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Last year wasn’t the strongest for the region’s tech industry. A sharp decline in oil prices and weak economic sentiment had a huge impact on business and consumer confidence, which reflected in IT spending across almost all verticals. Could 2017 be our annus mirabilis? Given the fact that the technology marketplace is dynamic, with a range of undercurrent influences quickly changing things, it is always tricky to predict what to focus on. However, a few technologies do stand out including security, cloud and mobility as bright spots this year. According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is poised to rebound this year, and those enterprises that stalled IT investments and adopted a wait-and-see approach would invest in digital transformation and intelligent automations to drive business growth. In our part of the world, the public sector is spearheading the move to digitalisation, and every industry is in the race to innovate to gain a competitive edge. This year, crude oil prices are projected to reach around $55-60 a barrel, and that should be a shot in the arm to the general economy in region. This, of course, would have a cascading effect on IT spending, especially on technologies that can save companies money. In this special booklet, we have asked some of the top-tier vendors and channel partners what the tech future is going to look like this year. What’s for sure is that the boom years in high tech are clearly over in the region, and this will be a time of soul searching for IT decision makers.
06 08 10 12 15 16 19 20 23 26 29
Dell EMC Ingram Micro Cradlepoint Cloud4C Fluke Networks eHDF Nexans Equinix Fujitsu Finesse ISS
33 36 39 42 45 48 51 54 57 60 64
Kodak Alaris Logicom OMA Emirates Qlik Raqmiyat Sophos SUSE Trigon Veeam Software Yardi WebNMS
Digital Guardian Fidelis Cybersecurity RedSeal
Onto the next wave MOHAMMED AMIN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND REGIONAL MANAGER, TURKEY, EASTERN EUROPE, AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST, DELL EMC, ANALYSES THE QUICK PROGRESSION OF CLOUD COMPUTING IN THE REGION, AND EXPLAINS HOW IT WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE A PERVASIVE IMPACT ON ALL TYPES OF BUSINESSES. Gartner predicts that by 2020, no-cloud policies within companies will be as rare as no-internet policies today. Cloud computing has been on the fast track to success since day one, and in a short period of time, it has rapidly evolved to the point where it is now recognised as one of the most innovative, impactful technologies to ever empower the IT industry. In addition to its many successes and wide-ranging usage, cloud is doing something that every CIO loves: driving cost efficiencies. On a regional scale, the GCC continues to boast some of the most ambitious initiatives to transform community living and drive economic diversity. From National Vision 2030 in Saudi Arabia to Smart Dubai initiatives here in the UAE, the choice of underlying
IN ADDITION TO ITS MANY SUCCESSES AND WIDERANGING USAGE, CLOUD IS DOING SOMETHING THAT EVERY CIO LOVES: DRIVING COST EFFICIENCIES.”
cloud-powered infrastructure is instrumental to ensure that communities across the region can leverage new “smart” ways of living. Technologies like hybrid cloud offer the perfect middle ground, extending the powerful blend of public cloud flexibility and agility together with the security and protection of a private cloud, to create the reliable, performance-backed architecture that our nations will need to continue to introduce new innovative systems and services. On an enterprise level, organisations keen on ensuring digital readiness are spurring significant growth in cloud adoption in the Middle East. According to Gartner, cloud business process as a service (BPaaS), which is the largest segment of the cloud services market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), is expected to reach $340.2 million in 2020. This comes as no surprise, as organisations in the Middle East – primarily in the retail, manufacturing and finance sector - aim to leverage the scale and agility offered by the cloud to prime application development and ensure round the clock availability of services,
IN A MARKET WHERE COMPANIES CAN BE AS QUICK TO FOLD AS THEY ARE TO RISE, ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SINKING AND SWIMMING.â€?
as customer service evolves as the new competitive differentiator. Another driver in this journey lies along the storage expansion and related costs. In a market where companies can be as quick to fold as they are to rise, actionable insights can make all the difference between sinking and swimming. The Middle East continues to witness high levels of data proliferation, which will only grow in the years to come as we see the use of more intelligent systems driven on sensor embedded technologies.
MOHAMMED AMIN Senior Vice President and Regional Manager, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East, Dell EMC
However, many organisations continue to struggle with their ability to collate, manage and analyse all of this data. In 2017, more organisations will see the value in shifting to cloud based storage analytics platforms, which is deemed as a cornerstone for extracting real value from Big Data. This will provide organisations with seamless real-time access to a consolidated stream of refined data to tap business intelligence and feed data-driven services. Furthermore, it will arm organisations with a faster route to insight-driven decision-making, leading to an increase in business agility, ROI and pace of innovation. Itâ€™s clear to us at Dell EMC that the cloud adoption story in the region is seeing an exciting growth chapter, marked by new trends and developments. The question is no longer should we adopt could or not. It is how fast and how many new services can we offer with cloud adoption. Cloud is the tool to help meet lucrative business objectives and it will continue to have a pervasive impact on all types of businesses, enabling them to quickly reach their digital goals while enhancing their competitive profiles.
Ingram Micro META
MARC KASSIS, CYBERSECURITY DIRECTOR, INGRAM MICRO META, DISCUSSES THE REGIONAL CYBERSECURITY LANDSCAPE AND TRENDS TO EXPECT OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS.
MARC KASSIS Cybersecurity Director, Ingram Micro META
Could you elaborate on the cybersecurity market in the Middle East and Africa region? The Middle East and Africa region poses a high risk for cybercrime, particularly in the Middle East, where there have been reports of cybercriminals targeting the energy and banking sectors, with most recent attacks in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The size of the MEA market is forecast to reach $13.4 billion by 2019, making it one of the largest cybersecurity markets globally. Only few governments in the region have enforced standards or security frameworks so far, which we believe will continue into 2017. Towards the end of 2016, we witnessed an increased attention in the MEA region from major security vendors and high-value technology start-ups, which will continue in 2017. These vendors included IBM, McAfee, Cisco, Symantec, RSA, Trend Micro, Fortinet, Fire Eye, Palo Alto, Nuix, HPE, Forcepoint, Phishme, A10, Alien Vault and others. High growth markets include Turkey, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Egypt, and this can be further seen in the increase in the budgets allocated to security. What are the cybersecurity offerings that Aptec is presenting to its solution provider partners in the Middle East? Aptec, an Ingram Micro company, represents most of the strategic cybersecurity vendors such as Cisco, IBM, Intel Security, Kaspersky, Symantec and others. We have recently established a dedicated regional business unit focusing on cybersecurity, new markets and valueadded services. Several distribution contracts
were signed during the last few months with cybersecurity vendors such as FireEye, Nuix, and Phishme. More vendor contracts will be signed and announced in Q1 2017. The company has a dedicated professional services division that provides certified security engineers to its partners. What are the training and certification programmes offered by Aptec around cybersecurity for partners in the region? Ingram Micro and its subsidiaries in the MEA market has training centres in several countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa. Centres in more countries will be announced during the course of 2017. We currently offer courses for specific vendors including Cisco, IBM and Microsoft. Aptecâ€™s cybersecurity business unit will offer consultancy and managed services through our partners on the best cybersecurity approach and cost-effective support for an organisation. What factors will drive growth in the Middle Eastern cybersecurity segment in 2017? Organisations can lose substantial amounts of money and intelligence due to the increasing sophistication of organised cybercrime. Government budgets within the region reflect this trend. There are also opportunities in the SMB, enterprise and telco markets. More number of organisations are starting to pay increased attention to the critical need for effective preventative strategies.
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Point of authority HUSNI HAMMOUD, GENERAL MANAGER, ME AND EASTERN EUROPE, CRADLEPOINT, DISCUSSES HOW THE CHANGING TECHNOLOGY LANDSCAPE IN THE MIDDLE EAST IS BEING PRIMARILY INFLUENCED BY GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES. How do you see the regional technology landscape shaping out this year? What factors will affect the growth of the ICT industry in the Middle East? The regional technology market is entering a new era in terms of the rise in mobility and the volume of IoT enabled devices connected to the cloud ecosystem, following Gartner’s prediction that 25 billion devices globally will be connected by 2020. The IT industry no longer needs simple solutions, but instead it requires platforms to address the increasing issues being created by the aggregation of multiple solutions from both traditional systems and the cloud. It is important that the industry can identify and understand the
THIS EVOLUTION IS BEING DRIVEN BY GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES IN THE HOPE OF PROVIDING EFFICIENT SERVICES TO THE COMMUNITY.”
platforms that are required on a longterm basis to meet the ever-changing technology landscape. Which are the emerging technologies that will see more on-ground applications and deployments in the region in 2017? Technology is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. The region is maturing at a rapid pace, even compared with some of the most technically-advanced countries worldwide. This evolution is being driven by government initiatives in the hope of providing efficient services to the community, having taken into consideration the economic changes and budget constraints. These initiatives have led to the adoption of multiple technologies, such as business intelligence tools, IoT, M2M with Smart Cities, and integrated platforms to interconnect people with places. As a company, which are the technologies that you aim to increase investments on over the year? Cradlepoint is investing in the NetCloud technology, which is based on the
CRADLEPOINT IS DETERMINED TO CONTINUE ITS INVESTMENT IN THE REGION, AND MAINTAIN ITS POSITION AS A BEST OF BREED SOLUTION IN LTE CONNECTIVITY.” integration of the company’s proven Enterprise Cloud Manger (ECM) platform for management and zero-touch deployment of its 4G LTE-enabled routers and M2M IoT gateways. The new integrated platform provides an entirely new way to build, secure, control and manage end-toend private networks in the cloud using both wired and wireless Internet services. Security is closely interwoven in all technologies; how does your company aim to ensure secure offerings? As enterprises continue to embrace and expand public cloud, workforce mobility, BYOD and IoT, this results in more people, places and things being connected over the public Internet. This creates an entire new set of challenges for IT organisations that have traditionally relied on private IP VPN networks, and are used to deploying stacks of hardware appliances at the edge to provide visibility, security and control. Cradlepoint’s NCE offering – delivered as a cloud-based service - provides distributed and mobile enterprises with an innovative, modern way to connect things using next-generation networking
HUSNI HAMMOUD, General Manager, ME and EE, Cradlepoint
technologies, such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network service virtualisation (NSV). Our NCE security foundation provides a secure virtual cloud network over the Internet which protects users, devices and workloads wherever they’re deployed. What is your organisation and market vision for 2017? Cradlepoint is determined to continue its investment in the region, and maintain its position as a best of breed solution in LTE connectivity.
