TECH TRENDS TO WATCH OUT FOR THIS YEAR brought to you by:
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Avaya Commvault Finesse Exclusive Networks Fujitsu GSD
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Infor IT SEC Kualitatem Barracuda Networks Raqmiyat SNB Middle East
FADI MOUBARAK, VICE PRESIDENT OF CHANNELS AT AVAYA INTERNATIONAL EXPLAINS HOW THE AVAYA EDGE CHANNEL PROGRAM IS WORKING IN 2018 TO ENSURE THAT PARTNERS CAN SEAMLESSLY OFFER CLOUD-BASED SERVICE TO CUSTOMERS.
What are some of the technology changes and trends that CIOs can expect to see over the next year? In the era of digital transformation, increased build-up of in-house technology capabilities has demanded a stronger alignment between CIOs and CEOs. This business trend places technology in the centre of an organisation’s transformation, and that in turn impacts how the IT ecosystem must deliver the right solutions to market. For example, most system integrators and resellers are shifting their focus away from product lifecycles, and are instead concentrating on the business outcomes of their customers. This is resulting in the need to integrate diverse technological solutions consumed in a combination of CAPEX and OPEX models. In addition, businesses today need to put to rest the outdated expression
ADVANCED AUTOMATION AND ANALYTICS, WHEN PUT IN THE RIGHT PLACE, CAN LEAD TO RICHER AND MORE EFFECTIVE EXPERIENCES BETWEEN CUSTOMERS AND REPRESENTATIVES.”
of “getting your head out of the clouds”. Fortunately, CIOs’ demand for the flexibly that cloud solutions offer is creating new opportunities for the IT industry. The necessary shift to a cloud or hybrid-cloud based model gives companies like Avaya new touch-points with our customers, ongoing revenue streams, and allows for new customer acquisition. CEOs are asking IT to do more with less help – how can your products/solutions help them? Companies are now competing in an era of countless customer touchpoints. They’re tasked with matching today’s rapid pace of innovation and anticipating customers’ evolving needs. This has made the concept of an omnichannel customer experience integral for success, and that is what we help design at Avaya. Unfortunately, according to our recent banking customer experience study, 44 percent of companies struggle to provide a seamless, omnichannel customer experience. In industries like finance and utilities, this number can be as high as 90 percent. Since one-size-fits-all no longer works in IT, we are leveraging the power of vertical specialisation and capturing relevance in that way. After all, it is one thing to apply technology horizontally, but it’s much more
If you look at communications in particular, the conversation four years ago was all about multichannel; it was about voice in the enterprise, and so on. Today however, it’s about designing customer experiences, and that means combining a lot more technologies than we may have done in the past. Customers want to know what are you doing about AI, what are you doing in blockchain, and what are you doing in security. We recognise that it’s important to become part of a wider communications network that allows you to react quickly in providing the solutions that customers need. To that end, we have re-engineered the core of Avaya platforms with the goal of making it faster and simpler for organisations of all sizes to adopt - and then integrate - emerging communication technologies into their business.
powerful when you can address the unique business challenges faced by players in each vertical. We are working with our own channel partners to empower them as they go after customers in high-value verticals, with packaged solutions that are proven business-ready. In IT, to do more with less, you need to have the right approach and work with partners who have a deep understanding of your business needs. Which technologies will experience the fastest growth? We anticipate more governments and companies will adopt emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, IoT and blockchain while protecting the investments they have already made.
FADI MOUBARAK vice president, Channels at Avaya International
What is your organisation’s vision for next year and which are the new tech categories you are planning to invest in? AI is a big one and will assist greatly in helping organisations to better understand the customer journey. Augmented reality and AI-powered bots can both automate and speed up mundane processes over humanto-human interactions. Advanced automation and analytics, when put in the right place, can lead to richer and more effective experiences between customers and representatives. We are aware that organisations across sectors are now competing primarily on customer experience, and as such, AI is something we’re investing in heavily. We also see an increased emphasis on open architecture solutions which allow the channel to capitalise on continued growth of IT adoption. Not only do open platforms enable enterprises to protect their existing investments, but they also simplify the adoption of other emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and blockchain applications. That is why the Avaya Edge channel program is working in 2018 to ensure that partners can seamlessly offer cloudbased service to customers. Success today requires the channel ecosystem to be empowered with a flexible platform to build something valuable that delivers business success. An open, collaborative approach within clear rules of engagement set by vendors, will allow partners to do what they do best – address customers’ real challenges.
Prime progress WAEL MUSTAFA, AREA VICE PRESIDENT, COMMVAULT MESAT, SHARES INSIGHTS ON THE TRENDS THAT WILL SHAPE THE YEAR AHEAD AND HOW THE COMPANY WILL ENABLE CUSTOMERS COPE WITH POTENTIAL CHALLENGES.
What are some of the technology changes and trends that CIOs can expect to see over the next year? There are several major trends within the storage/backup space that we can expect this 2018. Cyber-attacks in the form of ransomware and its derivatives have now become a major concern resulting from last year’s global attacks. With backup standing as the last line
CLOUD CONTINUES TO GROW AT AN EXPONENTIAL RATE, BUT OTHER SIGNIFICANT TRENDS INCLUDE THE ACCELERATING MIGRATION TO FLASH STORAGE AND HYPERCONVERGED SYSTEMS.
of defence, Commvault has employed ‘fire breaks’ to protect backups from becoming compromised as well as methods to spot an attack early, allowing organisations to take action to mitigate its effects. Companies have also been routinely reminded that if they are storing or processing personal data of EU citizens, they need to be working towards incorporating the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations that will come into effect as of May 2018. GDPR, like many other privacy regulations around the world, is attempting to catch-up with modern systems of processing personal data with the aim of giving individuals more rights, applying to both multinational business and those that are planning on international expansion. CEOs are asking IT to do more with less resources, how can your products and solutions help them? Commvault offers a comprehensive, infrastructure neutral DR solution, that gives organisations maximum flexibility for disaster recovery plans. Commvault software can now backup VMs, applications, data and endpoints with maximum efficiency based on flexible, automated policies, and enables companies to recover their data rapidly and easily to meet their required service levels.
