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INDUSTRY 4.0

Envisioning the Warehouse of the Future

START UP CORNER

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Creating and Growing Blog

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RANKING FIRST ON GOOGLE

Investment Pitch That Work

The Key to Ranking First in Google

CONTENTS

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HUMAN RESOURCES

Why should an organization invest in an HR audit?

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SMART WORKPLACE

Designing Smart Workplaces in the Middle East is about Giving Users what they Expect 4

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INSPIRATION

Entrepreneurial Wisdom to Keep your Dreams Blazing


FUTURE BUSINESS

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SPI Group

UAE's AI Opportunity

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INVESTMENT INSIGHTS

Investment and Business Insights From Warren Buffett

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LEADERSHIP

Rewire your Business Thoughts to Fuel Success

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

AI Trends That Will Take Over 2019

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3D PRINTING

Will 3D Printing Be Commercially Viable in the Near Future?

www.spigroup.ae

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MEGA TREND

Three Industries that are Ripe for Disruption

Publisher & CEO:

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Consulting Editor:

INNOVATION

Thinking Innovation in Business: Every Entrepreneur's Responsibility

Shantanu A.P.

Ramakrishnan Jayaraman: SPI Editorial Thinktank: Harish Krishnamoorthi Radhika Iyer

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Mohamed Khan

Is blockchain technology relevant for SMEs

Designer :

DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY

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DIGITAL WORKSPACE Beyond Productivity: The Human Side of the Digital Workplace Quantified

Rohan Nathan Sirish Kumar

Rahul A. Chauhan Distribution Department Jerry P. Sam Disclaimer SPI Publishing has endeavoured to bring out a publication that is reliable and informative. This is true to the best of our knowledge. The opinions presented are those of individual writers and not necessarily endorsed by SPI Publishing. The content in this magazine is protected by copyright law and is copyright to SPI Publishing unless credited otherwise, and may not be copied, reproduced or republished for any commercial purpose or financial gain.


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Shantanu Phansalkar Publisher, SPI Group

Dear Readers, This issue of Intelligent SME focuses on different sectors which are ripe for disruption, Future Technologies which will have an impact on SME and many other interesting articles especially curated for our readers. We are also getting ready to organize the 6th edition of SME World Summit 2019 which has an underlining theme of "Go Big or Go Home." There is more to just these in between the pages of this magazine that is all about you, the entrepreneur who wants to make it Big. The Intelligent SME magazine with it's well informed articles will keep your entrepreneurial intrests vibrating with powerhouse of information by the minds in the industry. Happy reading!

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HUMAN RESOURCES

Why should an organization invest in an HR audit? What is an HR audit? An HR audit is a comprehensive evaluation of the current human resource development strategies, policies, processes, organization structure, systems and skills in the context of the short and long-term business plans of a company.

Why perform an HR audit? An HR audit provides multiple advantages to the senior leadership of an organization. Not only will an HR audit help a company ensure it’s in compliance and conformance with the law, but it will help it standardize processes, identify risk areas, and tie HR goals to strategic business goals. There are various types of audits designed to accomplish a variety of objectives. An HR audit can be as comprehensive as needed within the constraints of time, budgeting and resources. An HR audit attempts to find out the future HR needs of the company after assessing the current HR policies, processes and activities being conducted in an organization. Organizations prefer to conduct an HR 8

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audit to get a clear judgment about the overall status of the organization and to find out whether certain systems put in place are yielding any results. HR audit also helps companies to figure out any gaps or lapses and the reason for the same. Since every company plans certain systems and targets, an HR audit compares the plans to actual implementation. An HR audit is an independent, objective, and systematic evaluation that provides assurance that: • Compliance and governance requirements are being met. • Business and talent management objectives are being achieved. • Performance management, compensation and rewards are in line with best practices • Human resource management risks are fully identified, assessed, and managed and • The organization’s human capital adds value Under this definition, HR audits are more than an audit activity that solely collects and presents evidence of

compliance. HR audits are increasingly expected to look beyond the organization’s present HR practices and to benchmark the organization’s processes and practices, and to provide the necessary consultative services that help the organization achieve its business goals and objectives.

