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ADCB BUSINESSEDGE – Cutting edge financial solutions for Small and Medium Enterprises





Vikram, Salvus Strategic Advisors Stephen Mezias, INSEAD Business School

Shadi Abouzeid, American University in Dubai

Ezhil Venugopal, ADCB

Vishnu Deuskar, Salvus Strategic Advisors

Mohammed Samiuddin, ADCB

Dream big -21 Pages 18

Highlights from our event “Ambitions in Abu Dhabi, and beyond”.

Vikram Venkataraman, Salvus Strategic Advisors

Raghav Mimani, du

Stars of Business

Awards & SUMMIT 2011 Be part of the action! Page 49

Other stories:

Out and about at GITEX 2011

Virtuous and vicious cycles

Nurturing Emirati talent

Publisher Dominic De Sousa


COO Nadeem Hood Managing Director Richard Judd +971 4 440 9126 Commercial Director Chris Stevenson +971 4 440 9138 EDITORIAL Dave Reeder +971 4 440 9106 Group Editor, CPI Business Ketaki Banga +971 4 440 9115 Assistant Editor Mike Byrne +971 440 9105 Assistant Editor, CPI Business Aparna Shivpuri Arya +971 440 9133 ADVERTISING Sales Director Raz Islam +971 4 440 9129 CIRCULATION Database and Circulation Manager Rajeesh M +971 4 440 9147 PRODUCTION AND DESIGN Production Manager James P Tharian +971 4 440 9146 Art Director Kamil Roxas +971 4 440 9112 Designer Froilan A. Cosgafa IV +971 4 440 9107 Photographer Cris Mejorada +971 4 440 9108 DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy Maagma Web Developers Jerus King Bation Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Louie Alma +971 4 440 9100

Stars in our eyes Sorry, there will be no editorial page this month. We just haven’t had the time. If you’d like to lodge a complaint, please contact our Managing Director. If you’d like to celebrate being spared the agony of too much talk, please invite our MD along too. But, seriously, where did this month go? Days and nights have all blurred into a whirlwind existence packed with deadlines and deliverables, all fuelling an ever-growing ambition as we expand our business group and launch new magazines. Ambition. What a wonderful word! Filled with such potential! But it also brings its fair share of sleep deprivation and frustration as one navigates the road to success. Keeping that in mind, and realising that all our SME Success Series events so far had been in Dubai, we decided to organise our next event in Abu Dhabi. It was quite an adventure, that road trip of ours at the unearthly hour of 6:30 am, sleep deprived because we had been working till late the night before. The only comfort was that we had an equally tortured MD as the designated driver. Needless to say, we took a sadistic delight in getting even. But the event itself, which was titled Ambitions in Abu Dhabi...and beyond was well worth it. We had an impressive turnout and a very engaged audience. Once they got started, the questions wouldn’t stop! Our expert speakers covered issues ranging from making family businesses more entrepreneurial, to sustainable growth, and policies that actually matter and work. This event was part of our ongoing collaboration with our presenting partner ADCB, where we conduct a series of initiatives for the benefit of the regional business community. This includes the SME Advisor magazine, our online and social media community, and several events throughout the year, culminating in our grand Stars of Business Summit and Awards on 28th Nov. You can find more information on our website and, if you haven’t already done so, do nominate your business for our 2011 awards. We are closing nominations soon, so hurry! Last year we received 3,500 nominations which were audited to ensure transparency. This year we are hoping to surpass that figure. The event itself will be on a bigger, grander scale than ever before, with about a thousand business achievers attending the gala dinner ceremony. The evening’s celebrations will be preceded by a daylong summit. It’s the place to be, so make sure you bag a seat ASAP. You need to register online; the information is available on our website. And watch this space for many more exciting announcements in the coming months. Until next time...

Published by

Ketaki Banga, Group Editor, CPI Business 1013 Centre Road, New Castle County, Wilmington, Delaware, USA

Branch Office PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409

Talk to us: E-mail: Twitter: @SMEadvisorME Facebook: LinkedIn group: SME Advisor

Printed by Printwell Printing Press LLC © Copyright 2011 CPI All rights reserved While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.




CONTENTS Issue 71 October 2011

Marketing 34 SOCIAL CONSUMERS Marketing to social consumers requires a fundamentally different approach from that of traditional marketing, says Abbas Aldina, Director,


36 FACEBOOK Alan Devereux, Communications Officer for the British Business Group, Dubai and Northern Emirates, discusses why Facebook can potentially give your business a much needed face-lift.

38 PLOTTING A STRATEGY A smart business will work not only on maintaining a smart marketing strategy but also keep an eye firmly on the tactics of its competitors, says Sawsan Ghanem, Managing Partner, Active PR.

40 BRAND BUILDING Delivering a consistent brand message at every point of interaction with a customer should be a company’s primary tenet, says Gabby Chamat, CEO, Re-brand-ing.

Drum roll please!





Sales 42 PERFORMANCE Satisfaction and engagement are not simply airy-fairy terms, but directly impact the bottom line, writes Stephan Melchior, Managing Partner, Wilson Worldwide Learning.


New toys for you and your business. Like you need an excuse!

Dr. Ashraf Mahate, Head of Export Market Intelligence, Dubai Exports and Vice Chair of the Economic Policy Committee, Dubai Economic Department, explains the advantages of targeting particular events in foreign markets.

Banking on business

Business growth





A quick look at news and events that will impact SMEs in this region.


Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) discusses their strategies for cultivating young Emirati talent within the banking sector.

SME Success Series 18 AMBITIONS IN ABU DHABI, AND BEYOND SME Advisor and ADCB, in conjunction with Exclusive Telecom Partner, du, hosted a business growth conference in Abu Dhabi. We bring you the exclusive coverage.


For small business owners and SME investors, a lack of understanding of virtuous and vicious cycles can mean a rapid decline in their business, says John Lincoln, Vice President, Enterprise Marketing, du.

30 BANKING RELATIONSHIPS Vikram Venkataraman, Director, Salvus Strategic Advisors, discusses what you can do to handle banks differently and how to more effectively manage banking relations.


44 COMMERCIALISING IDEAS Geethalakshmi R., CEO and Managing Partner, Associated Business Attorneys, discusses the processes involved with negotiating licensing contracts.

Protecting your business from risk with the right type of insurance is one of the most important things an SME owner can do, says independent financial advisor, Greg Pogonowksi.

Management 50 WORKPLACE AND WOMEN Sahar Haffar Moussly, Executive Director, Trans Gulf Management Consultancy, discusses how women can learn and perfect self-confidence at work.


Industry watch


64 CORPORATE CULTURE Recent studies suggest that businesses need to do more to use corporate culture purposefully, instead of blaming it for failures.

66 REGIONAL GROWTH Booz & Company has released a new report suggesting that GCC governments are in a prime position to propel their nations forward with the help of their young population.



SME Advisor, with Tickbox Surveys Middle East, conducted a survey to understand how information technology is being utilised by businesses.

Technology for business 70 SME RETAIL Video surveillance can assist retailers in understanding their customers and improving business, says Baraa Al Akkad, Regional Manager, Axis Communications Middle East.

71 CONSTRUCTION Andres Arthur from Autodesk explains how smaller construction firms are now bringing Building Information Modelling (BIM) into problem areas.

52 INNOVATION A key ingredient to effective leadership is innovation, but more often than not it is overlooked, says Sharan Gohel, Business Manager, QED Consulting.

Business guru 54 MICHAEL BURCHELL Aparna Shivpuri Arya talks to the man leading the global business development for the Great Place to Work Institute.

Business pin up 58 DUBAI DRUMS To understand Dubai Drums you first have to know the founder, Julie-Ann Odell. She talks to Aparna Shivpuri Arya about hard business lessons, team building and corporate social responsibility.

SME about town 60 THOUGHT INCUBATOR Dubai Media City held an education workshop to discuss data storage and security and how this technology is impacting businesses.


72 MOBILE SECURITY Mobile computer users need to raise their security game if they are to avoid handheld data breaches, says Andy Cordial, Managing Director, Origin Storage.

GITEX 2011

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Awards, 2011, was held in September. The Award aims to promote excellence among UAE businesses.



A day in the life of‌

SME Advisor attended the opening of the Majid Bin Mohammed Innovation Center, in5, which was launched to enable increased access to the technology ecosystem.

It’s that time of year again! We bring you a roundup of the must-attend events during GITEX 2011.

78 WILD GUANABANA Omar Samra, founder of carbon zero travel company, Wild Guanabana, takes us through a typical day in his life.






trends & updates

UAE economy keeps the Arab region flag high The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, issued by the World Economic Forum, ranked the UAE 27th globally for competitiveness. The report classified the UAE as an innovation – driven economy. This is the highest stage of economic development that a country can achieve. This classification is based on factors that promote innovation in economic development. The UAE was the only Arab country to be classified in this category for three years consecutively. Other countries in this stage of economic development include Germany, Japan, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Singapore. According to the report, the UAE has been ranked among the top ten countries in more than 20 global competitiveness indicators, and has scored advanced positions

of 110 indicators), namely; institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, Higher education and training, goods and market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication HE Abdullah Lootah, Secretary General, and innovation. Emirates Competitiveness Council Commenting on the report, His among the 142 countries that the Excellency Abdullah Lootah, report has covered. Secretary General, Emirates The Global Competitiveness Competitiveness Council, noted Report, published annually by that the UAE continues its drive the World Economic Forum, to build itself as a world-leading ranks countries along key destination for business and pillars of competitiveness. This foreign investment. The effort year 142 countries are ranked includes strengthening the along 12 key pillars (comprised legal framework, and providing

excellent infrastructure. He added that the Emirates Competitiveness Council will closely review the findings of the report, and engage the participation of public and private sectors in interactive sessions to identify ways to improve performance in key areas of importance to the country. The UAE seeks to compete with the leading countries of the world on the basis of its knowledge capital rather than dependence on natural resources. The leadership of the country has recognised the importance of competing on the basis of knowledge to maintain growth and momentum over the long term, as is clearly stated in the UAE’s Vision 2021. The vision document focuses on strengthening the partnership between the government and the private sector in order to achieve the vision of the national knowledge-based economy.

Platform for entrepreneurs to build their network, a new online destination for ICT entrepreneurs in the MENA, is launching, in partnership with JobThread, the first online job listing dedicated to entrepreneurs and startups in MENA region. Ibtikarati, which means “my innovations’” in Arabic, reflects the core idea of the


platform as a place for the innovation ecosystem made of entrepreneurs, developers and investors to engage with one another and participate in the development of ICT entrepreneurship and innovation in MENA. aims at helping entrepreneurs, developers, investors and startup job seekers


to get in touch with each other. It provides resources and tips for entrepreneurs in MENA seeking guidance and show casing innovation through websites, new business models and hiring talents. intends to meet the growing need for ICT innovation and entrepreneurship as the region’s

broadband capacity grows rapidly and as the region needs to diversify its economies and jump on the innovation bandwagon. At you can create profiles as an entrepreneur, developer, or investor and can create your startup profile, showcase your innovations, and indentify partners.


trends & updates

Online shopping to become more secure New protection for Internet users and detailed standards for marketers selling to them are highlighted in a newly revised code of global marketing practice. The Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications available online, serves as the foundation for national self-regulatory systems that monitor marketing practices and provide consumers with easy access to make complaints and redress problems. The code was unveiled at an international conference on responsible advertising, hosted by the Latin American Association of Advertising Self-Regulatory Organisations (CONARED). “Our consolidated code is recognised as the gold standard for self-regulation,” said John Manfredi, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commission on Marketing and Advertising, and CEO of Manloy Associates in the US. “This new code expands the scope and reach of global efforts with rules that cover consumer rights and business responsibilities online. It increases protection for children on the Internet and sets parameters for all advertising directed to them, and it adds safeguards for consumer privacy and personal information.”

“To make this code accessible to everyone, we launched a website,, which is dedicated to self-regulation at all levels-global, national and regional. It will serve business people, regulators, self-regulators and academics as well as consumers. Its purpose is to build trust for selfregulation by setting high marketing standards,” Mr Manfredi added.

The code sets out the dos and don’ts on many topical and difficult marketing issues including: Setting conditions and limits for online behavioural targeting of advertising (OBA), based on interest profiles created by tracking Web browsing habits of consumers. Establishing restrictions on products that may be marketed to children and information gathered from them. Specifying guidelines

for making responsible environmental marketing claims and creating sound food and beverage ads. Setting standards for ethical behaviour and transparency on digital communications for the new technology players, including mobile operators, search engines, application developers, information aggregators and data gatherers. Protecting consumer privacy with clear guidance

on consumer rights, including, the right to know what information is acquired by a marketer and the standards for the collection, use and safeguard of personal data when it is collected. “This code reflects the commitment of businesses from all sectors of industry and all regions of the world to responsible marketing and advertising,” said JeanGuy Carrier, ICC Secretary General.




trends & updates

Social interaction the main reason for being online in the UAE A survey to investigate Internet usage in the Middle East by and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, has revealed that the predominant reason for going online is to participate in social activities. Survey results showed that 70% of UAE respondents spend three hours or more online every day. According to the survey results, every day, 38% of UAEbased respondents claim to connect with friends via e-mail and 41% of the same demographic connect with friends through social networking sites. Watching video clips and listening to music are also popular daily online activities and a very significant proportion of daily usage comes from online job hunting, with 46% of UAE respondents using the Internet to seek employment. The least popular daily online activities, in terms of the percentage of UAE survey responses that have never accessed the facility, are downloading podcasts (43%), participating in online courses (40%), uploading video clips to video sharing websites (40%), playing online games (37%), and uploading photos to a photo sharing website (30%). Results asking surveytakers to state all social networks, to which they


belong, proved that Facebook is the site of choice; of the 1049 UAE respondents, only 10% claimed to not have a Facebook profile. In the UAE, 43% of surveytakers claim to use social networking websites at their place of work; the main reason for not accessing such sites while in the office are due to the employee not having time (65%), rather than sites being blocked (20%). For online shopping, the results demonstrate that 12% of respondents research for online deal offers daily, 12% most days of the week, 13% at least once a week, and an additional 10% at least once a month. The overwhelming majority of respondents


have never purchased books, cinema tickets, items from online auctions or other (such as clothing or electronics) online; only 27% have never purchased an airline ticket through the Internet, with 21% saying they will buy once every four to six months, and 33% purchasing less often than that. When it comes to online access, Google Chrome is the UAE’s browser of choice, opted for by 39% of respondents. Google reigns as the search engine of choice, with 97% preferring to use it over its peers. Gmail, however, is surpassed by Yahoo! for email usage, though not by far – 65% use the latter, compared to 62%

using the former. Hotmail comes in third, with 53%. As far as chat programmes are concerned, Yahoo! Messenger is the most popular platform in the UAE, with 55% of respondents using it; a close second is Skype with 51%, followed by Google talk! 42% and Windows LIVE 34%. The biggest concern with the Internet across the region is inappropriate content being easily accessible to children and youth. In the UAE, this is followed by (in order of biggest – lowest concern) Internet addiction, the Internet keeping people away from an active lifestyle, spam, social interaction and lack of privacy.




trends & updates

Initiative to be close to nature

Active Public Relations & Marketing Communications Consultancy (Active PR) announced the winner of the Entrepreneur Loudspeaker Competition 2011 – Wild Planet Productions. A panel of judges including Hamdan Mohamed, President and Chairman of the Board, Arab Business Club, Dave Reeder, Editorial Director, CPI, and the

Managing Partners of Active PR, reviewed the five semi-finalist video entries against pre-agreed criteria. This was the culmination of a three month grassroots initiative that saw entries from start ups across the Middle East region from Palestine, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE. Wild Planet Productions is the MENA region’s only dedicated natural history production

company aimed at educating and connecting the public to wildlife in Arabia. Sawsan Ghanem, Managing Partner of Active PR and one of the judges of the competition said, “We had some outstanding entries from very confident and passionate Middle East start up entrepreneurs making our job of selecting a winner very difficult indeed. We are excited to work with Wild Planet Productions and to support them in their communications objectives through a three month PR campaign.” Launched in June 2011 via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the Entrepreneur Loudspeaker competition was aimed at start ups in the Middle East and asked them to submit an elevator

pitch about their business in a two-minute video with a view to becoming the winner of USD 20,000 worth of PR consultancy. Hamdan Mohamed, President and Chairman of Arab Business Club and also one of the judges of the competition said, “The Arab Business Club has always played an active role in supporting entrepreneurs and growing businesses in the Middle East region and I am honoured to be able to support this initiative by Active PR. The Entrepreneur’s Loudspeaker Competition is an innovative and creative concept for indentifying new talent and gauging potential. Being an entrepreneur myself, I am excited to see how the current and future generation of entrepreneurs will progress.”

IT training for Emirati youth Pearson in Practice, part of global education company Pearson, is working with companies in the United Arab Emirates to improve the skills of young people in IT, customer service and business administration, to better meet the modern business needs. Fiona McBride, CEO of Pearson in Practice, said, “The problem is that graduates have little hands-on knowledge and skills in key business areas and are not ready for the workplace.”


“A number of key sectors are suffering because they cannot attract young people with the right experience or ability to work effectively. Working in partnership with employers, we are aiming to help change that. Our trainees are highly skilled, ready to work and can make a difference,” she added. The programmes are the first to launch outside the UK. The business administration and customer service programmes will run over 20 weeks, whilst the IT Diploma


will run over 18 weeks with an optional 18 week internship with an employer. Zed Ayech, Managing Director, Flagship Consultancy, a business consultancy in the UAE said, “Such innovative training and internship programmes are necessary, because they will help put individuals on the right career path with the necessary experience to perform more efficiently and deliver better results.” He added, “It usually takes a new employee between six to nine months to get up to

speed and become efficient in a role. These programmes not only reduce that time significantly, but also provide much needed skills that can have an impact on productivity and the bottom line. The IT training programme comes at a time when the IT sector is growing rapidly in the UAE and requires people who are multi-skilled and able to work across a variety of digital platforms, including setting up new systems or developing software or websites or training people to use their IT facilities.




Routing entertainment NETGEAR has announced the Middle East launch of the N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit RouterPremium Edition (WNDR3800), a home router that offers a “Clear Channel Selector” and can create private cloud file sharing via the ReadySHARE cloud service. The new device is being offered as the perfect home router complement, skilfully helping users avoiding clogged WiFi channels. The N600 is easy to install and manage, with no CD required for installation. It comes with many advanced features like ReadySHARE printer, NETGEAR genie, NETGEAR live parental controls, guest network, DLNA standard streaming, automatic quality of service (QoS), expanded TiVo storage, fast wireless and wired connections, automatic WiFi security, and an open platform. The N600 will be available in the Middle East from the second half of October 2011 at an estimated retail price of USD 116.

On the move

The new Acer ICONIA TAB A100 offers portability and high performance, with a 7” display and weighing only 410 grams. The ICONIA TAB A100 is equipped with Android 3.2, the latest Android operating system with a super-smart screen scaling compatibility mode. Another improvement brought along by Android 3.2 is full support of Micro SD card, that now can be accessed from the PC via USB connection. Powered by the dual – core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, the ICONIA TAB A100 provides the same great

performance as the 10” tablet in the same Acer ICONIA TAB series. On this 7” (1024x600) full touch screen tablet, you can enjoy movies, read books, and browse the web with Flash 10.3 support. It comes with a 5MP autofocus rear camera, which allows you to take high-resolution photos and 720p videos, and quickly upload them to your social networks.

Watching smart Samsung Gulf Electronics Co. Ltd. announced the launch of their latest entertainment App, YuppTV. The announcement comes in line with Samsung’s latest partnership with, which will enable Samsung Smart TV viewers to access over 60 high-definition Indian channels. was launched in 2008 and quickly became one of the world’s leading portals for Indian programmes with distribution rights to more than 60+ Indian TV



channels in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, and Urdu. Samsung Smart TV viewers will be able to access 36 of these channels for free and will be able to access the rest through subscription and users can download the free YuppTV application from Samsung Apps. The Samsung SMART TV line-up includes a range of LED, LCD and PDP TVs and is currently available across all major retail outlets in the UAE.