The sky’s the limit B. RAKESH REDDY, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST, CLOUD4C, DISCUSSES THE IMPACT OF CLOUD AND IOT IN THE GCC.
B. RAKESH REDDY Regional Director, Middle East, Cloud4C
How do you see the regional technology landscape shaping out in this year? This year, we can expect the majority of enterprises to put more focus on improved agility, speed to market and gain a competitive advantage by adopting new technologies such as cloud, mobility and analytics among others. Digital vision, combined with the need to obtain actionable information will also push for adoption of business analytics, which could also accelerate the rapid adoption of in-memory computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence. These technologies will be high in demand for businesses looking to achieve agility, efficiency and business growth. However, cybersecurity shall continue to be a focus area as the networks continue to be challenged by cyber-attacks. What factors will affect the growth of the ICT industry in the Middle East? Overall IT spending in the Middle East was estimated at $212.9 billion in 2016, while the market size for cloud is estimated at $879.3 million. Subsequently, with the Middle East economy being heavily dependent on oil – the recent oil price situation and its rebound aftermath have cast a cloud of uncertainty among businesses. This has caused several organisations to impose spending restrictions. Although IT spend is expected to grow overall in the next couple of years, the spend per organisation could be lower, as they will need to adopt new and disruptive technologies to address cost pressures and optimise OPEX-based payas-you-use models. In addition, the need for real-time information and decision-making shall spur the growth of business analytics. We will also see that the need for real-time information to improve business processes will drive the adoption of IoT technologies. Investments in cloud solutions are also expected to grow. Finally, the need to ensure business continuity will call for more disaster recovery (DR) and security solutions and services investments.
What emerging technologies will see more on-ground applications and deployments in the region in 2017? Technologies such as cloud, IoT, social, Big Data and business analytics, 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality will witness rapid deployments in 2017. Which technologies will you be investing in over the next year? We will continue to invest in areas such as cloud (both public and private), banking and finance cloud services and cybersecurity services to address the most critical needs of CIO’s and IT decision-makers in the region. Our rich experience in managed services and strong focus on R&D have enabled us to design the world’s 1st Tier4 cloud and build a next-generation security operations centre (SoC). In line with this, $25 million has been earmarked for further enhancements of our portfolio of services, and so we can expand into newer geographies over the next twelve months. Security is closely interwoven in all technologies; how does your company aim to ensure strong offerings in this space? Our security offerings are aimed at preventing multi-vector attacks and providing threat intelligence solutions. They can be tailored to each customer’s specific needs and are designed to allow actionable responses in mitigating risks, enabling businesses to function safely and seamlessly. Cloud4c’s portfolio is based on a nextgeneration security intelligence and compliance automation framework. We will be introducing two new service initiatives - Compliance as-aService (CaaS); and Next Generation Managed Security Services, which will include Remote Managed Firewall with IPS (NGFW) as-a-Service, Managed SIEM as-a-Service, Managed APT asa-Service, Vulnerability Assessment as-a-Service, Penetration Testing as-a-Service, Managed PIM as-a-Service and Managed Encryption as-aService among others. How have customer demands evolved with the changing technology landscape? Increasingly, customers have been very
THE ONLINE NATURE OF TODAY’S BUSINESSES HAS LED TO STRONG DEMANDS FOR SERVICES-LED SOLUTIONS IN THE AREAS OF CLOUD AND SECURITY.” proactive in finding new ways to address business challenges through the latest technologies. The online nature of today’s businesses has led to strong demands for services-led solutions in the areas of cloud and security. This has also opened up new opportunities for a ‘subscription economy’ whereby customers who have a strong focus on OPEX-based solutions are increasingly opting for pay-as-you-use models when deploying certain solutions and services. What is your organisation and market vision for 2017? We are making rapid strides in the Middle East. We have successfully deployed our Cloud4C offering, which is the world’s 1st Tier4 cloud here in the region. We have also rolled out other offerings like 4Copy architecture, disaster recovery (DR), and our SAP cloud and managed services over the last couple of years. We will be rolling out services with local cloud PoP’s across Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman. Furthermore, over the course of the year, we aim to introduce our community cloud services for the banking sector (Bank in a Box), Government Cloud (G-Cloud) and ERP (SAP). These services are designed to address compliance and regulations needs in these respective industries. We are confident that our out-of-thebox solutions can help tackle the different challenges faced by our current and prospective customers. As previously mentioned, we have allocated a $25 million investment to the region to develop new solutions that will address the technology needs of businesses in this market. Currently, we are present in over 10 countries and we are planning to expand to 15 more countries this year. We will be launching our SAP and Security Practice in 2017 across the Middle East.
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.................................... Cloud4C has local Points of Presence (PoPs) across Middle East to address the compliance and regulatory needs of businesses.
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Stay connected WERNER HEEREN, REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA AND TURKEY, FLUKE NETWORKS, HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE INTERNET OF THINGS IN SHAPING THE TECHNOLOGY LANDSCAPE IN THE REGION OVER THE COMING 12 MONTHS. How do you see the regional technology landscape shaping out this year? What factors will affect the growth of the ICT industry? We believe that the importance of connecting devices to the Internet through the IoT will generate incremental traffic on the existing infrastructure, hence the drive for upgrades or expansions, which in turn will need proper testing and troubleshooting. Which emerging technologies will see more on-ground applications and deployments in the region in 2017? We believe that IoT, cloud applications, smart cities and Big Data will drive more demand from the infrastructure and will drive deployments in 2017. As a company, which are the technologies that you aim to increase investments on over the year? We will increase investments in getting our testing devices connected to the Internet, so that projects will become more efficient, and installer companies will become more profitable. We will also continue to invest in our cloud services, which can greatly increase customer productivity. Security is closely interwoven in all technologies; how does your company aim to ensure secure offerings? We are not involved in Internet security, but we have seen heavier investments in CCTV security installations where it is very important to get all of the data (video
WERNER HEEREN, Regional Sales Director Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Fluke Networks
captures) to storage devices by having proper infrastructure in place. How have customer demands evolved with the changing technology landscape? Customers need quicker solutions and faster answers to eventual issues, so that more new projects can be accepted to increase an organisation’s profitability and competitiveness. As a result of the increased adoption of cloud technology in the region, customers are also using this to streamline their work processes. What is your organisation and market vision for 2017? We envisage further developments getting underway in industrial environments where machines are connecting and interacting.
Taking charge YASSER ZEINELDIN, CEO, EHOSTING DATAFORT, DISCUSSES HOW MANAGED SERVICES CAN HELP ORGANISATIONS PUT MORE FOCUS ON THEIR OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES AND IMPROVE THEIR SECURITY POSTURE.
YASSER ZEINELDIN CEO, eHosting DataFort
How do you see the regional technology landscape shaping out this year? What factors will affect the growth of the ICT industry in the Middle East? As the world becomes more connected, dependency on ICT will continue to increase. At a regional level, the technology market will experience exponential growth in 2017 and beyond, due to events like Dubai Expo 2020, which will drive demands for the latest technologies. With over 25 million visitors expected to visit Dubai for the World Expo 2020, the event promises to be a major opportunity for business and IT development. With the huge number of tourists and
investors expected to come to the country, an influx of data is highly anticipated, which will necessitate better infrastructure planning. In line with this, regional organisations will be pushed to invest in additional storage and network capacity. The same can be expected from other regional government initiatives like Qatar World Cup 2022 and Saudi Vision 2030 programme. Which emerging technologies will see more on-ground applications and deployments in the region in 2017? Data centres in the region will continue to evolve in 2017 to meet current
and future business requirements. Technologies in this space will undergo a number of transformation as businesses shift their focus to issues like speed of implementation, flexibility, agility, efficiency, scalability and security. Cloud computing is one of the main technologies driving the transformation of data centres, as it facilitates faster business operations. Today’s data centres are also being transformed to utilise cloud technologies to enhance their performance. Moving forward, we will witness dramatic changes in the structure, software and control processes of data centres. Trends such as automation, virtualisation, software-defined applications and infrastructure, IoT and BYOD will also contribute to the transformation of data centres. Furthermore, the managed services market in the Middle East will continue to grow as enterprises look for more costeffective ICT solutions and services that will help them focus their investments on their core business. From network and data centre management services to disaster recovery, storage and backup, server management, security and IT support, it is possible to offload the dayto-day provision of significant chunks of the IT function, liberating financial and human resources to focus on productivity and efficiency. Which technologies will you invest in over the next year? Over the last year, we have expanded our services portfolio to include a Cyber Defence Centre, which offers real-time threat management and remote managed SIEM services; advanced managed security services for DDoS, vulnerability management, penetration testing, incident management and response; and Snapshot Service with Recovery, which have enabled customers with faster backup and recovery capabilities. We have also partnered with global technology vendors to further enhance and expand our services portfolio to keep up with changing customer demands.
Continuous innovation is at the heart of eHDF’s strategy – this has been demonstrated through our commitment to developing products and services that address evolving customer requirements. In 2017, eHDF will continue to invest in upgrading our data centres and cyber defence centre. Over the last year, we invested significantly in our Tier-3 data centre upgrades to ensure the highest availability and minimal downtime of the data centre services we provide our clients.
THE MANAGED SERVICES MARKET IN THE MIDDLE EAST WILL CONTINUE TO GROW AS ENTERPRISES LOOK FOR MORE COST-EFFECTIVE ICT SOLUTIONS AND SERVICES THAT WILL HELP THEM FOCUS THEIR INVESTMENTS ON THEIR CORE BUSINESS.”
