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Published by Business Media International Registered office: Office 10, Sharjah Media City www.bmi-digital.com Editor in Chief Raman Narayan narayan@bmimea.com Mob: 971-55-7802403 Sales Director Ankit Shukla ankit@bmimea.com Tel: 971-4-2618885, Mob: 971-552572807 EDitors Baraka Jefwa baraka@bmimea.com Tel: 971-4-2618885 Mob: 971 50 237 3005 Circulation manager Bhawana Bhatia bhawana@bmimea.com Tel: 971-4-2618885 Sales R. Subramanyan subu@bmimea.com Tel: 971-4-2618885 Finance Akhilesh Pandey akhilesh@bmimea.com Tel: 971-4-2618885 Design Ali Raza ali@qnamarcom.com Tel: 971-4-2618885

THE SEASON TO BE WARY With 2019’s headlines of ransomware, malware, and RDP attacks almost behind us, we shift our focus to the cybercrime threats ahead. Armed with the knowledge that cyber criminals are always on the job, cyber security experts, including the CISO, who represents the top brass of individuals looking after organizations’ cyber security strategies, are also evolving in their roles. A recent F5 commissioned research by the Ponemon Institute found that 60% of CISOs believe cyber-security is now a business priority. This report highlights how modern-day companies are becoming more aware of how these threats affect their bottom lines and are thus starting to give security the attention it deserves. There is still room for improvement however as the report explains that a notable proportion of companies are not even purchasing and deploying new security technologies to deal with potential new risks (32%). Improving on this should be key for organisations that want to continually celebrate a new year of operation. In order to keep up with the bad guys, companies need to keep updating their strategies for dealing with the constant threat of being compromised. The need to stay ahead of cybercriminals and the advancements in technologies has given rise to new strategies and solutions to keep the threats at bay. a key strategy to keep an eye on is the use of deception. With deception technology products, organisations can detect, analyse, and defend against zero-day and advanced attacks, and most often in real time. These technogies help target the malware that would be probably already within the networks, moving around unimpeded for months, stealing data and intellectual property. Many organizations are in various stages of evaluation and proof of concept deployments when it comes to these technologies. Indeed, deception technologies should be on the radar of companies looking to stay secure.

Baraka Jefwa Editor, CIO One

Management Chairman S.N. Tiwari

CEO Saumyadeep Halder

Publisher Raman Narayan

Managing Director Ankit Shukla





December 2019 Cio one - 03


CONTENTS cover story

Transformation IN TOP GEAR

CASE STUDIES Leading FMCG company chooses Oracle cloud to accelerate growth


Al Safeer group chooses SAP HANA to stay ahead of competition costs



column Dell Technologies commits to driving uae towards a digital ready economy


interviews A future ready manufacturing industry


Enabling a data-driven future


Shaping the future of logistics automation in the middle east


How CIOS and IT teams can prepare for life on the edge


What the entry of global public cloud providers means for the middle east


Artificial intelligence can transform field operations. Here’s how


ROUND TABLE Next generation IT infrastructure powered DX

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22 News


New Tech




+971 4 880 9022 info.me@me.dlink.com




Leading Technology Solution provider addresses data-parsing and automation issues at DXB and delivers world-class optimization solution to streamline the passenger experience DTP recently announced the successful deployment of DTP tNexus Message Hub system and Dassault Systèmes DELMIA Quintiq fixed resource planning application, at Dubai International (DXB). This most recent project at DXB will enable the world’s busiest hub to optimize the utilization of its fixed resources and overcome data-capture issues. These improvements will allow DXB to deliver an optimized traveller experience. DXB is the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic, supporting more than 65 airlines flying to 240 destinations. In 2018, it served more than 89 million passengers, almost double the 47 million served in 2010. As it continues to secure its competitive position as the busiest global hub for international passenger traffic, one of the biggest challenges for Dubai Airports, the operator of DXB, is maintaining operational efficiency and high quality of service levels. For a long time, airports using traditional tools for resource planning had to grapple with static preferences and restrictive rules.

Given its aviation expertise and its proven track-record of technology implementations at world-class airports, DTP was selected to implement the DELMIA Quintiq application. This optimization application is fully integrated in the airport IT landscape and has automated capacity optimization for fixed resources, which include 212 airport stands, 142 gates, 526 check-in counters and 28 baggage belts across multiple time horizons from operational to strategic. Additionally, the DELMIA Quintiq application’s in-built flexibility makes it easily adaptable and scalable to all future expansions. In order for Dubai Airports to harness the full potential of the DELMIA Quintiq application, it had to be integrated with external stakeholders’ systems, within the airport’s ecosystem, like the hub carriers and ground handler. “One of the major challenges faced by airports today is the limited and outdated message parsing capability which lead to information gaps and the loss of data vital to smooth operations,” said Abdul Razzak Mikati, Managing Director, DTP. “To address this pain-

point, we developed tNexus Message Hub, an industry-first solution that we believe will be a game-changer for the sector. DTP tNexus Message Hub provides the ability to parse 38 different types of custom, non-standard and standard messages, such as IATA Type B, ATC and email attachments. The system can process high volumes of messages from numerous sources, including non-standard communication channels.” “By partnering with DTP and Dassault Systèmes to deploy the latest technologies and drive digital transformation across our properties, we are extremely proud that DXB is one of the first airports in the world to implement real-time optimization to efficiently allocate resources and consequently deliver on the promise we have made to passengers of a customer experience that is second-tonone,” said Frank McCrorie, SVP Operations at Dubai Airports.

UAE’s MOCD PARTNERS WITH MICROSOFT TO PROTECT AGAINST ADVANCED CYBERTHREATS Ministry looks to its digital perimeter and forms new security posture to defend against endpoint attacks, advanced threats, fileless attacks and zero-day exploits

Sayed Hashish

General Manager, Microsoft UAE The UAE’s Ministry of Community Development (MOCD) teamed up with Microsoft to better secure its digital assets and protect against cyber-attacks. The ministry will adopt Microsoft’s Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to protect its digital perimeter and respond to endpoint attacks, advanced threats, fileless attacks and zero-day exploits. “As we work to improve social development in the UAE, and pursue the national agenda for Vision 2021, our responsibility to strengthen family coherence and consolidate the position of our nation as a place of happiness will rely more and more on a stable technology environment,” said Saeed Abdulla, Information Technology Advisor – Minister’s Office,

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UAE Ministry of Community Development. “To protect, detect and respond to sophisticated and advanced threats, we partnered with Microsoft to implements its security and compliance solutions. Our partnership will ensure seamless fulfilment of the vision our wise leaders have for our citizens and our country.” Considering how the threats landscape is evolving every day, third-party anti-virus solutions was insufficient to guard against sophisticated, fileless and zero-day threats, MOCD opted to standardise its cybersecurity strategy using Microsoft Defender ATP, leading to a simplification of operations and a more coherent defence of its digital estate. “Microsoft believes a new security approach is needed for today’s digital era,” said Sayed Hashish, General Manager, Microsoft UAE. “We must prioritise trust at the core of our technology, so we can empower every per-

son and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. We use our unique insights into the threat landscape and collaboration with our partner ecosystem to build a safer world for our customers. We are proud to partner with the Ministry of Community Development, against cyber attackers, and bolster the ministry’s perimeter against a daily siege. That way, its innovators can concentrate on improving people’s lives while being amply protected against those with a more sinister outlook.” To address this dire need for trusted, secure and intelligent cloud services, Microsoft announced two datacentres in the UAE which will cater to governments and businesses by providing them enterprise-grade reliability and security, combined with data residency and the broadest compliance.


NUTANIX REINFORCES COMMITMENT IN SAUDI ARABIA BY OPENING NEW OFFICE, HIRING RESOURCES Company invests in new office, in addition to hiring resources in order to accelerate business growth

Mohammad Abulhouf

Country Manager, KSA-Bahrain, Nutanix Nutanix, a leader in enterprise cloud computing, announced that it is further investing in Saudi Arabia by opening a new office and hiring new technical and sales resources in order to better support customers and partners. The company has been posting revenue growth, driven in part by the increasing uptake of the company’s market leading hyperconverged infrastructure solutions by enterprises in the Kingdom looking to embrace the power of cloud computing.

Mohammad Abulhouf, Country Manager Saudi & Bahrain at Nutanix says, “Against the backdrop of Saudi Vision 2030 which outlines the government’s intent on developing the digital economy, digital transformation and cloud computing has become an imperative for enterprises in Saudi. We see a lot of companies making the transition to a multi-cloud environment. In this scenario, Nutanix’s value proposition of modernizing datacentre infrastructure and making clouds invisible is very appealing to customers. Our solutions help enterprises embrace the power of hybrid clouds by eliminating pain points, and enabling them to manage, govern and optimize applications across public and private cloud architectures.” Over the past year, the company has expanded its channel base and seen growing interest from customers. An example of one of its customer successes is Saudi Arabian Capital Markets Authority (CMA) that partnered with Nutanix to transform its datacentre infrastructure - to improve manageability of its operations, reduce running costs and provide better IT support to internal users. Nutanix Saudi is very much committed to

Saudization and empowering local caliber to drive business. Recently, Nutanix started hiring both male and female Saudi engineers in order to have the right diversity in its workforce. To further accelerate growth, the company recently signed partnership agreements with two leading system integrators in the Kingdom - International Systems Engineering (ISE) and Advanced Electronics Company (AEC). The partnerships aim to leverage the strengths of Nutanix’s market-leading hyperconverged infrastructure solutions and the strong capabilities that ISE and AEC have in technology implementations. In terms of channel initiatives, keeping in mind the key role that the channel ecosystem plays in helping drive Nutanix’s growth, the company recently introduced updates to its Channel Charter with the intention of increasing profitability for partners selling the company’s solutions. “We believe that with our increased investment into Saudi Arabia, we are well placed to address the cloud computing needs of enterprises in the Kingdom and further continue our business growth,” concluded Abulhouf.

UNIVERSITY OF SHARJAH IMPLEMENTS VIRTUALIZED DESKTOPS WITH VMWARE Deployment set to bring significant cost savings in IT support, helpdesk call volume, desktop management and hardware costs The University of Sharjah has implemented virtualized desktops with VMware in an extensive project to transform the way the organization’s 14,000 students and 610 faculty interact with IT and share information. This is part of the university’s digital strategy to attract the best students and lecturers amid strong global competition. The university deployed VMware Horizon 7 to increase the freedom of students and faculty members to work from anywhere and on any device, while also increasing the efficiency of the delivery of IT services and strengthening security. The technology was first introduced for academic staff and laboratories, before being deployed for all students. The deployment is also bringing significant cost savings in IT support, helpdesk call volume, desktop management and hardware costs. Centralized management of desktops also gives more robust and easier-to-admin-

ister security. The solution has helped the University of Sharjah to increase the flexibility by delivering Windows desktops and applications to non-Windows devices. VDI also lowered the total cost of ownership per desktop, allowing the university to replace and repurpose PCs with thin clients.

Robert Irving

University of Sharjah

to anytime, anywhere learning.”