Commvault software provides a single platform that has the broadest coverage in the industry, to protect and manage data and workloads for physical systems, VMs and cloud. Through a vast array of partners, we offer a variety of customised solutions. For example, our company has well over 50 cloud storage platforms certified, more than 100 array models, support for over a dozen VM and container systems, and public cloud and SaaS integration in addition to support for most applications and operating systems. Which technologies will experience the fastest growth? Cloud continues to grow at an exponential rate, but other significant trends include the accelerating migration to Flash storage and hyperconverged systems. We have developed a comprehensive response to the rapid growth of cloud in the form of a new strategic partnership with Google Cloud to help enterprises leverage the range of cloud services available on one of the industry’s fastest growing cloud platforms, Google Cloud Platform. This partnership addresses the increasing need for data protection for fast growing multi-cloud, hybrid IT environments requiring flexibility, security, high data availability, and business agility. What is your organisation’s vision for next year and what new tech categories are you planning to invest in? Commvault is committed to continue fostering new and existing customer relationships in the region. We also aim to develop new technical innovations in order to establish new partnerships while expanding business focus on vendor agnostic, hyperscale, cloud and as-a-service data management offerings. Among these tech categories, Commvault’s HyperScale
WAEL MUSTAFA, area vice president, Commvault MESAT
Software solutions bring scale-out infrastructure to the Commvault Data Platform and seamlessly integrate with storage arrays, hypervisors, applications and the full range of cloud provider solutions to support the most diverse and dynamic environments. Through our investments we are aiming to continue enabling our customers to solve complex global data challenges such as GDPR compliance and ransomware while enabling them to optimise their cloud strategy and thrive in their digital transformation. We will also further strengthen the Commvault Data Platform as a cornerstone of offerings for data protection, disaster recovery and the move to the cloud.
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Seize the day
SUNIL PAUL, CO-FOUNDER AND COO, FINESSE STRESSES HOW SOLUTION PROVIDERS MUST TAKE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO EVOLVE AND BEGIN OFFERING MANAGED SERVICES FOR THEIR CUSTOMERS. In a cloud-enabled business environment, what role do resellers and solution providers play? The cloud enabled business environment fundamentally means changing the ways organisations manage the cloud. As a result, the IT channel needs to review and adapt how they sell their offerings. Of course, the crucial role of resellers still remains in providing advice and education to the end users. From previously managing infrastructure, it is now all about managing services. Solution partners will need to pursue the shift to solution and service selling. Parallel steps would mean thinking about seizing the opportunity to evolve and start to offer managed services for their customers, tailored to the need of today’s on-premise customers. With the very nature of a services led market, it is becoming more and more
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS CREATING A SHIFT IN TECHNOLOGY, AND BUSINESSES HAVE TO BE ON TOP OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES TO STAY AHEAD IN THE RACE.”
important for resellers and solution providers to cross-sell and up-sell other technologies. As they are in a position to, it is critical that they offer technologies that integrate smoothly with all vendor product offerings. What are the technologies channel partners should focus on in the coming year? Digital transformation is creating a shift in technology, and businesses have to be on top of emerging technologies to stay ahead in the race. We will see increased adoption of converged infrastructure, software defined networking, cloud and mobility. With the advent of artificial intelligence in all walks of life, we are seeing a rampant use of robotic process automation. As we move forward into the future, these will ultimately become the back-bone technologies in everything from customer service and robotics, to analytics and marketing. AI and RPA will govern businesses, and keeping abreast will be business intelligence (BI), analytics and security. Blockchain will find its place in 2018, with the financial industry expected to be the first to begin utilising this amazing tool. A range of other sectors — from healthcare to entertainment to hospitality — will not be far behind.
THE BUSINESS WORLD IS MOVING TOO FAST, AND SPS AND RESELLERS MUST BE MORE INFORMED, INTELLIGENT AND QUICK ENOUGH TO MAKE RAPID BUT PRUDENT DECISIONS, AND THEN ADJUST AND ITERATE AS NECESSARY.â€? What are the core services that you are looking to offer this year? Finesse will be focusing on offering solutions and services in artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, along with the digital basket of solutions including blockchain, cloud, mobility, converged infrastructure, software defined networking and analytics. Profitability continues to be a key challenge for most players, how can this be addressed? Given the lingering uncertainty in the economy, solution providers must continuously take decisive actions that will position their companies for growth and prosperity. Businesses can no longer be overly cautious and indulge in slow decision-making processes. The business world is moving too fast, and SPs and resellers must be more informed, intelligent and quick enough to make rapid but prudent decisions, and then adjust and iterate as necessary. To survive and thrive in this new and ever-changing environment, they must quickly identify and understand the issues faced by customers, while rapidly and effectively adapting to the challenges posed by omni-channel, increased complexity, rising costs and demanding customers. In addition, they must offer solutions and services that prove compelling and sustainable competitive advantages. Above all, they must reduce time to market for new offerings, expand and improve the execution of solutions and service offerings, while reducing the time to deliver these. This should, in turn, improve overall customer service levels and satisfaction while simultaneously reducing costs.
SUNIL PAUL co-founder and COO, Finesse
Can you elaborate on the companyâ€™s vision for 2018 and your market predictions for the coming year? Finesse will be building on its strengths and focusing on artificial intelligence and RPA, backed up with its long term expertise in analytics and BI. Our overall aim is to provide customers with a wellrounded offering of solutions including blockchain, cloud, mobility and MDM, among others. We look forward to growing our team to over 400 members in the coming 12 months, which should strengthen our position in the region. We have already moved our On-Demand Support Centre in Bangalore to larger premises to serve our clients better.