Security is closely interwoven in all technologies; how does your company aim to ensure secure offerings? Cyber threats are on the rise, and are growing in complexity. Subsequently, the economy is forcing organisations to reduce their operational costs while maintaining a proactive security setup urging them to look at managed IT security as an option. The eHDF Cyber Defence Centre offers 24/7 monitoring and management, which allow customers to focus on what they do best – their core business. Through the centre, we can assist customers in the complete end-toend security lifecycle, which includes patching services, as well as collecting and analysing security data. Services also include incident management, which offers a single dashboard of their security posture, attacks, and incidents. In addition, our unique OPEX-based approach allows us to pass on tangible cost benefits to customers planning to procure new security technologies. Purchasing capital assets through eHDF on an OPEX model eliminates the need for lengthy evaluation and procurement process. What are your organisation and market expectations for 2017? This year, we aim to put more focus on advancing our technology, facilities, processes, resources and certifications. We will also continue to develop solutions and services that will address the different trends that are shaping today’s ICT industry. This will help us effectively address changing industry demands, and allow us to gain a competitive edge both at local and global levels.
Through the wire TAREK HELMY, REGIONAL DIRECTOR GULF AND MIDDLE EAST, SOUTH AND EAST AFRICA, NEXANS CABLING SOLUTIONS, EXPLAINS WHY GAME-CHANGING TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIES NEED THE INFRASTRUCTURE TO BACK THEM UP. The Middle East cabling market is growing, and will continue to do so in 2017, with so much development happening here. Events such as Dubai Expo 2020 and Qatar FIFA 2022 are driving new infrastructure projects. These types of works, including those involving airports, hotels, hospitals and educational institutes, to name but a few, we have seen high demand for structured cabling solutions. The advent of cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) – including mobile apps and the consequential trend to higher speed Ethernet communications – is making it imperative for data centre infrastructure managers to carefully consider their network architecture. The ever-increasing flow of traffic – from the cloud in particular – is putting pressure on conventional network architectures, particularly in terms of ensuring business continuity. These developments that are affecting the data centre environment place a new series of demands on the network at the level of cabling infrastructure, and are changing data centre design from the ground level up. With the ever-increasing number of mobile devices and the increased impact of the IoT, data has grown, and increased exponentially. In offices, besides computers and phones, IP convergence is extending to cameras, access control, lighting and TVs, as well as items such as cars, home appliances, vending machines and parking meters. As a result, we are seeing unprecedented increases in the number of connected IP devices, as well as the amount of IP traffic to and from every device. The increasing use of wireless and other types of IP devices means bandwidth needs are increasing exponentially. There’s also a requirement for more devices to be powered with Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. Demand for wireless access points in office
TAREK HELMY Regional Director Gulf and Middle East, South and East Africa, Nexans Cabling Solutions
buildings and public facilities is already rising rapidly today, and will explode in the near future. Over the next few years, we’ll see some major developments taking place – an explosive growth in bandwidth demand, an evolution in wireless technology and a threefold increase in the amount of power transmitted over IP networks. The pace of innovation in data centre infrastructure has increased with more innovation in the past five years than in the previous 15 years. Changes include the centralisation of sites, and the growth of cloudbased solutions. The trend in data centres is towards more data and bandwidth. Cabling needs to support the increasing need for speed and bandwidth. Looking at bandwidth needs in data centres, we have to split data centre connectivity into two segments: ‘switch-to-switch’ versus ‘server-to switch’ links. Switch-to-switch connections are fiber-rich, while in server-to-switch connections, more copper solutions are used. Parallel optics enable us to achieve up to 100GB today with multimode fibres (OM3 & OM4).
Better together JEROEN SCHLOSSER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, EQUINIX MENA, EXPLAINS THE DIFFERENT OPPORTUNITIES ORGANISATIONS CAN EXPECT FROM AN INTERCONNECTED ERA. How do you see the regional technology landscape shaping out in this year? What factors will affect the growth of the ICT industry in the Middle East? This year, we can expect the convergence of multiple cloud technologies across the enterprise – data, applications, infrastructure and personal clouds – will fundamentally change the way people and businesses operate. The convergence of multiple clouds will call for a natural extension of the corporate boundaries of today’s digital business to the edge – where users and data reside. It will also see the rise and acceptance of the interconnected fabric among enterprises – residing in carrier-neutral facilities – to create a central nervous system that connects all aspects of the digital business. Security will become paramount as enterprises realise that they will have to own the security solutions for their applications and data within a multi-cloud environment. This will also be the age of interconnected commerce, which will require businesses to become interdependent and cloud-enabled, with reliable, secure and instantaneous connectivity to compete. Going forward, the next generation infrastructure for compute, storage, network and data centres will be open source-based. Furthermore, we will see Internet of Things
THE INTERCONNECTED ERA CHANGES THE RULES FOR BUSINESSES. COMPANIES CAN NO LONGER CREATE VALUE ON THEIR OWN; IT WILL TAKE NUMEROUS INTERCONNECTIONS TO FUEL COMMUNITIES OF VALUE AND ENABLE THE INTERCONNECTED ENTERPRISE.”
technologies fully evolve into those that talk to each other, leveraging the same data from single vendor-independent solutions. Which emerging technologies will see more on-ground applications and deployments in the region in 2017? Enterprises are already using multiple clouds today, and the need to connect more diverse and traditionally divided ecosystems while ensuring increased performance and seamless user experience will push this trend more aggressively. This year will also see the evolution of the digital edge, where the physical and virtual worlds meet. MENA organisations will, therefore, be characterised by the need to enable real-time, on-demand insights fuelled by data explosion, rich content forms and changing user expectations. Moreover, enterprises will deploy an interconnected fabric – residing in carrier neutral facilities – to create a central nervous system that connects all aspects of the digital business and synchronises all activities. This will facilitate the shift from a system-centric to user-centric approach. The need to keep encryption keys separate from the data in the era of distributed operations will also spur innovation in the security landscape. We can also expect more and more enterprises to embrace ‘interconnected commerce.’ This will create new opportunities for the integration of payments, commerce, data, and marketing, enabling new solutions and partnerships around the globe. Which technologies will you aim to invest in over the coming year? Equinix is heavily investing in enabling the evolution of our customers’ traditional
supporting information security, physical security and business continuity. In addition, the Equinix Cloud Exchange is ideal for designing secure hybrid cloud architectures because it delivers direct, on-demand and simultaneous connections to multiple cloud providers via multiple networks from a single port.
businesses into ones that are digitally enabled. We will also continue to support the rise of the interconnected fabric, which involves companies moving towards connecting their digital and physical infrastructures. We are very keen on creating this central nervous system that connects all aspects of the digital business. Security is closely interwoven in all technologies; how does your company aim to ensure secure offerings? The most secure connection is a direct connection that bypasses the public Internet. Equinix offers those kinds of connections in ways that give customers maximum control over their data and assures its safety. Interconnected data centres are built to complement a company’s data security policies. Our data centre can be tailored to each customers’ requirements and features several levels of physical security, like two factor authentication (passcode and biometrics) at each level of access. Equinix has earned the ISO 27001 certification, the most widely accepted certification available for
JEROEN SCHLOSSER, Managing Director, Equinix MENA
How have customer demands evolved with the changing technology landscape? Enterprises today want to have flexibility when it comes to the technologies and the providers that they employ. The current cloud environment drives organisations’ need for secure and scalable interconnection with multiple cloud platforms and cloud types (public and private). Organisations look to multiple cloud providers because not all clouds are created equal, and certain workloads may run better on one platform than another. It’s only a matter of time before IT organisations have to integrate these multiple external cloud services – and this is where interconnection comes in. Many IT organisations don’t have the internal processes and/or resources in place to manage hybrid cloud computing. This leads to consider interconnection and multi-cloud access as a means to bring various silos of computing together to be more competitive in the market. What are your organisation and market predictions for 2017? Equinix’s goal is to ‘interconnect the world’ and open up new opportunities that are only possible if companies come together. The interconnected era changes the rules for businesses. Companies can no longer create value on their own; it will take numerous interconnections to fuel communities of value and enable the interconnected enterprise. 2017 will see Equinix further simplify and enable the interconnection concept among enterprises by helping them meet under one roof and take advantage of their portfolio of our advanced interconnection solutions. We also aim to help our customers forge business connections that accelerate performance, ignite innovation, increase value and help them grow in new directions
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Supply and demand FARID AL-SABBAGH, VICE PRESIDENT AND HEAD OF MIDDLE EAST, FUJITSU TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS, EMPHASISES THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING AND MEETING THE DEMANDS OF TODAY’S DIGITAL CUSTOMER.
FARID AL-SABBAGH Vice President and Head of Middle East, Fujitsu Technology
What emerging technologies will see more on-ground applications and deployments in the region in 2017? Artificial intelligence’s (AI) rapid maturity will ensure that it takes centre stage in 2017 as the hottest trend in IT. The change will be driven essentially by enhanced statistical and computational methods, and not in the growth of underlying systems or storage. This year will be the one that AI, underpinned by neural networks and
machine learning, will finally see itself being put to best use, driven by a strong appetite for deeper insights that drive customer engagement. We also believe that as Blockchain technology and security advances, we will see a wide uptake in a variety of fields such as cross-border securities trading, financial settlement systems and distribution networks, and become one of the hottest trends in 2017. Chatbots are set to be the number one consumer application for AI within the next five years. The power of the natural language processor (software that processes and parses human language)
FUJITSU IS HEAVILY COMMITTED TO ITS IOT, CLOUD AND AI TECHNOLOGIES, ALL OF WHICH WILL SEE AN UPSWING IN INVESTMENT OVER THE COMING 12 MONTHS.” creates a simple and universal means of interacting with technology. 2017 is also going to see an increase in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) implementations, a recent report from IDC claims that the combined revenue for both the AR and VR markets will hit $162 billion by the year 2020. Apart from these, we also believe that conversational systems, mesh app and service architecture, digital technology platforms and adaptive security architecture will be seen as emerging trends - not just here in the region, but across the world. Which technologies will you aim to increase your investment in over the next year? Fujitsu is heavily committed to its IoT, cloud and AI technologies, all of which will see an upswing in investment over the coming 12 months.