The system also enabled Bring Your Own Device policies to be implemented without sacrificing IT security or control, which helped in modernising the university’s approach to the delivery and management of content.

Irving and his team are also interested in how wearable technology, which is seeing high levels of adoption among students and staff, can be harnessed for the benefit of learning. Irving believes there is potential to harness the data-collecting functionality of wearables and integrate them into the learning environment and administration systems.

Rob Irving, IT director at the University of Sharjah, said: “This project with VMware has made the college more agile as the users can quickly get the resources to launch new services that benefit the students, faculty and staff. The IT empowers the college, students and faculty to be successful by giving access

The University of Sharjah, an Emirati private national university, was founded by its current president and chairman, the ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, in 1997. The university has 14 colleges offering many programmes at the diploma, bachelor, masters and doctoral levels.

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MANUAL CONTRACT PROCESSING COSTS BUSINESSES NEARLY $13MN ANNUALLY, FINDS 4C RESEARCH The EMEA-wide survey also found that the lack of contract process automation is resulting in wasted resources

Jake Callaway

Managing Director, MENA, 4C Although organisations are successfully undertaking digital transformation initiatives to streamline businesses processes, contract management - a vital function within companies of all sectors and sizes - remains largely manual resulting in a significant impact on revenues and operations. New research by 4C estimates the average resulting loss of business at over $12.9 million per year, with over a third of respondents facing annual loses of $1 million or more. The EMEA-wide survey also found that the lack of contract process automation is resulting in wasted resources, with companies spending an average of 69 hours per month processing agreements and one in ten (10%) spending over 200 hours per month - equivalent to one working month.

“While Middle East businesses have made exemplary strides in digital innovation, these have often been in the front-end systems that customers directly engage with. However, it is just as important to effectively digitize back-office processes which have just as much impact on customer experience. This is why a centralized system that unifies front and back end functions to deliver visibility through the entire process lifecycle can prove incredibly valuable to any organization,” said Jake Callaway, Managing Director, MENA at 4C. “When we undertook this research, we were surprised to find that just eight percent of respondents have a fully automated process for managing agreements. Considering that business relationships ultimately hinge on underlying contracts, by failing to optimize their preparation, signing, activation and management, organizations are exposing themselves to risks that could easily be mitigated,” he added. 4C’s research supports Callaway’s advice as it found that most companies have experienced issues as a result of non-automation. These include unintentionally allowing agreements

or contracts to expire (42%); human error, such as incorrect document disposal (58%) and time delays to projects (59%) and agreement crossover, with for example people signing different versions of the same document (43%). Shedding light on the challenges that companies face in the automation of contract management, the survey found that 36% cite concerns around data security. Internal issues are also a key barrier, with competing business priorities (37%), company culture (34%), a company preference for hard copy agreements (33%) and a lack of stakeholder buy-in (30%) emerging as the main internal challenges. Despite these hurdles, an encouraging majority (59%) of organizations see full digitisation and moving towards automation of their manual agreement processes as very important to their business. These organizations outlined their key perceived benefits to be regulatory compliance (41%) and data safety (36%). A further third stated cost reduction (33%), while just under a third expect higher employee productivity (32%) and an improved customer experience (31%) to be outcomes of their investment.

SANS INSTITUTE IDENTIFIES SECURITY BLIND SPOTS AS ORGANISATIONS TACKLE ADVANCED THREATS Sheds light on visibility gaps and security complications introduced by the growing adoption of cloud services

Matt Bromiley

Digital Forensics & Incident Response instructor, SANS Institute

As the quantity and frequency of advanced threats continue to accelerate, a SANS Institute survey, "Effectively Addressing Advanced Threats," has found that a continued lack of visibility and the complexity of managing data across both on-premise and cloud infrastructures is further complicating the battle against such threats. Of the organisations surveyed, 74% have a blend of on-premise and cloud environments, in many cases using multiple cloud providers. The survey, of 366 security and IT professionals across various industries worldwide, provides insights into how organisations deal

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with advanced threats and highlights key technology challenges and limitations that organisations are self-identifying in their efforts to detect and respond to highly sophisticated cyberattacks. According to the findings, 48 percent of respondents said they lack visibility into what data and where data is being processed within the organisation. Access to sensitive data by insecure, unmanaged devices or individuals as well as a lack of geolocation information of the data were also identified as concerning blind spots. When asked about the major barriers to detecting and remediating advanced threats, nearly half of the respondents emphasised an inability to understand or baseline normal user behaviour, with shortages in funding and resources coming in as a close second. Conversely, account or credential hijacking and

privileged user abuse topped the list of major threats and risks realised within respondents' environments. The survey, which was sponsored by IBM Security, also looked at the challenges that respondents face within their cloud infrastructures, and found that a lack of visibility remains at the core of their limitations. When it comes to major gaps in the security analytics of their cloud-based infrastructure, survey found: more than half of the respondents have concerns about integrating data with analytics tools and combining data across cloud environments; nearly 55 percent struggle with a lack of integration between current security analytics tools and cloud infrastructure and approximately 43 percent face a lack of threat insights targeting cloud environments.


MIMECAST ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF DMARC ANALYZER Acquisition offers powerful brand protection with stronger blocking of spoofing attacks Mimecast Limited, a leading email and data security company, announced it has acquired DMARC Analyzer, a SaaS-based solution provider that offers user-friendly Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) setup, management and analysis. With this acquisition, Mimecast customers can address threats at the email perimeter, inside the email network, and beyond their immediate purview. DMARC Analyzer’s simple and effective service offerings help reduce the time, effort and cost of stopping domain spoofing attacks. By combining Mimecast defenses with DMARC Analyzer’s reporting and email validation solution, customers can now further strengthen their cyber resilience with robust visibility into attacks that defraud customers, suppliers and partners. “DMARC adoption is growing as more organizations look to ensure their email is authenticated,” said Peter Bauer, Chief Executive Officer at Mimecast. “With the power of Mimecast’s Cyber Resilience platform, we now have the brand and domain protection ca-

pabilities so we can better serve our customers beyond the perimeter.” Impersonation and spoofing are a significant issue for organizations, as these types of attacks are growing at a much faster rate than standard malware. In research recently conducted by Mimecast and Vanson Bourne, 65 percent of the respondents reported seeing an increase in impersonation attacks. Using DMARC can help organizations better protect against brand damage caused by phishing or spoofing attacks. Yet, Mimecast’s research found that only a third of respondents were using DMARC. The acquisition of DMARC Analyzer strengthens Mimecast’s Email Security 3.0 approach which delivers perimeter to pervasive email security for organizations that need comprehensive protection at the perimeter, inside the perimeter and beyond the perimeter. DMARC Analyzer will provide Mimecast customers a more integrated solution for stronger visibility, governance, and brand protection across all email channels. The ability

Peter Bauer

CEO, Mimecast to implement DMARC efficiently as well as to hunt for and take action against threats using impersonation, will help customers protect their brands and domains that defraud customers and partners. "We are very excited to become part of Mimecast. This will help us leverage threat intelligence to better protect our customers against phishing and spoofing attacks. Mimecast’s global footprint will help DMARC Analyzer to achieve our mission and simplify DMARC deployment,” said Dirk Jan Koekkoek, Chief Executive Officer at DMARC Analyzer.

CUBIC TELECOM PARTNERS WITH ETISALAT The partnership adds UAE to the global connected car footprint for leading automotive manufacturers Global connectivity management software provider Cubic Telecom has partnered with Etisalat, one of the world’s leading telecom groups in emerging markets and the leading operator in the UAE. The partnership will enable drivers and passengers to benefit from mobility applications such as music streaming, onboard content, telematics, road assistant and will pave the way to launch 5G based multi-model transportation solutions. The solution will go live in 2020 and is provided via Cubic’s PACE global software platform, providing automotive manufacturers with software features, industry standards and compliance with all UAE telecom, internet, data security and business regulations. All new car models delivered to the UAE market in 2020 are required by law to include eCall functionality which notifies transportation authorities in case of emergency. This will help to reduce time to respond in such cases. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Gerry Mc-

Quaid, Cubic Telecom’s Chief Commercial Officer commented, “This partnership is an important milestone for Cubic Telecom. Etisalat is a recognised innovator across the Middle East, Asia and Africa and is a key driver of digital transformation in the Middle East. Working together in close partnership, we have achieved industry-first connected car capabilities which are fully compliant with local regulations. Cubic Telecom operates a comprehensive global compliance programme to ensure our OEM customers can market their products safely in all of their global markets. This collaboration with Etisalat enables Cubic Telecom to offer our global OEM customers the benefits of our PACE Automotive solution with seamless deployment in the important UAE market. “ Esam Mahmoud, Senior Vice President, Small & Medium Business, Etisalat said “This partnership is in line with our overall strategy to ‘Drive the digital future to empower societies’ that aims to bring the latest in technology to digitally transform businesses and the lives of people in the country. Keeping with the evolution of the IoT era, it underpins Etisalat’s commitment to support the nation’s long-term

strategy in promoting digitization initiatives and developing the connected ecosystem of the UAE, including autonomous transportation. The formal signing took place as part of the Irish Government trade mission facilitated by Enterprise Ireland to the Middle East, led by Minister for Trade, Business and Employment, Pat Breen. Speaking at the ceremony Minister Pat Breen said; “I am delighted to lead this trade mission to the UAE to support Ireland’s growing bilateral trading relationship with the Emirates. Cubic Telecom is an example of a progressive, forward-looking company that contributes to Ireland’s strong reputation for innovation on a global scale. The high calibre of Irish companies operating in the UAE, typified by Cubic Telecom, helps to strengthen Ireland’s reputation in what is a very competitive sector”.

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AVAYA BRINGS FLEXIBLE UC, CC CONSUMPTION MODEL TO EMEA & APAC REGIONS Enables company’s customers to shift from Capex to Opex for its cloud, hybrid, and on-premise UC and CC solutions, enabling faster time-to-value and reduced risk Avaya launched its new Avaya IXTM Subscription program in the international market, making it easier than ever for EMEA and APAC customers to purchase and consume Avaya’s world-class communications and collaboration solutions to drive their business growth. Showcased at Avaya ENGAGE Dubai, the premier international event for the future of communications experience, the Avaya subscription program provides customers with a flexible new consumption-based alternative to traditional perpetual pricing models, and can also facilitate their transition to cloud. Avaya IX Subscription gives customers the flexibility to scale consumption of Avaya’s contact center and unified communications solutions based on their unique needs. This comprehensive new program offering monthly or annual subscription payments enables customers to avoid the complexity and cost of software licensing and contract renewals and instead focus on growing their businesses. Additional benefits to customers of the program include lowered business risk, increased

operational agility, streamlined budgeting and purchasing processes, and maximum flexibility when adding new services and users. Avaya IX Subscription includes access to the latest software releases, the freedom to flex up to 20 percent over the number of subscribed users at no additional charge and support from the company’s award-winning services organization. “We continue to offer our customers the widest possible choice for deployment options, and as part of that, we’re now able to extend a subscription model for on-premise communications infrastructures. We expect our customers to shift from an on-premise deployment paradigm to a private or public cloud architecture over the next two to three years, and Avaya IX Subscription provides a convenient stepping stone on that journey towards the cloud,” said Yaser Al Zubaidi, Senior Director – Engagement Solutions, Avaya International. “Avaya IX Subscription also highlights the fliexibility inherent in Avaya’s solutions, which can be consumed across a range of

Yaser Alzubaidi

Senior Director – Digital Engagement Solutions, Avaya International

deployment models, and are fully capable of fitting into any given organization’s hybrid cloud strategy.” As part of the Avaya IX Subscription program, the company is providing trade-in and upgrade offers for existing customers to protect and extend the current investments in their Avaya communications infrastructure. Customers can trade-in their existing perpetual licenses for credits to be applied towards their subscription payments. For customers not running on the latest Avaya software releases, Avaya is also offering a “Experience Avaya” program to upgrade to Avaya OneCloud or Avaya IX on-premise software.