Clearing the mist PATRICK VAN ARENDONK, DIRECTOR, CLOUD FIRST, EXCLUSIVE NETWORKS GROUP, URGES PARTNERS TO LEVERAGE THE OPPORTUNITIES IN CLOUD DURING 2018.
Which technology should partners bet on for 2018? Cloud has transcended from being a buzzword to seeing several on-ground applications over the last few years. However, regional channel partners are yet to completely optimise the opportunities that the technology presents. Over the last six months, we have spent time conversing with partners and vendors across the region to gain a better understanding of the overall cloud market.
THE FACTORS DRIVING THE DEMAND FOR CLOUD SOLUTIONS ARE LARGELY WITHIN SECURITY AND MIGRATION OF DATA. RECENT CLOUD-RELATED SECURITY BREACHES WERE ABOUT FUNDAMENTAL BASIC HYGIENE REQUIREMENTS. â€?
How can Exclusive Networks enable partners to capitalise on the cloud opportunity effectively? We have a huge opportunity for providing skillset and knowledge about cloud. We have seen that many partners across all regions lack the knowledge to talk about cloud at its basic level. Our immediate priorities are to educate our own teams on talking the cloud language and extend that to our partner base. We will also ensure to be in sync with our vendor strategies. For many partners and customers, it is a journey to the cloud. How long will this journey take for most partners and customers? It will happen, although, it will not take place overnight. Education is the fundamental piece of this journey while security also plays a critical role. We need to make sure when data or application workloads are moved to the cloud, it is done in a secure manner. As a valueadded distributor known for its security proficiency, we have immense knowledge in this space. Partners need to understand cloud skillfully to be able to explain to customers about the migration of applications and data to cloud, compliancy and the level of security involved in the process. Our aim is to guide them on this journey. How are you educating partners to be successful in this space? We will invest in training sales and presales engineer teams and motivate them to learn more. It is also important for them to attend cloud-specific events to
understand the nitty-gritties of the technology. This way, we take a step further and develop a more knowledgeable team within the company, which different regions can leverage. We also ensure to have regular meetings with our partners. What are the factors that will drive demand for cloud solutions? The factors driving the demand for cloud solutions are largely within security and migration of data. Recent cloud-related security breaches were about fundamental basic hygiene requirements. It was about not securing the data sitting in the cloud. When we talk about moving data to the cloud, the opportunities will be around authentication and encryption services and solutions. What can the market expect from you during 2018? Over the course of this year, we will double down on our cloud strategies to ensure our partner community is equipped to approach customers as trusted advisors. 2018 will be about internal education and transferring that knowledge to our partners. We might also look at providing a white label of cloud expert resources. It will not be a service, which we provide directly but one that partners can take advantage of. We will also ensure we are aligned with our vendorsâ€™ strategies. Do you have a message for your partners? Partners must realise that the security factor involved in cloud solutions should be a shared responsibility. At the end of the day, it is the user who is responsible for that data. We all have to work together to make sure data is protected. We look forward to working with our partners and empowering them to optimise the opportunities within cloud solutions.
PATRICK VAN ARENDONK director, Cloud First, Exclusive Networks Group
PARTNERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND CLOUD SKILFULLY TO BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN TO CUSTOMERS ABOUT THE MIGRATION OF APPLICATIONS AND DATA TO CLOUD, COMPLIANCE AND THE LEVEL OF SECURITY INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS. OUR AIM IS TO GUIDE THEM ON THIS JOURNEY.â€?
Inside intelligence FARID AL SABBAGH, VP AND HEAD OF MIDDLE EAST, FUJITSU, PREDICTS 2018 WILL SEE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TOUCH ALMOST EVERY ASPECT OF BUSINESS - FROM AUTOMATING ADMINISTRATIVE AND COMPLIANCE FUNCTIONS TO PROVIDING CUSTOMER SERVICE CHATBOTS.
FARID AL SABBAGH, VP and head of Middle East, Fujitsu
What are some of the technology changes and trends that CIOs can expect to see over the next year? The pace of technological change will only accelerate in 2018, with increasingly complex technologies arriving in the field at a faster rate. The priority over the next 12 months will be working out the best ways that CIO’s can deploy and leverage these digital technologies and their capabilities.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL BE EMBEDDED IN MORE DEVICES AND APPLICATIONS THAN EVER, EXTENDING EVEN MORE INTO EVERYDAY EXPERIENCES.”