Security is closely interwoven in all technologies; how does your company aim to ensure secure offerings? One of Fujitsu’s underlying priorities is security, and while we have a major security portfolio offering, the highest possibility security technologies are included in all aspects of our business. How have customer demands evolved with the changing technology landscape? Times change, and so do customers’ needs and demands, and, now more than ever, its critical to understand today’s digital customer. For consumers, and by extension as employees of an organisation, there is a demand for live, intuitive, meaningful and simply presented information and interaction with any device to perform any task. This will translate into seamless IoT, biometrics, and AI technologies being applied, most probably over the cloud. We don’t just develop the technologies that make this happen, in terms of computation, storage and communications, sensors, and security, but we also conduct active research to know and understand what has been achieved, what needs to be done and how to mitigate risks. We have already developed a host of smart products and services used in many areas, from intelligent transport to healthcare, elderly care and agriculture, and the pace of our innovation is only accelerating bearing evolving customer demands in mind. What are your organisation and market expectations for 2017? We intend to grow our organisation in the Middle East, especially in Qatar and KSA, as there is a growing demand for good quality, reliable services and data centre solutions providers. We expect to grow in spite of expected continuation of subdued oil prices, and we anticipate an impact on budgets and spending. We have also seen an increase in enquiries for financing options, which is a good indicator of underlying demand.
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‘Plug and play’ SUNIL PAUL, CO-FOUNDER AND COO, FINESSE, BELIEVES THE ADOPTION OF BLOCKCHAIN, ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION, CLOUD AND MOBILITY WILL FURTHER ENCOURAGE THE MOVE TO OPEX MODELS. How have regional IT channel business models evolved in the last two years? The regional IT channel business has evolved from resellers to value-adding solution providers. Successful channel partners are those who can train and enable customers, handhold them and provide efficient on-going support. We believe in helping companies extend their business processes, use the solutions and network to work more efficiently and effectively. That means driving more value whenever they do business, connect and collaborate to lower costs or risks, boost revenue, or manage cash and working capital. In a cloud-enabled business environment, what role do resellers and solution providers play? As businesses are increasingly moving into cloud and OPEX models, we believe in providing the right technology infrastructure, which can improve efficiency and reduce costs, while also enabling ‘plug and play’ usage. Our approach combines a comprehensive transformation by taking care of infrastructure and the software of an enterprise with a collaborative approach to
delivering services, so enterprises can focus on their core activities. We no longer cater to making disparate technologies and systems work together. We are supporting the ever-increasing use of cloud, mobility, social and virtualisation. These give us an opportunity to provide managed services and be all-round technology solution providers. What technologies should channel partners focus on in the coming year? In spite of the market being slow at present, the possibilities for channel partners and systems integrators are huge, with an increasing adoption of artificial intelligence, Big Data analytics, Blockchain, mobile, cloud, social and IoT. Governments and large enterprises have started investing in these newer technologies. We see this trend continuing in the coming years as well. What are the core services that you are looking to offer this year? The adoption of Blockchain, robotic process automation, cloud, mobility and social media will have serious implications on the ecosystem of systems integrators. Although
Profitability continues to be a key challenge for most players, how can this be addressed? The entire IT systems integration market in the Middle East is undergoing a huge change with respect to its current models and execution strategies. We understand the need to identify areas of businesses where innovative technology solutions and services could solve the challenges of our customers. Adoption of the OPEX model with a ‘pay-asyou-use’ approach seems to be another way ahead to sustain in today’s markets. The upcoming trends will be in the areas of Big Data, Internet of Things, cloud solutions, mobility, Blockchain, robotic process automation and converged infrastructure, and we are well geared up to meet these changes.
this represents another opportunity for us, our strength is also in managed services or an outsourced model, turning to the ‘OPEX mode’ with a ‘plug and play’ approach. Our role has gradually shifted from being a typical technology-driven entity that ensured complex systems work together, towards one that understands the complexity of today’s business demands. We offer scalable and affordable solutions that enable cloud computing, mobility, business intelligence and realtime analytics for better decision making. We will be strengthening our position on cloud computing with IBM, and digital transformation enablement and cloudbased CRM solutions from Salesforce.
SUNIL PAUL Co-Founder and COO, Finesse
AS BUSINESSES ARE INCREASINGLY MOVING INTO CLOUD AND OPEX MODELS, WE BELIEVE IN PROVIDING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE, WHICH CAN IMPROVE EFFICIENCY AND REDUCE COSTS, WHILE ALSO ENABLING PLUG AND PLAY USAGE.”
Can you elaborate on the company’s expectations for 2017 and your market predictions for the coming year? We continue to grow at a 50 percent YoY growth rate. With 175 enterprise clients, our operations are spread across the region. We have a strong presence in Oman, Bahrain and Qatar as well as the UAE. We have recently begun our KSA operations. We will be expanding to the Africa and European markets by next year, and our staff strength should cross 400. We are expecting our revenues to touch $100 million by 2022. We are at the forefront in working closely with our partners and CIOs to offer them with best of OPEX models. We now have most of our offerings on cloud and on a ‘pay-as-yougo’ model. We continue to deliver innovation, and have signed up for several new projects, which will be executed in the coming months. Together with our partners, we will continue to play a leading role as the most trusted systems integrators in the region. Last year saw major partnerships being strengthened with IBM, Salesforce, EMC and being recognised as the preferred partner with Qlik. Talks are underway with several leading vendors to bring in their solutions in Big Data, IoT, robotic process automation and infrastructure management to strengthen our position in the region.
‘Recognised expertise’ RAVI PINCHA, CEO, ISS, EXPLAINS WHY HE BELIEVES THE FIRM’S STRONG TRACK RECORD WITH SAP SOLUTIONS MAKES IT A STANDOUT OPTION IN THE MENA REGION.
RAVI PINCHA CEO, ISS
An SAP Gold Partner, ISS offers a range of products and services across the SAP platform. These services include ERP, S4/ HANA Business Suite, line of business solutions, analytics, mobility, cloud and suite on HANA. We are an SAP value-added
reseller, services partner and PCoE certified support partner with a presence in Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and India. We have established ourselves as a leading provider of SAP products, as well as implementation and support
WHILE OTHER IT SERVICE PROVIDERS DELIVER PROJECTS, WE DELIVER VALUE.”
services, and have maintained our gold status with SAP for the last five years. Partners achieve gold status by successfully delivering implementations and ongoing service backed by a strong client references. Over the last 10 years, ISS has grown from strength to strength, delivering a high quality service in line with international standards, via our local presence across the region. As a result, we have an everexpanding list of satisfied clients across the globe. We are one of SAP’s top 10 partners in the MENA region, and are part of the company’s global Partner Executive Council. With over 150 employees, and over 70 logos, we are now one of the strongest SAP channel and services partners in the region. Based on our expertise and successful completion of all requirements of the SAP Recognised Expertise Program for SAP PartnerEdge, SAP has awarded ISS the ‘Recognised Expertise’ designation in wholesale distribution. ISS is among a clutch of partners in the MENA region who are recognised by SAP as having expertise in the Partner Edge program. We have grown our topline by over 30 percent year-on-year over the last five years. We attracted private equity investment from Gulf One Investment Bank B.S.C.(c) in 2010, and UST Global, a USbased IT conglomerate acquired equity in ISS in 2014. For over 40 years, SAP software innovations have consistently transformed businesses. SAP’s latest generation of technology innovations allows companies to make better and faster decisions, and reach previously unachievable targets with the help of integrated real-time analytics and in-memory database solutions. SAP’s platforms allow companies to rapidly deliver simple, elegant, realtime applications across any device. The company’s integrated, market-leading mobile platform and device management technologies allow companies to transform their engagement with customers, partners and employees.
ISS has aligned well with the digital transformation offerings of SAP, and has conducted more than 10 events in last 2 years, showcasing the benefits of adopting HANA technology. ISS is the only partner in the region capable of doing a POC for our customer on SAP’s new user interface, Fiori. This allows us to differentiate ourselves from other SAP service providers. ISS boasts maximum number of go-lives on the HANA platform in the region, and our team is fully equipped to handle S4HANA projects, with multiple S4HANA projects under their belt. We believe in creating value for our clients, so we offer ‘Big 4’ quality at affordable rates. We can do this, thanks to our flat organisational structure and empowered team. All our employees are aligned to achieve growth for our organisation. Our success rate, strong rapport with clients, knowledge of the SAP portfolio and demo capabilities are some of the key factors that differentiate us from other organisations. Clients choose ISS because we build our relationships around trust and advise our clients on a roadmap as to what is practically possible. We set expectations high, and live up to them. While other IT service providers deliver projects, we deliver value. Our senior consultants advise clients to effectively use SAP to run businesses better. They don’t just replicate legacy systems. ISS innovates its offering to its clients, striving to increase value and reduce TCO. Our SAP Partner Managed Cloud offering guarantees a 30 percent reduction in cost to our clients. SAP MENA thanked ISS Middle East yet again for its commitment and contribution in the region by awarding it two prestigious awards across the spectrum of partners in the region. These awards were announced during the annual SAP Partner Kick-off meeting on 1st March 2016. ISS was awarded best partner net new name contributor, and best partner, SAP S/4 HANA Sales in GB. This is a clear testimonial of ISS being one of the top service providers.
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Scan and plan DAVID WHITTON, REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, KODAK ALARIS, SAYS, CUSTOMERS ARE INCREASINGLY USING DOCUMENT SCANNERS IN A MOBILE ENVIRONMENT.