HELP AG, SENTINELONE PARTNER TO ARM MIDDLE EASTERN ENTERPRISES AGAINST ENDPOINT ATTACKS Company intends to utilize the vendor’s technologies within its own Cybersecurity Operations Centre

Tamer Odeh

Regional Sales Director ME, SentinelOne

Help AG, the region’s leading cybersecurity solutions, services and consultancy provider, has signed an agreement with SentinelOne, the autonomous endpoint protection company. As IT strategies adopt cloud and mobile-first approaches, increasing the number of connected devices on organisations’ networks, cybercriminals have shifted their focus towards targeting users and endpoint devices. With SentinelOne’s ability to mitigate the effects of attacks even after infection, this partnership enables Help AG to arm Middle Eastern enterprises against endpoint attacks. “Organisations around the world are fed up with passive legacy anti-virus solutions, and

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are looking for one agent to protect them from the increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks that are being leveraged across all the major threat vectors,” said Tamer Odeh, Regional Sales Director - Middle East at SentinelOne. “We’re very much looking forward to introducing customers in the Middle East to our autonomous endpoint protection platform. After all, we’re still the only platform defending every endpoint against every type of attack, at every stage in the threat lifecycle.” What sets SentinelOne apart from traditional antivirus providers is the company’s behavioral, machine-based models. By detecting almost any type of attack without any prior knowledge, this affords organizations protection in the rapidly evolving threat landscape. The vendor’s automated endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution provides rich forensic data and can mitigate threats automatically, perform network isolation, and auto-immunize the endpoints against newly discovered threats. As a final safety measure, SentinelOne can even rollback an endpoint to

its pre-infected state. SentinelOne’s patented in-product automated remediation and threat hunting capabilities redefine legacy Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). The company is aggressively developing its new security platform to help bring AI-driven autonomous protection technology to enterprises across the globe. Help AG intends to utilize the vendor’s technologies within its own Cybersecurity Operations Centre (CSOC). This will enable Help AG to leverage these solutions in the delivery of its market-leading Managed Security Services (MSS) offerings. Proof of the industry-leading security capabilities of SentinelOne platform is the fact that the company has earned NSS Labs’ coveted ‘Recommended’ rating, scoring a 99.79% in effectiveness and achieving the highest return on investment (ROI) out of 15 competing endpoint protection solutions.

news insight

Dell Technologies commits to driving UAE towards a digital ready economy The event showcased advanced solutions portfolio that can enable organizations in the UAE to become future-ready, digital enterprises With digital transformation being a major area of focus for businesses and government across the UAE, Dell Technologies has reinforced its commitment to advancing the country’s ICT agenda. The Dell Technologies Forum 2019 that was held in Dubai, brought together business leaders and industry experts to share their insights on how technology can help shape the future success of businesses in the country. According to the Global Competitive Index 2019 issued by the World Economic Forum, the ICT sector in the UAE achieved significant progress in the global ranking as it moved from 6th to 2nd place. The 2019 edition of the Dell Technologies Forum served as a platform for knowledge sharing and best practices that aim to enhance and transform the ICT landscape in the UAE. The event also provided a blueprint for how ICT transformation initiatives can enable organizations to become digital enterprises of the future by showcasing next-generation technologies that support Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT). Dr. Patricia Florissi, Vice President and Global Chief Technology Officer of Sales for Dell Technologies was the opening keynote speaker and shared insights on how technology can drive human progress. She highlighted the importance of the role of data in fueling the success of digital transformation initiatives and how emerging technologies will turn data into value, giving organizations a competitive advantage to succeed in a digital era.

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Fady Richmany, Sr. Director and General Manager - UAE at Dell Technologies, said, “the UAE continues to place ICT at the heart of its development strategy as it becomes a competitive and dynamic digital economy. It is therefore important that organizations ensure that their IT infrastructure enables them to compete in a hyper-digital world and are laying the foundations for their digital future. At Dell Technologies, we are committed to helping our customers and partners unlock new enterprise value as they advance their digital roadmap, pursue innovation and continue building momentum in the country.” The forum included a panel discussion featuring Dell’s customers in the region. The discussants who included: Mohammed Amin, Sr. Vice-President, Middle East, Russia, Af-

rica and Turkey at Dell Technologies, Sarah Al Najjar, VP of Information Technology at, Abu Dhabi Ports, Yousef Al Shaiba, CTO, Ajman Municipality and Mohammed Al Rais, Vice President of Information Technology at ENOC offered insights on the digital transformation journeys within their organisations. Sarah Al Najjar, VP of Information Technology at, Abu Dhabi Ports explained to the audience how digital technologies play an important role in improving logistics, by using real time data through a consolidated portal. On his part, Yousef Al Shaiba, CTO, Ajman Municipalitgy noted that E-transformation strategy in the public sector has to have people and happiness at the heart in order for it to work.

news insight Mohammed Al Rais, Vice President of Information Technology at ENOC discussed how crucial data driven technology is within the energy sector. Noting that in the energy sector one needs data innovation to survive as it is very competitive. Mohammed Amin, Sr. Vice-President, Middle East, Russia, Africa and Turkey at Dell Technologies, said, “Our primary focus is to help organizations accelerate national and business transformation initiatives with speed and purpose as we work together to power the innovation agenda of the UAE. Given the reach of digital technology and the change it promises, there is a need to shepherd these exciting technologies without diminishing its energy and potential. Dell Technologies is committed to making transformation real for organizations across UAE and we look forward to the opportunities that the forum presents to not only strengthen our position as trusted advisors to our customers and partners, but also help businesses chart a successful digital roadmap for

the future.”

DIGITIZATION SPURS DEVELOPMENT OF NEW SECTORS The informative sessions held at the event examined how digitization spurs the development of new sectors that include but not limited to: Artificial Intelligence, e-commerce, mobile financial services, IoT, cloud computing and more. It also highlighted the positive impact it would have on the national GDP and how companies across industries such as logistics, infrastructure, trade, finance and more can enhance their productivity, efficiency and profitability without compromising on quality. This in turn is in line with the UAE’s strategy to be at the forefront of innovation across key sectors of growth. Another key aspect of Dell Technologies Forum 2019 Dubai was its focus on how technology is driving positive societal impact. As part

of its ‘Progress Made Real Vision 2030’ social impact framework, Dell Technologies is committed to changing the world by advancing sustainability, cultivating inclusion, transforming lives with technology and upholding ethics and data privacy. The event also included specific workshops and breakout sessions led by experts from the Dell Technologies family on the move to the cloud, improving cybersecurity, AI and Machine Learning as well as 5G technology. These sessions were built around four key transformation pillars that include: Digital, IT, Workforce and Security and will enable business leaders to identify how they can use advanced technologies to drive growth and improve competitiveness. The forum included a panel discussion on ‘Women in Technology’ that saw vibrant and thought-provoking discussions from senior female leaders around core issues relevant to the experience of women in the ICT sector today.

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A FUTURE READY MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY Khalid Jalal, Senior Group ICT Manager at Bahrain-based Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill (GARMCO) one of the largest downstream aluminium facilities in the Middle East with a customer base of over 2000 in more than 45 countries and 75% of exports outside GCC, speaks on automation integration in the manufacturing industry and what it could mean for GARMCO — By Baraka Jefwa

Can you tell me a little about yourself and your role in driving digital transformation within GARMCO? I am the Senior Group ICT Manager, looking after the ICT functions of GARMCO in HQ and at its subsidiaries globally. I am also responsible for the group level digital transformation initiatives. GARMCO’s HQ is based in Kingdom of Bahrain and has subsidiaries in USA, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. GARMCO has always believed in automation and integration and in this current era, for a business to sustain itself it must ensure it has the latest technological solutions in place. We have always been on this journey and we will continue to innovate.

What are some of GARMCO’s recent technology deployments? Are there any new technologies you are exploring for the future? Our ICT vision and mission are aligned with our corporate vision and mission. Consolidation and integration had started at our HQ and then the focus was extended to our global subsidiaries. Systems and applications were unified, live workloads were migrated to AWS to meet the Government regulations and change the CAPEX to OPEX model. All our IT systems were integrated with MES system which were fully integrated with PLCs. Innovation is part of our ICT strategy, we always explore better technologies, solutions and processes and try to innovate. Our strategy covers various areas of improvements using the cloud and AI based technologies. We will be exploring more on RPA for further automation and innovation, voice command-based applications to help expedite the search of data for prompt and better decision making by

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management and Sales teams. 3D Printing for manufacturing and face recognition-based AI algorithms for safety tracking to improve the safety and improve the employee happiness index.

What are some of the key challenges facing organizations trying to innovate in the manufacturing industry?

Khalid Jalal

Senior Group ICT Manager, GARMCO

The manufacturing industry is trying to speed up technology adoption in order to cope with the Industry 4.0 compliance. There are various challenges being faced by the manufacturing industries in Middle East, for example: the compatibility of new technologies with legacy machineries, cost of upgrades v/s buy new, time to maintain v/s time to upgrade, Skilled Resources availability and retention, Global market situation to name but a few.

Can you talk about some use cases of AI, ML and RPA that excite you when it comes to the manufacturing industry? Employee safety is always the top priority in any manufacturing and the AI technology is very useful in meeting the safety KPIs. Due to huge number of repetitive tasks at various segments of business, RPA is proved to help not only reducing the processing time, but it is also helping to improve the work efficiency. There are various repetitive processes in Fi-

nance, HR and ICT which can be immediately replaced with RPA to save time, money and improve resources utilization. Cybercrime is a major threat and AI preventive solutions are making a good progress with the help of ML to tackle this. Going forward AI will be more mature and may also help securing user profiles on social media from ransomware and impersonating risks.

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment as CIO of GARMCO to date? As a CIO, I have ensured all levels within my team are fully empowered when it comes to their work. I strongly believe, to get the right work done and for the self-development of your team, empowerment is the key. We have successfully achieved standardization and consolidation at head office and at subsidiary level globally. We are working with business teams within the organization towards industry 4.0 as a future roadmap.