Picture perfect

Economise printing Brother Gulf has revealed the launch of a new line of Monochrome Laser Printers (MLPs) that can help Middle East businesses cut down on printing costs. The new printers, which include the MFC 7860DW, MFC 7470D, HL 2240D, HL 2270 DW and the DCP-7065DN, have been designed to help reduce paper usage by as much as 50%. The new units have also been packaged as all-in-one multi function printers (MFPs) offering key features like laser printing, scanner, copier and fax. The new line of MLPs offers printing speeds of up to 24 to 26 pages per minute.

Each unit is presented in a sleek and easy to maintain body and comes with a 35 sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) for fast and efficient multi-page scanning, copying and faxing. The new line of MLPs has been designed to be low maintenance with a 250 sheet dust-free paper tray and a manual feed slot for envelope printing. All units allow users to save on hardware costs with their unique sharing abilities on a wired or wireless network. All the supplies, including the drum, can be replaced individually, giving users the advantage of only paying for what they have used. The units also come with an ENERGY STAR certification.

Stay stylishly connected

Sony Ericsson has introduced the Xperia ray, a sleek and beautiful Android SmartPhone that features technologies like the Reality display, Mobile BRAVIA engine and Exmor R.

Fast and responsive, the 9.4mmthin phone features a stylish frame and a high capacity battery beneath the sleek surface. The phone is equipped with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and Gmail, in addition to offering instant access to websites via 3G or WiFi through its super-fast Google browser. The 8.1mp camera, with Exmor R for mobile sensor, lets the user capture high quality pictures and videos even in poor light conditions. Facebook inside Xperia– an exclusive feature for the Xperia family, provides unique social media

The two new additions to the IXUS camera range, the IXUS 1100 HS and the IXUS 230 HS, pack a powerful range of technologies and features that deliver outstanding still images and Full HD video with stereo sound. Both IXUS models excel in low light. The slimmest camera of its kind, the IXUS 1100 HS packs a powerful 12x optical zoom into a sleek, stainless steel body with the versatile 28mm wide – angle lens. Photos are displayed and settings controlled with ease on the huge 8.0cm (3.2’’) PureColor II Touch LCD screen. The IXUS 230 HS blends a sleek and stylish design, available in a choice of six vibrant colours, with a powerful 28mm 8x optical zoom lens, and at just 22.1mm, it is also the slimmest camera. The new PowerShot SX150 IS is an affordable, super zoom camera packed with fun and creative features. It features a 14.1 Megapixel resolution sensor, while an impressive 12x optical zoom offers a 336mm telephoto reach – providing the flexibility to capture high quality images, near and far.

integration. Facebook is immediately accessible from the most used areas of the phone such as the picture gallery, music player, phonebook and calendar. Furthermore, the application enables users to “like”, share and comment more easily than ever. Available at leading electronic stores in the region, Xperia ray is priced at AED 1799 and comes in black, gold, white and pink colours.



Banking on business Nurturing talent

Cultivating talents The vision for the UAE’s young remains a corner stone of society and is supported by both government and private organisations. This holds more importance when related to current financial markets, especially in finance and banking where there are no physical products, but simply people, their knowledge and expertise, says Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

the senior management and external guests from prominent government bodies to share knowledge, ideas and receive updates on business strategy and personal development. Key achievements of UAE National Development EMARATI ACADEMY (UAE NATIONALS DEVELOPMENT) The purpose of the Emirati Academy is to drive the ADCB ambition of increasing the number of employed Emiratis and to contribute to the retention of talented UAE nationals within the Bank. Our UAE National Development programmes currently address the development needs of UAE national talent at the following organisational levels: Senior management Three managers are currently participating in the LEAD program, organised by Al Dar in cooperation with Cambridge University.


hrough Long Live Ambition, ADCB has continued the vision that the UAE has for nurturing its young people, establishing a strategy to aid in the development of UAE nationals through Emiratisation, solid recruitment and pro-active people development. On the recruitment front, ADCB has tapped into national talent from all avenues with a strong focus on upcoming young and highly educated generation. Statistics confirm that the majority of the national population is in the student bracket and in an active area where recruitment programmes are held with many key local educational colleges and institutions. ADCB also offers part-time training and job opportunities for nationals who are studying or have family commitments, which doesn’t make it convenient for them to work full business hours, such as setting up an auxiliary contact centre in Al Ain entirely staffed by UAE national women working part time. Understanding that recruitment is only half the challenge; the next key aspect is pro-active people development, learning and performance


management. ADCB has a tiered model for development that designs individually catered programmes for each job role, starting at trainee level and continuing up to senior executives, with each tier receiving development interventions that match their requirements and experience levels. Some key initiatives include Mahara, an on-the-job training programme which prepares fresh graduates from college or high school for entry level jobs in the workplace by combining traditional classroom learning, experiential activities, and practical projects and on-the-job monitoring and coaching. This is underpinned by theory concepts such as English communication and banking fundamentals. A prime initiative of ADCB is its Aspiring Manager Programme, a ten month long course that prepares officer level nationals for their first foray into the world of management. The course involves both internal and external training as well as business projects and assignments. In support of the UAE’s vision, ADCB established its own internal UAE National Development Forums; one day events that bring together UAE national staff with members of


Middle management and high-potentials We continue to provide the five day Ashridge Leadership Process programme in collaboration with Ashridge Business School, conducted yearly in Abu Dhabi for a total of ten high potential UAE Nationals. We are sponsoring four EIBFS Diplomas for UAE nationals, with a minimum one year of ADCB experience. Ashridge Pathways to Management Certification is a programme available for experienced UAE national middle managers, supporting them to become tomorrow’s executives. This two year Master’s degree programme is designed to equip managers with the tools they need to lead at a higher level. We currently have three UAE National managers on the programme. Aspiring Managers Programme, was specifically designed for the accelerated development of 16 high potential UAE nationals. Internships The Work Experience Programme is open to UAE Nationals registered in high school or university; in 2010 we have accommodated 40 students. Additionally, we run in partnership with EIBFS a one year development programme for 300 parttime trainees in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Fujairah.

SME Success Series

Business growth conference Presented by

Ambitions in Abu Dhabi… and beyond As part of our ongoing SME Success Series, we decided this time to take the road show to Abu Dhabi. Presented by ADCB, in conjunction with our Exclusive Telecom Partner, du, the event brought experts and attendees together for informative workshops, one-on-one mentoring sessions and an opportunity to mingle and exchange business cards. We bring you the highlights.


fter much positive feedback from the business community in Dubai with our previous SME Advisor Success Series events, we decided that a platform for discussion, debate and networking in Abu Dhabi was the next logical step. Registrations prior to the event far exceeded expectations, which only reinforced our belief that the demand for conferences of this kind expands across the entire UAE and beyond. Positive responses from attendees during the morning sessions made mention of SME Advisor’s unique style, where we offer not only sound business advice but also follow through with suggestions from the SME community on how to better our events. Guest speakers from INSEAD Business School, Salvus Strategic Advsiors and the American University in Dubai, participated in the form of workshops, wherein we aimed to not only provide attendees with informative presentations, but to also offer a platform for audience participation through multiple Q&A slots. We had hoped that healthy dialogue and debate would be a defining feature of this road show and that’s exactly what we got.

Exclusive Telecom Partner



Summit, which takes place on the 28th November. For further information and to nominate your business visit

Adly A. Al Zoubi, Regional Head, SME, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, extending a warm welcome to the audience As with previous events, we provided an opportunity for attendees to avail of one-on-one consultations with not only the speakers, but also subject matter experts from our presenting partners, ADCB, offering SME lending advice, and Exclusive Telecom Partner, du, offering advice on SME mobility and technical solutions as well as general marketing techniques within the SME segment. This road show is one of multiple events we will be conducting during the last quarter of 2011. We are arranging a networking evening in October, multiple corporate golf days and of course the much anticipated SME Advisor Stars of Business Awards and

Strategic Partners


Supported By

Knowledge Partners

Richard Judd, Managing Director, CPI Technology & Business addresses attendees For coverage of all our previous events and information for our up-coming events visit

Date: 26th September Time: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm Venue: Al Mamoura Auditorium, Abu Dhabi For more event photos, visit ambitions-in-abu-dhabi/

Event Partner

Business Group Partner

Business Community Partner

SME Success Series

Business growth conference Presented by

Conference snapshots

Exclusive Telecom Partner


Strategic Partners

Supported By

Knowledge Partners

Event Partner

Business Group Partner

Business Community Partner



SME Success Series


Business growth conference

Workshop 1: How to make your family business more entrepreneurial Stephen Mezias Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, INSEAD Business School Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Chair in International Management Academic Director, The INSEAD Abu Dhabi Campus Academic Director, The INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative


ome of the key traits that define an entrepreneur are initiative and risk taking, however, as the business stabilises or becomes a family enterprise passed down from one generation to another, these key traits tend to get lost in a comfort zone. Why “Broad participation in design ensures structures support can your business not afford to get complacent and why do you tasks and your systems should encourage feedback for need to continue to think like an entrepreneur? improvement. Employees are profit centres and if family Stephen discussed whether businesses should put more focus businesses are to become more entrepreneurial then on processes or profits and emphasised that making your firm their owners must understand that it’s not about lowest more entrepreneurial is realising structures are not a past time but possible cost, but about highest possible returns.” an on-going necessity.

Workshop 2: Defining your core corporate principles for sustainable growth Vikram Venkataraman Director Salvus Strategic Advisors JLT, Dubai, UAE Salvus Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India

“You must find the balance between business design and structures and always keep track of not only your own wallet but also your client’s wallet, in order to plan for future expectations.”

Vishnu Deuskar Managing Director Salvus Strategic Advisors JLT, Dubai, UAE


ention the word sustainable and everyone thinks green. But being a sustainable business is actually about having the best shot at long-term survival and growth. It’s about having a strategy instead of a series of knee-jerk reactions, fuelling growth spurts that may not be viable in the long term. So how do you take your business from point A to B, without it being one step forward, and two steps back? Vishnu and Vikram made it clear from the outset that for businesses of any size, corporate culture is what you do and how you behave when no one is looking. Vishnu’s presentation concentrated on demonstrating sustainability by its need to have continued client focus and emphasised the dangers of becoming disconnected with clients and


Workshop 3: Matching your business vision to policies and upcoming opportunities Shadi Abouzeid Ph.D. Associate Professor of Decision Sciences American University in Dubai

“In many cases policies being drafted aren’t even being followed and people then begin to question what the point is; the follow through from senior management and owners is imperative if the policy is going to take root in any business.”




roper planning is vital for growth. Another thing that could help businesses is being aware of how best to utilise the opportunities they present, while planning short and long-term strategy. Shadi explained that when introducing policies you should always be considering the triple Rs – record, report and regulation and it is not just about the policies themselves but how they are implemented and what comes after their introduction.

One-on-one consultations

SME Success Series

Business growth conference

Ezhil Venugopal

Senior Manager, Trade Sales ADCB


zhil Venugopal is Senior Manager, Trade Sales at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. He has over ten years of experience, with the last eight years in trade finance. He has a wealth of knowledge in the trade finance arena having worked in varied roles such as sales, operations and electronic channels.

Stephen Mezias

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, INSEAD Business School Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Chair in International Management Academic Director, The INSEAD Abu Dhabi Campus Academic Director, The INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative

Trade and lending


tephen Mezias’ current research focuses on cognitive and social aspects of institutional processes, especially as they relate to legal environments, the emergence of new industries, the production of culture, organisational learning processes, and cultural differences and similarities in performance evaluation. His publications have appeared in or are forthcoming in Management Science, Organisation Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, as well as numerous other journals.

Mohammed Samiuddin

Unit Manager, SME Abu Dhabi ABCD


ohammed Samiuddin has 12 years of diverse banking experience in different departments in retail banking, commercial banking and risk management, during which he has handled varied portfolios. Currently as Unit Manager, his focus is on growth of existing SME portfolio with reliance on assets build up and to maintain the existing portfolio of varied SME clients.

SME lending

SME mobility and technical solutions/ Marketing techniques within the SME segment Raghav Mimani,

Marketing Manager, Enterprise SME Segment, du,


aghav has over eight years experience in the telecom domain having previously led teams in the functions of marketing, sales and technology. At present he is the leader of operational teams, project manager and product manager for new and existing products at du.

Vikram Venkataraman

Director Salvus Strategic Advisors JLT, Dubai, UAE Salvus Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India


ikram is a career banker with 25 years of experience in banking in India and the Middle East with various banks. His most recent experience in banking has been as the Head of the SME Business at Mashreq, which he left in 2010 to co-found an SME focused investment banking firm, Salvus Strategic Advisors.

Vishnu Deuskar

Managing Director Salvus Strategic Advisors JLT, Dubai, UAE


ishnu Deuskar is the Managing Director of Salvus Strategic Advisors JLT, Dubai and Salvus Capital Advisors, India. Before establishing Salvus, he was Managing Director and Head of Global Markets-MENA region, ABN AMRO Bank and was responsible for treasury, bond origination, syndicated loans, project finance, structured products, derivatives, money markets and foreign exchange. Prior to that he was with ABN AMRO and ANZ Grindlays Bank in India. Since 2009 he has been on the international the panel of judges of the annual Wharton Business Plan Competition organised by The Wharton School of Business, USA.

Shadi Abouzeid Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Decision Sciences American University in Dubai


fter receiving his doctorate, Professor Abouzeid worked for fiveyears as an operational manager for a pharmaceutical distribution company. He then moved to Dubai and joined academia. He is currently working on a three years project with Abu Dhabi Government that will improve the processes of their municipal system.




one-off events

Cashing in on E the crowd

arlier in the year an estimated two billion people around the world watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. While most people were happily watching the royal couple, economists were busy calculating the impact on the economy, especially for SMEs.

One-off events allow SMEs to be innovative in their marketing, advertising material and messages, without the liability of a huge expense bill. More importantly, this allows SMEs to consider entering foreign markets with the knowledge that their product range is targeted towards a particular event, says Dr. Ashraf Mahate, Head of Export Market Intelligence, Dubai Exports, and Vice Chair of the Economic Policy Committee, Dubai Economic Department.



In the UK, SMEs accounts for 99.9% of all enterprises, 59.4% of private sector employment and 50.1% of private sector turnover. Therefore, any positive impact of the royal wedding would have certainly benefitted the economy and helped to create jobs. Various estimates showed that approximately half a million people travelled from across the UK to see the royal wedding. These short term visitors to the British capital were estimated by the accountancy firm, PWC, to have increased retail sales by GBP 107 million. In addition to this, London had a further 600,000 visitors

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one-off events

from overseas along with the hundreds of media crews from across the world. This certainly helped the tourism and hospitality sector in the UK at a time when the economy was not doing so well. The sector to have benefitted the most from the royal wedding was the memorabilia industry prior to the day more than GBP 200 million had been spent on china plates, coins, jigsaws and so on. Overall

of advertising and marketing because the event itself is a great attraction. One-off events do offer opportunities to SMEs but they also have risks attached to them. For instance, the SME needs to appreciate the impact of attaching itself to a particular one-off event on its brand image. As interesting or effective as using a one-off event may be in increasing sales, the SME owner needs to understand that they

More importantly, the ability to market services on the Internet allows SMEs a low cost entry mode. Of course SMEs can also use one-off events to test foreign partnership and franchising relationships before a full and deep relationship is entered into by the parties.

estimates show that the royal wedding has added approximately GBP 1 billion to the sales of the retail, hospitality and travel industries. Figures suggest that 25% of the retail sales were carried out on the Internet, thereby implying that not only was the opportunity available to UK SMEs, but also those outside the country. Of course royal weddings tend to be occasional events; more frequent and perhaps equally, if not more profitable, are sporting events. Each year dozens of major sporting events take place which allow SMEs to capitalise on the opportunities available. It is not just the memorabilia or clothing firms that can benefit from such events but a whole host of firms, from outsourcing business services, to educational services. More importantly, the ability to market services on the Internet allows SMEs a low cost entry mode. Of course SMEs can also use one-off events to test foreign partnership and franchising relationships before a full and deep relationship is entered into by the parties. One-off events are an ideal opportunity for SMEs to increase their sales, even carry out product development so as to enhance their existing portfolio or test new products. Although the winners from oneoff events tend to be the usual suspects such as the memorabilia, retailing and hospitality industries, it should not stop others from also cashing in on the occasion. As such this reduces the risks involved in foreign entry as well as lowering the cost


One-off events also have the challenge whereby the company may not be able to accurately predict demand and hence it may pose issues with customer service. Predicting demand becomes a particularly acute problem for businesses which are located close to the actual event. One way of dealing with the level of uncertainty is to use proxy measures to estimate the likely demand. Typical proxy measures tend to be the impact of similar historical events on businesses in general and those in the same line of activity. The importance of being prepared for these one-off events cannot be understated, as any compromise on either the service or the actual product may hinder future business. This is more so the case if the customer is a first timer. Also, as any business owner knows one happy customer is the best advert that it can possibly have while a disappointed customer may significantly damage the business. Therefore, the golden rule behind one-off events is to plan properly and to ensure that the company is consistent in its messages, service as well as product.


Dr. Ashraf Mahate

have to be true to their brand. The incentive of increasing a short revenue stream should not detract a company away from its core motivation and way of doing business. Companies need to be consistent in their activities and marketing messages and consider the sensibilities of the customers. If coming up with weird and wonderful promotions is something that the customers associate with the company, then it is usually accepted by marketplace. However, if the customers feel that such tactics cheapen the product or service, then it may have long term implications for the company. Therefore, before embarking on cashing on one-off events, a company needs to think very carefully first, about how it will seek to do this and second, what will be the likely reactions from its customer base.


Dr. Ashraf Mahate is the Head of Export Market Intelligence at Dubai Exports (formerly known as the Dubai Export Development Corporation), which is an agency of the Dubai Economic Department. Dr. Mahate is also the Vice Chair of the Economic Policy Committee with the Dubai Economic Department. He has written a number of journal articles, chapters in books and edited books in the areas of economics, finance and banking. He has also presented papers at major international conferences. Dr. Mahate has provided extensive consultancy services to various organisations in the areas of banking, economics and finance. He has been a director of a number of companies including a venture capital company and a private equity fund. Dr. Mahate received his doctorate from Cass City University Business School in London (UK) which was ranked by the Financial Times newspaper as the 12th best university in the world for finance. He read Economics at University College London, followed by a Masters in International Economics and Banking at the University of Wales in Cardiff. Dr. Mahate is a professional educator and received his training at the Institute of Education (University of London). He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Managers (UK) and a Member of the Institute of Commercial Management (UK). He is also a member of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS).


Virtuous vs. vicious The concepts of virtuous and vicious cycles are especially important for any business. For small business owners and SME investors, a lack of understanding of this concept could mean a rapid decline in your business, says John Lincoln, Vice President, Enterprise Marketing, du.


ave you heard about the concept of virtuous and vicious cycles? If so, have you ever really given much thought, as to how it affects your personal life, career or business? I have often noted in my discussions with small business owners and investors, their lack of understanding of these concepts and am saddened to see how they are putting their business at risk, or how they themselves are limiting the growth of their business, through their lack of understanding of these concepts.

steps to freeze commercial paper (short term borrowings of companies). This freezing by the commercial banks resulted in many companies not having the sufficient cash flow to fund capital and operating expenditures required to keep their business afloat. This led to many people being laid off, which in turn eroded public confidence further and

In fact, even large companies, governments and politicians make the classic mistake of not accentuating a virtuous cycle and not disrupting a vicious cycle. What are virtuous and vicious cycles? A virtuous cycle or a vicious cycle is a set of events controlled or uncontrolled that reiterates or reinforces itself through a feedback loop. A virtuous cycle accentuates and enhances the outcome, whereas a vicious cycle diminishes or often destroys the outcome. We all live in the current global economic environment and I would contend that if Lehman Brothers had been saved and its toxic subprime assets been assumed through some US Government guarantees, the commercial banks that offer credit to fund large and small businesses would not have taken the drastic



dried up demand, further exacerbating the economic environment. Virtuous and vicious cycles affecting your business Scenario 1: Hiring and firing Imagine that your business is expanding and that you need to hire a manager for your business.