ON THE CUSTOMER-FRONT, WE WILL SEE THEIR DEMANDS SHIFT EVER MORE TOWARDS DIGITAL, WITH A NOTABLE IMPACT ON THE BANKING SECTOR. ”
Connected devices will continue to grow in popularity, with organisations in across industries - from food logistics to healthcare - realising the advantages of the Internet of Things in gathering and acting on information. Edge computing will come to the fore, as businesses find ways to process and analyse enormous volumes of data. Another key trend will be an intelligent approach to AI, which will touch almost every aspect of business - from automating administrative and compliance functions to providing customer service chatbots. On the customer-front, we will see their demands shift ever more towards digital, with a notable impact on the banking sector. More and more consumers will seek the most convenient digital services for transactions such as money transfers and insurance. CEOs are asking IT to do more with less – how can your products/solutions help them? The game changer will be the deployment of hyper-converged infrastructures that target specific requirements, and by considerably simplifying them while providing greater levels of productivity. In 2017, we launched our new hyper-converged infrastructure appliance solution, PRIMEFLEX for Storage Spaces Direct. This is targeted at helping enterprises reduce complexity and risk in deploying high-performance, Microsoft-based hyper-converged infrastructures in data centres. PRIMEFLEX is a comprehensive set of pre-configured and pre-tested systems for the business centric data centre. The latest addition uses Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct technology included with Microsoft Windows Server 2016 to make use of locally attached hard drives in server systems to create highly available, highly scalable softwaredefined storage at a fraction of the cost of traditional SAN or NAS arrays. Speed is a key attribute of the new PRIMEFLEX system, which delivers ultraresponsive sub-millisecond response
times thanks to a resource-efficient hypervisorembedded design in combination with highspeed all-flash storage, plus high-throughput, low-latency networking technology. Which technologies will experience the fastest growth? We see blockchain technology, AI, voice processing and quantum computing recording the most significant growth this year. Artificial intelligence will be embedded in more devices and applications than ever, extending even more into everyday experiences. As a result, we expect to see many new devices and applications with ‘intelligent’ capabilities launched this year. Through de-centralisation, blockchain offers high usability and guaranteed reliability due to being resistant to modification. It is therefore expected to be widely used in many fields, including finance and distribution. For this reason, through to 2020 and beyond, numerous blockchains will be set up across a range of fields. Having launched ‘ConnectionChain,’ a security technology that can safely and easily execute exchanges and payments in different virtual currencies in the latter part of last year, we will continue expanding this technology beyond currency exchange. We aim to expand to areas such as high-trust data exchanges between companies and contract automation, while also continuing to conduct trials in a variety of fields, with the goal of commercialisation in 2018 and beyond. What is your organisation’s vision for next year and which are the new tech categories you are planning to invest in? Our vision continues to be to contribute to the creation of a networked society that is rewarding and secure through our constant pursuit of human centric innovation. This is at the core of everything we do. We will also continue to focus on quantum computing, digital annealing and high-performance computing (HPC). We have also announced our investment in the Canadian quantum software developer, 1QB Information Technologies, to commercialise our own quantum-inspired computer. We are developing a digital annealer, a computing architecture driven by quantum mechanics using semiconductor technology. In HPC, we will continue to develop and deliver state-of-the-art solutions across the widest range of applications. With core skills in all HPC design layers – including interconnects, operating system software, middleware and compilers – we are ideally positioned to help maximise the return on HPC investment.
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GULF SOFTWARE DISTRIBUTION
Strategic solutions GARETH HANSFORD, GENERAL MANAGER, GULF SOFTWARE DISTRIBUTION, ON COLLABORATING WITH CHANNEL PARTNERS TO BECOME A DIFFERENTIATED SOLUTIONS PLAYER.
How has the regional IT channel business evolved over the last two years? We’ve seen growth in two dimensions - in common with other regions there are a host of new technologies now in play, which drive opportunities for partners to develop unique solutions for their customers’ needs. Secondly, we’ve seen new partners arriving to deliver their expertise in a region that is keen to lead in adoption of these new technologies. In a cloud-enabled environment, what role do resellers and solutions providers play? Cloud has matured greatly over the last two years and is now an everyday part of the IT landscape. This needs to be accommodated by every participant of the IT business environment, by vendors and through the channel, to meet the end-user requirements. Having said that, cloud resellers and solution providers need to remain focused on the solution
required by the customer and be flexible on the implementation requirements of that solution, which is likely to include cloud to a greater or lesser extent. In short cloud deployment should be available if appropriate and requested by the customer, but is unlikely to ever be the only answer.
WE’LL EXAMINE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO TAKE GSD TO THE NEXT PHASE WITH A SOLUTIONS FOCUS. THAT WILL INVOLVE TARGETING EXISTING AND NEW PARTNERS WITH COLLABORATIVE, ADJACENT TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN ENHANCE THEIR SOLUTION OFFERINGS.”
What are the top technologies channel partners should focus on? We all know the buzzwords such as IoT, RPA, hybrid cloud, digital transformation and software-delivered-everything, but it’s always important for partners to be clear on their area of expertise in order to maximise their value to the end-user client. They should avoid diverging into fashionable new technologies that dilute their focus, rather be clear on how these can enable them to enhance their offerings and remain ahead of their competitors. The one area I would recommend investigating is blockchain this is going to have relevance way beyond the fintech origins and is already being discussed in such diverse areas such as travel and tourism, oil and gas production and car sales. What core services will you focus on this year? GSD will ensure that our current expertise around the IBM software portfolio will be maintained where we deliver in-depth pre-sales, sales and post-sales support to our partners. Alongside that we’ll continue to develop our partners through business development planning, enablement, training and marketing support to help them grow their solution offerings to the market. Profitability continues to be a key challenge in the channel, how can this be addressed? Channel profitability comes from the value we add to our customers. That requires us to have the right relationships, to have joint clarity on the unique difference we can make to our customer and the value that delivers to the customer. The better we do that part the more profit we make. Differentiation, specialisation, unique offerings, niche markets – all drive profits and maintain a healthy channel.
GARETH HANSFORD general manager, Gulf Software Distribution
Can you elaborate on the company’s vision for 2018 and market predictions? In 2018, we’ll examine the opportunities to take GSD to the next phase with a solutions focus. That will involve targeting existing and new partners with collaborative, adjacent technologies that can enhance their solution offerings. Our prediction is that the market will be driven by a continued increase in technology adoption and exploitation across the region. We expect this to fuel further growth during 2018.
ALONGSIDE THAT WE’LL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP OUR PARTNERS THROUGH BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PLANNING, ENABLEMENT, TRAINING AND MARKETING SUPPORT TO HELP THEM GROW THEIR SOLUTION OFFERINGS TO THE MARKET.”