COVER Feature

TRANSFORMATION IN TOP GEAR In the midst of the digital revolution, many organisations across different verticals are taking a step back to revaluate the technologies they use and what they need on the journey ahead

— By Baraka Jefwa

Revolution is typically a sudden change in a political context in a political sense. In an industrial context, the term revolution refers to a paradigm change in terms of introducing a radically new set of tools and approaches to work such as production in a factory for instance. The First Industrial Revolution, which used water and steam power to mechanize production, began somewhere close to 1760. Two Industri16 - Cio one December 2019

al revolutions later and fast forward to the present, we are currently in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is heralding a digital transformation of workflows. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. As a

result of this fusion the Fourth Industrial Revolution has led to a number of digital transformation initiatives in a number of business sectors which is in turn disrupting how businesses operate and how consumers live. This transformation is happening everywhere across the globe. According to a recently published McKinsey Middle East

COVER Feature as well as leading organizations are well on their way to onboard and adopt the best of breed technologies. Tamer Hamed, Head of IT, DUCAB Group, a semi government organisation working in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of copper and aluminium wire and cable products, says that they have been working on their digital transformation journey for the last 5 years. “DUCAB implemented SAP in 2012. We went live with SAP in the same year and the three years that followed was a stabilisation process. Afterwards we started leveraging the platform to innovate. Recently we undertook a business transformation journey where we deployed a CRM to the organisation which is helping the business reach more to the customers,” said Hamed.

Aiman Mahmoud

Head of IT, Havelock One Interiors

report, in the past decade, the cross-border data flow connecting the Middle East to the rest of the world has increased more than 150-fold .This is proof of increased use of digital technologies across B2C and B2B scenarios. However, consumers seem to be taking the lead when it comes to embracing technologies faster. “Citizens themselves are leading the Middle East’s digitization charge. As measured by digital consumer adoption, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are among the top countries in the world, with more than 100 percent smartphone penetration and more than 70 percent social-media adoption—even higher than in the United States. However, while consumers are primed and ready to lead digitally enhanced lives, businesses and

governments have not fully adapted to digital,” the report continued.

SECTOR WISE VIEW In the past, Middle Eastern countries in general lagged behind developed countries in business digitization on indicators ranging from the amount of venture capital funding available to start-ups, to the share of the workforce working in digital careers and industries. That is changing at an accelerated pace as Governments and businesses, in various sectors of the economy, in the region, have taken note of the consumers’ interest in a digital ready economy and are constantly innovating to keep up with citizen and customer needs respectively. This refelected across sectors

Aiman Mahmoud, Head of IT, Havelock One Interiors, a leading turnkey contractor, specialising in interiors and the manufacturing of bespoke joinery, decorative metal works and elaborated shop-fittings, notes that the organisations ERP solution gives them a proper platform to serve their clients in a timely manner. He adds that Havelock One Interiors is currently starting their journey of cloud implementation and they believe that the cloud migration milestone will increase their growth as a group. According to Joji Jacob, CIO, Yusif Bin Yusif Fakhro, an electronic manufacturing company, the organistaion has started their digital transformation journey by converting their digitalisation process and it has now become the interface between the customers and the organisation. Shabeer Mohammed, Vice President, Head- Technology Services, GEMS Education, one of the world’s oldest and largest K-12 private education providers, says that when it comes to technology his team manages the data center, which handles the entire portfolio of what the students are learning and the school management system and the enterprise applications around it. “Our digital transformation is split into two parts; we have the data centre transformation and we also have the digital transformation on the school and classDecember 2019 Cio one - 17

COVER Feature

As more organisations get onto the digital transformation bandwagon CIOs are required to ensure that their organisations are not just investing in technology for technology sake but are instead tactful in the way that they finance their projects in order for the business to reap the benefits. “I personally believe that as CIOs we have a basic responsibility to give the flexibility to our organisations in how they perform and how they treat the customers. Treating data as oil, we also have the responsibility of giving the right input to the organisation so that their customer strategies can be aligned with that,” said Jacob.

Tamer Hamed

Head of IT, DUCAB Group

The CIO role is one of the most ever-changing roles in the business world, with a leading analyst company recently coming to the conclusion that 60% of the CIOs will no longer be in the same position in five years. Adding onto Jacob’s sentiments, Mohammed notes that finding a balance between being a technology leader and business leader is key for the CIO of today.

room side as well. On the data centre side, we have already moved all our data into the azure platform, and we are also going big on artificial intelligence on the mobile platform, we have also introduced robotics for most of the things to be on the RPA side,” continued Mohammed. “On the classroom side technologies, we are working on multiple interesting innovations. We started with facial recognition where we use it in some of our schools to mark the student attendance. We are also using video analytics to give us more control on what happens in the school for the security of the students,” he added.

TRANSFORMATION FOR BUSINESS SAKE IDC estimates that 40 percent of all technology spending will go toward digital transformations, with enterprises spending in excess of $2 trillion in 2019. This is across all industries, as investment in digital transformation is essential to stay relevant and create new opportunities. 18 - Cio one December 2019

Shabeer Mohammed

VP, Head- Tecchnology Services, GEMS Education

COVER Feature

“The CIO role has evolved over the years. Gone are the days when the CIO would be a cost centre kind of role. Today, we are part of the business and we are part of the business. In my case whenever any new school is being set up, I work with the business to figure out what is the per cost of technology we need to spend on each student, and we identify with them on the appropriate costing. Having different price points for education, it is important that we work with the business to optimise this and to make the business more profitable,” Mohammed continued. However, in order for an organisation to fully benefit from technology the digital strategy has to be an enterprise-wide movement. According to a recent independent research by Altimeter, a Prophet company, a successful digital transformation is an enterprise-wide effort that is best served by a leader with broad organizational purview. For the second year in a row, CIOs are reported as most often owning or sponsoring digital transformation initiatives (28%), with CEOs increasingly playing a leadership role (23%). Highlighting the increasing level of importance of technology in the current market.

mance management which is going to change the scenario of how we perform in the business. This is going to be combined with the business intelligence, which we already have, and give the decision makers a quick view of the data and how it can impact the business,” he added. Hamed further explained, “on the customer engagement side we innovated within the CRM itself. there is an e-commerce solution that is already interacting with our customers at both B2B l and B2C level. It has enhanced our business positively over the period that it has been implemented, as it gives us a vision of what the customer wants and allows the customers to interact with us,” Mohammed notes that GEMS education is currently working on some new and exciting technologies that will be ready in the near future. Adding that, “for students who, are from kindergarten to grade three, who can’t remember passwords we are working on password less technology. Password less technology involves working on Bluetooth and NFC based technol-

ogies and biometrics”. When it comes to countries the prize for joining the digital revolution is significant. As according to the McKinsey Digitization Index: a high level of digitization contributes to economic growth, leading to higher GDP. Their analysis indicates that a unified digital market across the Middle East (160 million potential digital users by 2025) could contribute up to 3.8 percent annually in GDP—amounting to approximately $95 billion. Digital can also have a positive impact on inclusion and poverty reduction, increase access to and quality of healthcare and education, and reduce CO2 emissions. As the digital revolution roars on the onus is on the CIO to keep the organisation on the right track when it comes to adoption of technologies that are needed to keep the business competitive. The role of the business leader is also changing as innovation is something that is driven from top down and thus the attitude of the management towards technology will ultimately shape the attitude if the employees.

DIGITAL FACING INNOVATIONS With digital transformation journeys in full swing at a myriad of organisations all over the world today a popular phrase has been coined stating that: “Every business is a technology business”. This statement is used to mean that no business can stay competitive in today’s market without embracing technology in some way. Most organisations are embracing different technologies, in order to get a leg up over the competition. Businesses need to continually evolve and apply new technologies to existing problems and practices. In the case of DUCAB, Hamed says that they have a lot of ad-on applications in their pipeline at the moment that are geared towards improving the business. “One of the things we are planning to do is the enterprise performance management. We are looking for an enterprise perfor-

Joji Jacob

CIO, Yusif Bin Yusif Fakhro

December 2019 Cio one - 19


Enabling a

data-driven future Nordine Aamchoune, AVP, Emerging Markets, Splunk talks about the organization’s role in allowing innovators in IT, Security, IoT and business operations to get a complete view of their business in real time, turn data into business outcomes, and embrace technologies that prepare them for a data-driven future. Discuss the range of solutions that Splunk provides from network/ cloud infrastructure monitoring to predictive analytics? The world is constantly evolving. The digitalisation of our lives is happening faster than ever. Customers and citizens expect the best digital service at their fingertips 24h a day without any waiting or downtimes. This creates a challenge for companies and governments but also an opportunity to have more data available about business processes than ever before. However, the way we ingest and act on this type of data needs to be different. You can’t apply order, hierarchy and structure to your data as applications, end-user devices or enterprise IT architectures are evolving too quickly. Splunk’s Data-to-Everything Platform is the only solution that is natively designed to find patterns in the chaos of the data landscape and help organizations turn data into doing. Innovators in IT, Security, IoT and business operations can now get a complete view of their business in real-time, turn data into business outcomes, and embrace technologies that prepare them for a data-driven future.

How important is data visibility for decision makers in 20 - Cio one December 2019

IT and Business? How do you enable this in real time? Data is the foundation for business decisions, but typically it’s in siloes and most of it goes unused. Most organizations are overwhelmed with the increasing proliferation of technologies and services being brought in and having to be maintained in increasingly complex ways. Teams need to understand what is happening within their organization in the moment, turn that insight into action, and build for a more data-driven future. Splunk’s Data-to-Everything Platform helps customers get complete visibility of what’s happening in their business in real-time, and act on it.

Discuss if your solutions are ready for multi-cloud / hybrid cloud environments? Customer success is Splunk’s #1 priority and our Data-to-Everything Platform is built to support customers regardless of how their infrastructure is built and the services they use. We allow customers to ingest data from all kinds of platforms, be it cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, GCP, or SaaS such as cloud-based collaboration tools like Office365, Box, GSuite or Atlassian.

As organizations adopt hy-

brid cloud, what should they do when it comes to security? What areas of cybersecurity do organizations need to get much better at? No matter the size, industry, or geographical location of an enterprise, it will have a cloud strategy. But despite this, when it comes to the ‘Everest’ of universal cloud adoption, we have only just left base camp. From an information security management perspective, it’s a real team effort to secure these services. Firstly, security teams have to understand and acknowledge who is responsible for protecting the cloud service or cloud infrastructure. Then the operational security team needs to establish visibility to build confidence. A security team should also monitor the audit trails generated by cloud services to get a real-time view of security posture - especially monitoring the usage of API connections and API key usage as well as configuration changes. Mistakes in the configuration or the accidental exposure of secret API keys through code sample posting in forums by developers is one of the top threats. But security monitoring in the cloud is not the only thing to consider. The savvy chief information security offers (CISO) thinks beyond this and prepares for the worst-case scenario


Nordine Aamchoune

AVP, Emerging Markets, Splunk

of cloud incident response. Having access to all logged activities combined with the ability to perform forensic investigations, means an organization can identify the scale and impact of a breach in the cloud. This allows trust to be established in the security and reliability of the cloud just like it would be for any on-premise service.