Hire a manager Assume that you had put limited or no due diligence on the hiring effort; you did no background check, no reference checks and you were personally not involved in the hiring process. Now you have an incompetent manager on board; incompetent people are often very insecure and therefore can be rather ineffective. Incompetent managers don’t hire competent people; insecurity can lead to hiring less able people who cannot replace them. Weak employees don’t strive for excellence; whether in customer care, finance, sales, marketing or any other function. This will inevitably result in poor customer service, low sales, non innovation and poor financial management. Due to your weak marketing, sales, customer care and finance employees, the business will not be able to acquire

A virtuous cycle accentuates and enhances the outcome, whereas a vicious cycle diminishes or often destroys the outcome.

What would you have done? How would you disrupt this vicious cycle? As you would have noted from the example above, a simple act of not putting enough due diligence, on hiring key employees could bring your business down. In many businesses the wrong people get hired because someone liked their looks, ethnicity, or they came in cheap. Imagine the opportunity cost put on the table by these sheer poor decisions. Imagine how de-motivated your good employees must be, watching less able person getting paid much more than them, to run the business into the ground. In the previous example given, there are many John Lincoln

As you would have noticed from the three examples given, your time, attention and dedication to hiring, investing in new propositions to extend your product life cycle, and spending on customer service and marketing are of paramount importance.

new business and retain its customers, nor effectively manage its cash flow due to low revenue or leakage of revenue. All this is further compounded by the fact that the manager and the finance department may be unproductive. The incompetent manager will now recommend to the owner that staff needs to be cut, so that expenses can be managed to conserve cash. This will result in further erosion of sales, customer care and cash flow. This will obviously result in poor sales and therefore declining revenues. Your bank may then start withdrawing your credit facilities. You are now unable to sustain your business and you close your business.

opportunities to disrupt the vicious cycle. Most SMEs are reluctant to do it due to errors in their estimation, or judgment of the outcomes that could happen. Scenario 2: Costing and pricing Imagine you have a restaurant offering a multitude of culinary delights that can entice the food preferences of almost anyone. You need to re-price your menu correctly, as there are many well known restaurants in the area. Your incompetent accountant (perhaps the same person from the previous scenario) had advised you and your marketing staff that the prices should extract a margin of x% of allocated costs and volume of sales, based on current sales and inappropriately allocated, across all the fine cuisine and drinks that you sell.

Set costing and pricing of menu items Costing is done by the ineffectual accountant, based on fully allocated method and current volumes and not one based on variable costs or potential of increased sales. Marketing leverage, to set pricing correctly is diminished due to fallacious costs assumptions. Marketing is unable to address the perceived value of the service and the food proposition to its customers. Due to low volume assumptions and the need to generate a reasonable margin, price is set relatively higher. Marketing is neither assertive, nor competent enough, to challenge the finance team’s assumptions. Customer demand decreases. The price is again reset based on decreased demand and fallacious assumptions. Revenues and customers are in decline. Good employees leave due to their inability to generate enough tips. The management is advised to curb costs and put in excess control due to the decreased demand. The restaurant buys cheaper quality raw




materials and retrenches off critical customer facing and kitchen employees. Service deteriorates. Sales come to a dwindling halt. Revenue drops. The restaurant is hardly able to survive. The rest is history. By now you would have noted that an important decision in pricing (which is the purse string of any company) left to an inept accountant, can mean the death knell for your business. Scenario 3: Customer service Imagine that you are a distributor of office equipment in the region. You have recently won the sole distributorship rights in a country for a major well known Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Your sole distributorship rights include computers, printers and copiers. You won this right for sole distributorship due to your excellent sales record. You have just been given a new sales and revenue target by your principal (the OEM). Your goal is to reach a certain sales target in the current fiscal year. Achieve new sales target Hire additional sales force, which is carried out with excellence due to your learning curve of having done it in the past. Sales increase. The customer service team is under a heavy burden to service the increasing demands but the problems are not apparent to you due to your focus on driving increased sales. Some of your past loyal customers complain of poor service. You are not unduly worried, as you are bringing in a lot of new customers. The unsatisfied customers start to desert your business. Your sales people are burdened with calls for support from your dissatisfied customers, as they are not getting the requisite service from your customer service and after sales service departments. Your sales team responds positively; they are an excellent sales division that will not ignore their customer requests. Your sales team is not able to meet its targets as it is spending a lot of their productive time on after sales service issues


Pay attention and disrupt your vicious cycles, whilst accentuating the positive feedback loops. As a small business investor or SME owner, you will need courage, vision and understanding to take your business to the next level.

Your top performers leave the company due to their disillusionment of the management’s lack of focus on service, resulting in them losing their income. Your sales deteriorate. You impose cuts; non sales staff are impacted the most. Your customer services deteriorate further. Your customer churn increases. Your sales continue to drop as your remaining sales team are not able to focus on bringing in the incremental new sales, but rather are compelled to attend to customer service issues. Your principal withdraws your sole distributorship rights. Your competitors smell blood. You are history. I assume that you can see where this is heading! In many instances, small business owners and investors ignore those that are not bringing immediate incremental sales or cash flow, much to their own detriment. How would you have disrupted this feedback loop that was destroying this company? Key takeaways As you would have noticed from the three examples given, your time, attention and dedication to hiring, investing in new propositions to extend your product life cycle and spending on customer service and marketing are of paramount importance. Pay attention and disrupt your vicious cycles, whilst accentuating the positive feedback loops. As a small business investor or SME owner, you will need courage, vision and understanding to take your business to the next level. If you cannot enforce these traits, then you should think twice about whether or not to get into business.


A personal note It is in your power to disrupt that reinforcing feedback loops, positively or negatively. As a mere mortal, I do occasionally miss the beat, but often come right back with something disruptive to mitigate or enhance a vicious or virtuous cycle situation. By being aware of the potential upside and downside of virtuous and vicious cycles, it can definitely make a difference on how we conduct our personal, professional or entrepreneurial life. Unless you have disrupted or reinforced it, often it could mean the outcome of your relationship, career or business. Remember that this precious life unto itself is a vicious or virtuous cycle. Know it, sense it and act upon it.

About John Lincoln has over 20 years telecommunications experience in the USA, Japan, Europe, India, Dubai, Malaysia, Latin America and various other countries. He has extensive senior expertise in international telecommunications sales, marketing, business development and customer service delivery. John also has executive experience with general management, marketing, P&L, product development and revenue management responsibilities in both consumer and enterprise segments for both the fixed and mobile sectors. In addition, John has an impressive operational and management portfolio of established proven expertise in incremental business value creation and management of large multi-cultural teams in Vodafone Global in the UK, Japan Telecom in Tokyo, AirTouch and Pacific Bell (now AT&T) in San Francisco and Tokyo, Airtel in Delhi and other telecom and technology companies. Additionally he has extensive large scale business development, M&A and operational project experience across the USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America. John has an MBA and MS in Telecommunications from the Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California, USA. You can find John’s personal blog at He can be contacted via:, Twitter: @lincolnjc.


Client success stories

If you’ve been looking for a simple way to start your UAE business, you’ve found the right people. Since launching in 2009, Virtuzone has helped aspiring entrepreneurs make their business dream a reality. Here they give details of just some of those success stories.

RANSON is a branding consultancy that specialises in the strategic elements of brand development. As one of Virtuzone’s more recent clients, RANSON have already shown they have the potential to compete with some of the UAE’s heavy weight branding companies. With a unique approach to business, coupled with an unassuming but highly competitive marketing strategy, RANSON is a true David amongst Goliaths. Client advisory on all aspects of brand building, research, strategy, brand naming, brand architecture, brand identity, social media and IP protection are but a few of their many offerings.

Lisa and Scott Marshall of Diverse Choreography are well established Event Choreographers and run a performing arts school in Dubai. ‘Diverse’ are hugely committed to producing first class, bespoke shows. Choreographing and directing all varieties of entertainment ranging from TV and pop videos to theatre, corporate and fashion shows. Over the years, they have worked, with many established artists including: Cher, Kylie Minogue, Pink, Dame Shirley Bassey, Vanessa Mae, Anastacia, Michael Bublé, and Girl’s Aloud. In addition the have worked with ITV and the BBC on shows such as: The Royal Variety Performance, the Brit Awards, the American Music Awards, Top of the Pops and Eurovision Song contest. They typify the kind creative entrepreneurs trying to make their mark in the world and we wholeheartedly support them.

Ugly Duckling Photography was set up by two creative young women at the beginning of 2010. A year on, Ugly Duckling Photography have experienced stratospheric growth, providing a rare home-grown success story in tough times. It’s a period that has seen them doing everything from weddings and family portraits, through to working with major corporate clients such as Ferrari, Coca Cola and Red Bull. The unique mix of glamour and quirkiness that typifies the Ugly Duckling brand seems to have struck the right chord with people in the UAE. DXP specialise in events, exhibitions and entertainment. They are a young team with years of experience and age old principles and although they are small company they have big ideas driven mostly by their Managing Director, Anas Al Halabi and his dynamic team. Through research, of both their customers and their suppliers, they consistently endeavour to deliver a customised first class service at a business class price.

For more about these Virtuzone success stories please visit



business growth

Banking relationships

Handling the T big boys

his article is about looking at yourself and seeing. If you are a SME, it is almost certain that you do not have a qualified CFO who can manage banks. Therefore, the onus of managing banks falls squarely on your shoulders.

Some banks can be challenging to deal with, often do not understand your business and in some instances sanction you credit facilities which are not suited to your business. Vikram Venkataraman, Director, Salvus Strategic Advisors, discusses what you can do to handle banks differently and how to more effectively manage banking relationships.



What does “effectively manage banking relationships” actually mean? Simply put, it means the relationship is managed in a way that the objectives of both borrower, and the lender, are satisfactorily met. This means that you need to understand objectives of both parties. It also means that it is your problem and not that of the bank. Bank’s objectives Minimise risk This is number one priority for banks. You have to understand that there are

business growth

Banking relationships

You have to understand that there are two forces within a bank that guide every borrowing customer relationship. You only see one – your Relationship Manager (RM). The other is the risk management or credit department. The RM will view your company as a source of earnings; the credit person will view it as a source of risk.

Vikram Venkataraman

two forces within a bank that guide every borrowing customer relationship. You only see one – your Relationship Manager (RM). The other is the Risk Management or Credit department. The RM will view your company as a source of earnings; the credit person will view it as a source of risk. You will get what you want only when both parties are satisfied and their

profitability targets (earnings less cost of capital + servicing an account). By understanding what your RM’s targets are, you can work with him to achieve his goal without hurting yourself. We often advise our customers to stop constantly asking banks to reduce interest rates and other charges but focus on the more critical, namely optimum security and financing structures, quick response and so on that will enable you to make a lot more money, not save a little. Make your account profitable for the bank and if you have credit facilities then

It will be even more professional if you write a quarterly letter to the bank documenting the same. This will go into your credit file and be read by risk management and by audit and will convey the fact that you treat the bank as a partner and are attentive enough to update the bank.

objectives (not the same) are met. You need to discuss the risks inherent in your company and its business model with your RM and work with him to mitigate them and present all risks to the bank. Remember you need to help your RM identify and mitigate the risks associated with lending to your company. It is not the RM versus Credit. They are both paid by the bank. Maximise earnings and profitability Like you, banks want to make money and set their Relationship Managers earnings targets. Sophisticated banks set them

use them well and reduce the number of banks or the overall size of your credit limits if necessary. You need to ensure your facilities are at least 70% utilised at all times (with good swings). This will be way above an average portfolio usage of 5055% for banks and set you apart. Avoid surprises Bankers hate surprises, both good ones and bad. I say both, because both show up your Relationship Manager in poor light, in the bank. He will be accused of not being knowledgeable and up-to-date on their

accounts or the market, and will lose the initiative in driving your relationship within the bank. Once this happens, you’ve lost your sponsor. You will then quickly lose support in the bank. This of course, applies more to bad surprises. Good surprises also show up the RM in bad light, for the same reasons and will make him look small. For obvious reasons, do not let this happen. To avoid this, meet regularly and periodically with your RM and update him comprehensively on your business. Discuss broad trends and major issues. It will be even more professional if you write a quarterly letter to the bank documenting the same. This will go into your credit file and be read by risk management and by audit and will convey the fact that you treat the bank as a partner and are attentive enough to update the bank. Painless relationship Each RM, on average, handles around 30 relationships, has marketing targets and is also expected to increase earnings from his portfolio. RMs, therefore, dislike accounts which are “high maintenance”, which means those which are demanding on his time, with ad hoc, unplanned requests, constant demands for various issues, nonresponsiveness and so on. The RM is absolutely key to your growth so keep him happy and well disposed. Bother him as little as possible by doing things properly, when asked, in a timely fashion and plan your requests well in advance.



business growth

Banking relationships


b c d

It is important to build a good reputation as this will serve you in good stead. The banking community is small, bankers talk to each other and RMs circulate amongst a handful of banks in this small market. A sound reputation can get you far; your banker will even recommend you to another bank if you need an additional one and if your standing is good.

Your own objectives The bank as partner The bank is a key provider of capital for you and must be treated as such. Although it is your company, remember, the bank will probably have as much money in it as you do. View them as partners to grow with, not necessary evils. Once you view them as such it will be easier for you to meet their objectives as well.

Secondly, you will have sudden funding requirements and will require the bank to move fast and respond. This is entirely possible and will happen especially if you have maintained a solid relationship, fulfilling all the objectives of the bank. There will be enough up-todate information on your file and enough goodwill and trust for the bank to respond quickly and positively.

Financing structure and money when you need it You should be thinking of financing structures that suit your business and that can help with gaining more clout with your suppliers and clients. Whilst bank charges are important, remain focused on this aspect rather than mere cost savings. Always remember that if a bank gives you AED five million you should be able to turn that around at least three or four times a year. However, the bank makes interest only on AED five million.

Reputation It is important to build a good reputation as this will serve you in good stead. The banking community is small, bankers talk to each other and RMs circulate amongst a handful of banks in this small market. A sound reputation can get you far; your banker will even recommend you to another bank if you need an additional one and if your standing is good. If it is not, then the opposite will happen. Work on it. Understanding objectives of both parties is the first step. It is hard work to meet



them but it is not complicated. Here is how you can work towards them: Collaborate: Always seek to understand objectives and work with your RM. They are a partner not an adversary. This is extremely important. Inform: Keep your information flow regular, frequent and predictable. Be honest and educate. Avoid surprises: I cannot over-estimate the importance of this. Network: Get to know your RM, their immediate colleagues and supervisor, without ingratiating yourself or seeming to go above your RM’s head. Also, pay a lot of attention to operational staff. They are equally important. Remember there are many parties involved: the Risk Management (RM), operations and audit. The last (and in most banks the Risk Management division as well) is off limits to you, but the others are not. Bank relationships are like marriages. You have to work at them. If you cheat, you will be caught, eventually. Good luck.

About Vikram Venkataraman is a career banker with 25 years of experience in banking in India and the Middle East with various banks. Some of the key senior positions he held are: • Executive Director, Regional Head of Credit Structuring ABN AMRO Bank, Middle East and Africa. • Founding Member of Management Team and Head of Corporate & Institutional Banking, Dubai Bank. • Head of SME Business, Transaction Banking and Factoring, Mashreq Bank, Dubai. • Various assignments in Corporate Banking in HSBC India. His most recent experience in banking has been as the Head of the SME Business at Mashreq, which he left in 2010 to co-found an SME focussed investment banking firm – Salvus Strategic Advisors, JLT in Dubai and Salvus Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd. in Mumbai. Salvus advises SMEs with the objective of helping them grow. Raising equity and debt capital is an integral part of Salvus activities. Vikram has also been an entrepreneur in the wellness business, giving him a unique perspective of SME issues, both from a banking and entrepreneur’s points of view. He holds a BA from Loyola College, India and MA from Oxford University, UK. He has served as the Secretary of the Oxford University Economics Society.



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Social consumers

Introducing the Social Consumer The shift in the media landscape has changed the way we make purchasing decisions. Social media has given birth to a new breed of customer... the social consumer. Marketing to social consumers requires a fundamentally different approach from that of traditional marketing, says Abbas Aldina, Director, To succeed in marketing, we must approach each of these consumers in a unique manner. 1) The traditional consumer Traditional consumers search for information offline. They may browse through the classifieds section of the newspaper or search the yellow pages to find what they need. Generally, traditional consumers are older in age and are late adopters of new technologies.


usinesses that understand and adapt to these changes in the marketplace will be able to earn profitable relationships with their customers and prospects. In order to market to social consumers, we first need to understand what differentiates them from other types of consumers. Once we know


how they consume information and make decisions, then we can devise marketing plans effectively. The three types of consumers Three different types of consumers exist in the marketplace today. Each type has specific characteristics, tendencies and preferences.


Traditional consumers are more likely to make purchasing decisions based on advertising (such as TV, radio, or print advertising) and via wordof-mouth from trusted friends. For the average traditional consumer, most of their connections and networks are offline as well, so there is no significant pressure or motivation to shift their consumption habits to the online domain.


Social consumers

Online consumers head to the web to discover, research, learn, compare and buy. It is extremely important to target these consumers at all phases of their online journey when they are researching a company or its offerings.

Online consumers head to the web to discover, research, learn, compare and buy. It is extremely important to target these consumers at all phases of their online journey when they are researching a company or its offerings. This is best achieved through a comprehensive

Social consumers play a key role in defining the perception of brands within social networks. They document their experiences and share them with their networks. They checkin to locations, share videos and leave recommendations behind for others in real-time.

2) The online consumer Online consumers search for information (you guessed it) online. The destination Web that began gaining popularity in the nineties enabled us to turn to the Internet for our purchasing decisions. The online consumer may perform a Google search, read reviews on Websites such as Amazon, or browse through online forums before making a purchasing decision.

These consumers don’t trust advertisements and marketing messages. They place a higher value on the opinions and reviews of other customers. The information they consume online forms the basis for their perception of a brand.

online marketing strategy, including activities such as search engine optimisation (SEO), paid advertising (PPC) and e-mail marketing. 3) The social consumer The social consumer is a new breed of consumer who leverages the wisdom of their social networks to make purchasing decisions. Rather than heading to Google or online forums, these consumers trust the recommendations of people in their networks. Social consumers play a key role in defining the perception of brands within social networks. They document their experiences and share them with their networks. They check-in to locations, share videos and leave recommendations behind for others in realtime. There’s a great deal of camaraderie between social consumers in their mission to define, document and create a better world for each other. Consumers are resorting to social media because they are tired of getting ripped off. Social media helps to keep companies honest. It weeds out companies with poor customer service and shady business practices. From a marketing perspective, social consumers can

be our biggest advocates, if we approach social business correctly. Those who are growing up in the Facebook and Twitter generation are naturally social consumers. They do not rely as much on other alternatives. Which consumer should you target? In reality, most people are a mixture of the three types of consumers. I am predominantly a combination of the online and social consumer, with a little bit of the traditional mixed in. When developing a marketing plan, it is important to take into consideration the personas of each of these three types of consumers. We must address the needs of traditional, online as well as social consumers to maximise the effectiveness of our marketing efforts.

