-office systems with aims to boost efficiencies,” he adds. Over the last few years, the Middle East’s ERP market has also seen a shift from large enterprises to SMBs, with Frost & Sullivan highlighting that about 45-50% of implementations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are coming from the SMB market. “The sizeable apprehensions around ERP being only for large organisations, coupled with the comparatively higher rates of unsuccessful ERP deployments were amongst the major de-

terrents in the ERP uptake. [But] these have been duly addressed by leading ERP vendors by not only investing more in the training of their ecosystem and developing fail-proof methodologies for implementation, but also by coming up with scalable solutions that SMBs can also afford,” says Mansoor Sarwar, head of Pre-Sales and Support, Sage Middle East. “SMBs have realised that working smart is the only way to scale and using tools like ERP and CRM are the smartest business tools around. Most of these organisations have second generation executives who have returned from a rich exposure of education and work in more developed markets bringing with them the awareness and knowledge that demystifies the world of ERP.” There are three dominant trends in ERP right now, the first of which has been to strip away excess functionality that existed solely to enable vendors to claim that one size fits all. The focus is now on consolidation and optimisation. “Consolidation is one development that is already underway in this region, and refinement and optimisation will be strong

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/ERP

“WE HAVE HAD CIO CUSTOMERS TELLING US THAT THEIR IMPLEMENTATION OF A CLOUD-BASED SOLUTION HAS REVOLUTIONISED THE WAY PEOPLE LOOK AT THEIR BUSINESS. THEY CAN NOW DO THINGS THEY COULD NEVER DO BEFORE, AND THEY ARE BEGINNING TO SEE THE APPLICATION AS A TOOL FOR INNOVATION.” themes in the ERP sector over the next few years,” says Stephen Ardill, partner at AT Kearney Middle East. “The driver for much of this work will be data to address questions relating to its integration, quality and value: how does data from disparate sources manifest and interrelate in the ERP system, how can data quality and the reliability of information be improved, and how can enterprise-wide information be exploited for business advantage?” The second has been the undeniable impact of social media and collaboration technologies, be they mobile or office based. “The ease of use of many mobile platforms, the rapid evolution of social media networks and the incredible functionality they offer have only just begun to map over into the business realm: but for complex and sophisticated processes such as those underpinned by ERP, they are nothing short of a revolution. It is incredibly easy to put it to work and a result, when the same concepts are applied to ERP, is a big uplift in productivity,” says Monzer Tohme, channel manager for the Middle East, Infor. Lastly, mobile applications are a big factor in delivering complete ERP functionality.

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“As users feel the ease-of-use with mobile apps, they expect similar experiences from their ERP application. Recently a user requested and successfully convinced us to provide a selection of accounts and products by typing anything that matches the string in between not necessarily starting with the typed letters, an experience he got used to in mobile apps,” highlights Ali Hyder, CEO, Focus Softnet. Another area worth highlighting is data analytics, which has made a major impact on ERP. “This is primarily because such technological and conceptual advancements have a strong effect on how ERP systems are used by businesses. Data analytics is considered to be a major tool that can help create a clear picture of how the business is performing, including competitive aspects such as customer behaviour and production capabilities, notes Jawad Squalli, regional vice president, Epicor. “Managing data more efficiently can lead to an increase in sales revenue as well as to being able to manage supply chains more effectively.” The region is now seeing a slow movement towards the adoption of the cloud model, with cloud-based ERP solutions appealing thanks to lower capex and scalability. “Organisations in the Middle East are moving large-scale software expenses from their capital budget to their operating budget and this has resulted in looking at Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as a major business model,” highlights Haritha Ramachandran, industry manager, Information and Communication Technologies Practice, Frost & Sullivan. “SaaS offers lower total cost of ownership and faster returns on investment. Easy access to add-ons and updates, no lengthy and expensive upgrade cycles are required. Frost & Sullivan has noticed this trend specifically in the SMB segment given their budgetary limitations and their need to find ways to find efficiencies internally to lower costs,” he adds. “Just as ERP systems contained business best practices which let businesses to change their processes to suit the software, we are already seeing the big impact that SaaS is having on the way companies do business,” continues Swaminathan Natarajan, Fusion Applications leader, Oracle. “This is an interesting and exciting development. We have had CIO customers telling us that their implementation of a cloud-based solution has revolutionised the way people look at their business. They can now do things they could never do before, and they are beginning to see the application as a tool for innovation. This is now becoming a reality and I think in the


/ERP

Ramachandran: The cost benefits of ERP delivered as SaaS are becoming attractive, particularly to SMBs in the Middle East.

SaaS ERP built on single-tenant ‘private cloud’ concepts, are gaining a lot of interest in the region, says Ramkumar.