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Driving force TARIK TAMAN, VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER OF INFOR IMEA EXPLAINS WHY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – AND INFOR’S AI-BASED ROBOT COLEMAN – WILL SPEARHEAD THE REGION’S JOURNEY TOWARDS BECOMING ‘SMART.’ What are some of the technology changes and trends that CIOs can expect to see over the next year? As the region moves towards greater economic diversification, cloud will form the fundamentals for increased competitiveness in key industry verticals as overall expenditure on digital technologies continues to rise. We are already seeing the digital transformation drive sweeping various industries with CIOs prioritising investment in the cloud. The move towards digitalisation will continue as organisations increase costoptimisation and self-sufficiency. A top priority for organisations is to exceed customer expectations and stay ahead of the competition. CIOs are constantly looking to evolve their IT systems to help control cost structures, consolidate business processes and improve performance and profitability. We are helping organisations to develop
A TOP PRIORITY FOR ORGANISATIONS IS TO EXCEED CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS AND STAY AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION.”
integrated systems that deliver real-time data for greater visibility of production, inventory and sales. This in turn improves decision-making and results in faster timeto-market. CEOs are asking IT to do more less with help – how can your products/solutions help them? Companies in the region will continue to invest in their digital transformation initiatives. As a result, the role of the CIO is changing, and we expect them to start assuming increased and broader responsibilities and capabilities. CIOs will be tasked with re-evaluating their IT spend and initiating cost reduction measures. In a recent survey by Gartner, it was found that aleast 84 percent of top CIOs surveyed have responsibility for areas of the business outside traditional IT; the most common are innovation and transformation. Which technologies will experience the fastest growth? The Middle East has been witnessing digital transformation at a fast pace in recent years with a move towards becoming ‘smart’, with most regional governments aggressively expanding the adoption of new technologies as they strive to increase efficiencies and ease the lives of their citizens. These smart
AS A RESULT, ORGANISATIONS ACROSS THE REGION WILL BE ABLE TO INCREASE THEIR RETURN ON INVESTMENT. INTERNET OF THINGS AND ENTERPRISE ASSET MANAGEMENT ARE FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS OF SMART CITIES, WHICH MONITOR THE CONDITION OF ALL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AND IMPROVE PERFORMANCE AND PROFITABILITY.”
cities are creating massive amounts of complex data requiring intelligent analysis, and we believe that artificial intelligence will help improve data handling. According to management consultancy McKinsey, employees spend 20 percent of the average working week searching and gathering information. These tasks can be delegated to AI, freeing managers to spend time making critical decisions rather than running reports. We want to help organisations maximise human potential, and for this reason we have recently unveiled our artificial intelligence robot, Coleman. Coleman can take detailed directions, perform tasks, and share information based on users’ unique and changing needs.
TARIK TAMAN, VP and general manager of Infor IMEA
In addition, the UAE’s Internet of Things market is set to more than triple to $35 billion by 2019, according to a recent report by research firm MicroMarketMonitor. As a result, organisations across the region will be able to increase their return on investment. Internet of Things (IoT) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) are foundational elements of smart cities, which monitor the condition of all critical infrastructure and improve performance and profitability. What is your organisation’s vision for next year and what new tech categories do you plan to invest in? Globally, as a company, we have been undergoing a transformation in recent years with a focus on the cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence, and other disruptive technologies in the area of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). In 2018, we will continue to focus on the public and private sectors in key verticals including manufacturing, distribution, retail, the public sector, hospitality, and healthcare to deliver our fully fashioned, mission-critical applications that do not require any modifications.
What does progress look like for you? Your journey into the digital future is unique. As your software partner we have the vision and industry expertise to help chart your courseâ€”and the technology to take you wherever that path leads.
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AMIR A. KOLAHZADEH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, IT SEC, ELABORATES ON HOW THE FIRM’S CYBERSECURITY SERVICES CAN AID ENTERPRISES IN ENHANCING ITS SECURITY POSTURE.
Can you share an overview of your operations? Established in 2013, IT SEC is a pure-play cybersecurity consulting organisation in the region. IT SEC ensures that customers’ networks are secured and data is protected. We take pride in our team of experienced consultants, who assist in identifying and resolving an organisation’s vulnerabilities to secure against cyber-attacks before they happen.
TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS BLOCKCHAIN AND INTERNET OF THINGS WILL BRING NEW AND EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES TO MARKET. CIOS WILL HAVE TO ADAPT QUICKLY TO THESE TECHNOLOGIES. THEY WILL ALSO NEED TO BEAR IN MIND THE SECURITY RISKS THAT ENTERPRISES COULD FACE WHEN IMPLEMENTING IOT AND BLOCKCHAIN.”
What have been some highlights from 2017? Over the last year, IT SEC has secured more than 150 clients, trained over 500 cybersecurity specialists and created a unique cybersecurity awareness programme. Today, we are offering fully managed security services that provide comprehensive cybersecurity protection for customers and endpoint protection with $1 million guarantee against ransomware. The company is also developing the world’s first cybersecurity platform that will protect enterprise and individuals on social media and IoT using artificial intelligence. Our structured functional teams work independently on every project to ensure clear communication and applies a unique blend of technology, intelligence, and expertise to protect an organisation. What are some of the technology changes and trends that CIOs can expect to see over the next year? Technologies such as blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) will bring new and exciting opportunities and challenges to market. CIOs will have to adopt quickly to these technologies. They will also need to bear in mind the security risks that enterprises could face when implementing IoT and blockchain.
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the budget and providing resources. Combining consulting services with related cybersecurity trainings allows us to provide 360 degrees holistic cybersecurity services. Our team is a combination of highly experienced and motivated individuals who come from intelligence agencies and cyber command divisions.
Enhancing organisations’ security posture should be one of the top priorities for CIOs in 2018. CEOs are asking IT to do more with less resources – how can your products or solutions help them? From an IT security stand point, we believe IT departments are still behind global standards in terms of information security roadmap for their organisations. Cybersecurity risks are increasing by the day as cybercriminals are running more sophisticated business operations. Increasing number of CEOs must be educated and involved in addressing the risks in terms of carrying out the assessment, allocating
AMIR A. KOLAHZADEH, chief executive officer, IT SEC
What is your organisation’s vision for 2018 and what are the new technology categories you are planning to invest in? We believe blockchain, IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) will have a significant impact this year. IT SEC is uniquely positioned as the leading cybersecurity company in the region to help all organisations in securing their blockchain, IoT and AI implementations. We are also in the process of developing cybersecurity solutions to secure organisations from social engineering and social media using AI. We expect the cybersecurity landscape to evolve significantly over this year. We will see unprecedent cyber-attacks that will have the power to bring ill-equipped enterprises’ operations to a halt. We encourage all CEOs, CFO, CIOs to pay close attention to their organisations’ security posture and give security much higher priority.