About Abbas Alidina is the Founder & Director of, a digital marketing agency that helps businesses across the Middle East to improve their online performance. With more than ten years of marketing experience, he has developed strategies and executed projects for numerous global and regional brands. For more information please visit or follow Abbas on Twitter @AbbasAlidina.




TIME FOR A FACE-LIFT? Facebook is the new place to hangout and be with friends. However, it can also be used to promote your business, says Alan Devereux, Communication Officer, British Business Group.


acebook has become one of the most influential companies in the world and many of us have an active account. I was a huge fan of Facebook a few years ago but all that changed when the company started changing its privacy settings and deciding personal account matters on my behalf. I am still, however, a fan of Facebook’s Fan Pages (or Business Pages as some call them) you can build your own Website. For small businesses, this can be an effective channel to communicate with both existing and potential customers, as well as previous and current employees. If you think a Facebook page is right for your business, creating one is simple. First, type Facebook will then ask you to choose what type of page you want and will guide you through the first few steps. Very easy so far and you can actually leave it there and start working. You’ll have a place to store photos, a wall to have discussions on, and an events calendar you can use. But we aren’t stopping there. Facebook can attribute much of its success to the applications it allows thirdparty developers to create for use within the site. The message box that appears when you want to play a game or send a gift asking for access to your information – that is an


Alan Devereux application. Fan page applications are slightly different and we are going to focus on just one for now and look at how to customise our fan page. If you need to add an application for your page. You can do this simply by: Typing Static HTML into the search-bar and look for the application with the silver star in the grey background. Click the link and in the bottom left you’ll see ‘Add to my Page’. Add the application and then return to your page, you will see a new icon on the left – a grey box with a silver star inside and the word Welcome. Using this free application there is no way to change the design of this icon. There are many developers that can do this and you can find all of them on Facebook. If you are following these instructions as you read, you would have probably already clicked


the word Welcome, and you’re probably staring at two boxes and wondering what they are for. We’ll come back to those in part two. Now that we have a page and the application added to that page we need to know how to use it. The application is called Static HTML. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and is the language that computers understand; behind every Website are pages and pages of HTML code. You need to turn your company logo or image into HTML for the application to understand, which is easier than you think. Firstly you need to create an image to upload. You can do this in Photoshop and get quite creative or you can use Microsoft Paint and resize an existing image. You need an image that is 500 pixels wide and 600 pixels long. This size will ensure the optimal experience for visitors. Once you have decided how your page is going to look (via your picture) you need to upload it to a free image hosting Website. I use It is only a matter of creating an account, logging in, and clicking on the Upload Image button. The Website will then open a page with a small version of your picture and a selection of code in boxes. You have now turned your picture into HTML code, a language the application will understand. In the next issue we’ll transfer the code into the application and finish the page. Speak to you again in a month’s time!

About Alan Devereux is a husband, a father, and Communications Officer for the British Business Group, Dubai and Northern Emirates, and can be found here: He can be contacted at

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Plotting a strategy

Counter attack A smart business will not only work on maintaining a smart marketing strategy but will also simultaneously keep one eye firmly on the tactics of their competitors, says Sawsan Ghanem, Managing Partner, Active PR.


ny successful business needs to stay abreast of who the competition is, their activity, their messaging (in all marketing campaigns), who their target audiences are and what they are doing to reach out and influence them, while also considering their strengths and weaknesses in the local market. It serves no purpose to be arrogant or negligent in paying attention to the competition and their presence. As many businesses are aware, having competitors in the marketplace makes us more creative, adaptive, resilient and better at what we do. Competitive analysis, market dynamics and customer buying behaviour analysis are three criteria which are fundamental when putting together a solid corporate strategic plan. The marketing strategy is then mapped to the corporate strategic plan that has defined current and future potential developments in the marketplace. A typical marketing strategy merges three elements commonly known as the Three Cs: A The company B The customer and; C The competition A marketing strategy for countering the competition is integrated in the overall brand strategy from the outset and is not in any way independent. The


marketing strategies implemented by a company are designed to differentiate it from the competition by communicating its core values, USPs, and strengths versus the competition, via consistent and relevant key messaging. Due to the live dynamic nature of the Three Cs, one should recognise that the overall marketing strategy implemented by a company needs to constantly adapt in line with changes and evolutions related to the company, customer and competition and the market dynamics. It’s critical that focus on the customer needs takes precedence over the competition, as otherwise the company will be in danger of neglecting their customers in favour of beating the competition and hence creating exposure to losing customers. It follows that the main objective of a solid marketing strategy is the creation of a unique experience and positioning with target audiences, whilst at the same time a positive differentiation from the competition’s product or service offering


Sawsan Ghanem


Plotting a strategy

and with this making a lasting and impactful impression. Marketing strategies are at the core of any marketing plan designed to reach business objectives. Commonly, marketing strategies are developed and reviewed on an annual basis (although in some industries the cycles are becoming shorter due to speed of change in the current environment), with a tactical plan detailing specific actions to be accomplished in the current year. These strategies need to stay dynamic and interactive to be effective and impactful. They have elements that are both planned and unplanned. A marketing strategy involves careful scanning of the internal and external environments. Internal environmental factors include the marketing mix and performance analysis. External environmental factors include the customer, the competitor, target market and audience research, as well as evaluation of other influencing contributors ranging from technology, economic, or the environment, which may all impact success. A successful mar k e t i n g s t r a t e g y needs to keep mark e t i n g i n l i n e w i t h the company’s miss i o n s t a t e m e n t . Once a thorough en v i ro n m e n t a l scan is complete (th ro u g h a S W O T analysis), a strategi c p l a n c a n b e constructed to iden t i f y b u s i n e s s objectives, establish c h a l l e n g i n g g o a l s and then the optim a l m a r k e t i n g m i x to achieve these go a l s . When developing a marketing strategy one needs to remember to create a plan to monitor progress and how to respond and react to any issues that may arise during the rolling out phase of the plan. There are a number of typical marketing strategies which are commonly followed: A Market dominance Leader, challenger and follower B Innovation New product development, which include pioneers, early innovators and followers C Growth How are you planning to grow? Is it through horizontal or vertical integration, or alternatively, diversification?

A marketing strategy for countering the competition is integrated in the overall brand strategy from the outset and is not in any way independent. The marketing strategies implemented by a company are designed to differentiate it from the competition by communicating its core values, USPs, and strengths versus the competition, via consistent and relevant key messaging.

D Marketing warfare Finally, an organisation needs to also remember that the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on the way businesses market themselves, mainly due to the easy 24/7 accessibility nature of the digital world. Within seconds, search engines bring potential customers to companies they may want to do business with. The result has been that businesses are now competing with each other through effective use of Internet search engines, regardless of size or geographical location. With this, online research and analysis nowadays is key to helping a company plot it’s positioning through search engine optimisation and define competitive digital marketing strategies.

About Sawsan Ghanem is the Joint Managing Director of Active PR. She has lived in the Middle East region for the greater part of her life. Sawsan lived and studied in the UK for a few years where she gained her BSc in Chemistry and Management from Kings College, London University, and MA in International Business from Webster Graduate School (London Campus). Sawsan began her career in PR over 14 years ago, when she caught the PR and communication bug. She founded Active PR in the summer of 2003 along with Louay Al Samarrai. Sawsan has in-depth experience in strategic PR campaigns, media relations, creative thinking, crisis management and more. She is the SMB Advisor Middle East winner [before the magazine was rebranded SME Advisor] in the category of Admirable Woman Entrepreneur (2008).


Brand building

Creating the right formula Delivering a consistent brand message at every point of

interaction with a customer should be a company’s primary tenet in terms of marketing. It is not the name of the company or a logo in an ad campaign, but the emotional and cognitive connection between and organisation and its customers, says Gabby Chamat, CEO, Re-brand-ing.


e all know endorsement from friends, family and peers is the best form of advertising a brand can achieve; so in this sense the worst criticism is negative reviews from that same group. I therefore find it incredulous that companies should spend so much effort polishing the outside of its brand without complimenting it with internal procedures or adhering to the brand promise.

A brand is defined as everything you see, think, touch and feel about a company. As such, the status and relevance of a brand is constantly being negotiated during daily interactions with those same customers, meaning that it requires consistent management. Branding requires a scientific formula; an approach that involves data analytics and an extensive audit to understand a company’s position compared to its competition and what the customer needs and what the expectations are. After such extensive research, only then can the strategy be developed and the brand personality created; one that resonates with customers and stands the company out from the crowd. And like any personality, it needs management and is not created with a bit of make-up – per se! It is created through actions. For example, the mobile phone is the most personal and therefore most dangerous marketing channel. Get it right and you reap the rewards; get it wrong and you turn off a customer


Gabby Chamat (and their friends) for life, angry that you have invaded their privacy. This is not to say that the decision to use cold calling is wrong. But how it’s aligned with the brand personality must be considered. I’m not saying that the salesman has to follow a script that signs off with the company tag line, but that the personality actually informs business strategy. The use of a proper data management tool and CRM program would ensure that any company will begin to build a database that is responsive and can deliver ROI, instead of harbouring a list of names whose only purpose will be to bad mouth the brand. Such alignment with the brand would help engender greater trust and loyalty – two terms that are embedded into every financial institutions personality.


Alternatively consider the tag line attributed to a known car dealership in the UAE which states “We care and it shows”. This is not just an adspeak for the company. It informs every initiative that the company launches, such as the 59 minute service, its customer service policies and even the waiting room facilities at the respective garages. Returning to cold-calling as an example, a study by Ken Irons Market Leader found that 70% of a consumer’s brand perception is determined by experiences with people, resulting in 41% of customers who are loyal because of a good employee attitude. This means investing into internal communications to make sure staff are delivering the same messages that the marketers are, moreover mobilising those employees to become brand ambassadors, enthusiastic about the company they work for. But as it stands those sales people having to make the calls at 8:00 pm on a Thursday evening sound dejected; and who would blame them, having to deal with rejection on a daily basis. Naturally, this means continual management of the brand beyond the establishment of guidelines and the logo and the graphic design of a brochure. It encompasses continual research on a brands reputation, it informs office environments and internal communication policies, and most importantly, it dictates a company’s way of working with suppliers, staff and customers. As a consequence the appointment of a branding agency is not a quick fix. An agency today is a partner in its clients business, one that is on the right-hand side of the strategy and informing how the brand equity will be affected by certain business decisions, ensuring that the company is adhering to its brand promise and practicing what it preaches.

About Gabby Chamat, CEO, Re-brand-ing, began his advertising career at Team, Young and Rubicam, starting as an accountant, eventually progressing until he was made Regional Media Director, where he handled international clients and teams in seven countries. Venture Communications, an integrated advertising agency, and Re-brand-ing, were launched in January 2010 and today the group operates across the Middle East and Europe, with affiliations in hospitality management, media buying agencies from Europe and digital media solutions providers from Europe and Canada.



Performance and Fulfilment – Why do we need both? Satisfaction and engagement are not simply airy-fairy terms; they directly impact the bottomline, says Stephan Melchoir, Managing Partner, Wilson Worldwide Learning.


erformance has been consistently one of the main drivers and measurements for success in the market place. What exactly is performance? Most people relate it to sales numbers, to customer satisfaction, to market


share and other global forms of monitoring and evaluating success. But it also has a very simple meaning, one that each employee in an organisation can relate to. As a result, we have high-performers and low-performers; commonly used terms


to describe the success or engagement level of an employee. High-performers usually have a few more rights in the organisation than low-performers, and a better standing with their supervisors. So how do you spot high-performers? They are engaging, creative, they seek challenges rather than pushing them away, they take responsibility and initiative, they help and support others, they share their ideas, they come early and leave late, they are always accessible, and they always seem to be in a good mood. How amazing would it be to have only employees like that in your team? In order to create teams like that, we need to analyse where performance comes from. Next to components, like skills and knowledge, experience, resources and clear goals, one of the main drivers is satisfaction, or fulfilment. In a research project conducted by Wilson Learning Worldwide (14 studies over 2,000 employees), we found out that an employee’s fulfilment level has a 39% direct impact on his or her performance on the job. The more fulfilled or engaged people are, the more creative, receptive to change and positive they are. Many organisations are running annual engagement studies, employee satisfaction surveys, or other initiatives to find out fulfilment levels. While these surveys uncover valuable insight on hidden areas of dissatisfaction among the work force, most organisations fail to recognise the biggest driver for fulfilment in the organisation: the direct manager.



As a sales manager, you have the unique opportunity to make the biggest difference to your team’s fulfilment levels. Think about yourself at a time of high performance. You were (or you are) the star of the work unit, you were very successful and had high visibility in the organisation. Everything you touched turned out to be a success. You were creative and supportive and had all the characteristics of a high-performer. Now, take a helicopter view and think about your manager – what did he or she do that helped you get to that level of performance? Things might come to your mind such as: autonomy, support, positive feedback, asking for my opinion, involving me on decisions, giving me a feeling of importance, trust, and many more. The same research showed that the direct manager has a 69% impact on the fulfilment level of an employee. The other 31% are related to salaries, benefits, and other tangible forms of remuneration. Still, that leaves 69%, more than two thirds, for you to work with. So why is fulfilment so important? Can’t we just tell our people to reach their annual goals and objectives, pay them, and leave them alone? Think about the reasons why people come to work every day. There are only two main reasons: Because they have to; they see it as a

The more fulfilled or engaged people are, the more creative, receptive to change and positive they are. Many organisations are running annual engagement studies, employee satisfaction surveys, or other initiatives to find out fulfilment levels. to the organisation’s vision and strategy. How am I doing? Giving concrete feedback; if people do something well they need to know, so they keep doing it and vice versa. What’s in it for me? Recognising people for high performance, demonstrating the intangibles, according to their preferences. Where can I go for help? Supporting the team, opening doors, listening and coaching and anticipating obstacles they might face.

3 4 5

Stephan Melchior

at them and this is directly related to our fulfilment level. It all comes down to giving people what they need in order for them to give you what you need, which is performance. Furthering the research study, it came down to the fact that


It all comes down to giving people what they need in order for them to give you what you need, which is performance.

must in order to strive and survive; they might not like it but “what can we do, we all have to work” Because they want to; they see their jobs as something exciting, and the people around them as enablers in a positive environment. One of these reasons make performance sustainable, the other one doesn’t; compliance versus commitment. The things we enjoy doing, we try to do as much as we can and we become very good

every employee (including you as a manager) has five fundamental questions on his or her mind. If managers answer these questions on a regular basis, fulfilment levels eventually will rise. Where are we going? Showing the big picture, discussing vision and strategy of the organisation, whic can also include career plans. What’s expected of me? Setting and communicating clear goals and the connection


The better and more regular use of these leadership practices managers make, the more stable is the overall performance. Of course this does not mean we should neglect the other areas that drive performance: skills and knowledge and resources and experience are still vital components we need to keep an eye on.

Stephan Melchior has been working in the learning and development field for more than 15 years; designing and delivering training programmes in more than 20 countries. He is well known for the graphic facilitation approach he uses in his courses. Today, Stephan is Managing Partner at the Middle East office of Wilson Learning Worldwide, based in Dubai Knowledge Village. As a global organisation, Wilson Learning is the founder of the Performance and Fulfillment concept, and was rated among the Top 20 Leadership and Sales Training companies in 2010 and 2011 ( Wilson Learning Middle East can be contacted at, or at +971 50 7553800.





commercialising ideas

Time to talk In the second part of the series on commercialising an idea, Geethalakshmi R., CEO and Managing Partner, Associated Business Attorneys, discusses the processes involved with negotiating licensing contracts.


egotiating forms is an integral part of any technical agreement. Whenever you face a situation that implies negotiation there are certain critical areas that need to be considered.

Introduction Any technical licensing contract may be analysed in respect of the following basic elements: The subject of the contract The licensor’s obligations The obligations common to both parties Identification of the parties One of the first points of concern to the negotiators of the license contract will be the identification of the entities, or persons, who will become the parties or, in other words, will sign the license contract and become legally bound to carry out its provisions. The objective in describing the parties to a license contract is to identify each of them with sufficient certainty so that their identity will not later become a subject of controversy. Objectives of the parties: Scope of the license When the parties are negotiating a license contract, they usually proceed on the basis that certain technology is necessary for the manufacture of a particular product, or the application of a particular process, from which a


Geethalakshmi R

product or other result is to be obtained. In other words, the ultimate objective of the parties in concluding a license contract is the transfer by the licensor, and the acquisition by the licensee, of a given technology and of the right to exploit that technology. This will include the use or sale of a given product, or in the application of a given process, through which a product or other result will be obtained. Subject matter These provisions describe the product to be made, used or sold, or the process to be applied and from which a product will be obtained and in turn used or sold. They


will also identify the invention or inventions included in that product or process, describe the knowhow, if any, which is to be supplied, and identify the technological advances of one party or the other and the conditions under which those advances will be made available by that party to the other. Identification of product or processes Since the ultimate objective of the licensee concerns a product or process, one of the provisions in the license contract will identify in concise terms that product or process. In the typical case, that provision is set forth in the part of the license contract dealing with definitions. Identification of the invention The provision that identifies the invention or inventions included in the product or process usually refers to: The number of the patent for invention, or the application for the grant of a patent for invention. The country where the patent was granted, or registered or where the application was filed The date of the patent grant, or the filing date of the application The title of the invention and the status of the application. Where the product or the process in question includes a number of inventions, the relevant information in respect of each invention is usually grouped together and set forth in a schedule attached to the license contract. Description of the know-how As regards the description of such know-how, technical information can be identified in terms of the relevant documentation, as for example, diagrams of the layout of the plant, drawings or blueprints of machines, lists of spare parts, manuals or instructions for the operation of machines or the assembly of components, specifications of raw materials, labour and machine time calculations, packaging and storing instructions and information on stability and environmental aspects.


commercialising ideas

Confidentiality The know-how may often be the reason for the current competitive position, if not superiority, of the licensor in the field of the technology concerned. As such, it is a valuable asset of the licensor to be preserved. At the same time, it is a resource which the licensor is willing to part with in exchange for an agreed price from the licensee, or others who wish to use it. Its supply to the licensee is consequently the result of a bargain in which the price is not just the payment of a monetary remuneration fixed by the license contract, but also the commitment by the licensee not to disclose that know-how to third persons, except under certain conditions or with the consent of the licensor. Access to technological advances The technological advance of immediate concern to the parties of the license contract will normally be one which has a significant or substantial affect. Also, the parties might decide

As a rule, exclusive intellectual property rights represent a pro-competitive monopoly for a limited duration only so that their owners should not exercise their right by abusing their monopoly, for example, by imposing anti-competitive obligations on the licensee. The most important forms of such abuse can include export bans and minimum royalty clauses.

that the mutual exchange of information on technological advances is in their best interests and that each shall be free to exploit, free-ofcharge, the technological advance of the other. This is called cross licensing. They might also decide that if either party makes available the technological advance of the other to a third person for remuneration, then the other shall be entitled to share in that remuneration in some agreed manner and amount. Limitations of the license and anticompetitive practices The license can have several contractual limitations regarding permissible activities

(to make, to sell, the fields of use and so on). There may also be restrictions to part of the claims on them as well as territorial or quantity restrictions, or limitations on the sale prices. However, any provision conflicting with the prohibition of anti trust or anti-competitive practices is usually to be considered null and void. The main requirement is that, as a rule, exclusive intellectual property rights represent a pro-competitive monopoly for a limited duration only so that their owners should not exercise their right by abusing their monopoly, for example, by imposing anti-competitive obligations on the licensee. The most important




commercialising ideas

forms of such abuse can include export bans and minimum royalty clauses, exclusive grant-back, conditions preventing challenges to validity and coercive package licensing. Territorial exclusivity Which of the parties to the license contract will be able, by virtue of its provisions, to perform the act or acts of exploitation? In what territory or territories, and with what effects on arrangements with third persons, in relationship with the licensor or the licensee, who are also interested in exploiting the technology, are distinct but related questions? A decision on each of these questions must be clearly reflected in the license contract. Permitted field of use A provision on the field or fields of use, or activity, specifies the purpose, or purposes, for which the invention, or the know-how, may be applied. It serves to define the scope of that application by the licensee. Exploitation The licensor expects that the licensee will not only exploit the invention and apply the know-how, but will do so to the fullest extent permitted by the terms and conditions of the license contract. The parties might wish to specify that the licensee will make, use or sell the product that includes the patented invention, or will apply the know-how in a certain manner with a view to obtaining a certain result and to exploiting the technology at a certain level. The parties might wish also to set forth the commitments of the licensor, the performance of which will assist the licensee in achieving the expected manner and extent of working or other exploitation. Settlement of disputes When non-performance is likely, or does occur and there is no provision in the license contract which fixes the agreed consequences in respect of that failure of performance, one party might propose a solution that is satisfactory to the other. That solution might be the allowance of additional time to render the performance, or the substantial correction of the flaw, or flaws, in question. It might mean that some other performance in lieu of the defective performance would be acceptable.