DAVID WHITTON Regional Sales Director for Middle East and Africa, Kodak Alaris
Business in the regional IT market was slowmoving due to a number of economic and socio-political reasons in 2016. However, despite challenging circumstances, information management solutions provider Kodak Alaris has improved its market share in the region. David Whitton, the company’s Regional Sales Director for Middle East and Africa, says, “We have grown our revenues in the document scanner segment in the region by 35 percent. However, we have observed that the value of the overall market has declined a little bit more than what we expected at the beginning of last year.” Whitton expects financial conditions in the market to improve as we proceed into 2017. He adds, “I believe it is down to us as technology providers to be more disruptive and present an actual case as to why
customers should be adopting new and emerging technologies. Our aim as an information leader is to manage the data that is created from mobile devices.” The decision most organisations have to make today is whether they want to manage their data in-house and bear the cost of support and security that it entails or do they want to reach out to reliable cloud providers? “The notion that Middle East firms will never move to cloud because of security concerns is fast-changing,” says Whitton. “While this was true about 12-24 months ago, we are seeing local organisations embracing cloud as solution providers have
I BELIEVE IT IS DOWN TO US AS TECHNOLOGY PROVIDERS TO BE MORE DISRUPTIVE AND PRESENT AN ACTUAL CASE AS TO WHY CUSTOMERS SHOULD BE ADOPTING NEW AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES.” addressed security issues. We are looking to adapt our product portfolio keeping this trend in mind.” He says the company is seeing more digitisation of documents at the point of transactions as an upcoming trend. “We are also seeing an increase in the number of people scanning in mobile environments, and using mobile devices as the preferred mode to scan a smaller number of documents. This, we believe, will accelerate further into 2017. Where we see document scanners growing the most is in the departmental and production segments, where more than 50-100 documents are scanned a day.” Kodak Alaris is looking to broaden its mobile capture technology over the course of this year. “Document scanners are connected to the organisation via specific scanning software. We are trying to hard-wire
those scanners in with wireless scanning environment where it goes straight to line of business applications. This way, we have taken away one layer of process, making it easier for firms to adopt our technologies by lowering the training overheads of staff. Over the next few months, we will see the trend to make scanning much more intuitive.” Going forward, the company sees market demand rising from the banking and finance sectors as well as government, which is one of the strongest areas it deals with, according to Whitton. He adds, “Our vision for the company is to get even closer to the customer. We believe we are the leading data management hardware and software company in the region, because we have more dedicated resources, specifically in document scanning. If we understand and speak our customers’ language better, our business will grow further.” The vendor is also looking to be “more relevant as a component solutions provider.” “Without competing with our channel, we want to grow bigger as the user hardware components player. We like to see our partners utilise our market leading software components and we are going to provide more focused support in terms of solutions that we offer.” According to Whitton, market liquidity has been a challenge for partners, particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2016. While steps are being taken to overcome this at a government level, he says partners need to be proactive to market evolution to stay ahead of the curve. “They need to focus on becoming nimbler and being able to react quickly. With the pace of business changing at a rapid rate, this is an important factor for partners’ growth.” Information management is a specialist business and partners should identify their strengths and expertise to ensure continued customer satisfaction, he adds.
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Agent of change MICHAEL PAPAERACLEOUS, DIRECTOR OF DISTRIBUTION, LOGICOM, EXPLAINS THE IMPORTANCE OF ENSURING CUSTOMERSâ€™ NETWORKS ARE PREPARED TO UNDERGO THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY. How has the regional IT channel business model evolved in the last two years? The regional IT channel has evolved significantly in the last two years, perhaps faster than in the previous decade. We have seen a significant shift of focus from hardware to software and from infrastructure to services. Many of our channel partners have made important changes to their business model in order to be able to go to market with a greater focus on solutions rather than products. They have also built new alliances with other channel players in order to grow their capabilities and be able to deliver solutions in areas they were not considering before. At the same time, there has been a lot of consolidation in the industry, as a number of traditional channel players have not been able to evolve with the business and either lost their dominant position or had to exit altogether. In a cloud-enabled business environment, what role do resellers and solutions providers play? The cloud has forced resellers to transform. It is clear to the vast majority of our partners today that if they donâ€™t build value in this cloud-led era they will soon not be able
MICHAEL PAPAERACLEOUS Director of Distribution, Logicom
to serve their best customers. Reseller transformation includes switching to a trusted advisor role, developing consulting and cloud migration services, completely overhauling their internal compensation models to reflect a consumption-based, monthly billing model and learning new skills in proposing and implementing hybrid environments that are secure, scalable and robust. Solution providers also have to transform in order to be able to convert their offerings to be cloud-ready and cope with the economics of cloud. They need to partner with multiple cloud marketplaces to strengthen their route to market and learn to partner in new ways. They have to move at a speed that they have not been accustomed to before, and be much more agile. Competition is now fiercer, but opportunity is also far greater in the cloud era.
IT IS CLEAR TO THE MAJORITY OF OUR PARTNERS THAT IF THEY DON’T BUILD VALUE IN THIS CLOUD-LED ERA, THEY WILL SOON BE UNABLE TO SERVE THEIR BEST CUSTOMERS.” What technologies should partners focus on in the coming year? In 2017, Logicom’s partners must grow their hybrid cloud capabilities to maximise their value-add to their customers. Through a trusted advisor role and through technical competency, partners need to articulate their value by supporting their customers in improving productivity from their IT assets. Key technologies in this effort will be those around data management, security and mobility. Making sure customers’ networks are ready for the digital transformation ahead is a key priority that Logicom is focusing on. What are the core services you are looking to offer this year? Cloud services are core to our 2017 strategy. We will be focusing all our efforts to lead our partners to cloud and onboard them on the Logicom Cloud Marketplace. Training, technical marketing, assistance and 24/7 support are key deliverables for us, and we
have invested in our capacity to be able to meet expectations. We have recently launched a cloud roadshow that will continue into the new year, taking us to all key cities in the region, meeting key partners and explaining the value that the marketplace can add to their business. Marketing-as-a-service for vendors and partners will also continue to be a key strategy and we will invest in improving our call centre capabilities and our digital marketing offerings. Finally, we are also looking at offering solution-centric services, in specific technology areas where we can have scale and help partners in a number of countries. These are still on the drawing board; our plan is to offer them in the second quarter. Profitability continues to be a key challenge for most players, how can this be addressed? Profitability was never taken for granted, and we are way past the days of limited competition and supply constraints that led to high margins. The quest for sustained and robust profitability can only be successful if there is clearly articulated value in the equation. This value can take many forms, and the channel must continuously reinvent itself and its services in order to protect its profitability. Clearly, differentiation is key and we are working hard to provide opportunities for differentiation to our partners through an extended portfolio of solutions and services on premise and on the cloud. Can you elaborate on the company’s vision for 2017 and your market predictions for the coming year? Logicom will continue to strive to build on its market coverage model and enhance partnerships in 2017. The strategic initiatives around cloud and the launch of the Logicom Cloud Marketplace will give us an opportunity to present our partners with new value-adding initiatives for their business and enhance the quality of our partnerships in the region. In spite of the economic climate, Logicom is budgeting to grow its business in the region and investing to continue to grow.
A quick buck NIRANJ SANGAL, GROUP CEO, OMA EMIRATES GROUP, GIVES HIS TAKE ON THE REMARKABLE SPEED AT WHICH BANKING SOLUTIONS ARE PROGRESSING IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
NIRANJ SANGAL Group CEO, OMA Emirates Group,
This year will see a lot more banking and financial institutions focusing on their security needs, given the increasing number of breaches not just in the region, but globally. Greater focus will be laid on compliance and protecting data. There will be renewed efforts to be able to use technology to analyse risk factors and work towards an increasingly digital environment. The Middle East has the worldâ€™s highest smartphone penetration, with Internet penetration also at extremely high levels. Smartphones have endless possibilities,
from banking, to payments, to shopping. However, education on the usage of smartphones needs to be increased, where more consumers are aware of the benefits of transacting via this channel. The two key trends that are shaping the progress of financial solutions in the region are Big Data and the increasing move towards IoT adoption. This gives way to huge opportunities in cloudbased solutions, managed services and infrastructure management. There has been a surge of new players in the industry, but it is evident that financial institutions are looking for specialised solutions and services. We are working towards pilot projects, where mobile buses that are manned by just one person will act as a mobile bank. We envisage many financial institutions opting for this model in the near future, as it can have a remarkable impact on the cost implications of running fullyfledged bank branches. We will also see an increasing usage of ATMs that will facilitate communication between the customer and a service person. This is truly going to be an enabler for digital transformation in the banking industry. We will also see many bank branches implementing the use of mobile tablets, where opening an account is becoming much easier. Instant online customer information, along with instant identity images, can all be completed digitally, with customers also receiving cards instantly with the new and advanced solutions available. All in all, the whole process can take just six to nine minutes for the customer to become a card holder. Banks are becoming more independent, and are making great strides into becoming more customer-centric, and being able to provide omni-channel interaction where they can carry out a lot of banking needs. Loyalty will also play a major role in new technology improvements, where programmes are also embedded into credit, debit and pre-paid cards. In a fast-paced digital world, the banking and payments industry has to keep up with
the speed at which consumers want to have their transactions processed. In the Middle East, where there are a number of banks competing in the same space, achieving high levels of customer satisfaction plays a vital role in more banking and finance organisations who are investing in advanced technology. This paves the way for more applications that can rapidly open an account, and allows the use of these accounts through instant cards which can be used for immediate payments. Besides, end customers are also looking for ease of applications, as well as the convenience that new banking systems can provide. Digital banking technology now allows customers to transfer money and pay bills in real time. On the other hand, merchants
IN A FAST-PACED DIGITAL WORLD, THE BANKING AND PAYMENTS INDUSTRY HAS TO KEEP UP WITH THE SPEED AT WHICH CONSUMERS WANT TO HAVE THEIR TRANSACTIONS PROCESSED.â€? are also gearing up for better services and have begun to invest in mobile point of sale (mPOS), which allows customers to avoid long waiting time for payments, and empowers them to pay their bills anywhere within an outlet. Within the transportation industry, be it RTA, the Dubai Metro or the cityâ€™s airports, there is a significant move towards enabling cards and mobiles for different usage, be it tickets, fines, and for retail usage within the area. On the other hand, the retail market is witnessing dynamic changes with the use of smart machines that are connected to payment-enabled devices, which are in turn connected to cash registers. This sets the backdrop for end-to-end integration for retail stores. When coupled with business intelligence reports and analysis, it sets the path for strategic marketing where communication is highly targeted and focused.
On the horizon KERRY KOUTSIKOS, REGIONAL COUNTRY MANAGER, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA AND TURKEY, QLIK, BELIEVES ENTERPRISE-WIDE CLOUD ADOPTION STRATEGIES WILL DOMINATE THE REGION IN 2017.