What are the reasons of doing an HR audit? Organizations undertake HR audits for many reasons: • To ensure effective utilization of human resources. • To benchmark the organization’s HR practices • To instill a sense of confidence in the human resource department that it is wellmanaged • To identify and address HR-related problems • To seek out HR-related opportunities

What all gets checked in an HR audit? Most HR audits are conducted with the aim of measuring the various HR processes in


HUMAN RESOURCES an organization against an industry benchmark. The most popular model is the PCMM model (People Capability Maturity Model) which is a framework that helps organizations successfully address their critical people issues. Based on the best current practices in fields such as human resources, knowledge management, and organizational development, the People CMM guides organizations in improving their processes for managing and developing their workforces. As per the PCMM model, all organizations can be classified into 5 maturity models from level 1 to level 5. Once and HR audit is done and the maturity level of the organization assessed, the PCMM model provides guidelines to organizations on how to improve their level. The various HR aspects which get assessed in the audit are:

• Work environment • Communication • Staffing • Managing performance • Training • Compensation • Competency development • Career development • Team building • Culture development

How does an organization use HR audit results?

• Contract out those need areas where internal expertise and resources are not available or do not fit the core competencies of the organization An HR audit is much like an annual health check. It can perform the same function for the organization. An audit is a means by which an organization can measure where it currently stands and determine what it must accomplish to improve its HR functions. Do reach out to us in case you would want to avail of the opportunity of having an HR audit conducted for your organization.

Organizations generally have three options for dealing with audit results. • Use the HR audit as a blueprint or action plan for addressing HR needs. • Address as many needs as possible using the organization’s internal expertise and resources.

Rajiv Misra

Principal consultant at Nexo Business Consulting

Intelligent SME | December 2018

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SMART WORKPLACE

Designing Smart Workplaces in the Middle East is about Giving Users what they Expect

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ecent research by Google supports a point I have been discussing with customers for many months now; there is no real difference between the user experience and the employee experience any more. What that means is, if you expect to schedule your Sunday with your mobile phone calendar, upload photos to cloud storage and connect with people using applications, you will expect to do pretty much the same thing on Monday, when you arrive at the office. In 2018, many of us don’t feel efficient unless we’re able to access applications on demand, and this applies to our work as much as our personal lives. Given we spend as much time in our offices as we do at home, we have to consider how the workplace can become better equipped to meet our daily expectations.

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Designing the workplace to better incorporate technology is not about being futuristic. It’s about meeting the minimum requirements that users now have. A business that does not consider how to improve its workplace design to suit our daily habits risks alienating its employees, and ultimately decreasing productivity, losing talent, or both.

Maximising efficiency of space So how do we go about creating a better workspace? It starts with considering how to make everything more efficient. More efficient tech, more efficient space, more efficient people. A win-win solution for the business and employee would be if building designers and technology companies collaborated on the designing of new, or redevelopment of, existing buildings. Working together to create a digital plan of each space, as well as the kind of structural, technical plans traditionally drawn up by those in the

industry, could increase the chances of these spaces meeting the needs of its occupants. This could be as simple as re-arranging the furniture to give teams more of a chance to interact, with screens, docking stations and charge points to keep people productive with whatever device they are carrying. The point is, if these different viewpoints and experiences come together to create ‘smart’ workplaces, the people who work here will also be able to collaborate more – spending less time trying to find cables and connections, and more time getting the job done.

The tech platform to improve productivity With this design in place, it’s then time to address the technology that can get the best from your workforce. Is it a VR booth or a robot assistant? No. The smart office is about getting the basics right. Access to a secure, reliable and fast Wi-Fi connection is essential for most job roles and industries now, especially for those who are office-based or working remotely. But if the future workplace is not just connected,


SMART WORKPLACE but smart, it can become much more personalised for the workers who use it. Having user credentials that are recognised across any location or device, for example, removes the unnecessary task of repeated logins, which over the course of days, weeks and years is an enormous time saver.

Better connection, improved communication From here, we can start to push the boundaries using IoT. Controlling the heating of a room to your liking using your smartphone, or turning on the coffee machine remotely, are just two examples of a quicker, more personal working environment using technology. This is not only possible, but pretty affordable. And if you want to control a broader range of equipment, we are also seeing plug in multi-sensors entering the market, which use machine learning to identify the signals being sent by any number of electronic devices.

A win-win solution for the business and employee would be if building designers and technology companies collaborated on the designing of new, or redevelopment of, existing buildings.

Very quickly, you could be setting up an office with hundreds of devices interlinked, allowing you to better understand how those devices are being used, and create new offerings for your employees. It might sound futuristic, but steps like this are relatively simple and I think, near-term. As a supplier of business connectivity, our energies are focused on managing, and securing, the explosion of traffic that will come from the digital workplace. For you, the business owner, and the employee, your task is to remove barriers to mobilefriendly working, and gradually create the kind of smart, digital environment that people really want to work in.