Normally, the law of the country where a given act or performance is to take place governs the disputes arising out of that act. In the case of a license contract involving a foreign licensor and a domestic licensee, the law of the licensee’s country would be applicable and the courts of that country would be competent since most, if not all, acts or performances take place in that country.

In these ways, an amicable way of settling the dispute between the parties could be arrived at without recourse to legal remedies in the courts, or other tribunals. Normally, the law of the country where a given act or performance is to take place governs the disputes arising out of that act. In the case of a license contract involving a foreign licensor and a domestic licensee, the law of the licensee’s country would be applicable and the courts of that country would be competent since most, if not all, acts or performances take place in that country. Duration of the license contract The time-scale of a licensing contract, that is its commencement, duration and termination, must be stipulated in the contract. An intellectual property right can be licensed for the maximum period of time during which it is in force (for example for patents, the maximum is generally 20 years). Shorter licensing periods may also be agreed upon and the parties may reserve the right to terminate the contract with future effect in case of specified circumstances. Remuneration The “price” or the “cost” of the acquisition of industrial property is dependent upon a number of factors, including the nature and duration of the industrial property rights, the technology and the relative bargaining power of the parties. The prospective transferor usually makes a careful assessment in terms of value or the need for the particular technology, the alternative technologies available, the prospect of technological advances and the likely production and profitability of the potential transferee. The prospective transferor also makes detailed projections of production and consequent income flow from other potential licensees or technology recipients.


Direct monetary compensation sum payment: A pre-calculated A Lump amount to be paid once, or in instalments Royalties: Post-calculated recurring B payments compensation for services and C Fees: assistance rendered per period of service Indirect and non-monetary compensation Income from related operations The licensor, or technology supplier, may receive income from various operations. These may be: Commissions on the sales of the product made on behalf of the licensee, or technology recipient through the distribution channels of the licensor, or technology supplier. Profits from the sale of the product supplied to the latter under exclusive purchase arrangements. Profits from the sale to the licensee or technology recipient of related products which complete its marketing programme. Profits from the sale to the licensee or technology recipient of raw materials. Intermediate goods, parts or other components and rentals from machinery, equipment or other capital goods released by the licensor, or technology supplier, to the licensee or technology recipient.

About Advocate Geethalakshmi is held in great esteem and high regard amongst her profession. She is the CEO and Managing Partner for Associated Business Attorneys FZC, UAE, ABA Management Consultants, Dubai UAE, ABA Investments LLC, Dubai UAE and Associated Business Attorneys, Bangalore India – a position which is not common for an expatriate woman in the profession. Geetha can be reached at





Protecting your assets All too often SMEs are so caught up with developing a brand, recruiting employees and creating a solid marketing plan, that they forget to purchase one of the most important things that can protect them from the risks, says independent financial advisor, Greg Pogonowski. Greg Pogonowski


hile getting insured may be the last thing on your mind, it shouldn’t be neglected; small business insurance can protect you from damages such as theft, lawsuits and injuries; issues, that if not handled correctly, can mean the demise of your new business.

That said, while there are a variety of business insurance types available to cover almost any incident, for small businesses there are only four; general liability, product liability, professional liability and commercial property: General liability insurance: This insurance, while the most basic, is the most important type of insurance any SME should own, no matter if they sell a product or service. What this insurance type does is protect you whenever a legal issue arises, such as accidents, injuries, or claims of negligence. It can help you with the costs of defending yourself in court due to a lawsuit, can protect against you paying out of pocket for property damage, and can even help cover medical expenses due to bodily injury on the job.


Product liability insurance: If you are a small business owner and you manufacture, distribute, or wholesale a product, it is best that you get this type of insurance. What it does is protects you from financial loss associated with your product if there is a defect, and if this results in causing injury or bodily harm to a consumer.



However, the amount of insurance you’ll need to buy will vary on the kind of product or merchandise you sell. For example, owning a clothes store will have many fewer risks than owning a baby toy store or an appliance store. Professional liability insurance/ Errors and omissions insurance: If your business revolves around providing a service, it would be in your best interest to purchase this type of insurance. It protects you if your business is ever sued for errors on your part when providing services to your costumers (malpractice and negligence). Depending on where your business is situated and what profession you are involved in, you may be required to purchase this insurance automatically by law. For example, if you’re a physician, most governing bodies require you to have malpractice insurance.


Commercial property insurance: This type of insurance helps protect you from financial and property damages



associated with natural events such as fires as well as those due to, for example, vandalism. This can include anything from actual damage to the building to the destruction of important documents, or technical appliances such as computers and the like. It may even cover the loss of income due to particular damages. There are two types of commercial property insurance all-risk policies and peril specific polices. The type you get should depend on the type of area your business is located in. For example, if your office is in an area that particularly has a lot of crime, you should definitely consider purchasing a peril-specific policy since this insurance guarantees coverage for losses that are listed on the policy. Additional note: For those who run an at-home based small business there is no specific insurance available to cover losses. While a traditional homeowner’s insurance policy may cover some losses such as property damage, it would be in your best interest to acquire multiple insurance policies, such as general and professional liability to cover all other areas.


About Greg Pogonowski is an independent financial adviser with over 27 years experience in the financial services profession and he works with Pinnacle Asset & Wealth Management. He can be contacted at, or by calling +971 (0) 50 8769035.




Do you have what it takes? 28th November 2011

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Workplace and women

Women on top! Why do some people in general and women in particular have low self-esteem? Why do they linger in the background and melt, when given the chance to say their piece? The good news is that self-confidence is a skill that can be learned and perfected, says Sahar Haffaar Moussly, Executive Director, Trans Gulf Management Consultancy.


elf-confidence is an attitude which allows individuals to have positive, yet realistic view of themselves; they trust their own abilities, have a general sense of control in their lives, and believe that within reason, they will be able to do what they wish, plan, and expect.

People who lack self-confidence depend excessively on the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves. They tend to avoid taking risks because they fear failure and shy away from opportunities because of their fear and low self esteem. They often put themselves down and tend to discount or ignore compliments paid to them. It has been proven that millions of people live miserable lives because they have low self-esteem, and I dare say that the level of your self confidence decides how successful you can be in your life, especially in the work place. Most of the time low self-confidence comes from the thoughts that run through your head and the negative messages that you feed to yourself. So, what are the characteristics of the confident lady, who is walking around the


several times versus the hardworking woman who lacks self confidence and simply stays in the shadows? A confident woman would be able to accept and learn from her own mistakes and is confident, without being obnoxious or conceited. On the other hand she is not devastated by criticism and she is not overly defensive when questioned or when she commits a mistake. A confident woman cannot be easily defeated by setbacks and obstacles, and is unlikely to feel a need to put others down. A confident lady or a person is open and assertive in communicating her needs, yet she does not feel the need to

A confident woman would be able to accept and learn from her own mistakes and she is confident, without being obnoxious or conceited. On the other hand she is not devastated by criticism and she is not overly defensive when questioned or when she commits a mistake.

Sahar Haffaar Moussly office, jumping to grab opportunities and is going places, having been promoted


be aggressive to prove herself? They don’t take themselves too seriously and are able to laugh at themselves. To build and develop that confidence of yours, as a woman, the first step is to discover who you are. Find the root of why you often feel the way you do. After finding out the root, deal with it by facing this struggle and filtering those negative messages from your head; messages that you heard from people around you, or the ones that are produced by the inner critic in you who is counting every mistake that you have committed. You have to realise that failure is not bad; it is an opportunity to learn and without making mistakes we cannot grow as individuals and working professionals.


Workplace and women

Write down what your strengths are and work on highlighting them; in other words, learn and be aware of the things you do well and the skills that you have perfected to use them, as this will give you more confidence in yourself.

Write down what your strengths are and work on highlighting them; in other words, learn and be aware of the things you do well and the skills that you have perfected to use them, as this will give you more confidence in yourself. Study what skills you need to excel in your job and get training in the skills that you lack in. If you feel you are an expert in what you are doing, you will feel you are in control and this will boost your self confidence. Practice being confident on a daily basis by reliving an event or situation in your life where you felt confident; relive the occasion and learn to act confidently until it becomes a habit.

Learn how to be assertive without being aggressive. Fortunately, you can learn to be assertive and be sociably acceptable, since you want to be assertive without being a bully or a person who is seeking dominance. To learn to be assertive you should define the values that you believe in and live by and know your facts before you enter into any new venture and use them effectively. Anticipate other people’s objections and behaviour and prepare suitable responses and that will only happen after careful consideration of the people and types of characters around you. Practice controlling your tone and your reaction to be able to defend yourself with open questions that allow you to retake the initiative. Use positive affirmations about your own strength and have faith in yourself and believe that you will ultimately achieve the goals which you have set for yourself and that you are working to fulfill. Find a mentor or a coach who can assist you in defining your purpose in life, highlight your strengths and support you whilst offering challenges that will force you to step out of your comfort zone. A coach will assist you by putting forward

the right questions to help you gain more confidence and become the assertive person you need to be. To maintain you self confidence I advise you to: • Make sure that you keep learning new skills that are needed for you to be the expert at work and celebrate your strengths and achievements. In this day and age learning will not stop when you leave university or receive your qualifications; you have to keep working on improving yourself. • Forgive yourself for your mistakes and learn a lesson from previous failures and mistakes. • Don’t dwell on your weaknesses; every human has weaknesses. Instead take a note of your strengths and highlight them. • Change the way you talk to yourself and stop putting yourself down! • Increasing self-confidence involves ups and downs; as long as you’re enjoying more highs than lows you’re on your way to healthy self-esteem!

About Sahar Haffar Moussly is a Dubai based, UKcertified Life Coach and NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner. Today she runs two businesses. Alongside her life coaching practice, Life in Harmony, Sahar is also Executive Director of Trans Gulf Management Consultancy (TGMC), a firm specialising in conference interpretation and translations service, which was established in 1997. TGMC was listed as a finalist in the SME Advisor Stars of Business Awards, 2010, in the category of Professional Services. With over 25 years experience in the corporate world, Sahar holds a BA in English Language and Translation gained from Damascus University, and an MA in International Diplomacy gained at the University of Washington. She went on to become a qualified interpreter and translator, gaining a diploma in simultaneous translation and interpretation from the UK and became a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. In 2010 Sahar published a research and guidebook in Arabic entitled Welcome to Tomorrow, which introduce the topic of life coaching and self development to Arab audiences. The book was launched in Damascus in January 2010. For more information about Life in Harmony visit




Psychology of innovation

LEADING THE PACK Everybody wants to be a leader, but often we overlook the ingredients that make a leader effective, says Sharan Gohel, Business manager, QED Consulting, as she highlights one key ingredient – innovation.


n a recent survey conducted by McKinsey more than 70% of the senior executives said, that innovation will be one of the top three drivers of growth for their c o m p a n y i n t h e n e x t t h r e e t o fi v e years. Other executives reported innovation as the most important way for companies to accelerate the pace of change in today’s global business environment.

Innovation and creativity are two words that we all use interchangeably and generally agree, are positive. In most cases we want more and yet there seems to be less alignment when we try and define it and no real shared interpretation of innovation or creativity. Similarly leadership is also a term which does not seem to have a commonly accepted definition or shared understanding. Creativity or innovation and leadership are closely related, as leadership always seems to have some focus on bringing about a change resulting in a better future. More often than not when you read books and articles on leadership, you will hear leadership defined in a number of different ways such as: • The ability to create a vision • Anticipate trends • Being congruent in the way leaders live their values (value-congruence)




Psychology of innovation

Empowerment This is not about blind trust, it is about showing confidence in the abilities of the individuals, to whom you have assigned the responsibilities. The concept of empowerment embodies a level of trust in your employees; believing that they can be creative with new ideas. This means, to be empowering, as a leader, you need to take the risk to let them determine and drive the ideas forward without you micromanaging them.

A leader who uses his or her values to guide and motivate others is able to provide meaning to people’s lives within organisations. In extreme cases they become the standards by which choices are made. • Being empowering • Understanding their own impact on others (self-understanding) Within the competencies mentioned above, there is an assumption that the individual has the capacity to be more creative and consider more risks. However, in order to be competent they will need to utilise and increase their capacity to be creative and take risks – having the capacity to develop new ideas and take risks to make the ideas a reality in the face of adversity. Therefore, before leadership it is important to consider these two factors and the role they play. Vision It is widely accepted that effective leaders are able to create a vision for the organisation’s future; a picture that inspires people; a statement to action giving a shared purpose for all. Through such a vision, people in the organisation are able to see the relationship they have to the larger realities or goals of the enterprise. But without creativity, how can you create a vision? And how can you make a vision happen if you’re not willing to take risks to make it happen? A vision without creativity is dull and insignificant. A vision without risk taking never happens. Value congruence Leaders who are congruent in the way they live out their values are those that inspire people to follow them and essentially “walk the talk”. A leader who uses his or her values to guide and motivate others is able to provide meaning to people’s lives within organisations. In extreme cases they become the standards by which choices are made. However it is easy to walk and talk your values when you’re not faced with a challenge or when you “fit in”. But if your

Sharan Gohel values run against the norm, then that’s when creativity and risk taking are required. Leaders must take the risk to “walk the talk” otherwise, they run the risk of losing their capacity to lead. Anticipatory skills Foresight is fundamental to leadership. An effective leader intuitively and systematically scans the environment for potential areas of opportunities and risks. The leader’s focus is on servicing customers (internal and external) in new ways, finding new advantages over competitors, and exploiting new company strengths. Anticipating requires the leader to look outside the immediate view, being on alert for new upcoming ideas and looking for creative new trends that may impact you and your organisation. At the same time leaders must be willing to take the risk of thinking outside the box and their own paradigms - challenging their own mental models. It is the anticipation which drives an organisation forward. Looking for opportunities to use creative abilities and taking the risk of thinking outside the realms of conventional methods, identifying what has been and, what now is, will help create the new trends that are the keys to success.

Self-awareness For a leader, understanding yourself is critical. Without it, you may do more harm than good. To be an effective leader you must have introspective skills as well as frameworks with which to understand the impact on others. Knowing yourself and being able to share with others “who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are” puts you in an extremely vulnerable and difficult yet necessary position, probably one of the ultimate risks a leader faces. So I would like you to challenge yourself to think about whether we might have missed a key component in effective leadership? Leadership is about the capacity to identify new opportunities and drive forward change within our organisations. We, as leaders can take advantage of the opportunities in the global marketplace, only by fostering leadership competencies around innovation, creativity and risk taking.

About Sharan Gohel, MSc Work Psychology and Business, started her career working within the telecommunications and manufacturing industry as an in-house occupational psychologist. She then went on to establish her career within a government organisation, particularly focusing on the assessment and development of individuals and teams. During this period Sharan conducted an research project looking at organisational culture and gender and developed an online entrepreneurial assessment. In 2008, Sharan joined QED Consulting as a Business Manager, heading up the Assessment and Development area with direct responsibility for strategy, product development and client relations. This also involved design and implementation of assessment/development centres, talent management programmes, executive profiling and coaching.




Great Place to Work Institute

More than just a place to work Michael Burchell, Vice President, Global Business Development, Great Place to Work Institute, has chosen to take the unconventional career path and has come a long way since his days working as a student counsellor. Here he talks to Aparna Shivpuri Arya and Mike Byrne about what makes a business successful, not only in terms of profitability but also in its ability to retain employees in the long term.


or Michael Burchell, starting from teaching in a university in the US to being a part of a unique multicultural organisation like Great Place to Work Institute, has been an eventful journey. It was his keen sense of focus and ability to identify opportunities that brought him to the forefront of evaluating businesses worldwide. Michael remembers his early years working as an administrator for students,


right after his Master’s degree. He counselled students for eight years until he decided that he wanted to study further and get a degree that would allow him to use his skills better. “While I was there, I had looked around and decided that I wanted to have an advanced degree, and I was really pulled to this programme at the University of Massachusetts – diversity in social gestures. Here, I got an opportunity to focus on how to create a socially just environment around the issues of sexism, racism and so on. One


of the parts of the programme was, that you had to teach undergraduate classes and weekend workshops. It was much more experiential,” says Michael. After finishing his Master’s degree, he was in a dilemma about what he should do next and that’s when he realised that since he had enjoyed the workshops and the teaching, he would now try his hand as a trainer and took a job at WL Borne Associates. “It was a fascinating company. No bosses, no supervisors, there were no job descriptions, and not more than 100 employees per facility. They wanted to have a small group and connect with each other. I didn’t realise just how great a workplace I was joining,” he says. This fascination led to him studying organisational dynamics and along with Dr. Farrukh Kidwai, who is now the Managing Director of Great Place to Work, Dubai, they felt that that there were some interesting things happening around them. Dr. Farrukh has been in the UAE since they started here in March 2010 and heads operational logistics for the region.


Great Place to Work Institute

As is often said, one never knows what opportunity might be knocking at your door. Michael got to know about Great Place to Work Institute during a casual chat with one of his colleagues. Again, his curiosity and need for knowledge got the better of him; he immediately went back to his desk and Googled “Great place institute” and to his surprise, found an organisation that actually compiled a list of great places to work. When talking to him, one cannot help but notice how important it is to extend yourself, to be open to explore and look for new ways to expand your knowledge and apply it to different situations. Once he realised that the institute’s office was located nearby, he didn’t hesitate to check it out. He decided that he’d rather work for a place where he got to know lots of cultures, rather than with one company with one culture. “And then I applied, and they haven’t been able to get rid of me since then,” he adds with a smile. He goes back in time and talks about the first time he came to Dubai to make a presentation, during his earlier years with the organisation and how he was totally awestruck by the level of activity here. He thought, if ever there was an opportunity for him to work in the region, this was it. ”So as the company continued to grow and expand over the years, we decided

So sometimes “thinking out of the box” does work. It’s about asking an organisation to maintain the train of thought that, if the company takes care of the employees, the employees will take care of the company.

Michael Burchell

Organisations need to ask themselves whether a business is a great place to work because it is profitable or whether it is profitable because it is a great place to work? It is important for employees to know that their contribution matters, to know where they are headed in terms of career growth, and to be given positive feedback.

to set up our Middle East headquarters in Dubai and I was the first one to grab the opportunity to move here,” he adds. Michael now works with the corporate team, thinking through how to create a strategy for markets. He says he is happy with the interest countries have been showing in finding out how their organisation is doing. To him, it

reinforces his earlier passion to understand social factors and then connect them with how employees behave in an organisation. Going through the list of regions where the Institute is active, it is evident that more and more countries are paying attention to the human resource aspect. The Institute has been around for 25 years and has a presence in 45 countries, and Michael is involved with

supporting offices in terms of business development. He is very optimistic about the UAE and wants to make the Great Place to Work a “cool” recognition, which will make other companies sit up and take notice of what the recognised companies are doing that makes them so phenomenal and different. Elaborating on the methodology used, he says that organisations have to go through a three-step process which involves registering, followed by a survey and a culture audit. He adds, “The survey is one we provide to all employees, and is used around the world, there are a couple of additional questions that are customised to the region, but by and large most of the surveys are the same. It is based on a model we have used over 20 years. It is comprehensive and concentrates on relationships which employees have with their work place.” He stresses on the fact that all the surveys are kept anonymous and people can give candid answers. Among other things, they look at the relationship and trust with their manager, pride in their work, and camaraderie with their colleagues. Both he and Dr. Farrukh are quick to point out that organisations need to ask themselves whether a business is a great place to work because it is profitable or whether it is profitable because it is a great place to work? It is important for employees to know that their contribution matters, to know where they are headed in terms of career growth, and to be given positive feedback.