The customer’s always right KHURRAM JAVED MIR, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, KUALITATEM, BELIEVES ORGANISATIONS MUST LEVERAGE COGNITIVE TECHNOLOGIES IF THEY ARE TO PUT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AT THE CORE OF THEIR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STRATEGIES IN 2018. What are some of the technology changes and trends that CIOs can expect to see over the next year? There is a long list of far-reaching technological drifts that are expected to rule 2018. But cognitive technologies and customer experience (CX) will empower other connected technologies that are expected to rise even more than the previous year – specifically IoT, Big Data, and blockchain. Even Gartner has predicted AI and CX as significant highpoints that every mega business should and will aim to achieve, demonstrated by its survey which showed 59 percent of firms have already incorporated AI in their development systems, while others are planning to do so. The key strategy is to aim for CX in order to achieve the desired reputation in the competitive market, because the ubiquity of the “Internet of Things” is increasing and is showing no signs of stopping in 2018, or beyond.
NOTHING CAN PUT CYBERSECURITY IN THE BACKSEAT. IT WILL REMAIN AS THE CORE ELEMENT BEHIND EVERY TECHNOLOGY, SIMILAR TO HOW IT WAS IN PREVIOUS YEARS.”
That being said, nothing can put cybersecurity in the backseat. It will remain as the core element behind every technology, similar to how it was in previous years. CEOs are asking IT to do more less with help - how can your products/ solutions help them? It isn’t actually easy for every CEO to succeed in trending tech evolutions. But in the end, CEOs have to work hard to place their companies as front-runners. Noticeably, C level executives have to make intensive investments to achieve well- scripted business models and user-friendly applications that are verily tested and monitored. Kualitatem seeks to generate anticipated results at the end of every software/application development lifecycle. We follow techniques like Agile, DevOps, and scrum workflow to allow organisations to escape from the time and money constraints. Our testing services include quality assurance and automation testing, as well as testing the performance, functionality, usability and responsiveness of applications. We understand how minute and money fatigue can be mentally draining, and hence, it is vital that every CEO must look forward to catching up with some intelligent IT products.
OUR MISSION IS TO INTRODUCE INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO THE MOST NOTORIOUS PROBLEMS IN THE SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK, AS WE ARE AWARE THAT THOSE WHO DON’T FOLLOW THE RAPID TECHNOLOGY TRENDS COLLAPSE AND DISAPPEAR IN NO TIME.”
see the strongest growth in the coming years, with spending in both categories having increased around 4.3% in 2017, and expecting to push to over 6% in 2018. In summary, businesses will make huge investments in these technologies, which will in turn create a need for experts who deal in these areas. So, any IT person reading this should know where to focus on for the years to come!
Which technologies will experience the fastest growth? There is no doubt that the prevailing technology age is tremendously flourishing, with every tech person trying to tread along the fastest growing trends in the field. Tech analysts and protagonists have already announced what trends will dominate 2018 in view of the digital transformation and marketing trends. Artificial intelligence, CX/ UX, IoT, blockchain, cybersecurity, robotics, database administration, and programme engineering are going to be the fastest growing technologies that will govern 2018 from a technology perspective. In a report published by Forrester last year, they already predicted that software and tech consulting services spending will
KHURRAM JAVED MIR, chief marketing officer, Kualitatem
What is your organisation’s vision for next year and which are the new tech categories you are planning to invest in? Kualitatem is a hub of eager technologists working together on a vision to become front-runners in software quality assurance, information systems security and audits. We aim to excel at every challenging task and become a global harbinger in our field. Our most focused mission is to introduce innovative solutions to the most notorious problems in the security and development framework, as we are aware that those who don’t follow the rapid technology trends collapse and disappear in no time. We have already planned to invest in a few big names in the tech industry, as we see this as business-critical. We are highly motivated to invest in rising technology trends in the fields of artificial intelligence, blockchain, automation, IoT, and Big Data. While we are already encouraging our testers to learn the corresponding courses to help the company grow, we are keen to explore new tech-rich grounds in the coming 12 months.
World class brands. Just a call away. At Trigon we take pride in our distribution network, spreading across more than 15 countries – the Middle East, Africa and Asia. With 20 successful years in the business of distribution of world-class IT peripherals and services to our partners - dealers, resellers, retailers and corporate clientele, we at Trigon continue to innovate in all areas, building on the strength of our people and the quality of our brands. Our warehouse and logistics network, after sales support backed by state-of-the-art software, ensure seamless distribution. Trigon is one of the first IT distributor in the UAE to be awarded the coveted ISO certification. Together for a better tomorrow Bahrain: Dubai: Bahrain: Dubai: Kingdom Tower Bldg. 8, P.O. Box: 32610, Dubai, UAE P.O. Box: 75149, Manama P.O. Box: 32610, Dubai, UAE. Office 15, Exhibition Road. Tel: +971 4 342 6060 Kingdom of Bahrain +971 4 342 6060 P.O. BOX 75149, Manama, Bahrain Fax: +971 4t:354 7779 +973 172 92904 f: +971 4 354 7779 Tel: +973 t:1729 2904 E-mail: email@example.com +973 5183 172 95183 e: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: +973f:1729 e: email@example.com www.trgononline.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saudi Arabia: Office 508, Ofﬁce 508, Al Rossais Commercial Center Al Rossais Commercial Center, Olaya Street, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Olaya Street, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia t: +966 11 460 3114 Tel: +966 11 460 3114 f: Fax: +966+966 11 460113112 460 3112 e:Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Oman: Oman: Office 503, Trade Centre Trade Center 5th Floor Ofﬁce No.503, MBD East, Ruwi-Muscat MBD East Ruwi, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, Sultanate of Oman +968 24819423 Tel:t: +966 11 460 3114 f: +968 Fax: +96624819425 11 460 3112 e: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Securing the future
HUSNI HAMMOUD, GENERAL MANAGER FOR THE MIDDLE EAST AND TURKEY, BARRACUDA NETWORKS, AIMS TO INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY SIGNIFICANTLY TO SAFEGUARD CUSTOMERS’ OPERATIONS, BOTH ON-PREMISE AND IN THE CLOUD.