Who are the target client segments for your solutions? Our target market is incredibly broad - it’s any organization that wants to utilize data generated by their digital environment to ask questions and get answers quickly. In reality, this means every business has to become a data-driven organization and we help to get them started. Even the smallest company will generate data and invariably it will sit in a silo waiting for it to be used to drive business outcomes. We can work

with organizations of that size, all the way up to customers streaming more than five petabytes of data per day into Splunk to drive revenue growth and to solve challenging IT and security problems.

Elaborate on your go to market model in tandem with Redington as partner Redington is a key partner for us in the region, acting as our distributor across the Middle East and Africa. Redington provides a wealth of experience and technical expertise to key relationships and helps ensure customers can bring data to every decision and action they need to make.

How has the Middle East been as a growth market for Splunk over the year? Discuss any expansion plans for

the year ahead? Every region is a growth region for Splunk and the Data-to-Everything Platform. According to IDC, more than 5 billion consumers interact with data every day—by 2025, that number will be 6 billion, or 75% of the world's population. In 2025, each connected person will have at least one data interaction every 18 seconds. Now is the time for organizations in the Middle East and Africa to recognise this trend and embrace a platform approach that will drive business outcomes through data. While the region has definitely been a growth market over the years for Splunk it’s also worth bearing in mind some of the unique regional challenges we face like any other software organization in the region. However, by working together Splunk and Redington are helping organizations seize the Data-to-Everything opportunity, which is only limited by imagination and creativity. December 2019 Cio one - 21

round TABLE

NEXT GENERATION IT INFRASTRUCTURE POWERED DX Roundtable examined opportunities and challenges of enabling business transformation with next generation IT infrastructure

Business Media international recently organised a next generation IT infrastructure - CIO round table conference at the Armani hotel in Dubai. The event, co-organised by Alcatel Lucient Enterprise, was held to enable CIO’s from different verticals and tech leaders to have an open-ended conversation about the opportunities and challenges of enabling business transformation with next generation IT infrastructure. Moderating the event, Raman Narayan, Publisher, Business Media International, noted that at the root of any successful enterprise deployment is a solid foundation, whether on their premises or in the cloud, and next generation IT infrastructure is intended to offer support to business in their digital transformation journeys. Narayan kicked off the session by noting that the buzz around the digital transfor22 - Cio one December 2019

mation, had turned substantive in the last couple of years with a lot of new technologies maturing around different domains. He added that the network is one of the pivots of IT infrastructure, and thus it was important to look at how the network infrastructure is changing in terms of the solutions available. Pointing out that different organisations require different networking solutions, he called on the CIOs in the room to share their perspectives on how they are driving their network infrastructure towards achieving their goals of digital transformation. As one of the pioneers that built up the network infrastructure in Sharjah Customs, Kim Jim, Head of Network and Security, Government of Sharjah Department of Seaports & Customs, noted that the technology is constantly evolving,

and business operations should be able to adapt to the transformation of the infrastructure. “In Sharjah Customs we are making sure the network infrastructure is up to date by upgrading our core switches and our data centre switches to at least move to 40 GHz network. Since there is a great demand on connectivity, we are also increasing the bandwidth for this as well as the core infrastructure,” he added. Tamal Chakrvorty, Group IT Head, Landmark Group, echoed Jim’s sentiments by pointing out that networking over the last 10 years has become more complex and thus is proving very difficult to manage. Tabish Asifi, Group IT Lead Governance, Majid Al Futtaim Group, added that in their 2020 agenda, 80% of the things relevant to digital transformation are not re-

round TABLE lated to digital infrastructure, as they had largely had discussions about infrastructure in in the last 5 years. He added that since 2018 the conversation had shifted more towards other layers like data analytics and customer experience enhancements. “On the networking specifically, there is one programme for 2020 which was related to Wi-Fi harmonization across all the malls. Since we have different malls across different regions, as part of the customer experience initiative, we had to look at what our underlying infrastructure bottlenecks were in terms of Wi-Fi. To achieve our harmonization, we had to have the networks properly connected. So, that became our focus on the network for 2020,” he continued. Addressing the question posed, Fawaz Al-Jaljouli - ELV Director - NAFFCO FZCO, said that networking is the backbone of a successful digital transformation and thus challenges can be detrimental to an organisations end goal. Noting a key challenge facing networking, Imad Taha - Group CIO - Belhasa International, pointed out that the main reason why there cannot be a one size fits all networking solution for different organisations is because vendors do not speak to each other. Adding on this, Mr. Hashim Saeed a leading CIO in the region said that vendors need to make sense of their solutions from a business point of view when approaching new customers. Speaking on GEMS Education’s digital transformation, Shabeer Mohammed, VP – Technology, GEMS Education, said that a proper networking infrastructure is important when it comes to enabling the organisation to choose the right technologies to drive their journey.

Giving a vendor’s perspective, Ashish Saxena, Director Technical Sales and Services, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, said, “we (vendors) are now changing ourselves by focusing on the end user needs. Selling solutions has become more about the last leg of the network, and not about leaving it to the IT team of the customer anymore. The vendors who are able to align with this vision are the ones who will be able to grow in today’s market”. Mr. Vassilis Xenakis, Territory Sales Director at ALE International, added that vendors must approach the business with the goal of understanding their role in driving the transformation journey. The roundtable participants went into discussion about how to make the network IoT ready, especially as implementation has started happening across various verticals, with experiences varying on a case to case basis. Taha notes that even though implementing IoT solutions could benefit the business, the main challenge is that it involves privacy of the end user. He added that Belhasa chose not to implement IoT because it came with a lot of regulatory issues which can lead to the solution becoming costly to the business, especially when each customer chooses which features of the solution they are interested in or not. As a solution to the challenge, Tabish shared MAF’s experience; wherein they chose to refer to government level standards to draft their own internal standards. He called on the rest on the leaders on the room to consider doing the same.

“We realised that there were two very useful things to reference in this context. One was the Information Assurance standard published by NESA, and the other was Information Security Regulation (ISR) which is specific to Dubai. The standards are not applicable to private entities, but because they are authoritative and established in this part of the region, we use it as part of a reference point for discussions with clients,” he added. Suggesting another route to solving the problem, Rahiman suggested that the IT team should work with the HR department or the relevant department to come up with internal policies that guide the organisation and their end users both internally and externally. Rahiman further explained, “on IoT our experience as healthcare, as we had conducted a previous exercise, we didn’t see an ROI. Especially given the smaller market that we are in (UAE) some of the use cases like detecting missing equipment, which is one of the biggest problems, are not applicable here. So, we did not have a business case to justify the use of IoT in the organisation,” The session concluded on the note that different departments in an organisation should work together with the IT team so as to have a clear role of what the organisation needs. Saxena notes that it is only when the goals of an organisation’s transformation journey are clear that vendors can offer both the appropriate solutions and the best support to their customers.

From a healthcare perspective, Ali Asghar, Zulekha Hospital, Senior Manager IT, said that the goal for technology is to reduce the touch points for both the end users and the patients so they can get their information seamlessly. Mr. Jaleel Rahiman, IT Director, Prime Healthcare, added that their digital transformation journey started two to three years ago and for it to work they had to begin with upgrading their network, highlighting the importance of a proper network infrastructure. December 2019 Cio one - 23

case study

LEADING FMCG COMPANY CHOOSES ORACLE CLOUD TO ACCELERATE GROWTH Yahyah Pandor, CIO, Fine Hygienic Holding, discusses the company’s move to select Oracle Cloud Applications to enhance operational efficiency, drive innovation, and deliver exceptional employee engagement. — By Baraka Jefwa Fine Hygienic Holding is one of the region’s most recognized and trusted producer of hygienic solutions, serving customers across 75 different countries. In the company’s bid to efficiently predict and meet customer demands while achieving their business objectives, the company has embarked on both a digital and business transformation journey. The company has been going through more than just a digital transformation as it recently had a huge management restructuring; whereby about 18 months ago a brand-new management team was brought in from different parts of the world to offer a truly international perspective to their mission. In addition, retaining some of the more experienced members of the Leadership to also maintain a cultural understanding of the Fine brand. “The leadership team was brought in to give us energy and take us to an IPO standard. We want to be at a calibre where we can float in the stock market and expand our business. We are now a wellness company; everyone knows us for the tissue boxes and toilet rolls we produce but recently we acquired Nai drinks to expand our portfolio and further entry into the wellness market. We also promote wellness within our organisation through the way we operate, in that we have an open environment and an open way of interacting with each other, as well as one of the leading on premise work gyms in the region” said Yahyah Pandor, CIO, Fine Hygienic Holding, or Fine as he so often referred to the organisation. During the tour of the facilities at Fine, 24 - Cio one December 2019

Yahyah Pandor

CIO, Fine Hygienic Holding

one gets a sense of what Pandor is talking about as they employ an open office plan where employees, regardless of their position, interact freely with one another; a strategy which he stresses gets the best out of everyone in the team. From colourful walls filled with inspiring quotes in meeting rooms to telephone booth themed call centres and a state-of- the-art fitness cen-

tre, one quickly understands the theme of wellness the management is going for.

THE “FINE” CIO MANDATE Pandor has experience in the areas of business, IT and management, all of which he gained from a career which spans over

case study

20 years. In that time, he has worked in various fields and organizations which, according to him, have helped in instilling the necessary competences to become the CIO he is today. “In terms of technology, CEO James Michael Lafferty, wanted someone to come in, not as an IT Director or an IT manager, but as a CIO. There is an important difference between the three roles. He wanted someone to come in and drive the technology change into the business, that’s when he approached me, and I’ve been here nine months now. His vision for the company, it’s growth and culture made the decision very easy for me to take,” he explained. James Michael Lafferty himself has an outstanding pedigree in business with leadership roles at P&G, BAT as well as Coca Cola and is a renowned global speaker on business and leadership. Pandor stresses the point that Fine’s move towards digital was inspired by problems in the organisations’ systems, which would cause them to spend too much money on replacing hardware, cabling, storage and

dealing with inefficient processes. “My role as Fine CIO, at the highest level, is to ensure that we drive technology change throughout our business. The current architecture, processes and the operational efficiencies that we have are inadequate. So, I’m here with my team to migrate everything that we do to the cloud within one year; we kicked it off in July this year after having conducted a six-month long analysis of the entire business to understand how much we are spending on premise and how much we will be spending on cloud,” said Pandor. “What will take other companies 12 – 18 months to complete we will be doing in six,” he added.