Ardill: Consolidation and optimisation of ERP solutions is taking place as companies refine their systems.

“AS USERS FEEL THE EASE-OF-USE WITH MOBILE APPS, THEY EXPECT SIMILAR EXPERIENCES FROM THEIR ERP APPLICATION.” future we will see companies coming up with new products and services never dreamt of in pre-cloud days.” More organisations are now considering SaaS but it’s been a slow move. Security is one issue, as Ian Flemming, managing director, IFS Middle East highlights. “We see a difficult balance in the Middle East between the security, privacy and control of a non-shared application environment versus leveraging a highly scalable cloud computing infrastructure. We expect some success on SaaS built single-tenant ‘private cloud’ concepts, where each customer has their own database and application instance. This allows customers to leverage cloud computing and manage services to extend or offload their lean IT staff, while maintaining most of the controls.” In the last six months N Ramkumar, director, Business Development and Consulting, ITWARE has seen interest in SaaS grow. “Every third prospect we talk to has asked for this option and it’s only a matter of two to three years before the region accepts the fact that a great way to optimise IT costs and focus on core business operations area, both for infrastructure and solution, would be to look at the cloud SaaS model,” he notes.

Clearly the ERP market is evolving to meet the demands of the region’s enterprises. For the IT professional the future brings hope of improving solutions that can better respond to the increasing complexity of business processes while also leveraging the potential of the latest technology trends, and empowering decision makers across the organisation. “The user experience and expectations of ERP is set to undergo profound change — from the impact of technology such as Twitter, the iPad and smartphones to the need to unleash the power of ERP throughout an entire organisation, there is a genuine shift underway,” notes Tohme. “Also vendors need more flexibility, specifically when it comes to linking applications together — not only in terms of integrating their own product but even with third party applications. This is one of the most discussed aspects of the ERP consultations we undertake and is set to be a colossal battleground and driving force behind ERP changes,” he concludes.

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/DATA CENTRES

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Organisations have a choice between building their own data centres, buying capacity in a hosted model, or a hybrid approach.

DATA CENTRE: BUILD OR BUY? DEMAND FOR DATA CENTRE CAPACITY IS GROWING RAPIDLY IN THE REGION, BUT THERE ARE DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO MEETING THAT DEMAND THAT REQUIRE DECISIONS AT A HIGHLY STRATEGIC LEVEL, AND WHICH CAN HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL IMPACT ON THE ORGANISATION. OPTING TO BUILD INHOUSE FACILITIES VERSUS BUYING CAPACITY WITH A PROVIDER IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DECISIONS IN IT TODAY BY KERI ALLAN August 2013 ARABIAN COMPUTER NEWS

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Subramanian: Longterm data centre commitments may make it cheaper to build own facilities in the long run.

T organisations in the region are increasing in complexity and maturity, and that growth is driving demand for data centre facilities. Catering to these data centre capacity requirements however is a challenge for enterprise and public sector organisations alike, as they have to choose between a large investment in building their own data centres, versus using a hosting provider or co-location deal. “With data growing in the enterprise sector at between 40-60% per year, infrastructure has no choice but to grow with it. [It] is one of the most critical decisions the executive team will make when it comes to not just its IT strategy, but corporate strategy as a whole,” notes Richard Jenkins, VP, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at RF Code. A recent report by Data Center Knowledge highlights that the build vs. buy discussion is sometimes driven by hard number-crunching business analytics and other times by human emotion, ego or habit. It also highlights how some issues can be clearly defined in the discussion — such as cost and time to market, but other factors such as perceived business strength and reputation are more blurred. So how do you decide what’s the best path of action for your organisation? Firstly it is important to consider all your options and to evaluate what will be best for both the company’s short and long-term goals. “There are certainly situations in which building one’s own data centre is preferable. When there is a long-term commitment to managing and utilising the data centre infrastructure — typically upwards of seven to ten years — then the build option can in fact be more cost effective,” highlights Sudheer Subramanian, senior solutions IT manager, Huawei Enteprise, Middle East. “Having total and independent control of facilities is also

one of the most compelling reasons to build a private data centre. How the data centre is powered, what are the innovative cooling technologies used to reduce the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and its capacity to scale over the years are all decisions that the enterprise can determine for themselves; designing what they believe is the most reliable and effective facilities and infrastructure for their business. “The decision to buy space through a service provider also presents unique value to the end user,” he continues. “One of the most apparent benefits is that the upfront costs to acquire the space is significantly lower than if you were going to build your own data centre. For those with limited budgets or unsure of their long-term data requirements, it can also be ideal as contracts can be ended with very short notice periods, and funds then moved to another part of the business as seen fit. “Furthermore, enterprises working with a service provider can easily scale as the space and facilities are readily available through the provider. Such a model can also present enterprises with greater flexibility in amplifying or reducing their data requirements at any given time, in turn keeping tight control of their operational expenditure.”