Morten Illum Aruba

Intelligent SME | December 2018

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INDUSTRY 4.0

Envisioning the Warehouse of the Future

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he world has changed profoundly over the last couple of years. New technologies stride ahead, changing our lifestyle and also evolving many business models. The concept of Industry 4.0 becomes more and more important in intralogistics as well as the warehousing landscape has been changing significantly. Twelve years ago, when e-commerce was still in its infancy, most of us were unfamiliar with the term omni-channel. Things have come a long way since then. And with the constant influx of information in today’s digital world, change is happening faster than ever before.

The urban distribution centre must be configured to support same-day delivery or customer pickup through some combination of autonomous vehicles, robotic picking and loading, drones and mobile pickup points.

In such a scenario, trying to predict how your business will be organised and operate in 20-30 years in the future will be even more difficult. Yet, having a vision of where things are going in the future can help a business make better decisions in the present. Not only that, if one analyses closely what is happening in the present, this can provide powerful clues as to what is coming—even as far as 10,30,50 years into the future. Like many other industries, the logistics and manufacturing sector is constantly changing as well. Many businesses rely on smart and fast delivery of goods and services, so businesses operating in this segment need to be ready for the future as well. The Industry 4.0 concept brings a lot of innovative, adaptive and smart solutions that help warehouses improve efficiency in the face of constantly changing market requirements.

In this context, here are some societal and technology trends that are emerging today and that businesses should keep in mind:

- Globally, the population is becoming more urban and incomes are rising. In developed countries, the population 12

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INDUSTRY 4.0 is aging, and the workforce is shrinking while those trends are reversed in developing countries where birth rates are higher.

using predictive analytics, robotics technology and supported by other innovative solutions.

- There are significant technological developments emerging today that will shape the warehouse of the future. Those include predictive analytics and machine learning, autonomous vehicles and drones, robotics, and 3D printing amongst others.

The space constraints imposed by urban environments will likely also impose a shared service model in which multiple sellers share space in the same facility with products from these sellers consolidated for delivery similar to how parcel shippers consolidate packages today. The urban warehouse must be equipped to produce products as well as store and ship them. With greater customisation on the horizon and the continuing maturation of 3D printing technology, the urban distribution centre will be well positioned to “print� products on demand and then package and deliver them just as they do products from inventory.

- The changes in consumer behaviour we see today can also be extrapolated into the future. These include the growth in omni-channel retail in which consumers move seamlessly across channels and choose what to purchase and how based on their specific circumstances at the time of purchase. They will also continue to demand greater personalisation and customisation while looking for high-quality products and services. And they will have even less tolerance for delivery delays. When they purchase something, regardless of channel, they will expect to receive it the same day.

So, what does this mean for businesses and how they should organise the warehouse of the future? The warehouse must move closer to the customers it serves. In the future, one expects growth in urban distribution centres that stage products close to users within large cities to enable faster delivery and a more seamless omni-channel experience. The obvious challenge to this scenario will be the space limitations and relatively high real estate costs inherent in urban markets. This will dictate compact and efficient warehouses with limited inventories that are optimised

The urban distribution centre must be configured to support same-day delivery or customer pickup through some combination of autonomous vehicles, robotic picking and loading, drones and mobile pickup points. Technology will play a significant role in delivering the speed and efficiency required and automating the movement of products from large regional warehouses to the urban distribution centres while enabling faster picking, loading and delivery of these products.

limitless possibilities. It is gradually breathing intelligence into every single aspect of our life. In recent years the Internet of Things has become more meaningful in industrial processes leading to the wide adoption of terminology like Industry 4.0 and Advanced Manufacturing. The underlying idea is the end-toend digitalisation of intralogistics and production. Machine control systems and sensors are connected with the classic production and intralogistic applications like WES or WMS and exchange information, independent of their location, through software services. Thanks to this merging, Industry 4.0 technology optimises the entire value chain of a company. In the age of Industry 4.0, logistics systems themselves are becoming clever organisational talents. Recording all movements in the warehouse, for example, makes it easy to detect risks early on to avoid conducting facility maintenance during peak times. The list of benefits new Industry 4.0 technologies offer for warehouse operations goes on and on. To sum up, rigid logistics is a thing of the past. The Warehouse of the Future is one where intralogistics evolves from large, rigid systems into modular, flexible softwaredriven solutions that are robotsupported and self-optimising.