SOLUTION FOR OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY The organisation officially kicked off its project in July; they signed up for an Oracle straight to the cloud solution. With

Oracle Cloud Applications, Fine Hygienic Holding will transition its core business processes to an integrated Oracle Cloud ecosystem that will include Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud, Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud and Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud as well as using the very latest technology such as In Memory Costing (IMC) which performs highly complex calculations in minutes rather than hours. “In January, next year, we will go live with HE (HCM); which is for human resources on the cloud. We will also go live with financial management (Hyperion Cloud) making it a big six months for us. We are currently on track to complete our journey which will make us one of the first companies to do this so quickly. In fact, we will be one of the first companies in the world to use Oracle In-Memory Cost Management; a combination of software and hardware that helps us do all our costing through near real-time analysis of Big Data, making it easy for us to make deciDecember 2019 Cio one - 25

case study sions faster,” Pandor added. In the same month of January, the company is set to go live with various other projects as part of phase one of their journey. The projects include moving Office 365 to the cloud for all 3500 users, going live with salesforce automation for their sales team, going live with an RFID solution in their warehouse and undertaking a total network upgrade in Egypt, KSA, UAE and Jordan late 2019. During our interview, Pandor informed me that phase two of their transformation journey was set to kick off as soon as I was done grilling him for my story. He couldn’t divulge much information but shared that it was mainly going to be focused on supply chain automation. It includes Warehouse Management Systems, Planning & Forecasting, Financial planning and is a complete overhaul of every single manufacturing process that Fine do today. Fine is embarking on its next growth phase with a comprehensive, integrated, and scalable suite of cloud applications which Pandor says will help the business save on time and be more efficient as more functions in the organisation such as HR, Finance and supply chain management will be done digitally. “Phase two will be the heart and lungs of our company. If we get it wrong, we can’t produce our goods or bring in more companies to our business, because it’s supply chain end-to-end. We are going to be working with Oracle as our main supplier, but my team will be leading the implementation because they have the expertise,” he said.

RESULTS The new systems will allow employees of Fine to access all of their personal and work data accurately in one place. The HR team will benefit greatly from better processes and standards in place all leading to a world class IPO organisation with IPO systems in place. Pandor notes that the transformation has come with its challenges, with the main one being a lack of skills as cloud is a new concept in the region. He had to move on with up scaling his IT teams both in UAE and in Jordan, where the organisation is headquartered 26 - Cio one December 2019

very quickly to meet new business and technical requirements. “We are bringing more wellness products into our organisation, so we need to have the right supply chain, one that allows us to make acquisitions in place. This will help us to expand. Having the Oracle cloud will allow us to do this as well as help us achieve an IPO standard. For our external customers, having these systems will mean ease of business. We supply customers such as Noon.com, Amazon. com and Hilton (just to name a few); our transformation will mean that we have accurate invoicing, inventory, delivery times and an accurate customer data and service force,” he added. He has also had to proceed to on boarding external talent to the organisation to increase capacity which has gone on to increase diversity in his workforce. In so doing, the

gender gap has gone from 100 percent men to 25 percent women with a wonderful mix of Arab, Indian, Pakistani, Filipino, Nepalese and also Brazilian to add to his team’s diversity and high skill base. “This is the first time that Fine is going to have a cloud-based solution in the company’s history. So, it is a huge transformation for the company. The reason why it has been successful so far is because of the team that I have, and we still have a mountain to climb before January 2020, but we will do it. The second and most important factor is the CEO & CFO complete support, driving change internally and not only financially supporting but sharing my vision as we move quickly to a complete wellness company and gear up for IPO readiness. As my leadership team are aware and my own team, there is no Plan B.” Pandor concluded.

case study

AL SAFEER GROUP CHOOSES SAP S/4 HANA TO STAY AHEAD OF COMPETITION Organisation implements ERP system and Change Management, aimed at taking the organisation ahead of the competition

— By Baraka Jefwa

Al Safeer Group is a diversified organization considered as one of the largest retailers in the Gulf region. It specializes in hypermarkets, malls, food outlets, real estate, furniture, manufacturing, advertising, trading and more. The organization operates more than 80 multi-format stores in UAE alone. Founded in 1985 in Al Ain, Safeer Group has successfully grown into one of the largest and most successful retail organizations in the UAE. The group operates majorly in UAE, and has branches in Oman and Doha. It employs more than 3,000 people. It has often been in the limelight for its business innovation and commercial success. Industry bodies of repute and global brands have many a times awarded Al Safeer Group for its excellence in service. In recent time the group appointed Mr. Partha Banerjee as the Chief Information Officer to oversee its innovations in the digital age. Banerjee is an Electronics and Telecommunications engineer by profession and has an MBA in Operations Management from premier institutions in India. He started his career in 1992 in India where he worked with some of the top IT corporates. He came to the Middle East in 2003 and was working in Oman until 2019. He was appointed CIO of Safeer group in April of 2019.

Partha Banerjee CIO, Al Safeer Group

According to Banerjee, his position as CIO at Al Safeer Group is multi-dimensional. He is

December 2019 Cio one - 27

case Study responsible for the entire IT function of the group and his responsibility is to ensure optimisation of the IT cost and resources, ensure that business is not hampered by any lack of IT support services, and ensure that the end users are happy. “This is a techno-management role and there are a lot of initiatives which I have undertaken to ensure that cost is optimised because in today’s market, sales margins alone cannot ensure sustained growth, as competition are fierce. The best way to maximise your profits is by increasing your savings and IT is something which can enable this by strengthening the backend of your operations,” Banerjee said during an interview with CIO ONE Magazine. Banerjee notes that throughout his career he has viewed transformation in two ways. The first and most important, is the transformation of the human mindset. He says that without acceptance from the people, who would ultimately implement and use technology, Digital Transformation has a high probability of failure. The second is that, Digital Transformation journeys should be undertaken with the idea that technology must facilitate business.

The network was in place, the virtualisation layer was functioning, the endpoint security and the firewalls were in place, and the branch connectivity was well established. “I had to fine tune the IT Infrastructure that was already in place and work on the redundancy plans, particularly redundancy of the network, to prevent downtime. In retail every second counts as the frequency of customer turnover in this sector is very high and customers don’t have patience. If my backend is not strong enough, things can go haywire because even a few seconds of downtime can cause a lot of issues at the frontend, impacting business negatively” he mentioned.


Ensuring network redundancy was the first

digital transformation project Banerjee had to undertake in the organisation. Next, he initiated the backup of data by end users performing vital functions, particularly in the Software application, IT support and the C-level. “I went for a backup solution for our internal end users. We made a list of people who were performing important tasks and now we have an automated solution in place. At the end of the day at a particular time, the files get backed up. I had to ensure prevention of data loss especially since we are still migrating from legacy Oracle systems to SAP,” he added. The next implementation Banerjee oversaw was driven by the rise of printing cost within the organisation. The organisation had more than 80 printers in their Head Office and De-

“I’ve tried to instil my beliefs at Safeer Group. When I came here, the SAP integration was going on and there were issues like in any other database migration. My first step was to sit down with the people and understand their pain points, so as to be on the same page. I even conducted a Change Management workshop for the CEOs of all the verticals of our company to ensure that the change orientation was effective and the transformation was effected smoothly,” he added. Expounding on Al Safeer Group’s move to SAP HANA S4, Banerjee notes that it was the Executive Director (FMCG & IT) at Al Safeer Group of Companies, Mr. Ashok Tulsiani’s vision, which was aimed at moving the organisation to the next level that played the driving factor. Banerjee notes that SAP HANA S4 is a very advanced ERP system and is in line with the organization’s goals and ambitions of being ahead of the competition. “By the time I joined the company, SAP HANA S4 had already gone live in January 2019. Even though the migration is still going on, most of it is now over and hopefully by the end of this year we would complete the migration,” he continued. The production stage included Sales and a part of Finance going live.

28 - Cio one December 2019

Receiving the 'Transformation Maestro in Retail' Award at ETS 2019

case study

sign Corner combined. Something Banerjee says, he was unable to justify especially since most of their transactions were happening online within their network with SAP in place. “We implemented Managed Print Services (MPS) and the number of printers fell to 19. This was a major cost reduction, both in terms of maintenance of the equipment and on the use of consumables. We cut back on the consumption of paper, ink and toner substantially. With MPS people became more system orientated which has helped in increasing the productivity of our end users and the profitability of the organisation,” he added. “Additionally, all those Printers in the branches which had high maintenance and consumable costs were identified and were replaced with cost effective MFPs”.

“Consolidation of the Rack inventory at the Data Centres was another cost saving initiative that was taken up”. Banerjee continued to add. “We consolidated the Hardware resources at our Data Centres, removing the redundant, legacy hardware, freeing up the Rack space and bringing down the rental and the energy consumption costs”. For his work in leading his team in implementing various technology deployments in Al Safeer Group, Banerjee recently walked away as a winner at the recently held Enterprise Transformation Awards. He was awarded the “Transformation Maestro in Retail” for his work in the organization, an award which he insists couldn’t have won without the support of his team and the Management of Safeer Group. Having won the award,

Banerjee along with his team are excited to get back to Innovating. “My major focus now is on the Customer Analytics and improvement of the Supply-Chain Management because these two are at the core of defining our success. Unless we are able to predict the buying pattern and /or the preference of the customer, it could be difficult for us to keep pace with the competition. To know the exact position of my inventory and whether it is reaching the targeted customer on time is imperative for customer satisfaction, hence improved business. We are working on these two areas. We are also improving on our CRM; our CRM would be linked with our analytics for customer value addition.” Banerjee concluded.

December 2019 Cio one - 29


SHAPING THE FUTURE OF LOGISTICS AUTOMATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST Alain Kaddoum, General Manager of Swisslog Middle East speaks on how the company, a member of the KUKA Group, a leading global supplier of intelligent automation solutions, is shaping the future of logistics automation and transforming warehouses and distribution centers to achieve maximum efficiency, flexibility and agility.

tively. Product lines are diversifying with more new drinks and flavors, while store orders are becoming smaller and more frequent. The key to suitable storage and distribution solutions therefore is automation. As a committed partner and full-service provider of automated intralogistics systems, Swisslog delivers everything companies need to optimize their logistics, from planning through implementation. Our order fulfilment and inventory solutions enable companies to achieve the highest throughput at the lowest cost, efficiently handle large catalogs of SKUs, and accurately meet delivery demands and requirements. Our logistics automation systems are designed to ensure uptime of more than 98%. The aim is to automate and streamline the warehouse storage and distribution processes for faster, more accurate delivery at lower costs.

What recent opportunities exist in this sector?

Alain Kaddoum

General Manager, Swisslog Middle East

How is Swisslog driving the F&B automation in the Middle East? Swisslog offers smart logistics solutions 30 - Cio one December 2019

across various sectors, including F&B. This industry is more competitive than ever. Unlike in the past, modern warehouses must be able to deliver nonstandard pallets with the variety of products a customer wants, quickly and cost effec-

According to a global market research group Euromonitor, the UAE is one of the world’s leading food and beverage markets, worth Dh52.4 billion in 2015. As per estimates from JLL Research, retail supply in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is expected to increase from 6 million sqm in 2016 to 7.5 million sqm gross leasable area (GLA) by 2019. If overnight visitors are considered, Dubai has more outlets per million than New York. This underlines Dubai’s

interview positioning as a global F&B destination. Growing demand in UAE restaurants and fast food chains is expected to give an additional boost to sales in the same category, reaching Dhs40 billion in 2021. Changes in society are transforming the F&B sector too. For example, look at the impact of Expo 2020 on the UAE F&B sphere. With thousands venues opened just in Dubai, consumers are looking for convenient, easy-to-prepare and exotic foods. The food industry is changing fast with new products, convenience meals, organic foods and exclusion diets. Regulators and consumers want to see full Farm to Fork traceability. To compete, any business needs a highly dynamic warehouse and distribution system to cope with higher outputs and shorter change-over times. Rising costs, changing consumer habits, SKU proliferation and environmental pressures are driving manufacturers to implement new processes simply to keep up. To deliver the right product at the right time to the right place, the food industry needs flexible logistics systems that can ensure delivery of accurate inventory and order forecasts, optimize throughput and ultimately create a competitive advantage.