KERRY KOUTSIKOS Country Manager, META, Qlik
Which factors will affect the growth of the Middle East ICT industry in 2017? This year will mark the beginning of the move to the cloud. Virtually every company has something in the cloud now, whether it be Salesforce, Microsoft or some sort of ERP to name a few. However, we believe this year will see companies begin to move more corporate applications to the cloud and lay the
foundation for a complete end-to-end enterprise cloud strategy. As for growth, I see two main factors in the Middle East. First, the economic slowdown due to low oil prices in the past 18 months has created a new push into an alternative economy away from oil. This move, which is happening faster than we think, will require companies to invest in new technologies, new applications and new
communications. The second main factor is the need for companies in the Middle East to be more competitive. With less money to spend, companies need to spend smart. Being more competitive is about investing more into technology, allowing it to deliver faster results without having to invest in vast numbers of new staff. Which emerging technologies will see more on-ground applications and deployments in the region in 2017? Companies will invest in technologies which will help them move into the selfservice space. These companies are looking to empower their users to make more beneficial business decisions on a day-to-day basis. Mobility will also be a key technology, as users increasingly want to be able to access their data anytime, anywhere at any place. We will see a big investment in the mobile applications space, and with this in mind, security will be at the forefront of this move. Which technologies will you aim to increase investments in over the coming year? Qlik is investing in a number of different technologies, including cloud, mobility and self-service business intelligence capabilities in order for us to successfully meet the evolving demands of our customers. Security is closely interwoven in all technologies; how does your company aim to ensure secure offerings? We secure applications using two fundamental principles. Firstly, the authorisation security is handled by the customer’s security platform. This is the security platform the client already has in place, allowing a user access to the network and applications. Then, the second phase of authorisation is handled by Qlik Sense. Once the user is authenticated through the company’s security platform, Qlik Sense will then determine which applications the user is allowed to access, what parts of these applications should be made available to
them, and what data they can see. We want to give our clients the power and ability to use their security polices at the first level, and then Qlik Sense security will determine which parts of the application to access. How have customer demands evolved with changing technology landscape? We have seen a major shift in the past 12 months regarding customer demands. In the past, customers were looking more at features, local support and how the applications will help their businesses. Recently, and moving forward, customers are not only demanding business value out of the solution, they are seeking an ROI
WE SEE THE MARKET MOVING TO A MORE SELFSERVICE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE PLATFORM, AND WE ARE READY TO HELP OUR CLIENTS MAKE THAT BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION.” within two years. Customers are also now looking at the TCO (total cost of ownership); they would like to know what a specific solution will cost the company in terms of software, hardware, networking, support, training and education, etc. ROI and TCO are being driven by the need to be more competitive in a changing economy within the region over the past 18 months. What are your organisation and market visions for 2017? Our vision is to help our clients make that move to the cloud simple, efficient and in a cost-effective way. We want to ensure that our clients run their mission-critical business using our ‘Business Intelligence’ platform with a choice; whether it be on-premise, offpremise or both. We see the market moving to a more self-service business intelligence platform, and we are ready to help our clients make that business transformation by providing them with the technology and the tools to make decisions that affect their day-to-day business.
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Seizing opportunities AMER KHREINO, CEO, RAQMIYAT, DISCUSSES THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE REGIONAL CHANNEL IN THE CURRENT TECHNOLOGY LANDSCAPE.
How has the regional IT channel model evolved in the last two years? The ICT landscape has been under tremendous pressure during the past two years, due to the disruptive nature of new technologies that have forced the IT channel to reassess their business models, as well as their services offerings and GTM strategies. Cloud computing is not only an IT phenomenon, but also a business challenger to how the IT channel needs to drive profitable and efficient businesses. Old business models that relied on selling CAPEX at fixed costs and deploying solutions on-premise are being transformed into OPEX models with variable costs within cloud offerings. Although some companies have managed to embrace this transformation, many have failed to move ahead, burdened by a heavy structure and resistance to change. In a cloud-enabled business environment, what role do resellers and solution providers play? Cloud computing has transformed the way we do business, presenting a huge opportunity for resellers and SIs to embrace. IT advisory migration and
AMER KHREINO, CEO, Raqmiyat
managed services are core-offerings, especially, as customers become more reliant on cloud to drive their daily business. As a cloud aggregator, your ability to stitch solutions that meet the business and financial objectives of customers will decide their preferences and investment.
Solutions Unit comes with attractive staffing services, across all technologies, with the option of complete remote management to customers’ data centres and IT departments. Raqmiyat operates in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, backed by our own Centre of Excellence located in Chennai, India.
Which technologies should channel partners focus on in the coming year? In 2017, the five main drivers of IT spending will remain cloud computing, mobility, cybersecurity, cognitive and IoT. These
drivers are triggered by emerging needs to have connected, mobile, safer and more informed communities. Digitisation has made things easier and faster but unfortunately riskier.
Profitability continues to be a key challenge for most players. How can this be addressed? In volatile and uncertain times, managing profitability is a decisive factor that can make or break a company. Cost management precedes all others in such times, to ensure we are driving effectively and efficiently. OPEX needs to be monitored and aligned to the various projects’ deliverables and timelines, to ensure we maximise our return on assets while mitigating our financial risk and liability. Finally, ensuring the existence of your own value-added services will shield you from a price war that may dent your profitability and damage business value in the long-term.
What core services are you looking to offer this year? We offer a wide spectrum of services through four dedicated, yet complementing SBUs. Through our Banking and Financial Solution unit, Raqmiyat offers unmatched payment systems to all local banks in the UAE that cover image cheque clearing system (ICCS), direct debit system (DDS), fund transfer systems (FTS) and wage protection systems (WPS) among others. Our Smart Business Solution unit continues to be a leading provider for all business automation to large enterprises including ERP, CRM, analytics and mobility solutions. The Enterprise Technology Solutions Unit was formed to offer unmatched innovations that are smart, integrated and secured in partnership with global technology providers of repute. And last but not least, our Technical Staffing
Can you elaborate on the company’s vision for 2017 and your market predictions for the coming year? We have embarked on our new vision of ‘Raqmiyat 2020’ as a next-generation value-added service provider. We are continuing our investment into IT consulting and project management capabilities, to enable us to manage our customers’ most complex environment. Our project financing capabilities also ensure that customers get the option to acquire the most advanced technologies and services, with payment mechanisms that match their budgets and desires. Raqmiyat’s strong brand-equity that has been built over three decades in the region, and our wide prestigious customer base only emphasise our determination to continue leading the race towards customer success and excellence.
IN 2017, THE FIVE MAIN DRIVERS OF IT SPENDING REMAIN CLOUD COMPUTING, MOBILITY, CYBERSECURITY, COGNITIVE AND IOT.”
Security simplified HARISH CHIB, VICE PRESIDENT, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, SOPHOS, DELVES INTO SOME OF THE MOST POTENT THREATS THAT ORGANISATIONS NOW FACE, AND WHY A STRAIGHTFORWARD APPROACH TO IT SECURITY IS NECESSARY.
HARISH CHIB Vice President, Middle East and Africa, Sophos
The IT security market across the globe is growing rapidly, driven by a realisation amongst companies that they are battling cyber threats that can only be addressed with next-generation security solutions. The rising number of attack surfaces, the growing sophistication of attacks and their targeted nature have contributed to the increase in security spending of companies. The need to protect valuable data, realisation that cyber attackers have an eye on their data, and increasing incidences of data loss are prompting businesses across the Middle East to implement a stringent security policy, whose foundation rests on next-gen firewalls and next-gen endpoint protection solutions. Adding layer upon layer of disparate security technologies really is no longer practical or effective. It is costly, complex and out of reach for the vast majority of businesses who simply donâ€™t have the resources to deploy, maintain and coordinate all these products. With an ever-increasing threat vector, customers now demand complete visibility from the desktop to the gateway. With the increase in sophisticated attacks across the region, companies are looking for smarter and simpler IT security solutions. The market is ripe for security solutions that are feature-rich, yet simple to deploy.
A major positive is that companies, irrespective of their region, are understanding the value of protecting their data. But the big ‘down’ is that many of them, even in the Middle East, don’t have a concrete security policy in place that helps keep their network and endpoints secure. With BYOD, employees are increasingly accessing corporate resources from beyond the network perimeter. What’s more, many businesses are joining the cloud revolution, wherein critical data can be stored, shared, and accessed anytime, anywhere and from any device. This has led to complex security challenges. The need of the hour is deploying next-gen firewall and endpoint protection that has been built keeping nextgeneration threats in mind. These are the solutions that are gaining maximum traction from the market currently. We are the first security vendor to deliver synchronised security, directly linking next-generation endpoint security and next-generation firewall to share threat intelligence that enables faster detection of threats, automatic isolation of infected devices, and more immediate and targeted response and resolution. In the development of our solutions, we have also kept the needs of pragmatic enterprises in mind; this means our solutions can be deployed and managed easily. We recently launched Intercept X, Clean and SG UTM, and our synchronised encryption solution - SafeGuard Encryption 8, which can automatically respond to threat incidents from connected endpoint protection. Since enterprise mobility management is now a growing priority, we are also focusing on Mobile Control 6.0, a container solution with Secure Email that enhances data protection. Last year saw a huge number and variety of cyber attacks, ranging from a highprofile DDoS using hijacked Internet-facing security cameras to the alleged hacking of party officials during the US election. We also saw a rising tide of data breaches, from organisations big and small, and significant losses of personal information. Unfortunately, many organisations still don’t have their security basics right.
ADDING LAYER UPON LAYER OF DISPARATE SECURITY TECHNOLOGIES REALLY IS NO LONGER PRACTICAL OR EFFECTIVE.”