Great Place to Work Institute

He comments that without these three things, employees don’t feel appreciated, and sometimes lose direction about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Over the course of time, some employees tend to question their purpose for being at a particular organisation. The culture that his organisation encourages, tries to outline that organisations need to have checks and balances in place to quickly indentify and rectify dissatisfied employees. What he also points out is that these changes in culture and procedures don’t necessarily have to be a strain on company resources – they can often prove more cost effective if implemented properly. He notes an example of where an organisation hired its own doctor for the employees rather than have them go to a doctor and wait in long queues. It ended up saving a lot of money and time. So, sometimes “thinking out of the box” does work. It’s about asking an organisation to maintain the train of thought that, if the company takes care of the employees, the employees will take care of the company, stresses Michael. Dr. Farrukh elaborates on the culture audit, where they ask more subjective questions. He further adds that people here in the UAE are fascinated by their approach and often ask, why Great Place to Work didn’t come to this region earlier and make more money. However, it’s not money that drives them, he says. “What drives us is the conversation that has taken place around the workplace. If that is happening then we are happy to be there. About five years ago, there was such a focus on money and people changing jobs but the conversation changed about three years ago with the economic downturn.” Michael adds that now organisations are more worried about how they will deal with the downturn. The global situation has made them take notice of the importance of good employees. It will be interesting to see what happens because now they are looking at tools to deal with these issues, he notes. Michael says that the UAE, and especially Dubai, wants to be the leader in commerce, banking, and finance and tourism, just like


Now organisations are more worried about how they will deal with the downturn. The global situation has made them take notice of the importance of good employees. It will be interesting to see what happens because now they are looking at tools to deal with these issues.

Singapore. “The UAE wants to create a climate to attract foreign investment and trade. Therefore, those are the kind of conversations that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are having and it would be interesting to see where it all leads,” he notes. “Last year we had a huge amount of interest from regional companies wanting to participate in our UAE programme. For year two, the GCC list is a natural extension of our global lists. In the future we will publish a list of best companies for each country in the GCC and across the Middle East, as is the Institute’s global practice,” adds Dr. Farrukh. He continues, “Companies are really hungry for the type of learning that comes from understanding their employees and enhancing their workplace experience so that they stay longer and achieve more, with a greater level of personal and professional


satisfaction. It’s very encouraging to see that UAE companies want to take stock of their current situation and learn from the sharing of best practices to make these positive changes in their organisations,” notes Dr. Farrukh. In the coming months, he is optimistic about riding out the recession and hopes that in two to three years they can get people to think differently and convince them to invest their money here instead of closing shop. They aim to continue with their mission to help build a better society by helping companies transform their workplace. He notes that the region is an exciting place to be right now, especially the UAE, which is a melting pot of nationalities; a characteristic which makes the organisational dynamics even more interesting and complex.

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Business pin up DUBAI DRUMS

DRUM ROLL PLEASE To understand Dubai Drums, you first have to know the founder Julie-Ann Odell. Julie’s personality defines the spirit of the brand. An optimistic, positive and vibrant person, Julie is more than willing to share the magical story of Dubai Drums with Aparna Shivpuri Arya.


ulie-Ann Odell is an experienced drum circle facilitator, who has used rhythm work and group drumming extensively as a tool for team building in the UAE and Gulf region. Since starting Dubai Drums in 2002, Julie-Ann and her team have drummed with hundreds of adults and children at schools, universities, and community and corporate events. Here she talks about her journey so far and the lessons she has learnt along the way. With a philosophical outlook to life and believing in positive energy and a bigger universal plan, Julie-Ann makes us want to believe that there is hope and that there are angels above who watch over us. All we need to do is throw our intent out in the universe and believe in good.


What was life like before Dubai Drums? I have been in the Middle East for 35 years and in Dubai for the last 17 years. I was working in the PR sector for many years but was always interested in holistic healing. However, if anyone had told me ten years ago, that I would be a drummer, I would have laughed. I wanted to organise a holistic event here for the mind, body and soul and when that got cancelled, my only thought was that people won’t have the opportunity to experience the drum circle. And that’s when I decided that I will do whatever it takes to bring the drum circle to Dubai. Coincidentally, my daughter had a school trip to South Africa and I decided to tag along to do an intensive course in drumming, since then, it’s been one eventful journey.


What is the philosophy behind Dubai Drums? Drumming is the oldest known form of teambuilding and I believe everybody has rhythm inside them. I believe in “unity in rhythm”. It is powerful and unforgettable and it reaches people. A professional drum circle facilitator leads the team drumming experience and brings the group, which can be as little as five or as many as a few dozens, through the basic skills needed to access drum rhythms, much like a conductor directs an orchestra. As the team drums together, the facilitator enables them to develop a common language that allows communication to flow freely among the members of the group. One main objective of the workshop is to bring the group to an empowered point, where they are able to access the skills required to successfully play polyrhythms, which are a collection of interwoven rhythmical layers. Finally, the team goes away on a high, with each member having experienced success and with the reinforced idea of cooperation over competition, the importance of truly listening to each other, how each member of the team is as important as the other, and the interdependence of the corporate community. What is Dubai Drums’ client coverage? We go to schools, community events, parties and, of course, companies. These can include corporate parties and gala dinners, to specialised teambuilding events, ice breakers and energisers. Specific programmes can be designed for team creativity, leadership development and communication skills and drums and percussion instruments can be made available. Sessions can be as short as 15-minute ice breakers or can take place over a series of days. A 45-minute to an hour’s session works well for any event. We have some signature events such as the full moon desert drumming, which is a very unique experience. Then there is the Drums of the World, where the ensemble consists of


16-25 members that come from Ghana, India, Morocco, England and South Africa, among other countries. Recently, we worked with a school for deaf children in Sharjah and that was a wonderful experience. The level of concentration and energy that these children showed was something that we all can learn from. In fact I want to connect with business organisations and get them involved as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to help us continue with such events.

Recently, we worked with a school for deaf children in Sharjah and that was a wonderful experience. In fact I want to connect with business organisations and get them involved as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Tell us something about your team? I have 12 to 15 core drummers and a huge pool of freelance drummers. If need be, I can collect up to 80 drummers. These drummers are of different nationalities and they bring their various drumming cultures with them. Did the recession affect you? Not really. I had very realistic growth plans and so was in a position where I could handle the financial repercussions. However, I did see a lot of companies around me shut down who had invested a lot in office space and so on, since they could not sustain themselves. I stayed within my means, as I wanted to grow slowly

Julie-Ann Odell

management that there are no quick-fix solutions to team building or, rather, trust building. I cannot solve these issues with just one session and need at least six months of interaction on regular intervals to make a difference.

With start ups, people tend to try and be the manager, the accountant, the delivery boy, basically everything and then they are totally burnt out in a few years. I was getting burnt out, but I realised that and started putting systems and processes in place.

Was it easy to expand and let other people handle your “baby”? A new business is like a new born baby – when the baby is a toddler, you worry more and want to be around all the time, but once the child grows up a bit you get a little less controlling. That’s what happened to me. Initially I wanted to be around all the time and handle everything. However now I am more comfortable with letting others help. With start ups, people tend to try and be the manager, the accountant, the delivery boy, basically everything and then they are totally burnt out in a few years. I was getting burnt out, but I realised that and started putting systems and processes in place.

What hardships and obstacles have you dealt with since you started? Thankfully I have a very supportive family and I did not have to worry much about the financial concerns. However, my biggest challenge has been finding the right people. I am very trusting and open, and at times that has led to people take advantage of me. Now I have a good team in place. Even when I was starting the business, I did not sign contracts or care about copyright and suffered as a consequence. So, it is important to have legal paperwork to back you up. As for dealing with companies, my biggest challenge has been convincing the

Do you have a business model or plan? No, I don’t have a business plan. When I started, I just followed my passion and now most of my shows come through word of mouth. May to October is the busy period, so I try and plan in a way that I have a buffer for the lean months, so in this sense a flexible and workable plan has been put in place. What are your plans for the near future? Every company wants to grow and we are no different. We have been working on expansion plans so Inshallah let’s see .We hope to expand and grow bigger in the region and beyond. My son, who is based in Egypt, has been working with me and we as a mother-son team hope to make the company bigger and better.



SME about town

DMC Thought Incubator

Every cloud has a silver lining Continuing with their education workshops, Dubai Media City invited Mahesh Vaidya, CEO, ISIT, to discuss data storage and security. SME Advisor attended the discussion to understand how the technology is impacting businesses. non-business related, for example, mp3s, images, and all this data takes a lot of space. We also find that 70% of the files have been duplicated, for instance e-mails which are copied and forwarded to a number of employees in the offices.“When we did a survey of 100 IT professionals, 80% admitted that when they left the organisation, they took information with them,” added Mahesh. Not only are large organisations looking

technologies that are available in the market such as Snapshot, De-duplication and Replication, among others. Snapshot copies the data but consumes minimal storage space. De-duplication removes redundant data blocks and saves up to 50% of the space, the computer saves only the changes that anyone has made and not the entire file again. Replication is also a tool for ensuring disaster recovery in case the laptop crashes, or if the office building is destroyed. It involves moving the data over a wire to another offsite location. One way of replicating is cloud sharing, which basically means storage sharing with an external site. There are multiple ways of doing it. The data is highly encrypted and remains secure and is not seen by anyone. However, cloud sharing has been slow to take off in the UAE. “Dependability, reliability and cost of bandwidth are the three things which are slowing the growth of cloud in the UAE. The adoption will happen but it will take some time,” according to Mahesh. In the UAE people are not as aware of these technologies as in more mature markets and the rules and regulations dealing with this are still evolving.

In 2010 alone, data grew by 60%. On the other hand, IT budgets were cut down on an average by 25% throughout


SIT, a storage integrator company, was started in 1991 in Europe. It came to the UAE three years ago and now has five branches in the region. Mahesh led the discussion by highlighting the growing importance of storage and protection of data. There has been an exponential data growth and a dearth of capital and human resources to handle it. “In 2010 alone, data grew by 60%. On the other hand IT budgets have been cut down by 25% throughout UAE, and it has become increasingly difficult to find skilled IT personnel in the region,” he said. Storage and security of data is of prime importance in SMEs as well as large corporations, especially where confidential information is concerned. Over 40% of the data which we store in our environment is


UAE, and it has become increasingly difficult to find skilled personnel in the region. towards securing their data and reducing storage costs but even SMEs are increasingly seeking better solutions. It’s not about the size of the corporation; it’s about the type of data they want to protect. For instance, if it’s an event management firm, the excel sheets of their suppliers, costs and budgets is what makes them competitive, and securing such information is vital. Even though it’s a smaller enterprise, the information it wants to protect is the backbone of its business. So how do organisations protect themselves and also streamline their data storage? Mr. Vaidya talked about the


However, data security is not only limited to computers; now even mobiles can be hacked. Mobile security is becoming vital as hackers can access an organisation’s profile by first hacking an employee’s mobile and then using the profile to gather confidential information. All these technologies can be scaled down to be affordable by SMEs. In fact SMEs, as Mahesh pointed out, are more eager to learn about these technologies and remain loyal customers. So, there are options for all of us to adapt these technologies to our needs and protect and streamline our data.

SME about town


Tailoring the right model The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award 2011 was held in September in Dubai. The Award aims to promote excellence amongst UAE businesses and ensure a competitive business environment.


ME Advisor attended of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award 2011 where prominent global business leaders highlighted the importance of applying sustainable business excellence. The conference provided an ideal platform for UAE businesses to learn progressive practices and how to create competitive advantage. The main objective of the conference was to forge ahead the sixth round of the prestigious award, utilising the application process based on the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Performance Model. Speaking at the opening of the conference, His Excellency Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, stated that excellence has been one of the components of UAE’s strategy in facing the

H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori 3.5% this year, while inflation will remain around 1% to 1.5%. The government’s focus on promoting investment and entrepreneurship is creating a competitive business environment, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which

The government’s focus on promoting investment and entrepreneurship is creating a competitive business environment especially for small and medium enterprises which account for 94% of the companies operating in the country. economic challenges. It was the country’s sharp policies, diversification and openness which helped it prosper in the wake of the opportunities arising from the global financial crisis. He further stressed that the UAE economy is expected to grow by 3% to


account for 94% of the companies operating in the country. The Ministry of Economy, within its mandate as the federal umbrella for developing the SME sector in the UAE, has been working towards building a rigid infrastructure for the SME sector in the UAE.


Currently, the Ministry is in the process of finalising the law which will govern SMEs. He continued by stating that a sharp focus on economic diversification is enabling the country to build capabilities locally and create further opportunities for cross-border trade. “Our bilateral trade profile is also expanding considerably, with many vibrant economies across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East forging partnerships with the UAE,” he added. His Excellency Hamad Buamim, Director General, Dubai Chamber, announced the launch of the conference, which is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and who he said is a constant source of inspiration for the business community in the UAE, particularly Dubai. The Director General of Dubai Chamber stressed that the conference, which disperses knowledge about different internationally recognised business performance models, will support the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Business Award’s Business Performance Model by allowing the participants to successfully review and benchmark their business models with the best in the sector. The business model is an internationally well regarded model which integrates business performance strategies, processes, operations and performance results according to the latest concepts. It is designed to assist Dubai as well as UAE based businesses to adopt excellent business practices in order to enhance their business and contributions to the economic development of the UAE. Prominent speakers at the conference included, Mr. Harnek Singh, Vice President and Director of Business Excellence, Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd, Mr. Sunil Sinha, CEO Quality Management System, Tata Group, Mr. Saleh Janeeh, Senior Manager, Quality Assurance and Business Excellence, Dubai Aluminium Limited Company (DUBAL), and Mr. George Madhavan, Director, 3P Network Department in PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, with topics ranging from sustainable performance and innovation being discussed. The day-long conference which concluded with a panel session was followed with a gala dinner where tokens of appreciation were presented to the speakers.




Under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, the Majid Bin Mohammed Innovation Center in5 was launched to enable increased access to the technology eco system. SME Advisor was present at the opening of the centre, which is envisioned to promote entrepreneurship and technical innovation in the UAE. quality and industry-specific infrastructure, mentoring and access to industry experts, we hope that this platform will allow emerging innovators to bring their ideas to fruition and deliver viable solutions to the marketplace. DIC has always been actively engaged with entrepreneurs and the founding of in5 will further complement our efforts in this direction.” The Majid Bin Mohammed Innovation Center in5 encourages upcoming entrepreneurs to submit their business applications online on An evaluation process will be conducted to shortlist applicants and select feasible submissions that meet the set criteria. The centre will provide five key services to


he centre will focus on the five key objectives of accelerating the development of new start ups, fostering entrepreneurships, driving technology innovation, contributing to shaping an ICT ecosystem and, most importantly, promoting Dubai as an ideal location for tech start ups.

The press conference was panelled by select in5 board members including Malek Al Malek, Managing Director, Dubai Internet City, Mohammad Gawdat, Managing Director-SEEMEA, Google, Charbel Fakhoury, Vice President-Sales, Marketing and Service-Middle East and Africa Region, Microsoft Corporation, and Nassir Al Rafi, CEO, Emaar Malls Group. Ahmad Julfar, Group CEO, Etisalat, will head the in5 board as Chairman. Providing guidance, industry insights and setting up long-term strategies for the innovation centre, the board also includes Daniel A

It is, therefore, a top priority that the SME landscape is provided with access to leading edge knowledge, technology, funding and markets, according to the SME development agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai. Rivetti, Associate Professor of Finance at the University of San Diego, as a member. The in5’s ultimate objective is to support young entrepreneurs and technology innovators, in addition to driving the growth of the IT SME sector in the UAE and the region. It will also allow young innovators and talents to gain access to leading technology companies and draw value from their expertise and knowledge. Speaking at the press conference, Malek Al Malek said: “in5 will facilitate emerging start ups to work within an entrepreneurial environment and alongside other visionaries. With high

short-listed start-ups including seed funding, coaching, mentorship, training, networking, set up and logistics. The in5 centre is poised to drive the SME sector, which leads economic growth and job creation in the UAE today. In addition, the sector accounts for over 90% of the private enterprises in Dubai. It is, therefore, a top priority that the SME landscape is provided with access to leading edge knowledge, technology, funding and markets, according to the SME development agency of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai.




Corporate culture

Culture vs. strategy Every corporate culture has behaviours that will help enable the change businesses want,

and others that can hinder it. Every culture comes with many complications, but fortunately there is an effective and accessible way to deal with cultural challenge. Businesses need to learn not to blame culture but instead use it purposefully.


n organisation’s culture can be defined as the set of deeply embedded, selfreinforcing behaviours, beliefs, and mind-sets that determine “how we do things around here.” People within an organisational culture share a tacit understanding of the way the world works, their place in it, the informal and formal dimensions of their workplace, and the value of their actions. Though it seems intangible, a company’s culture has a substantial influence on everyday actions and on performance. When a new leader’s strategy puts the culture of a company at risk, the culture will trump the strategy, almost every time. “Every company’s identity – the body of capabilities and practices that distinguish it and make it effective – is grounded in the way people think and behave. Deeply embedded cultural influences tend to persist; they change far more slowly than marketplace factors and cause significant morale problems when not addressed effectively,” said Ahmed Youssef, Partner Booz & Company. When strategy and culture clash visibly, more likely than not, the culture is indicating something about the leadership’s philosophy. Additionally, it’s important to note that organisational cultures don’t change very quickly. Therefore, it is best to use existing culture to initiate a change in the


behaviours that matter most. In fact, it is absolutely critical to the lasting success of all peak-performing enterprises. Myths of culture change There are several myths about culture change that have become prevalent in the business world. Each of these assumptions leads to treacherous pitfalls blocking leaders from responding to cultures in a productive way. Myth 1: “Our culture is the root of all our problems.” This becomes an all-purpose, convenient


excuse for performance shortfalls, ignoring the realities of organisational culture. Myth 2: “We don’t really know how to change our culture, so let’s escape it.” There’s a long tradition of creating pockets of entrepreneurial activity for high-performance results. These are explicitly intended to operate outside the prevailing culture. They may thrive for a few years, but they are typically treated as outliers by the rest of the company. Eventually, they are either spun off or absorbed back into the mainstream, succumbing to the company’s cultural malaise.



Myth 3: “Leave culture to the people professionals.” Executives with an engineering, finance, or technology background often feel ill-equipped to deal with cultural issues. They delegate them to their human resources, organisational development, or communications teams. Myth 4: “Culture is the job of the top leaders.” It is very powerful when the CEO and other top executives take explicit personal accountability for the company’s culture. But senior leaders cannot change cultures by themselves. They operate at such a large scale, and with such broad visibility, that they cannot directly motivate people to implement the specific practices and behaviours that are required. To succeed with a culture intervention, top leaders need the support of many leaders down the line — particularly those who have daily contact with the people whose behaviour change is most critical. Each of these myths plays out differently. But underlying all of them is a big dose of defeatism. Culture is thought to be too big to ignore, too tough to conquer, and too soft to understand. Thinking this way, especially when there have been previous culture change disappointments, can squelch any realistic effort toward high performance. By contrast however, working with and within

When strategy and culture clash visibly, more likely than not, the culture is indicating something about the leadership’s philosophy. Additionally, it’s important to note that organisational cultures don’t change very quickly. Seek out role models for the new behaviour Start with the most effective practitioners, the people who distinguish themselves by the way they act. Enlist your current “cultural carriers.” These are the people who are well positioned to transmit behaviours to others, and who can be developed to spread the positive elements of the existing culture. Use the culture you already have Take pains to stay within the most essential tenets of the existing culture. Understand clearly the reasons that current practices exist before trying to change them. Ahmed Youssef

Model what matters most Be a visible and consistent role model of the behaviour change you want to see in others.