Which areas of the F&B sector holds the most challenges? The typical challenges of running a warehouse are magnified in the deep-freeze environment. It’s hard on staff and equipment. To solve this challenge, we take a goodsto-person approach over person-to-goods picking. We automate any of company’s manual storage, distribution and order picking processes. This keeps employees out of the deep freeze. It also improves speed and accuracy. Swisslog’s Cold&Controlled solutions for material handling, order fulfilment and inventory control reduce risk and complexity. It gives 99% uptime due to reliable automation concept, reduce labour cost, maximise throughput guarantee fresh food delivery to end-customers, control over the cold chain due to food traceability. As demand grows, floor space becomes limited and invaluable as well. An automated system that uses high-density storage, stacked vertically or multiple-deep, also optimizes

your floor space. It also decreases energy costs from cold lost through the roof. Another challenge for F&B businesses in this challenging environment, their success is based on versatility, efficiency and excellence. While a F&B business needs to deliver high quality across the entire cold chain, they also need to consider ecological impacts and ergonomics. The business needs to handle mixed case orders as efficiently as single SKU pallets and enable safe last mile delivery. And they need to accomplish it all on a framework that allows handling smaller, more frequent orders that can be tracked throughout the entire supply chain.

Which logistics systems are in demand in the F&B sector? The ideal automated warehouse should support F&B manufacturers to stay as flexible as possible, to improve efficiency, enhance productivity and deliver fresh products and beverages to customers fast. It should offer the agility to react to promotions, seasonal and long-term changes in customer demand. Some automated logistics technologies used today in the F&B sector include: Automated Pallet Warehouse Systems, monorail, integrated automatic transport systems and robot-based picking & palletizing for higher warehouse performance.

Is automation beefing up the quality control aspect of F&B industry too? Absolutely, yes. The F&B supply chain involves numerous processes, workers and touchpoints. It is a well-known fact that quality is critical in this industry. Products must always remain traceable and safe, something that is not always easy to achieve in a system that has so many processes. Automation, however, can change that completely. Traceability plays an important role in the F&B industry. An automated system deploying modern analytics tools can reliably track products and goods from source to fulfillment. The entire food manufacturing value chain is experiencing a technology driven transi-

tion. The networked digital world is introducing faster and more intelligent ways to manage and optimize the food supply chain, improving visibility and safety, and facilitating compliance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Software plays a crucial role in logistics automation operations as well. Such material handling software as SynQ, for example, can also help you unite all processes. It can visualize your system in 3D and allows you to synchronize automation equipment, robotics, people and processes for peak performance, and offers intelligent services for smart management.

Kindly give some examples of how this is currently happening. In the Middle East, we have two examples of automated logistics solutions delivered for the F&B industry. The first is Mai Dubai, the Dubai-based bottled drinking water company, who commissioned us to automate their storage and distribution logistics at their new mega expansion project in Dubai in order to reach its 2020 goals. The order value of the project amounts to 21 million US dollars. The major expansion project includes planning and implementing a new sixaisle automated high-bay warehouse for raw products and packaging materials. A few hundred meters away, another highbay warehouse with 17,560 pallet locations will be erected for finished goods. Another brand that has been automated by us is Almarai in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian group is one of the largest vertically integrated dairy companies in the world. To serve the growing domestic and international markets, Almarai invested in automated picking, stacking and storing solutions from Swisslog and KUKA for their palletized fresh and refrigerated foods. Challenged by the climatic environment with an extremely high temperature range (from +50 ° C outside to 3° C - 5° C in refrigerated environment), several warehouses have been installed for palletized finished goods and a fully automated picking and goods distribution center. December 2019 Cio one - 31


How CIOs and IT Teams can Prepare for Life on the Edge Jacob Chacko, Regional Business Head - Middle East at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, writes about the need for the C-suite to reassure itself that the IT function fully understands the requirements and challenges of delivering seamless and secure service across tens of thousands of digital touchpoints IT teams have been under pressure to introduce a range of new technologies into businesses, across multiple departments and functions. These range from IoT, to AI and machine learning, data processing alongside traditional functional technologies like CRM systems. The network edge represents the culmination of these technologies coming together. According to Gartner, edge computing will be a necessary requirement for all digital businesses by 2022. With potentially trillions of dollars being invested in the hope of generating huge economic returns, the argument for paying attention to the Edge opportunity is clear and the window for learning and action is narrowing. The challenge for IT teams is to lead the pursuit of these edge-based strategies across the business, and manage the edge environments, from user devices to operational technology all with data security as a priority. In the findings of the e-book commissioned by Aruba entitled ‘Opportunity at the Edge: Change, Challenge, and Transformation on the Path to 2025’, many interviewees and survey respondents high32 - Cio one December 2019

light the sheer scale of the technology ecosystem that IT must manage in an edge environment. For example, in a university environment, IT now must accommodate and support the range of student devices being used across campus – from laptops to smart speakers – plus IoT-enabled environments such as temperature sensors and security cameras. At the same time, all the university functions from catering to the athletics department are deploying an ever-wider array of technologies at the edge that need to be bound into the network and supported in a secure manner. Innovation, Change and Transformation Advisor Philippe Choné reinforces this point: “Products used to be physical things. Now products come with a layer of software and data and that points to an ecosystem. Product management and strategy, then, needs to involve not only IT partners but also legal compliance.” Part of the challenge for the C-suite is ensuring leaders have enough understanding and digital literacy to drive and support the IT function to fulfil its crucial emerging role in a business pursuing edge strategy.

Building an Edge-Capable IT Function Across the expert interviews, survey, and secondary research, the issue of upgrading IT capabilities was raised consistently. Emphasis was placed on the need for the C-suite to reassure itself that the IT function fully understands the requirements and challenges of delivering seamless and secure service across tens of thousands of digital touchpoints, with focus on four key issues. First, the management, integration, and security of a highly distributed IT infrastructure spanning from the core of the business via the cloud to the new network edge. Typically, this ecosystem includes


Jacob Chacko

Regional Business Head Middle East, Aruba

users, fixed and mobile edge devices, applications, data, distributed data centres, networks, gateways, on-premises infrastructure, cloud services, infrastructure management processes, security management, and reporting. Key here is flexibility, as most organizations cannot say with certainty just how many digital touchpoints they might create over the next three to five years in an edge environment. Hence the infrastructure strategy needs to allow for the potential for the number of edge-connected devices to increase by 10X, 100X, or 1000X – placing the spotlight on the scalability and interoperability of the technology choices being made. Second, the collection, storage, management, security, privacy protection, and governance of data becomes a heightened priority as the organization increasingly

reinvents itself around this core asset. Third, the sheer complexity of such environments will drive organizations to make far greater use of smart software applications operating at every level from device monitoring to management of the entire ecosystem. While AI will have a clear role to play, it is critical that every component in the software architecture can be monitored with full traceability of how it made its decisions. This may be a major challenge with many of the current AI applications that cannot explain their reasoning. Fourth, as highlighted earlier, the edge represents a massive increase in potential security risks as every device and network touchpoint becomes a potential point of vulnerability and source of threat. The InfoSec Institute highlights a number of

critical risks that need to be managed, including weak device access passwords; insecure communications; data collected and transmitted by devices being largely unencrypted and unauthenticated; physical security risks for individual devices; and poor service visibility, with security teams unaware of the services running on certain devices. The edge clearly represents a massive business opportunity and delivering on it will inevitably mean the C-suite spending progressively greater amounts of time truly understanding the IT capabilities being delivered. Leaders will need to be immersed enough to know if their IT function, its infrastructure, and its key partners are fit for purpose and can provide a robust platform to enable a range of future options. December 2019 Cio one - 33


WHAT THE ENTRY OF GLOBAL PUBLIC CLOUD PROVIDERS MEANS FOR THE MIDDLE EAST Claude Schuck, regional manager, Middle East at Veeam, writes that the entry of global public cloud providers in the Middle East sets a spotlight on criticality of cloud data management The advent of cloud, scale and hosted payas-you-grow services are finally upon us! The two major cloud providers, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have put down large investments and opened datacentres in the Middle East. In June this year, Microsoft brought online two United Arab Emirates (UAE) regions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, enabling government agencies and businesses to comply with local regulations, by providing data residency in the UAE for its Azure and Office 365 services. A little over a month later at the end of July, AWS announced the expansion of its global footprint with the opening of the AWS Middle East (Bahrain) Region. The announcement stated that ‘developers, start-ups, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and non-profit organizations can start using the new AWS Middle East Region to run applications and serve end-users across the Middle East.’ We are facing exciting times ahead with the launch of these public cloud providers in the Middle East, which will undoubtedly provide an impetus for regional companies to better integrate cloud into their strategies. Organizations will be more comfortable with consuming these services now that data sovereignty and security issues, which have been the main stumbling blocks in the past, are no longer a concern. We are facing exiting times with the advent of all these public providers. Do these announcements sound the death knell for traditional hardware solution pro34 - Cio one December 2019

Claude Schuck Regional manager, Middle East, Veeam

column viders? No doubt analysts will be keeping a close eye on hardware sales in the next two to five years. I recently returned from Las Vegas where there was a large Public Cloud provider conference of over 60,000 delegates and I was thoroughly and pleasantly surprised at the content and mindset of providers, customers and partners. One thing is clear - we are at an infliction point in IT. Any CXO returning from this event would have many questions about their IT services and I suppose their first priority would be to halt all procurement. Why would you want to incur huge costs to own and maintain your own datacentre, besides the operational and security challenges that go with it? The advantages of public cloud services have been well documented. But the answer is not that simple. As both, public and private cloud continue to mature in the region, many companies will opt for both, leveraging multiple clouds to satisfy their diverse enterprise computing needs. Multi-cloud combines on-premise operations with services and applications running on multiple cloud providers, which enables organizations to capture the benefits of each platform while mitigating their downsides. In this heterogeneous environment, the main challenge now is managing the distributed data between all the clouds and centralising this management to ensure

visibility regardless of where the data is residing. The 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management report surveyed over 1,500 business leaders globally andfound that organizations are on a journey to become a more intelligent business, meaning they are leveraging technologies such as Cloud Data Management and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create a real-time view of the collective business and the ability to act intelligently on that insight. Amongst the businesses on this journey, the study highlights four common components globally: 1. Cloud: Cloud Data Management is a key component of delivering Intelligent Data Management. Three-quarters of companies report using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms. Many are utilizing the cloud for their backup and recovery services, with 51% using Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and 44% using disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS). It is evident that leaders are recognizing the advantages of a multi-cloud and hybrid-based approach, citing cost, reliability, flexibility and data security of the cloud as their main reasons for choosing it. 2. Capabilities: Organizations must enhance their capabilities, to ensure employees can draw on data insights and use new

technologies as they are deployed, with 9 out of 10 businesses viewing upskilling employees’ digital skills as vital to their digital success. 3. Culture: Creating a culture that is adaptable and receptive to new technologies so that people can evolve with the organization is essential, with more than two-thirds of respondents believing that company culture needs to become more open and accepting to digital technologies. 4. Confidence: Organizations must create a sense of confidence in the business’ digital capabilities, built on a strong data foundation. Presently, only a quarter of respondents report total confidence in their capability to meet their digital challenges. What is clear from the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report, as well as the entry of the major global public cloud service providers in the region, is that the time for action is now. This starts with a strong digital foundation, which ensures that data is backed up and always available. With this in place, organizations can confidently deploy new digital initiatives, leveraging the business value and competitive advantage for today and into the future, and harness the potential of Cloud Data Management.