Many organisations now possess multiple solutions that were once bestin-breed but are now too costly and difficult to manage. Moving towards integrated solutions, where all components communicate and work together, will help to solve this. For example, if malware knocks an endpoint’s security software offline, network security should automatically quarantine that device, reducing the risk to your entire environment. As ransomware becomes ubiquitous and endpoints grow more diverse, organisations must refocus on endpoint protection. But signature-based solutions are no longer enough on their own, and can miss zero-day attacks. It’s important to choose solutions that recognise and prevent the techniques and behaviours used in nearly all exploits. No organisation possesses the resources to systematically protect everything, and 100 percent prevention is no longer realistic. Clarify the risks associated with each system, and focus your efforts accordingly. Risks change fast: look for tools that track them dynamically, and respond accordingly. But make sure those tools are easy and practical enough to use. Automate wherever it can be done simply and easily, so you can focus scarce resources on serious risks and high-value tasks. Since social attacks now predominate, educating users and involving them in prevention is now even more important. Focus education on the threats each group is likeliest to encounter. Make sure it’s up-to-date: outdated guidance on topics such as phishing can be counterproductive, offering a false sense of security. Cybercrime is organised crime: defences must be organised, too. That means choosing tools and processes that eliminate barriers within your organisation, so everyone can respond quickly to the same attack. It may also mean looking for legal and practical opportunities to collaborate with other companies and the government, so you can mitigate widespread attacks and learn from others’ postmortems.
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An open mind PAUL ABI-CHAHINE, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, EEMEA, SUSE, DISCUSSES THE BENEFITS OF OPEN SOURCE TECHNOLOGY AND ITS LONG-TERM POTENTIAL. How do you see the regional technology landscape shaping out in this year? What factors will affect the growth of the ICT industry in the Middle East? The emerging digital economy is and will be a relevant driver for business in the Middle East – and all other geographies. This is because more and more organisations today are realising data’s importance in the decision-making process. In recent years, the spotlight has been placed on Big Data and the real-time analysis of it, so businesses are able to adapt their strategies more effectively to cater to changing customer requirements. In addition, we saw the huge impact that mobile has had on driving the digital revolution. Devices like smartphones and tablets underpin the economic opportunities created by digital. As a result, we saw that customers’ have a need for continuous innovation and agile technology delivery. Which emerging technologies will see more on-ground applications and deployments in the region in 2017? The ongoing digital transformation will significantly impact all types of businesses – regardless of size or geography. Our conversations with customers and partners have also revealed the ever-increasing demand for data management, business analytics and intelligence in the Gulf region. Enterprises’ need for more agile and scalable resources that fulfill the highest security standards and flexible IT delivered as-a-service will continue to grow. All of this
PAUL ABI-CHAHINE, Regional Director, EEMEA, SUSE
contributes to the rise of a software-defined data centre (SDDC). The dynamic structure of the SDDC makes it easy for organisations to integrate new technologies like DevOps; software-defined storage; private, hybrid or public cloud; and container, platform, or infrastructure-as-a-Service. I am convinced that we will see more of this in 2017. Which technologies will you aim to increase investments in over the year? Helping customers transform their existing
data centres into SDDCs and enabling them to easily embrace new technologies will be the focus for SUSE’s engagement and investment. Orchestration solutions for a smarter IT and scalable, cost-effective architectures for managing exponential data growth are examples of the best quality solutions we offer our customers. When it comes to aspects like softwaredefined storage and cloud, we have recently acquired openATTIC, a framework for software-defined storage management. This is now a part of our software-defined storage solution offering. In addition, we have also entered into an agreement with HPE, which involved the acquisition of technologies and talent that expands our OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions and accelerates SUSE’s entry into the growing Cloud Foundry Platform-as-aService (PaaS) market. Security is closely interwoven in all technologies; how does your company aim to ensure secure offerings? We have always been committed to delivering our best efforts in security to our customers and to the open source community. Software security is continuously evolving, and the SUSE security team is dedicated to developing new ways to address various aspects of this space. Enabling our customers to promptly react to security incidents is a priority for us. We do this by delivering premium security updates and continuously enhancing our security-related products. This principle is what drives us to keep on innovating and in turn, it is what gave our open source software, Linux and SUSE such an excellent reputation in the market. How have customer demands evolved with the changing technology landscape? Today’s customers demand for an agile infrastructure that is open for innovation They seek cost-effective storage solutions that can handle large amounts of data and have the ability to run workloads on-
premise in virtual or cloud environments in a near zero downtime environment. As technology vendors, they expect us to bring them with the most secure and costeffective means to achieve and address all these requirements. That is why our strategic partner network, which includes the likes of Amazon, Fujitsu, HPE, IBM, SAP or VMware is crucial for us. Our partner ecosystem, that’s comprised of solution providers, systems integrators, and resellers who build, sell, and implement customer solutions using SUSE technology is also a very important component in ensuring that we provide our customers with the right services and solutions.
THE ONGOING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION WILL SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT ALL TYPES OF BUSINESSES – REGARDLESS OF SIZE OR GEOGRAPHY.” What are your organisation and market expectations for 2017? SUSE provides and supports enterprisegrade Linux and open source solutions with exceptional service, value, and flexibility. “We adapt, you succeed” is SUSE’s credo and our aim is to enable our customers to optimise their data centre resources and easily leverage innovation. Doing so will then ultimately help them to achieve their digital transformation objectives and be more competitive in the ever-evolving business landscape. Open source solutions play a significant role in this aspect as it gives us and them the flexibility needed to tailor the solutions they need across various platforms. As for the market as a whole, we believe that the evolving digital economy will be dominated by organisations who are able to make the most out of their data. Cloud and open source technologies are expected to accelerate this trend and we will see significant growth in this space in the years to come.
ARUN CHAWLA, CEO, TRIGON, ENCOURAGES PARTNERS TO LOOK FOR SOUND, SECURE AND SAFE BUSINESS WHILE CONCENTRATING ON BOTTOM LINE BASIS. How has the regional channel business model evolved in the last two years? Resellers are busy seizing market share on price. This myopic outlook damages the channel confidence in the long run. Too many fail to realise that success of a business model and health of the company depends on the bottom line. A trading mentality continues to persist in the regional channel, where some companies buy and sell at the same price level with omega margins attached. This makes the top line sales figure look great and impressive. This is like a mirage in a desert – a false illusion of the company’s size and power. What matters in the channel is Gross Profit Margin and the bottom line. If one cannot justify and afford to maintain good health of the company, then they shouldn’t be in business.
IF PLAYERS CAN MANAGE COSTS AND MAINTAIN A BETTER CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT, THEY WILL BE IN A BETTER POSITION TO INVEST WHEN THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR QUALITY BUSINESS.”
If together we continue to understand and realise the basics of distribution business and remain focused on our top priorities, we all can overcome the external market factors to a certain extent to achieve our desired goals. What are the technologies channel partners should focus on in the coming year? Trend is towards cloud and mobility business such as tablets and smartphones, digital signage, large format displays, video walls, interactive touch, wearable devices and robotics. What are the core services that you are looking to offer in this year? Over the course of this year, we are looking to focus more on the retail business and expand retail-related product line. We will emphasise more on B2B business and expand product lines related to vertical segments such as healthcare, hospitality, financial and retail. We are also planning to increase our B2B sales team for these vertical markets. We will be expanding our service centre and regional sales office over the next few months. We are also going to implement SAP for mobility in this year.
Profitability continues to be a key challenge for most players, how can this be addressed? We strongly believe and follow the ‘bottom line basis’ mantra. Rather than focusing only on selling, we urge our partners to look for sound, secure and safe business. There is a world of difference between turning an operating profit and making enough money to survive. Channel players preoccupied with top line sales growth need to pay more attention to the bottom line basics. They need to focus on selling value, and not cheaper products. The emphasis has to be on profitability and improving gross margins. If players can manage costs and maintain a better cash flow management, they will be in a better position to invest when there is an opportunity for quality business. It is also critical for channel players to focus on their core products and
ARUN CHAWLA CEO, Trigon
business strengths before anything else. Each employee of the organisation should understand and know the company’s goals and vision. This helps to create a strong and focused team. Can you elaborate on your market predictions for the coming year? Every year brings about different challenges. It all depends on an individual company’s vision and plans, which it has laid down for future growth and its seriousness to look for long term existence. Overall, 2016 has been a very challenging year. Keeping a positive outlook, we expect 2017 to be a better year. If together we continue to understand and realise the basics of the distribution business and remain focused with our top priorities, we can definitely achieve our desired goals.
Thank you! We at Trigon take pleasure in thanking our partners vendors, resellers, retailers and corporate clientele, for their faith and trust in Trigon over the years. We also take this opportunity to wish all a very prosperous and successful business year ahead.
Together for a better tomorrow Dubai: P.O. Box: 32610, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 342 6060 Fax: +971 4 354 7779 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bahrain: Kingdom Tower Bldg. 8, Office 15, Exhibition Road. P.O. BOX 75149, Manama, Bahrain Tel: +973 1729 2904 Fax: +973 1729 5183 Email: email@example.com
KSA: Office 508, Al Rossais Commercial Center, Olaya Street, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Tel: +966 11 460 3114 Fax: +966 11 460 3112 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oman: Office 503, Trade Centre MBD East, Ruwi-Muscat Sultanate of Oman Tel: +966 11 460 3114 Fax: +966 11 460 3112 Email: email@example.com
Up and running GREGG PETERSEN, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA AND SAARC, VEEAM SOFTWARE, EXPLAINS WHY CIOS SHOULD BE BOLD IN EXPLORING NEW TECHNOLOGIES, PRIORITISING SOLUTIONS THAT PREVENT DOWNTIME.
GREGG PETERSEN Regional Director, Middle East, Africa and SAARC, Veeam Software
The technology landscape today provides endless possibilities for organisations to provide great services based on the data centre and the information that it both houses and delivers. The expectation is that data is available on-demand. Gone are the days where downtime is considered a normal part of doing business. In 2017, the data centre will take centre stage and serve as a critical piece of infrastructure to both store information and provide services to customers, employees and partners alike.