Start pragmatically Don’t try to change everything at once. Focus on a few critical behaviours that resonate with

“Deeply embedded cultural influences tend to persist; they change far more slowly than marketplace factors and cause significant morale problems when not addressed effectively.” - Ahmed Youssef, Partner Booz & Company

a culture is sensible, practical, and effective. When leaders learn to operate this way, their employees tend to become more productive and their own efforts become more rewarding. Pragmatic practices There are numerous principles for changing culture through behaviour, which have become evident through ongoing practice.

your current culture, but that will raise your organization’s performance. Reinforce the new behaviours through formal and informal means Provide formal metrics, incentives, and process guidance that lead people to practice these new behaviours again and again, until they experience their value.

Clarify the specific implications of the new behaviour People need guidance about new behaviours. Conclusion In the end, if used properly, culture can become a major factor supporting strategy. However, deeply embedded cultures change slowly – far more slowly than the business environment bringing with them many complications. Nonetheless, effective change is possible. “I have often heard leaders of regional companies complaining about their culture, while ignoring its positive elements. They aspire for radical changes, replacing the old guard with new blood. Focusing on behavioural change in a few activities that matter could lead to better results faster,” says Youssef. Learn to work with it and within it. In this way, truly beneficial change can be initiated, accelerated and sustained, with far less effort, time, and expense, and with better results, than many executives expect.



industry watch

regional growth

Power to the youth A new survey from Booz & Company reveals insights from a generation with the potential to bring about massive change. The GCC is at a moment of unprecedented demographic opportunity. Young people make up one-third to one-half of the population of the GCC countries, presenting GCC governments with an opportunity to propel their nations forward.


his group can bring creativity, energy, and productivity to the GCC national and regional economies. With their contributions, the GCC region can accelerate its development and continue building knowledge economies. But regional leaders in government and business must understand the needs and aspirations of this critical generation in order to tap into their ideas and energy. To that end, Booz & Company conducted a survey of 415 young nationals aged 15 to 24 in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, focusing on the area’s most relevant to young people today: Education Employment Leisure activities Community engagement The survey showed that despite solid economic growth, technological improvements, and increased expenditure on education, GCC countries’ socio-economic systems have not yet evolved sufficiently to meet the basic aspirations of their youth, who are seeking both social recognition and economic empowerment. GCC stakeholders are aware of both the opportunities and the challenges in these areas and are making good progress in addressing them. But a more universal, all-encompassing effort is needed to ensure that young people are fully engaged in GCC societies, including governments, private


sectors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and civic organisations. Education: Crucial for youth development Because education is a cornerstone of young people’s development and the basis on which the Gulf’s knowledge economies will be built, it was a major focus of the Booz & Company survey. When asked “What is your major priority or ambition in life?” 45% gave top ranking to completing their education. 17% said that finding a job was their first priority. 10% noted their top priority was to get married and start a family. However, when it comes to the quality of their education, the primary beneficiaries of the GCC’s efforts are not happy. When asked, “To what extent do you think the education system of your country has prepared you or is preparing you to find a job?” To a large extent: 19% To some extent: 50% To a lesser extent: 20% Not at all: 12% GCC governments have begun to recognise the need for change and reorientation, and the initiatives undertaken so far are laudable. However, there is more that can be done. Curriculum reform is one major priority; in addition to instituting


teaching methods that encourage students to take initiative and solve problems, there needs to be more emphasis on science, technology, mathematics, and foreign languages. Booz & Company also suggest GCC countries pay urgent attention to upgrading and expanding vocational education in partnership with the private sector. The aim would be to link the two environments of classroom and workplace in a practical way so that young people do not feel they are crossing into unknown terrain when they move from one to the other. The private sector can also get involved in the form of summer jobs, internships and mentoring programmes. Young nationals see a number of hurdles to employment. When asked, “In your opinion, what are the challenges that people encounter while looking for a job?” they noted: Very few jobs available: 58% Low salary: 57% Lack of previous job experience: 49% Job qualifications are high: 46% Lack of appropriate skills for their chosen job: 24% Lack of career progression or growth: 18% However, young nationals also have some issues with the jobs available. When asked to rank certain criteria in order of importance, their number one consideration in choosing a job was a good salary. The second most important criterion was job satisfaction, followed by the reputation of the organisation and job stability. Respondents placed career growth and skills development after these other desirable characteristics in a job. These rankings suggest that GCC youth are highly motivated by a desire for financial security. The survey respondents felt that their governments had a role to play in mitigating unemployment. When Booz & Company asked what governments can do to expand economic opportunities for youth, they said: Develop youth service programs: 65% Promote youth entrepreneurship: 62% Create employment through microfinance: 60% Significantly, only 38% said they believed the state should partner with the private sector to identify high-demand skills. Booz & Company’s survey confirmed that GCC youth struggle to find suitable employment and are anxious about their prospects. They also suffer from the absence of a tradition of part-time work during school vacations, as well as a lack of internships

industry watch


and mentoring programmes offered by the private sector. Among our survey respondents, only 41% said they had ever held a temporary job or internship during summer vacation while they were at university. These findings suggest that GCC youth need to adjust their attitude so that they see part-time work as valuable, necessary training. It is also vital to develop clear, strategic economic plans to reach the twin goals of economic diversification and youth employment simultaneously. That means job creation in sectors where the GCC can gain a competitive edge, including knowledge-based activities such as R&D and finance, with corresponding reform in education to give students the necessary skills in science, technology, mathematics, and foreign languages. Leisure: Expanding young people’s horizons GCC countries need to build workforces that are resourceful, productive and creative, with 21st century business skills and the ability to operate in multicultural settings. These are traits learned through leisure experiences, be they recreational sports or science fairs. Diversified, knowledge-based economies also will require young people to take a broader look at their career options; something else fostered by leisure activities, which expose young people to different areas of interest. Because of the benefits of organised leisure activities, and in particular of the physical exercise involved in sports, we asked survey participants about their leisure time. Booz & Company found that young people spend much of their time at home or socialising, rather than pursuing extracurricular activities: 88% surf the Internet 78% watch TV 65% spend time with their family 58% attend social gatherings with friends 47% participate in sports 21% seek out learning activities Survey respondents felt that governments could invest more in leisure opportunities. When asked how governments can encourage participation in leisure activities, more than half of the respondents said they would like governments to integrate areas for sports and recreation into urban development plans and to create a special fund for youth activities. By advocating leisure pursuits and collaborating with young people on the type of

Booz & Company also suggest GCC countries pay urgent attention to upgrading and expanding vocational education in partnership with the private sector. The aim would be to link the two environments of classroom and workplace in a practical way so that young people do not feel they are crossing into unknown terrain when they move from one to the other.

activities. Nearly half of these (45%) do volunteer work with the baladiyah (municipality) or government-sponsored activities; the rest did charitable work with an NGO or through youth associations. What is needed is greater awareness of civic responsibilities and greater commitment to community building. The character-enhancing aspect of contributing time and energy to helping others in one’s community should be highlighted and promoted. Such service is also excellent preparation for the workplace. Volunteer work exposes youths to teamwork, gives them leadership qualities, and builds their organisational skills.

Dr. Karim Sabbagh leisure activities they want, GCC governments can improve the quality of life in Gulf cities, as well as produce residents who are physically and mentally healthier. In doing so, they should seek out the participation of the private sector. Many facilities can be built and run by private companies, which also can organise recreational activities, particularly in sports, and sponsor cultural performances as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes. Community development: Youth and nation building Participation in community development helps young people build the skills that contribute to well-rounded personalities and success in the workforce. It also builds civic pride and responsibility, as well as fostering the feeling of belonging that binds together communities and nations. However, volunteer work in the community is still quite limited among young GCC nationals: Just 28% of the respondents in the Booz & Company survey said that they participate in community development

Youth and the future Young GCC nationals want to contribute to the development of their country. They aspire to live in technologically advanced, prosperous nations with a well-educated citizenry. Ambitious to complete their education and find suitable employment, they also are keenly aware of the importance of being part of a globalised technological world. These young people face major challenges in the high cost of living, high unemployment rates, poor preparation for the workplace, and insufficient affordable housing. They want improved education systems built on international standards that provide them with modern skills relevant to a global, dynamic economy. They want increased access to the decision-making process, policy formulation, and civic and community development at the local level, as well as the creation of local youth councils for effective participation in society. Young people are the key human resource on which the future of the GCC’s economic and social development depends. And they must be seen in this light in order for GCC societies to reap the rewards that today’s youth offer.



SME Speak

Technology usage survey

Have you got IT? In order to understand how information technology is being utilised by businesses, SME Advisor Middle East, in conjunction with Tickbox Surveys Middle East, conducted a survey of its readers. The aim of these monthly surveys is to provide a snapshot of the current practices in the market.


t is critical for SMEs to ensure that they adopt appropriate information technology in order to capitalise on the opportunities that globalisation offers. If firms successfully adopt technology, not only can it ensure their survival but also lead to greater efficiencies and flexibility. Academic evidence suggests that the adoption of information technology in SMEs is largely related to the behaviour of the owner. In other words, the behaviour of an owner can range from a pure administrator on the one extreme to an entrepreneur at the other end of the spectrum. The essential difference between the two is that an administrator approaches information technological adoption using a strategy based approach, on an analysis of the available data. An entrepreneur on the other hand is less reliant on data analysis but more on intuition, backed-up by personal knowledge of their market conditions. In cases where the owner is not involved in the day to day operations of the company the characteristics of the most senior manager is equally important.


IT strategy in SMEs Over 70% of respondents in the survey felt that information technology (IT) was very important to the functioning of their organisations. Only 28% of the respondents felt that it was somewhat important in the operation of their business. SMEs in manufacturing and trading were of the view that IT was extremely important. When it comes to making IT a part of the corporate strategy the survey found that 6% of the respondents did not have a written business plan or strategy. This is more reflective of a pure entrepreneurial organisation that tends to avoid the constraints of documenting and following a corporate plan. Instead these owners place greater importance on capitalising an opportunity and then dealing with any short-term problems that may arise as a result of non-planning the adoption of IT. The view that technology was important was reinforced by the fact that almost half the respondents used a recent release of an operating system. The survey found that the most popular type of operating system for SMEs was Windows, with a 94% level of usage.


Second, was MAC OS with 6% of users. It appears that the wide spread availability of Windows and low start up costs in terms of skilled employees with experience of the software makes it the operating system of choice. Close to 44% of respondents were currently using Windows 7 followed by 25% for XP and 19% for Vista. This largely implies that SMEs tend to keep abreast with software developments as long as the costs are reasonable. At the other extreme the survey found that a small proportion of SMEs (6%) were using an operating system that is more than a decade old, namely Windows 98. This use of this particular operating system implies that these SMEs cannot have access to new technology advanced support machines.

Which operating system do you currently use in your firm?

Windows 98 6%

Mac OS 6%

Windows XP 25%

Windows Vista 19%

Windows 7 44%

Online transactions From a business viewpoint an SME seeking to be cost effective, as well as flexible, would be more likely to carry out a large proportion of its transactions using the Internet. The survey

SME Speak

Technology usage survey

The survey found that 91% of the respondents used some form of social media in order to promote their business activities or seek business. It was interesting to find that the 44% of the respondents primarily used Linkedin, followed by 31% for Facebook and 16% for Twitter. It appears that there is a significant difference in the use of social media for business and non-business use.

The survey found that only 19% of the respondents have an external firm that looks after the company’s IT issues. The vast bulk (50%) of respondents tend to have someone internally who has some level of IT knowledge and is able to solve most of the problems. found some evidence to support this in the area of banking, whereby 91% of the respondents carried out the majority of their banking activities online. When it came to online purchasing and selling of goods and services, the results from the survey showed that SMEs are fully utilising current technology. In fact, 28% of SMEs do not carry out any form of online purchasing, while 28% use it for less than 10% of their total purchases and a further 28% use it for 10% to 25% of their total purchases. Only 16% of SMEs use online purchasing for more than 50% of their total expenditure.

Who is primarily responsible for tech support in your firm? Friends and family help 3% I do it myself 28%

I pay an outside company to handle it 19%

A member of my staff handles it 50%

The survey found that 38% of SMEs do not carry out any form of online selling of goods or services. A further 41% carried out online selling which represented less than 10% of their sales. Only 9% of SMEs carried out more than 50% of their sales online. Companies that tended to sell the bulk of their services online were in the business services and training sectors. SMEs that did not have any online selling tended to be in the trading and manufacturing sectors. IT challenges The small size and financial constraints imply that SMEs may not have the same access to IT support as larger firms. The survey found that only 19% of the respondents have an external

firm that looks after the company’s IT issues. Half of the respondents tend to have someone internally who has some level of IT knowledge and is able to solve most of the problems. In 28% of the cases the owner himself was responsible for providing IT support to the firm. A further 3% of respondents relied on family and friends to help provide support to the firm. Of course both of the latter solutions are less than optimal.

Conclusion The survey does show that IT is certainly a priority for SMEs in the UAE. And this is evidenced by the fact that vast majority of them tend to use a recent release of an operating system. As far as operating systems are concerned, 94% of SMEs use a Windows based system. In part this may be due to its widespread availability and the pool of staff that have the skills to use it.

The survey found that 91% of the respondents used some form of social media in order to promote their business activities or seek business. It was interesting to find that the 44% of the respondents primarily used Linkedin, followed by 31% for Facebook and 16% for Twitter. The survey found all the respondents had a website, whether it was regularly updated or not. In terms of having the website, the single most important challenge was security. In fact, 23% of respondents felt that this was an important challenge that they needed to deal with. A further 38% were facing the challenge of regularly updating their websites, while 23% of the respondents felt that that the time taken by external web maintenance companies to deal with problems was a challenge. Close to 15% of respondents felt that the cost of maintaining their website imposed a challenge to their organisation. Social media A very large number of SMEs have successfully used social media to generate additional business and promote their products into global markets. The survey sought to find out first how wide the use of social media was by SMEs in the UAE and what was the primarily medium.

SMEs in the UAE are familiar with online banking and tend to use it regularly. However, only a small proportion of SMEs tend to carry out the vast bulk of their purchases and sales online. In part this is reflective of the industry in which they operate. The survey found that as far as IT support was concerned, it was left to an internal staff member or the owner. All the firms had a website and their greatest fear was Internet security. In the case of social media, there is a distinct difference between business and non-business usage.

About Tickbox Surveys Middle East specialises in market research surveys for the consumer, B2B, investor, community and employee segments. It also specialises in helping companies to identify appropriate interventions for improving customer and employee satisfaction as well as loyalty through using surveys and statistical analysis. For more information visit





Video surveillance can assist retailers in understanding their customers and improving business, says Baraa Al Akkad, Regional Manager, Axis Communications ME.


cross the region, small and medium sized retailers need to revise their strategies to secure the future of their businesses. Whereas IT technologies such as CRM or ERP play a central role for national retailers as they help retailers to improve their bottom line by giving them a better understanding of what their customers really want, many small shops can’t afford those technologies. It might come as a surprise but video surveillance can be also a very cost efficient technology alternative that helps retailers to better understand their customers and improve their businesses. Traditionally, retailers have implemented surveillance systems to deter and catch shoplifters and violent criminals. But today’s network video surveillance systems offer retailers much more than that. A modern, state-of-the-art surveillance system goes way beyond mere surveillance and can even help retailers to enhance the customers’ experience. Equipped with people counting or heat maps, such a system can detect the number of people entering a shop, waiting in a queue or if parts of the shop are overcrowded. It can send an alert directly to the store manager who can immediately take measures. If the cameras are connected to the data generated by the POS system, retailers can analyse how conversion rates and sales amounts vary over time. They can measure customer “dwell” times to evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns and in-store advertisements. They can also control items in stock, detect empty shelves and send out an alert that restocking is needed. The whole gamut of in-store processes can be streamlined


efficiently with network video systems, resulting in higher profits. Operations and marketing people are now more and Baraa Al Akkad more aware of the fact that their surveillance system can be used for much more than spotting suspects. Contrary to the popular belief, video surveillance systems are not only deployed by the big national retail chains but are also a useful tool for small and medium sized shops. However, the requirements of the small and medium sized retailers are very different. Whereas large retailers are much more willing to make short-term investments, smaller businesses are rather looking for future-proofed investments. For retailers that are looking for futureproofed solutions, it is especially recommendable to consider network video surveillance systems over analog ones as they can operate over the existing Internet already installed in the shop and be managed by the existing computers. What is even more important is the compatibility with the existing store infrastructure, for example POS and EAS systems. Another important detail that makes an investment future proof is open standards. Open standards are important to help create interoperable and affordable solutions for everybody. They also promote competition by setting up a technical playing field that is level to all market players. This means lower costs for enterprises and, ultimately, the consumer.


Further, open standards give you maximum flexibility when choosing the peripheral equipment. The solutions are fully scalable and allow retailers to take advantage of the latest technologies and features. And these vary a lot among different retailers: highly specialised businesses that know their customers by heart might look more into security applications, shops in areas that face violence problems will be more concerned about staff safety, whereas small chains in a competitive landscape have a critical need to understand their customer to better stimulate their demand and therefore would need more video analytics features. For those retail shops that need a video surveillance system for safety or security reasons, image quality is crucial. The better the image quality is, the easier the identification of incidents. Network cameras with HDTV standard are a leap forward in image quality by providing up to five times higher resolution than standard analog TV. There are special video surveillance kits for small and medium sized retail stores. The kits can be easy expanded if more cameras are needed. The company has a further intensive network of development partners, giving retailers access to all type of critical retail applications. The world of retail is very diverse, and so are the needs of retailers. However, network video surveillance is an attractive technology that can help all types of retailers, from the smallest corner shop to the global retail chain, to cost efficiently secure their businesses, making sure the customer can also benefit in the future from a colourful range of offerings.

About Baraa Al Akkad, Regional Manager for Axis Communications ME is responsible for Axis’ sales and marketing activities in the region. Baraa took on this new position in March 2009. He previously held a Product Manager position at NIT (Network Information Technology), one of Axis Communications’ distributors based in Dubai. He has a total of ten years experience in sales of high end IP video solutions. Baraa has been living in Dubai for more than 12 years and has an in-depth knowledge of the region’s culture.