December 2019 Cio one - 35


Artificial Intelligence can transform field operations. Here’s how Through digital transformation, AI can help unlock efficiency gains across the Middle East’s field services management industry, says Mehmood Khan, managing director and vice-president for the Middle East and South Asia at IFS When a piece of equipment breaks down, it can take days or weeks to get it fixed, whether because of diagnostic issues, insufficient resources or time-consuming processes. The situation is compounded in the case of farflung operations, as in the case of an oil rig off the coast of Abu Dhabi or at a telecommunications tower in the remote Saudi desert. But what if the equipment in question was able to flag up a malfunction and trigger a preventive maintenance alert several days before a system failure forced a halt in production? What if it even requested for a technician’s visit, and then queued up an invoice for payment? Beyond that, a little further into the near future, a next-generation system may even be able to automatically plug into a larger network, where it interfaces with human technicians, and as well as a fully automated call centre, self-driving cars, and drone deliveries of parts.

ers to focus on customer engagement and the nuanced complexities best suited to humans’ skill sets. But how do the Middle East’s field services companies get to that everything-is-automated stage? Unlocking those efficiency gains is both easier and harder than you think. Here are three recommendations to help you get started on the process:

Centralise, connect and future-proof your FSM system This is a necessity for all service firms, wher-

This level of automation is the promise of artificial intelligence (AI) in field services management and can be realized through digital transformation, as the GCC’s political and business leaders have already realised. The region’s economies are already moving towards AI and advanced technologies, with an estimated impact of $320 billion by 2030. Indeed, much of the technology is already available, and in some cases, is already being put to work. As such, the impact of AI is already being felt in field services management here and around the world. At present, AI use cases are making their way into a variety of software solutions, augmenting automation and helping to improve service outcomes. However, they remain disconnected from one another. True digital transformation through AI will leverage machine learning across all processes within an organization, automating systems and making repetitive tasks a distant memory, allowing managers, technicians, and dispatch-

36 - Cio one December 2019

ever they operate. FSM is not meant to be a bolt-on to a CRM. Field service operations are far too complex to cut corners. Your field service management system needs to be the coordinating factor of all touchpoints within your system. Beyond this, it needs to be calibrated to accept whatever the next new technology is, whether it’s a new module built off the system itself or a separate system that integrates with your FSM platform. Smart organisations are taking a cloud-first approach here, allowing for constant updates and easy integration.

Allow data to flow freely We can talk ad nauseam about the importance of a solid data science team that cleanses and distributes data insights throughout the business, but more important than that, even, is simply ensuring that data is written in a common language and freely accessible, so that, for instance, if work order history needs to be pulled into an AI system connected to routing management, that it can be done quickly and easily.

Invest in the hardware today

Mehmood Khan

MD and VP - Middle East & South Asia, IFS 2

The Internet of Things (IoT) will ultimately be the key to successful utilization of many AI systems. In manufacturing, this is an easy sell, but what about HVAC repair, telco, home services, and other systems that, as of today, might not yet be calibrated for IoT? The short answer is, even if you don’t think the technology is there, it is, and if it’s not, it will be in the next five years. It’s imperative that forward-thinking companies stay on top of these advancements as they become available and invest smartly. When AI becomes standard practice, everyone’s going to be sprinting for your customers. If you want to run with them, you have to start by building the road. In AI-focused economies such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, that’s even more important.

new tech

R&M Hosts Middle East Launch of Latest Copper and Optical Cabling Solutions in Dubai R&M CEO Michel Riva visited the UAE and joined top regional executives to officially launch the company’s new Cat. 8.1, Netscale 72 and inteliPhy net solutions in the Middle East LAN and Data Center”. R&M new cabling solution is designed for data centers and office LANs and supports up to 40 Gigabit/s Ethernet (GbE) – the fastest data transmission rate that local networks with structured copper cabling can achieve today. In line with the specifications of the ISO/IEC and TIA standards, the company guarantees 40GbE performance for 24-meter permanent links and the up to 30-meter channel depending on the patch cords used.

At a premier event, held this week in Dubai, R&M unveiled its new Cat. 8.1, Netscale 72 and inteliPhy net network cabling solutions in the Middle East. The launch was attended by Peter Harradine, President of the Swiss Business Council, Dubai & Northern Emirates as well as several prestigious R&M customers from the region, including the Deputy General Manager and top executives from Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA). Michel Riva, CEO, R&M group and Nabil Khalil, Executive Vice President, R&M Middle East, Turkey & Africa delivered the evening’s keynotes. These were followed by a detailed presentation of the Netscale 72 and inteliPhy net solutions, provided by Reinhard Burkert, Product Manager Smart Networks, R&M under the theme ‘Driving Digitalization with Smart Networks’. Netscale 72 offers the highest density of FO ports and can be used to create large spine-leaf network architectures in cloud data centers and facilitate fast migra-

tion to new network generations, such as the step from 10 Gigabit to 40 or 100 Gigabit capacity. inteliPhy net is R&M’s easy-to-operate DCIM solution for asset, capacity and change management in data centers. The solution attaches importance to a simplified representation and convinces by its intuitive, web-based operation. “To date, R&M’s fiber optic solutions have represented a perfect balance between high performance, flexible configuration and stateof-the-art port density. With Netscale 72 we have shifted the balance further towards intelligence, monitoring and automation,” said Dr. Thomas Wellinger, Market Manager Data Center, R&M. Alfred Tharwat, Head of Training & Data Center Consultancy, R&M MEA & Turkey then introduced attendees to the company’s new Cat. 8.1 cabling system with his presentation titled “Next Generation Components for

In addition to the product launches, Emrah Bayarçelik, Deputy General Manager, IGA, delivered a compelling testimonial detailing how the largest airport in the world is now also the first globally to be fully digitized with its key security, communication and IT functions based on a network provided by R&M. The Swiss company’s cabling connects the airport's ICT systems for customs, security staff and the police force, as well as 9,000 surveillance cameras, 3,000 card readers and 5,000 Wi-Fi access points, giving the airport a full-coverage WLAN. Commenting on the launches, Michel Riva, CEO at R&M said, “We are proud to bring to the Middle East these innovative solutions that represent the pinnacle of technology in their respective cabling domains. 2020 will be a landmark year for the whole region with Dubai hosting the Expo 2020, opening new horizons for the sustainable future of our planet. The Middle East is also one of the most important sales regions for R&M and a focus for our activities in the coming year. We are proud to be among the top three providers of connectivity, exciting our customers in the government, telecom provider and enterprises sectors with next-generation networks.”

December 2019 Cio one - 37

Market Space

Gartner Says IT Spending in EMEA to Return to Growth in 2020 IT spending in EMEA will return to growth at $798 billion in 2020, an increase of 3.4% from 2019, according to the latest forecast by Gartner “2020 will be a recovery year for IT spending in EMEA after three consecutive years of decline,” said John Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. “This year declines in the Euro and the British Pound against the U.S. Dollar, at least partially due to Brexit concerns, pushed some IT spending down and caused a rise in local prices for technology hardware. However, 2020 will be a rebound year as Brexit is expected to be resolved and the pressure on currency rates relieved.” Gartner analysts are discussing the macroeconomic trends affecting the IT spending market in EMEA this week during Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo, which is taking place in Barcelona until today.

Spending on Devices Still Down While Enterprise Software Spending Keeps Rising In 2019, EMEA spending on devices (including PCs, tablets and mobile phones) is set to decline 10.7% (see Table 1). Higher prices — partly due to currency declines and a lack of new “must have” features in mobile phones — have allowed consumers to defer upgrades for another year. Devices spending will not rebound in 2020, but instead fall by 1.3%, as

both businesses and consumers move away from spending on PCs and tablets. After 2019, the communications services segment will achieve long-term growth despite fixed-line services in both the consumer and business spaces declining every year through 2023. While mobile voice spending is flat — mainly due to price declines — mobile data spending increases 3% to 4% per year, which is keeping the overall communications services market growing in 2020. Enterprise software will remain the fastest-growing market segment in 2020. EMEA spending for enterprise software will increase 3.4% and 9.2% in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Software as a service (SaaS) will achieve 14.1% growth in 2019 and 17.7% in 2020.

Regulatory Compliance Fuels Spending The complex geopolitical environment across EMEA has pushed regulatory compliance to the top of the priority list for many organizations. EMEA spending on security will grow 9.3% in 2019 and rise by 8.9% in 2020. “Globally, security spending is increasing and being driven by the need to be compliant with

tariffs, trade policies and intellectual property rights. In EMEA, privacy and compliance concerns, further driven by GDPR, take precedence,” said Mr. Lovelock. The U.S. is leading cloud adoption and accounts for over half of global spending on cloud, which will total $140.4 billion in 2020, up 15.5% from 2019. In terms of cloud spending, the U.K. holds the No. 2 position behind the U.S. The U.K. spends 8% of IT spending on public cloud services, which will total $US 16.6 billion in 2020, up 13.2% from 2019. In EMEA, the overall spending on public cloud services will reach $57.7 billion in 2020, up from $50 billion in 2019. Gartner predicts that organizations with a high percentage of IT spending dedicated to the cloud will become the recognized digital leaders in the future. “Organizations in Europe, regardless of industry, are shifting their balance from traditional to digital — moving toward “techquilibrium,” a technological balancing point that defines how digital an enterprise needs to be to compete or lead,” said Mr. Lovelock. “Not every company needs to be digital in the same way or to the same extent. This move towards rebalancing the traditional and digital is clearly visible amongst EMEA companies."

Table 1. EMEA IT Spending Forecast (Millions of U.S. Dollars) 2019 Spending

2019 Growth (%)

2020 Spending

2020 Growth (%)

Data Center Systems





Enterprise Software










IT Services





Communications Services





Overall IT





Source: Gartner (November 2019) 38 - Cio one December 2019

infoMEA@al-enterprise.com +971 4 318 8300

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CIO ONE December 2019  

CIO ONE is a brand platform from Business Media International dedicated to the Enterprise CXO community in the region and focuses on providi...

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CIO ONE is a brand platform from Business Media International dedicated to the Enterprise CXO community in the region and focuses on providi...

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