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/DATA CENTRES

Managed co-location services allow the offset of CAPEX to managed services charged on a monthly basis, says Zeineldin.

Jaishankar: There are many different factors and responsibilities to account for in managing an inhouse data centre.

Jabi: Real estate and running costs, energy consumption as well as long-term manageability must be considered.

There are also ‘middle ground’ options available. For example HP offers the HP POD, a ‘data centre in a box’, which can be set up in just a few months. Then Jenkins recommends businesses go for a mix of build and buy. “Industries such as financial services, healthcare and those managing large amounts of personal customer data will need a higher percentage of owner-operated infrastructure. The cost of this is higher and there is the management requirement, however owner-operated does provide the organisation with the ability to become more efficient than service providers are able to offer,” he notes. “Outsourcing to co-location facilities, hosting and cloud service providers is also an essential element of any successful, technology-dependent organisation,” he adds. “This mixed model enables a company to focus on the processes and data most important to the success of its strategy, accurately plan investment in new infrastructure and technology, and implement the specific solutions required to acquire the data to achieve optimal regulatory, financial and operational performance.” For those that choose build over buy, there are certain factors to keep in mind. “Things to keep an eye on [include] projected cost for real estate, running costs and energy consumption as well as longterm manageability,” says Karam Jabi, Industry Standard Servers business unit manager, HP Middle East. Indeed staff experience and commitment is key. It’s important to hire and retain skilled staff to manage the data centre as it is not simply a build, switch on and forget infrastructure.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A DATA CENTRE PROVIDER We asked the specialists what key factors IT professionals should look for in a data centre provider. • “Before outsourcing customers need to be aware of the following with respect to the service provider: track record, flexibility to cater for customer needs, reliability and ability to offer business continuity and disaster recovery solutions and after sales customer support, backed up with a strong service level agreement.” Abdulla Ebrahim Al Ahmed, senior vice president/Business, Etisalat • “Interconnection — access to as many networks, cross connects and direct links to Internet routes as possible. “Global capacity — the ability to scale, and to move and hold capacity where regulation, power costs or business requirements demand, easily and quickly.” Jeroen Schlosser, managing director, Equinix MENA • “Choosing a provider should be based on aspects [including] stability and experience, compliance to international standards and processes, security and depth of service. In addition one should consider if the provider has the option to offer managed IT services, because these offer customers key strategic, financial and operational benefits.” Yasser Zeineldin, CEO, eHosting Datafort

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The cost overheads and resources for managing a data centre may outweigh the desire to keep systems inhouse.

CONSIDERING BUILD? Ahmed Tawfiq, Data Centre executive manager at Injazat Data Systems highlights the major issues that should be considered during due diligence in when leaning towards the build decision: • Site selection and risk factors • Availability and understanding tier levels • Delivery model and operational procedures • Energy efficiency and sustainability • Expected life of a data centre facility • Factoring capacity growth vs. 100 per cent initial build out • Control and responsibility for the data centre facility • Factors impacting the total cost of ownership of the data centre facility • Leveraging contractor and vendor negotiation and relationship

“[Data centres] need to be monitored 24x7, equipment maintained as per manufacturer specifications, constantly checked for contamination and security to be tight all the time. Companies need to build in house capabilities to operate and maintain these infrastructure nerve centres,” notes Mahesh Jaishankar, VP, datamena. But that’s an issue for after the build — first companies need to make sure they have or bring in the right people to get the project off the ground, as Ahmed Tawfiq, Data Centre executive manager at Injazat Data Systems highlights. “Data centre design, construction and operation are different than for other buildings and require unique levels of expertise and experience,” Tawfiq comments. “Even experienced data centre providers may not have the design and build resources necessary to undertake a major construction project, as constructing a sophisticated data centre facility can sometimes be compared to other types of specialised facilities such as an oil refinery or a chemical plant which require highly specialised skills and experience.”

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“WHEN THERE IS A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO MANAGING AND UTILISING THE DATA CENTRE INFRASTRUCTURE — TYPICALLY UPWARDS OF SEVEN TO TEN YEARS — THEN THE BUILD OPTION CAN IN FACT BE MORE COST EFFECTIVE.”