Intelligent solutions Life in the construction industry has been tough, yet many are still holding on. But with fewer projects to bid for and more firms in the running, with many willing to modify their fees in order to get the work, it’s no place for the faint-hearted, says Anders Arthur from Autodesk.


irms need take a long hard look at their internal processes and workflow; as it is only through streamlining operational costs that they will maintain profitability.

efficiencies are compounded all the way down the line, even benefitting the owner by helping to reduce total lifetime costs. Some users have found that the real value of BIM lies in the way it has helped them win work; others have Building Information benefitted from faster off-site Modelling (BIM) has been Anders Arthur fabrication or streamlined around for a while now, but in scheduling. an easy, buoyant market, there So let’s look briefly at five key areas where was little incentive for the average mid-sized firm BIM can radically improve efficiency: to take the time to change the way it worked. But, has its time come? Suddenly adoption of this First win the work method appears to be a no-brainer; especially Bid teams can gain a client’s confidence with a as smaller firms can start small; bringing BIM conceptual building model that can be viewed into problem areas first and then extending the from all angles and demonstrate how they have practice over time. thought about phasing, safety, environmental and BIM is an integrated process that allows site challenges and how to keep the project on architects, engineers, contractors and owners to track and within budget. explore a project’s key physical and functional Faster, more accurate estimates characteristics digitally before it is built. When a When profit margins are so tight, it’s vital to be project uses BIM, information is co-ordinated and able to cost a project accurately. Because the consistent, resulting in efficiencies throughout its database behind the building model always lifecycle. And this is its real power, the fact that shows the exact quantities required for the

design as it stands at that particular time and then updated each time changes are made, fast, accurate and current estimates can be extracted throughout the project. Check the constructability A 3D model eliminates guesswork. Even if an engineering firm has received a 2D drawing from the architect, they can quickly build a 3D model from this data, so determining constructability, verifying quantities and establishing scheduling and construction sequencing. Prevent on-site waste Because BIM provides accurate material take-offs, it eliminates over-ordering. A 3D model enables teams to check time and space coordination to help improve site and workflow planning and check for interferences to identify and solve conflicts before this happens. Better scheduling The critical path method scheduling software that many firms use, to create, update and communicate project schedules does not capture the spatial components related to these activities. This makes it difficult for some team members to interpret the schedule or identify potential problems. Using BIM, they can link 3D model data to project schedule created in this software to quickly visualise construction schedules and logistics in 4D. A 4D schedule will show, for example, that it is impossible to install a certain features before others, enabling project managers to quickly make adjustments, coordinate skilled workers accordingly and keep the project moving forward without delays. To remain competitive in this current climate could involve some drastic re-thinking. There’s no doubt that those who have been complacent about BIM in the past, will now need to act fast to catch up.

About Anders Arthur joined Autodesk as Middle East and Africa Territory Director in June 2009 and has been with Autodesk for over 11 years. Prior to joining Autodesk, Anders worked in the building engineer practice in Sweden’s largest architectural firm. He has since spent the majority of his career in the 2D and 3D design business, assuming multiple management reseller, distributor and application developer roles in sales, marketing and CEO positions.




Protecting your mobile devices Andy Cordial, Managing Director, Origin Storage, explains why mobile computing users need to raise their security game if they are to avoid a series of SmartPhone and tablet computer driven data breaches hitting the headlines.


hilst the range and variety of IT security defences for portable devices is excellent, and able to cater for all budgets and types of user, but it should be apparent to any security observer that the same cannot be said for SmartPhones and tablet computers. With 45 million iPads already having been sold, and with the prospect of Android tablets and BlackBerry tablets also selling in their


millions, it’s clear that IT security professionals working within companies of all sizes have a security problem on their hands. With most business using one or more mobile devices with a variety of e-mail, documents and contact details in their memory, it is clear that SmartPhones and tablet computers should be afforded the same levels of security and protection as the laptops and netbooks in circulation.


And the line between portable computers and mobile devices such as SmartPhones and tablets is becoming blurred. The question facing the hard-pressed IT security manager is, how in the face of a paucity of tablet and SmartPhone-specific security offerings, and a general apathy amongst corporate users, to get the mobile security focus back on track? According to a report from the CNCCS – Spain’s National Cybersecurity Advisory Council – a general lack of security awareness amongst mobile users and their carelessness are the two main risk factors for SmartPhones in business. The research recommends, that users take all necessary precautions when opening e-mail messages, SMS attachments or clicking linksthe latter of which is an entry point for the latest Zeus attacks. Users should also, be wary of any files, links or numbers received from unsolicited e-mail or SMS messages, and avoid using untrusted WiFi networks. The just-released CNCCS report confirms many of the findings of Origin Storage’s survey of IT security professionals at April’s Infosecurity


Europe show, in which we discovered that 41% of IT professionals are carrying sensitive information on their SmartPhones. Against a backdrop of 19% of respondents revealing their employers had suffered a breach, as a result of a portable device going missing, and more than half of those respondents revealing that the portable device was not encrypted, it is clear that something has to be done. What was interesting about the results of the survey was 70% of organisations had made data encryption mandatory in their businesses, suggesting that many users of portable devices are breaking their own firm’s security policy rules in their day-to-day business. This apathy also perhaps explains the fact that 37% of respondents admitted that between four-fifths and all of their sensitive data stored on their portable devices was unprotected. It’s interesting to note that this proves the case that we are not just dealing with a few files copied to a portable device in a hurry here - perhaps by an employee who is late for an offsite meeting. This is a failing in corporate security

The question facing the hard-pressed IT security manager is, how in the face of a paucity of tablet and SmartPhone-specific security offerings, and a general apathy amongst corporate users, to get the mobile security focus back on track?

Andy Cordial

According to a just-released major report from the CNCCS – Spain’s national cybersecurity advisory council – a general lack of security awareness amongst mobile users and their general carelessness are the two main risk factors for SmartPhones in business.

policies and their implementation. So what is the solution to the general apathy surrounding the use of portable devices, and especially Internet-connected devices such as tablet computers and SmartPhones? User education, while desirable, plainly isn’t working, as most corporate users of technology are probably aware of the security risks posed by their laptop computer. And, as any mobile user will attest, security is rarely on agenda of the dealers and cellular networks, that are busy promoting and selling their handsets plus mobile phone contracts. It’s a non-starter. It’s against this backdrop that we are left with the stark reality that it will probably take a series of major corporate blunders involving sensitive data lost, as the result of a lapse of security in

a tablet computer or SmartPhone, and for the affected company’s reputation and share price to take a consequential battering. There is nothing like a share price dip of 8 to 10% to focus the attention of a CEO and CFO, and to pressure the IT manager into deploying sound security solutions and practices to stop an incident from ever happening again. The irony of this situation will not go unnoticed amongst those IT professionals, who reading these words and whose experience dates back to the 1990s, when desktop and laptop security was in a similar evolutionary stage as mobile security is today. And while today we have regulatory influences such as the Data Protection Act and the PCI DSS rules applying to any business that stores personally identifiable information

card transactions, the fact that the Information Commissioner’s Office has only rarely prosecuted an organisation for a breach of the DPA, means that the stick approach will not work. So what about the carrot approach? That too, sadly, is also probably doomed to failure, so we are left with the need for governance and the tapping of hardware plus software resources to help enforce best practice in the mobile security arena. Here at Origin Storage we have been doing our bit as well, with a one terabyte version of our Data Locker secure encrypted hard drive have been selling well since it was launched at the end of 2009. And in the spring of last year, when we released a range of encrypted hard drive kitsallowing computer users to install a drive in their desktop and laptop machines, that will encrypt data on-the-fly, and migrate their data from the old drive at the same time-we received plaudits from our customers. The process will, however, take time. Changing portable device user security behaviour is a task similar to steering an giant oil tanker - all changes of course need to be planned some way in advance, but once executed can be relied up on to take effect over a period of time.

About Andy Cordial is the Managing Director of Origin Storage. He started his computer industry career in 1987 working for tape manufacturer Everex Systems. He then moved into computer distribution in 1989 and set-up his first computer company XL Distribution. XL merged with Datrontech in 1992 where he worked in their management team. Andy saw Datrontech through flotation on LSE then left to start Upgrade Options plc in 1996. He went on and sold Upgrade Options (MBO) in 2003 and invested in Origin Storage Ltd. Andy helped build Origin Storage to a GBP 5.2 million business and saw it enter the Times Fast track 100. He now owns 100% shareholding of Origin after successful purchase of his partner in 2009.





ollowing three decades of continued modernisation, GITEX Technology Week, will showcase new features, which reflect regional and global trends, offering new highlights to exhibitors and attendees alike. GITEX 2011, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 9th to 13th October, 2011, is introducing brand new elements to reinforce its position as the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region’s leading “finger on the pulse” technology event. As one of the three largest ICT exhibitions in the world, the show connects more than 136,000 industry professionals from five


continents with over 3,500 suppliers, and is one of the most influential and high-profile events in the global ICT sector today. “GITEX strives year-on-year to drive the regional ICT market and provide a platform for the world’s most influential technology businesses to share their knowledge and products on the essential issues of the day. Following the event’s extremely successful 30th anniversary last year, we committed to add even more cutting edge components in order for GITEX to strengthen its global positioning,” said Trixee Loh, SVP, World Trade Centre. Abdul Rahman Al Thehaiban, Oracle Vice President Technology, MEA said,


“With the introduction of these features, once again we see GITEX offering to deliver what the industry demands. Cloud computing and security and mobile apps are increasingly relevant to businesses and Oracle is committed to making sure visitors to GITEX have access to the latest technology and IT solutions across the region.” “The need for a comprehensive international ICT event that features the most important aspects of today’s technology industry is vital for the Middle East,” said Samer Abu Latif, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf. “GITEX is at the forefront of driving ICT business in


the region and bringing leading technology companies together to showcase their most innovative products. GITEX has always offered Microsoft the opportunity to reach new clients and introduce them to our latest services, and with the essential elements that GITEX is adding this year, the potential is even greater and I’m sure the results will reflect that,” he added. Under the 2011 theme of Redefine the Future GITEX will address the issues most relevant to the region’s businesses. With the number of infected computers across the Middle East on the rise (44% increase between 2009 and 2010) and the recent international spate of hacking incidents, there is no better time to raise the regional awareness of internet viruses and internet security issues across the region. The brand new CyberSecurity@GITEX edutainment will offer presentations on cyber crime awareness and how to avoid falling into traps including web phishing site, mobile phones, credit card scanning and cloning, and identity theft. Live demonstrations will give visitors practical advice on how to defend against attacks across a variety of platforms. Also new to GITEX 2011, GITEX Digital Marketing is an opportunity to assess, evaluate and realise the full potential, of what is becoming an essential business tool. Digital marketing is being employed by businesses in the Middle East as consumers utilise social media, SmartPhones and tablet PCs, contributing to the increased use of digital media. With mobile subscriptions in the Middle East region on track to hit 300 million by 2014, this business area is set for considerable growth. With the introduction of fiberoptic, high-speed Internet, demonstrable increases in broadband penetration, GITEX Digital Marketing presents a host of digital opportunities to an emerging market. It brings a combination of Internet commerce in a multi-dimensional platform; an ecosystem of digital media agencies and service providers. The new GITEX Card Technology feature will reflect and drive one of the most rapidly developing ICT sectors. From

The new GITEX Card Technology feature will reflect and drive one of the most rapidly developing ICT sectors. From widespread use in the financial services sector to mobile phone sim cards, road toll systems, national ID cards and hospital records, the use of smart card technology, continues to grow apace.

widespread use in the financial services sector to mobile phone sim cards, road toll systems, national ID cards and hospital records, the use of smart card technology, continues to grow apace. In keeping with regional advancements, GITEX will again expand its profile to incorporate this increasingly important sector. The region is witnessing a communications revolution with the rapid adoption of the latest mobile technology, with the Middle East and Africa set to be among the top two global SmartPhone markets in the next four years. The importance of ICT across Middle East government departments is reinforced by the increasing investment that countries are placing on governance. The total Middle East spending on IT is estimated to reach USD 14 billion in 2011. Government@GITEX will provide the essential public sector element.

With the inaugural edition in 2010, the GITEX Cloud Confex has already become the largest cloud platform in the Middle East. The cloud confex incorporates two days of intense conferencing and a five day exhibition featuring leading international players, establishing the event as the premier route to market. The 2011 GITEX conference programme continues to evolve as an integrated business symposium with unprecedented levels of knowledge exchange and focused networking opportunities. The Global conference agenda explores technology trends with a powerful combination of leading conferences including, the Global Leaders Summit, with this year’s theme of innovating technology through creative leadership; GITEX Telecoms Symposium and the annual GITEX Cloud Confex, the largest cloud platform in The Middle East.



GITEX 2011


GITEX 2011: INNOVATION AND LEADERSHIP T he past year has marked a new era of transformation, inspired by identifying new areas of thinking, investing in changes and listening to potential shifts. This year’s GITEX Technology Week’s Global Leaders Summit on 9th October 2011 focuses on a key strategy within this trend – “Innovation in Leadership”, with some of the ICT industry’s most successful business pioneers discussing substance, relevance and fresh innovative thinking.

The summit will feature high-level thought leaders sharing insights, strategies and technical know-how on how innovation is the driving force behind business growth. Chris Dedicoat, President EMEA of Cisco, who in 2006 was appointed to a European Commission task force that aims to strengthen Europe’s IT sector, will speak on Technology Innovation as a Driver for Sustainability & Economic Growth. Dedicoat said, “The Middle East continues to be one of the most exciting and dynamic regions in the world and an important and strategic market for Cisco. Smart investments in information and communication technology are helping organisations to innovate, drive new business models, increase productivity and create new jobs. As new opportunities emerge in technology-based industries, governments will need to focus on developing the ICT skills of the workforce and provide greater access to capital in order to help achieve sustainable economic growth. This will be fundamental to the continued success of the region. Cisco sees significant opportunities in the Middle


East and will continue to work closely with businesses and governments across the region to help them achieve their long-term goals.” Rod Beckstrom, President and CEO of International Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) will also be among the distinguished speakers. “This year in particular is shaping-up as a transformational period for the Internet. We’re about to see a dramatic change in the Domain Name System as new generic top-level domains swing open the door to innovation – a clear theme of this year’s GITEX Technology Week’s Global Leaders Summit,” he said. Other confirmed presenters include Pranav Mistry, Inventor of SixthSense, a Ph.D candidate at MIT Media Lab and one of the ICT industry’s most radical pioneers. Mistry’s revolutionary thinking combines virtual and real world interaction. His previous work includes the design of intelligent sticky notes that can be searched, located and can send reminders and messages, a pen that can draw in 3D, a public map that can act as the Google of physical world and an invisible computer mouse. He will present


on the topic of Invisible Computing and how, while the miniaturisation of computing devices allows us to carry computers in our pockets, there is no link between these devices and our interactions with the physical world – a concept which may soon be obsolete. William H. Saito, an advisor to governments worldwide, venture capitalist and educator, will be presenting From Science to Implementation: Approaches to Technology Innovation. Saito’s presentation will look at some approaches to technology innovation, and examine how corporate management and public policy can work together to create a controllable, sustainable environment that can reliably produce the next generation of innovative products and services. Trixee Loh, SVP, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the event said, “Innovation and leadership are key issues in any business. The Global Leaders Summit will allow participants to join a high level gathering of thought pioneers and senior executives to uncover, discuss and witness innovative technologies and strategies from some of the most forward thinking minds. Guests will hear from some of the world’s most interesting and high profile leaders in technology, and be able to network with a broad range of business and technology executives, gaining knowledge advantage through proven success stories.”

GITEX 2011



ith the number of computers infected with malware in the Middle East, standing at more than two million, including 800,000 in the GCC and nearly 100,000 in Dubai alone, cyber security has become an integral part of the boardroom agenda.

Recognising the ever-increasing demand for ICT security, GITEX Technology Week, is introducing CyberSecurity@GITEX. To be opened by Jeff Moss, Chief Security Officer at ICANN on the first day of GITEX and featuring Jay Bavisi, Co-Founder and President of the EC-Council on the second day, this feature will present the latest and most advanced security measures and world

renowned authorities to share insights, experiences and knowledge. The CyberSecurity@GITEX edutainment feature will offer presentations on cybercrime awareness and how to avoid falling into traps, from mobile malware, identity cloning, credit card fraud, phishing websites, social media malware and more. Live demonstrations from Abu Dhabi Police, McAfee, aeCERT and Black Hat will give visitors practical advice on how to defend against attacks across a variety of platforms. “The TRA and aeCERT are proud to endorse and support the latest GITEX feature, CyberSecurity@GITEX.Through our involvement, we will highlight the

growing need for both corporations and individuals alike to understand the range of threats that can impact our day-to-day businesses as well as our private lives, and to assist in the prevention of victims to these threats by providing practical advice and demonstrations to all attendees,” said H.E Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanem, Director General of TRA. To raise awareness and highlight the sophistication and speed of ICT security risks, the first ever Middle East and India regional finals of the Global CyberLympics Championships will be held alongside the CyberSecurity@ GITEX feature. Some of the world’s most skilful hackers will take part in a series of ethical hacking games of both offensive and defensive security challenges. The Global CyberLympics is organised by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council), a member-based organisation that certifies individuals in various e-commerce and information security skills, and has trained over 90,000 individuals and certified more than 40,000 security professionals. “We are very proud to be partnering with GITEX to host the Global CyberLympics Middle East & India Championships,” said Leonard Chin, Vice Chair of the Global CyberLympics Organising Committee. “GITEX has a rich tradition and is the biggest IT related event in the region. In line with the brand new cyber security feature making its debut this year, we feel it is an excellent venue to pit some of the best ethical hackers in the region against each other.” Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre added, “Cyber security is one of the clear priorities for many businesses operating, not just in this region, but around the world. The CyberSecurity@ GITEX feature will help to ensure that small and medium enterprises, larger organisations and members of the public are aware of the latest quality products that are available.”




Wild Guanabana

Founded in Egypt in 2009, Wild Guanamana is the first carbon zero travel company in the MENA region and specialises in creating personalised, life-changing travel experiences around the world. Its founder, Omar Samra, the youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest, spent a number of years working in investment banking before a series of travel experiences inspired him to leave his career behind and set up a travel company with a difference.

Life changing journeys At a time when many are looking to switch industries or try something different, we bring you first person accounts of the lives of entrepreneurs or senior executives, outlining a typical day in their business. Who knows, maybe the perfect idea is waiting for you. Read on and get inspired. 9:00 am

I get up and grab a light breakfast and fresh juice.

I check my e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. A client has sent a message last night looking for some travel inspiration. She doesn’t know where or what, she just feels like disconnecting and trying something different.

9:30 am

out so this project takes me back to some amazing memories. This morning’s customer has already got back to us and she’s in! What great news and now the fun part begins; getting her mentally and physically ready for the journey of her lifetime; a culinary tour of Lima with an expert, then hiking the off-thebeaten trails of exotic Northern Peru.

2:30 pm

I have a meeting with a local start up to discuss potential future collaborations. Entrepreneurs need to stick together; cross promote and barter, that’s the key! There are so many creative ideas bouncing around the room. I love the buzz around entrepreneurship in this city. It’s definitely the biggest catalyst for positive change in the region.

I’m off to give a talk at our Wild Guanabana information session on what it takes to climb Kilimanjaro. I talk about the climb; one of my personal favourites – five summits and I still can’t get enough! My wife handles the harder questions like how to answer the call of nature at -10C!

On the way back I get an amazing idea for a travel experience in Argentina that involves glaciers and tango! I can’t wait to get back and begin designing it. We don’t do trips to places we haven’t been to ourselves and know inside

I head to my local gym for some cardio and strength training. I need to keep up the training yearround to complete my personal Seven Summits Challenge (climbing the highest mountain on every continent). Five down, two to go.

11:30 am

1:30 pm


4:30 pm

7:30 pm


A meeting with our online and digital marketing guru to brainstorm our next campaign’s creative. We get a bit side tracked as he tells me about his upcoming trip to Brazil, where he will learn percussion in Rio and I tell him about my visits there!

9:30 pm

I head home and remember I haven’t eaten all day! I grab a bite while my wife and I think up our next micro-adventure. Since we haven’t kayaked in years, it sounds incredibly fitting to paddle from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

12:00 am

All this expedition planning has left me tired. My wife being the marketing expert is sitting there planning promotions and competitions.

1:15 am

I still don’t feel like sleeping but it’s getting seriously late. I’d love to keep pushing through the night but common sense tells me to go to bed and tomorrow is another day!

2:30 am

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SME Advisor Middle East - Good advice for better business  

SME Advisor Middle East is aimed at business owners and senior executives across the GCC. The magazine addresses real issues faced by busine...

SME Advisor Middle East - Good advice for better business  

SME Advisor Middle East is aimed at business owners and senior executives across the GCC. The magazine addresses real issues faced by busine...