What are some of the technology changes and trends that CIOs can expect to see over the next year? Over the next year, due to fast-paced technology change it is challenging to make any predictions of consumer expectations. However, it’s possible to comment on the overall IT trends that we are confident will emerge in 2018. Artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are in midst of shifting from hype to mainstream understanding. Ransomware, spear phishing and data security will continue to be centre-stage as seen in the past year. CEOs are asking IT to do more with less resources – how can your products and solutions help them? While we maintain a strong
heritage in email and web security appliances, our awardwinning portfolio includes more than a dozen purpose-built solutions that support literally every aspect of the network – providing organisations of all sizes with true end-toend protection that can be deployed in hardware, virtual, cloud and mixed form factors.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS ARE IN MIDST OF SHIFTING FROM HYPE TO MAINSTREAM UNDERSTANDING. RANSOMWARE, SPEAR PHISHING AND DATA SECURITY WILL CONTINUE TO BE CENTRE-STAGE AS SEEN IN THE PAST YEAR.
The persistent stride of technology change is impacting CEOs’ expectations at a faster rate than ever, making any forecast challenging. However, we believe 2018 will be a breakthrough year for Barracuda Networks. We’re talking end-to-end managed security infrastructure for the network, AI and cybersecurity becoming commonplace drivers of value. Which technologies will experience the fastest growth? At this point in the digital transformation era, all industries are investing heavily in information technologies particularly cloud, Big Data and analytics, and mobility. Many have shifted their investment focus towards the ‘innovation accelerators’, such as the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence. While the investment strategies may differ from company to company, the objective remains the same: to reimagine and reconstruct the business to compete in the fast-paced digital economy that’s platform-powered and ecosystem-enabled. What is your organisation’s vision for next year and what are the new tech categories you are planning to invest in? At Barracuda, our vision and mission remain the same for 2018, we are here to be the security platform for IT professionals. We will carry on investing in technology that enables us to ensure our customers’ organisations remain protected whether that is on-premise or in the cloud. We will carry on providing an end to end managed infrastructure so that our customers can continue to detect, prevent and recover from the latest cyber threats.
General manager, Middle East and Turkey, Barracuda Networks
AT BARRACUDA, OUR VISION AND MISSION REMAIN THE SAME FOR 2018. WE ARE HERE TO BE THE SECURITY PLATFORM FOR IT PROFESSIONALS. WE WILL CARRY ON INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY THAT ENABLES US TO ENSURE OUR CUSTOMERS’ REMAIN PROTECTED WHETHER THAT IS ON-PREMISE OR IN THE CLOUD.”
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Core values AMER KHREINO, CEO, RAQMIYAT, DELVES INTO WHY IT IS IMPERATIVE FOR CHANNEL PARTNERS TO ENSURE VALUE-ADD IS A PART OF THEIR CORE OFFERINGS IN 2018.
How has the regional IT channel business model evolved in the last two years? The channel business continues to evolve and mature as vendors increase their focus on developing new platforms and harnessing the potential of cloudbased applications to accelerate the shift to digital. One of the key drivers to this evolution is the increased M&A activities in the technology space, particularly for those players involved in cloud, IoT and cybersecurity segments. In addition, the distribution space has also seen significant growth with channel players investing in value adding offerings through attractive core competency programmes such as demo centres, pre-sales support, training and marketing activities. As for systems integrators, I believe itâ€™s the consultative selling approach that is defining the strategy forward.
AMER KHREINO, CEO, Raqmiyat
In a cloud-enabled business environment, what role do resellers and solution providers play? Cloud presents businesses with numerous opportunities to redefine their strategies and focus it on building value to customers rather than moving boxes and connecting cables. In a cloudenabled environment, where technology platforms are ready with highest level of reliability, uptime and functionality, our role as SIs is to provide consultative services, post-sales services and
Profitability continues to be a key challenge for most players, how can this be addressed? The way I view profitability is different, as I believe it’s very highly proportional to a partner’s ability to add relevant value. In our market, there are many factors that are dragging profitability down including the fierce competition amongst the channel and the difficulty to differentiate your services. Other challenges include limited budgets and increased pressures from the board to do more with less resources. To improve profitability there should be a balance between investment in growth and driving best cost efficiencies.
cross-platform integration to enable users. We are in an era when IT is no longer just an enabler to our customers’ business but rather a driver to higher growth and excellence. Therefore, technology excellence should be at the core of everything that we do. Which technologies should channel partners focus on in the coming year? There are tens of new technologies that are worth investing in. Setting priorities ultimately depend on a company’s mid- and long-term goals. However, currently, blockchain is a very attractive technology to companies within the banking and government sectors. Internet of Things solutions and analytics are also ripe for investments as countries all over the world push their Smart City goals forward. Subsequently, cybersecurity is a key aspect to all that because as we become more interconnected we need to ensure that we secure our most vital assets, which is our data. Other interesting technologies that are seeing traction include autonomous vehicles that are smart, safe and sustainable. Artificial intelligence are also making headways in the manufacturing and retail space. Finally, cognitive computing also holds big promise to channel firms dealing with sectors such as medicine, law, audit and environment. What core services are you looking to offer this year? Our investments in IT managed services started reaping good fruits after many years of hard-work. Project management and consultancy services centred on digital transformation, high-level systems integration capabilities and project financing are among our core offerings and interest for the coming years.
TO IMPROVE PROFITABILITY THERE SHOULD BE A BALANCE BETWEEN INVESTMENT IN GROWTH AND DRIVING BEST COST EFFICIENCIES.”