/DATA CENTRES

“[DATA CENTRES] NEED TO BE MONITORED 24X7, EQUIPMENT MAINTAINED AS PER MANUFACTURER SPECIFICATIONS, CONSTANTLY CHECKED FOR CONTAMINATION AND SECURITY TO BE TIGHT ALL THE TIME. COMPANIES NEED TO BUILD IN HOUSE CAPABILITIES TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN THESE INFRASTRUCTURE NERVE CENTRES.” For those that have chosen to outsource, next comes another decision — which of the many options to choose! Some of the most popular offerings include co-location, managed hosting and more recently, cloud. “In co-location, customers can house IT equipment within a service provider data centre within racks or cages where they can place their servers, networks, equipment, storage and other business-critical IT infrastructure. “Managed co-location services are an extension to traditional co-location where most of the capital expenses are offset by managed services charged on a monthly basis. Customers can opt for a mixed environment where specific services such as back-up, security, databases, and monitoring are managed by the service provider while customers choose to retain the management of their hosted infrastructure and business applications,” says Yasser Zeineldin, CEO, eHosting DataFort. “With managed hosting customers lease one or more dedicated servers from the service provider who undertakes the responsibility of managing these servers up to the operating system layer.”

“Cloud service providers are relatively new, but can take a company’s IT services and host them in their own ‘cloud’ of distributed servers, which offers scaling, resilience and flexibility,” Jeroen Schlosser, managing director of Equinix MENA continues. “By combining a cloud service provider’s offering with one’s own data centre, a hybrid cloud can keep the control of a privately-owned data centre and augment it with the power of a cloud solution,” he adds. Build vs. buy is a big decision to make, but by taking the time to look over the options and business needs, IT professionals can find the right solution to take their organisation forward. With so much to choose from the options may look overwhelming, but don’t forget that the providers are more than happy to offer guidance and consultation services to scope out the options and enable companies to find the right strategy to fit with the needs of their data. “I think customers should seek professional help when making these decisions — often companies have the capabilities to advise customers and help them make up their mind,” Jabi says.

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/AFTER HOURS

Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick.

JOHN WILSON HEAD OF SERVICES, CNS How did you end up where you are now? My career has spanned over many decades, and I started my IT career as a Tour Operator based in London, working on IBM Mainframes, and then got into the client server technology, as was the trend in the 1990’s. I reached a point in my career to continue at engineering level or move towards a management career. Selecting the latter I found myself working in the outsourcing and managed services domain, which has taken me from London to Dubai, and has given me the opportunity to travel extensively. I have been in Dubai for 10 years now, and enjoy the challenges that are presented to me on a daily basis. What is your management philosophy? Lead by example. I think this is the essential for efficient management. I have found myself to be out in the field working with the engineering teams and mounting equipment when required. Lead and others will follow is the basic building block for any manager to aspire to leadership. What was your first computer? It was a Gateway, a basic x386 model, with not enough hard disk space to load more than Windows 3.11 and some basic apps! What is your greatest achievement? I am not sure if I have achieved it yet, I feel there is still so much more to accomplish in my professional career. I am proud of working closely with some very large organisations in the UAE from offering solutions to delivering managed services contracts. I believe the true concept of managed services within the UAE is still in its infancy. What is your biggest mistake? I have made many mistakes, but I don’t see them as mistakes, unless we make mistakes, how can we learn and continue to innovate and achieve our aspiration. Audere est facere, “To dare is to do.”

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What is your fondest memory of working in the Middle East IT industry? I have many, and the best aspect of working in the Middle East is meeting people from different cultural aspects, talking to them, working with them and breaking down boundaries and concepts. Being from the UK, I often receive great respect which is a humbling experience, and through communication and collaboration I have been lucky enough to be part of some exceptional teams.

GETTING PERSONAL Nationality: English Number of years in the industry: 23 Years Favourite food: Chinese Holiday destination: Asia Music: Boring middle of the road Dream car: Aston Martin, any model Gadget: iPhone Movie/book: Django Unchained, any book by Lee Childs Piece of advice: Talk to people. We are obsessed by communication through emails for work related matters. Relationships are built face to face, not by e-mail.

What technology do you think will have the biggest impact in 2013? We hear all the buzz words surrounding the industry, cloud, private cloud, unified communications, big data, analytics, the list is endless, however looking at the Middle East market, I think we are in a period of cost consolidation, which perhaps in some way touches on all of the above. The biggest technology trend is social media, and it is fascinating to hear of the hunger and high rate of adoption in the Middle East and some of the challenges that it brings. The Middle East has a very high percentage of the local population under 25 years of age, these are the people spending on IT on a mass scale, albeit from a hardware (Apple, Samsung) and application standpoint. What’s the best way to deal with stress? I think I am old enough now not to get stressed. We all have huge responsibilities in life, from work through to our home and personal obligations. I have the ability to walk into my house and switch off from work, play with the kids, or watch sport. Work will always be there, your children won’t.


Intelligent scanning for smart business

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

www.ScanSnapit.com/ME

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

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

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

ACN - August 2013  

Arabian Computer News Magazine (ACN), Aligning business & IT strategies in the Middle East for 28 years August 2013 - Vol 26 - Issue 8 by...

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