Having a plan to ensure availability will be vital to maintaining business operations to meet – and exceed – expectations. Organisations are modernising their data centres while facing new demands from end users – including access to data and applications 24/7, with no patience for downtime or data loss, and exponential data growth of 30 to 50 percent per year. Legacy backup solutions cannot meet these requirements, and cannot deliver the availability that is needed in today’s modern data centre. As per Veeam’s latest Availability Report, 82 percent of CIOs say there is a gap between the level of data centre availability they provide and what endusers demand. This availability gap costs enterprises up to $16 million a year in lost revenue and productivity, in addition to the negative impact on customer confidence and brand integrity. Backup encryption is essential for any IT environment and shouldn’t have to be purchased separately. Veeam delivers built-in end-to-end AES 256-bit encryption, giving organisations the ability to encrypt backup files and data at source (during backup), in flight and at rest. Relying on third-party encryption tools results in a lack of awareness of the content and context of backups. In fact, most data reduction algorithms break when they hit encrypted data streams. With Veeam, end-to-end encryption is built-in and data reduction technologies like compression, deduplication and WAN Acceleration maintain their efficiency when used with Veeam encrypted backups. In today’s cloud scenario, customers expect ‘Everything-as-a-Service’ – a variety of services and applications for users to access on demand over the Internet as opposed to being utilised via on-premises means. In response to market demands, Veeam offers affordable and efficient cloud-based disaster recovery (DR). Veeam enables Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) as part of a comprehensive availability strategy, embracing investments made in the data centre and extending
them through the hybrid cloud. Affordable and efficient image-based replication delivers cloud-based disaster recovery for all applications (with an RTPO of less than 15 minutes) through the best and most trusted DRaaS providers across the globe. CIO’s should be active promoters of transformation, and shouldn’t be scared of new technologies. Instead, they should embrace them, but always with the right motivation. All of this is intended to support the business, gain competitive advantage and even cut costs along the way. It’s important for them to work with the entire company, and not let IT run this on its own. The goal should always be the end-users’ demands, whether this a supplier, customer or business unit inside the enterprise.
EIGHTY-TWO PERCENT OF CIOS SAY THERE IS A GAP BETWEEN THE LEVEL OF DATA CENTRE AVAILABILITY THEY PROVIDE AND WHAT END-USERS DEMAND.” Regarding the digital transformation journey, start by focussing on what is important for your business and take small steps. In my opinion, making sure that you are always-on and available is critical. If your order or stock system is down, and you can’t take orders, you will lose money. But besides losing real money, the cost will be much higher as you will get bad reviews, loss of trust and more. An availability solution is therefore a must. When you are always-on, find out what more you can do with the data you actually possess. Map it to your customers’ and suppliers’ demands. Integrating and sharing data will become more and more important. Last but not least, take advantage of what exists already in the market, and aim your efforts to different types of devices. Another huge potential is using cloud-based services together with your on-premises solutions so you are better prepared against spikes in your business, or using them to rapidly deploy short-running promotions.
Building connections NEAL GEMASSMER, VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL, YARDI, EXPECTS INCREASED ADOPTION OF IOT-ENABLED DEVICES AND MANAGEMENT PLATFORMS IN COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE IN THE COMING 12 MONTHS.
NEAL GEMASSMER Vice President, International, Yardi
How do you see the regional technology landscape shaping out in this year? What factors will affect the growth of the ICT industry in the Middle East? It’s all about the cloud. We expect to see an increased adoption of cloud-based platforms for critical applications in small and medium as well as enterprise-sized organisations, and this trend has been facilitated by the introduction of the cloud being hosted in local data centres. The market has also come to realise how cloud-based platforms can help reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and ongoing operating costs through accelerated deployments, increased security and scalability. The cloud also enables rapid deployment of mobile apps and webbased platforms, providing a platform for new service offerings. Which emerging technologies will see more on-ground applications and deployments in the region in 2017? We are already seeing a big focus around adopting tools to manage and analyse Big Data, as well as facilitate online payments. Within the real estate vertical, a tremendous amount of data is collected through the lifecycle of managing a property, and we’ve introduced a number of tools that help make sense of the data through powerful analytics and visualisation. We are also seeing the further evolution and adoption of online payments through mobile apps provided by local banks and payment gateways, in order to enhance efficiency for payments between consumers and businesses. The real estate vertical will be a big beneficiary of the adoption of online payments. As a company, which technologies will you aim to invest in over the year? Some of our key areas of focus include Big Data, “role-based” mobile apps, and energy management. IoT plays a large role in this focus, as we foresee the everincreasing adoption of IoT-enabled devices and management platforms developing in commercial and residential real estate. Some examples include thermostats, utility
meters, lights, HVACs and access control, which can all be used to further collect data and facilitate action for more effective energy management and sustainability, considering how energy is one of the largest costs associated with owning and operating a property. Security is closely interwoven in all technologies; how does your company aim to ensure secure offerings? Security is a critical foundation of our business. We have a continuous cycle of evaluating new technologies and security related platforms, and then applying them to the Yardi Cloud and our application stack in the appropriate manner. We have been providing secure hosting options for our clients for the past 16 years and have always been keen to ensure that security is central to our services.
OUR PHILOSOPHY IS TO STAY FOCUSED ON OUR CLIENTS, OUR EMPLOYEES AND CONTINUE INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION.”
How have customer demands evolved with the changing technology landscape? With the increased adoption of smart devices - and in turn mobile apps - the topics of access control, data privacy and security continue to be at the forefront of customer demands. Furthermore, the regionalisation and globalisation of client operations has increased the demand for a multi-country platform that can handle the unique requirements of local operations whilst bringing the benefits of a “single source of truth” for reporting and data governance. What are your organisation and market visions for 2017? Our philosophy is straightforward: stay focused on our clients, our employees and continue investing in technology and innovation. The Yardi team has grown rapidly across the Middle East, and it continues to be one of our fastest growing regions globally. We are also keen to continue developing strong, long-term partnerships with our clients that focus on their operation and strategic needs, which in turn helps us to innovate and grow.
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On guard THOMAS FISCHER, Global Security Advocate, Digital Guardian
Over the course of 2017, we will continue to see increased demand for technology expertise in the region, including the need for stronger security staff. Talent shortages will lead companies to look at adopting MSP/ cloud-based security solutions. These kinds of solutions allow existing teams to implement and drive new security solutions and provide better detection services. Furthermore, state-sponsored or cyber terrorist attacks and cybercrimes like ransomware and the use of encryption
To serve and protect Our region has become a notorious target for cyber-attacks, prompting the rise in customers’ need to implement advanced detection and response technologies into their security stack. This has motivated us to continuously work towards ensuring that our offerings address these needs. The same need is also what’s pushing today’s vendors to offer cost-effective, easy-to-use solutions that simplify security rather than complicate it. Together with our
partners, this is something that we promise to bring into the market. Fidelis’ mission has always been to protect the world’s most valuable data. Our solutions, Fidelis Network and Fidelis Endpoint, extend our expertise in detection, response, analytics, and automation capabilities to organisations today. Our vision for 2017 is to keep paving our way towards geographical expansion and increasing our team’s presence in the region, as well as investing in our channel strategy. In terms of technology, we aim to develop the preferred end-to-end security platform that will enable organisations to detect and respond to intrusions through prompt and efficient means, all the way from the cloud, across the network and to the endpoint.
We are increasingly concerned about the potential for destructive malware in the Middle East, rather than attacks for “merely” theft and espionage. This points to the need for carefully-designed and segmented networks, so that critical assets are insulated from outside attack. As a provider of cybersecurity analytics, our goal is to enable companies to build a digital resilience strategy to improve their security posture. The more resilient their infrastructure is, the faster companies can respond, recover and adjust to security incidents. We do this
technologies, will also factor into technology choices this year. Compliance legislations from NESA and GDPR will push firms to adopt technologies that will provide them with reporting and protection on data-focused activities such as endpoint data protection and data discovery. With all these elements to consider, companies may think they need to focus on adopting the latest technologies and moving to cloud or IoT. However, they must not take solutions that will help protect their data for granted. It is important they put significant focus on detection and response, all the while ensuring back-end solutions are in place that support security operation teams’ ability to take actions.
DR. MIKE LLOYD, CTO, RedSeal,
ROLAND DACCACHE, Systems Engineer, MENA, Fidelis Cybersecurity
by providing an accurate as-built model of a network infrastructure to give customers actionable intelligence so they can improve resilience in a variety of ways. We provide a ‘digital resilience’ score, which gives companies a measure of security effectiveness, along with specific information on how to improve the score. This guides security investment strategy, resource planning and daily action lists. Our aim is to help identify which vulnerabilities present the most risk – and prioritise those that are most accessible for remediation. RedSeal accelerates incident response by integrating our model with SIEM vendors such as Splunk – so we can tell security engineers exactly where the breach is, where the hacker can go, and how to contain the incident quickly.
Catching on PRABHU RAMACHANDRAN, DIRECTOR, WEBNMS PINPOINTS 2017 AS THE YEAR WHEN THE ADOPTION OF DEFINED, VERTICAL FOCUSED IOT PLATFORMS IN THE REGION REALLY TAKES OFF.
PRABHU RAMACHANDRAN, Director, WebNMS
2017 will be the year when actual deployments and monetisation of the Internet of Things (IoT) will materialise, and the year when businesses will realise the footprint of IoT beyond wearable and consumer technologies, particularly in retail, manufacturing, transportation, facilities and smart cities. Despite IoT having forged strong roots into various verticals in the region over the past 12 months, adoption has been rather
slow. Generic, horizontal IoT platforms do not work as well as defined, vertical focused ones which encourage faster and reliable implementations that match exact customer requirements. Successful businesses need unambiguous data that can validate its relationship with existing customers and attract new ones through real-time intelligence. This will reshape customer facing business processes, boost sales and pave the way for contemporary business models.Â For instance, say a construction equipment renting company was to start billing its customers based on measurable factors such as usage time, volume of material handled and the amount of fuel consumed through remote monitoring; thus creating new, dataoriented revenue streams. Organisations are now beefing up the customer life cycle with additional information to drive sales that are truly demand driven and enhance end-user satisfaction. For instance, a UPS/battery manufacturer can open up arenas for cross sales and better services through cloud based monitoring of the IoT enabled products; this way the vendor can keep track of the health of sold products, keep customers informed about failing parts and take proactive measures before a complaint is lodged. Similarly, logistics companies would offer better customer experience through live apps that give out tracking/booking/availability details on the go. The data is now available for support teams through triggered tickets and sales, and marketing teams for future sales and client follow-ups.
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Published on Jan 24, 2017