Can you elaborate on the company’s vision for 2018 and your market predictions for the coming year? Raqmiyat is moving with great confidence towards a much better 2018, leveraging an empowered, lenient and agile structure. We have re-structured our operations to focus on areas of most importance to our growth within the banking, government, education and healthcare sectors. We believe that our Smart Business Solutions will continue driving new growth in our offerings for our core business (ERP, HCM, BI), digital transformation (digitisation, mobility and analytics) and cybersecurity. We also aim to enhance our Technical Staffing Solutions to provide high-quality services for cybersecurity and analytics. Our third business unit will continue serving our growing banking and financial sectors with new attractive technologies planned to be introduced in 2018 such as M-Pay and blockchain. We aim to offer these on top of other banking applications that we had successfully delivered during the past 10+ years, which include Electronic Clearing Systems (ICCS), Wage protection (WPS), Direct Debit (DDS) Fund Transfer (ETS), Taqreer 360 Intelligence Reporting and Cheque Security with imbedded QR Code. We expect to be amongst most beneficiaries during 2018 due to the investment we did in modernizing our sales and presales team, internal systems, strategic/technology associations and corporate governance. Our focus will be attracting best talents and consultants who believe in driving highest customer success. Passion, innovation and effective execution will be the three key attributes to our 2018 business plan.
SNB MIDDLE EAST
FAISAL QURESHI, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, SNB MIDDLE EAST BELIEVES THAT 2018 WILL BE THE YEAR FOR REGIONAL DIVERSIFICATION AND CHANNEL EXPANSION. How has the regional IT channel business model evolved in the last two years? When we look at the increasing disruption in the market, there has been a variety of contributing factors. These include expanded vendor partner ecosystems, new competition and a redefined distributor value proposition. Some or all of these factors will at some point impact a partner’s business, if they haven’t already. Nowadays, price and logistics are no longer the winning formula; solutions and services are. We at SNB maintain our working environment as per the value chain - right from intelligence to creation of delivery, to optimisation and all the way to customer satisfaction. There is no gain without risks, and those who study market conditions and undertake calculated risks are the ones on the path to success. In a cloud enabled business environment, what role do resellers and solution providers play? The cloud has become the preferred option of upgrading IT capabilities for both enterprises and SMBs. The main challenges for resellers are project management and getting paid in an orderly fashion; finding a way into the cloud infrastructure and
ADAPTING TO NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSIFICATION IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR.”
software-as-a-service is a separate challenge. A cloud-enabled organisation exploits new, disruptive cloud patterns and benefits to deliver next generation systems and services. Transforming into such a cloudenabled enterprise, however, requires a clear blueprint, a thorough recognition and understanding of key challenges and anti-cloud patterns, and a well-planned roadmap to succeed. The goal of a cloud-enabled enterprise should be to build and cultivate a trusted cloud ecosystem made up of cloud service providers, consultants, integrators, and partners who deliver better, more costeffective services, new delivery channels, greater agility, and faster responsiveness to business and client demands - all while providing data confidentiality, security and privacy, and an increasingly evergreen cloud-based service environment. Which technologies channel partners should focus on in the coming year? Technologies and market trends are growing day by day. It’s really important for marketers to work with these trends simultaneously or otherwise they would lose their scope in the market. Some of the really good tech oriented products and services channel partners should focus on include cloud computing, IoT, virtual reality and cybersecurity. Which core services that you are looking to offer this year? We are a partner centric organisation with 100 percent of our business coming through channels. We are looking at ways to help partners enhance their skills and to give them more opportunities. SNB Middle East will continue to offer solutions in IT security across a variety of fields, including CCTV surveillance, networking and data storage. In 2018, we are expanding are product portfolio by investing in access control systems business line. In addition, we are looking at enhancing our marketing campaigns and promotional value through managing and promoting the partner ecosystem on behalf of a vendor. The highest value service that we can provide to our clients and partners is sales and market analysis and branding activities. Our bond with strong business alliances with the world’s leading IT vendors for innovation solutions is also something that shall be always maintained.
SNB MIDDLE EAST
Profitability continues to be a key challenge for most players, how can this be addressed? Low margins continue to be one of the biggest problems for regional IT players. By offering value-added services, they are able to enhance their margins considerably. A channel relationship is a twoway process; both distributors and resellers need to maintain good communication and keep their commitments in order to have profitable business model. Regional organisations are gradually beginning to outsource more and more IT functions to third party service providers in order to shrink their operational costs and enhance productivity.
FAISAL QURESHI, regional director, SNB
Can you elaborate on the companyâ€™s vision for 2018 and your market predictions for the coming year? Our industry is ever evolving and the markets keep adjusting to the paradigm shift. Adapting to new technologies and geographical diversification is the need of the hour. With our operations spread across the Middle East, it helps to keep up pace through the year. We have ventured into new territories including Pakistan, Egypt and India with the bestof-breed technologies, but 2018 will be the year for channel expansion and regional diversification. As a VAD, partner training is an integral part of our services, which we provide to our resellers and system integrators across the region. We will continue to show our commitment to our channel by offering various training programs periodically for both sales and technical resources. Our primary objective is to nurture long-term relationship with existing channel partners, identify and develop new potential partners and be customer centric.
Seize the Digital Business Opportunity Join the most influential gathering of CIOs, Senior IT Executives and Business Leaders from the GCC and MENA regions.
As the GCC and MENA regions enter a new era of government and business transformation, â€˜digital-firstâ€™ has become the new mantra. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018 in Dubai focuses on the leadership, organizational, cultural, business and technology challenges aligned to regional transformation programs, visions and initiatives.
5-7 March, 2018 / Dubai, UAE
Drawing on research and insights from the worldâ€™s leading technology research firm, this is your opportunity to validate, enhance and scale your strategies for digital business and growth. Join us in March 2018 and position your organization at the pinnacle of global competitiveness!
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