The journey into the smart future has begun Predicting today what will most likely happen tomorrow is a great strategy that helps supply chain and management professionals make the smart decisions based on the trends we witness today. One of such trends is the development and evolution of the Internet that has evolved into a space of sheer

Alain Kaddoum

Swisslog Middle East

Intelligent SME | December 2018

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RANKING FIRST ON GOOGLE

The Key to Ranking First in Google

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ontent is an important part of every business. But not every business can always see itself being featured in the first page of Google. It is possible that you might have the best of the writers, writers who are better in every sense than the ones that feature continuously on the first page, still your company might miss out on being the number one. The fact that there is more to content than just marketing and language is what makes entrepreneurs lag behind. The good news is that there are many ways that an entrepreneur can fix this problem. The world of digital marketing is very complicated but if you follow the rules everything would fall in your lap. The companies that has a high ranking on the Google page focus not only on their content substance and language only but on various other things. Here is a list of things that you can do to bring your content to feature in the first page of

Google Search Engine.

1. Link your Articles Internally: Linking articles internally can do wonders to a website page. Link your articles with two to three links pointing to it from a website. 14

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You can include blog posts or other sections of your website that might work. The links in an article can make your article rank higher in Google because that makes it seem to make Google think that your article is valuable. Pick at least two to three links in an article to the target post that would add value also to the reader.

2. Resize Images: What connection does an image have with an article ranking in the first page? Well, a lot! The size of an image affects the page loading speed. The ideal time for a page to load must not be more than 5 seconds. The large size of an image usually increases the loading time of a page. A page that has images that has 150 KB or less works to load easily.

3. Pop-Ups: Pop-Ups are something that increase the bounce rate in a website. It is important that you take care to remove pop-ups that come up the moment a visitor visits a page. The fact that they are difficult to cancel make audiences quite uninterested in reading what’s in the content page. The poor user experience makes the page even more uninteresting. Naturally it cannot gather the amount of clicks that can put it in the first page.


RANKING FIRST ON GOOGLE 4. Include Guest Posts: Guest blogging works great for your website page. The fact that it brings with it links from websites that has a high domain authority makes your page seem quite valuable. One does not need to start with a high authority website. A middle-tier blog also works wonders for a website page. It is possible that you might need to invest a lot of time to write a guest post for a high authority or a middle-tier blog but the link equity that you can gain makes up for all the effort.

5. Make the First Paragraph Accessible to Get Attention: It is important that you make the first paragraph accessible to the readers. The fact that most readers do not get a glimpse of what is inside an article often make them lose the context. An interesting article has what it takes in the first few paragraphs and reading that attracts to it more audiences. While working on content make sure that the content is not covered by the folds but are visible to the readers.

Google Page Insights grades one’s website and tells the exact technical problem that one needs to fix. They also come with the optimized code assets that helps to download and replace one’s code. GTMetrix works to grade a website and give information about the errors Google page insights tool shows you. Content has more to it than just good content. However, it does not make the fact less that you do need good content to start with. One cannot completely ignore the quality of content to get rankings using other techniques. To complete this article here are two quotes that can further guide you on your aspiration to rank high in Google Search Page. ‘I think marketers are very messagefocused. They know what they want people to hear. They have to work backwards from there to figure out how to make that happen. What they should do is to find the thing that’s unique or interesting that captures people’s attention. Figure out what that thing is; don’t worry about the message right now. Just find the interesting part, and then figure out how to link that to the message.’ – Andy Weir

6. Run Heatmaps to test Engagement of Articles:

“When creating content, be the best answer on the internet.” Andy Crestodina

Heat maps are a great way to assess how your content is doing. Heatmaps give actual insight on how a particular article is doing. It lets a writer know if people are reading the article or bouncing off after just visiting the page. Tools like Hot jar and the likes work great to help one have an insight about an article.

When we create something, we think, ‘Will our customers thank us for this?’ I think it’s important for all of us to be thinking about whatever marketing we’re creating; is it really useful to our customers? Will they thank us for it? I think if you think of things through that lens, it just clarifies what you’re doing in such a simple, elegant way. – Ann Handley

7. Google Page Insights can help to optimize a site: There are many things that slow down a page like caching, CSS and Javascript loading issues. The use of Google Page Insights and GTmetrix can help tocheck on these issues.

Content Marketing has more to it than what one sees at a first glance. Go deeper into the basics of the techniques and see your content make a difference.

SPI Editorial Thinktank

Intelligent SME | December 2018

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INSPIRATION

Entrepreneurial Wisdom to Keep your Dreams Blazing

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hen great minds come together there is a fireworks of powerhouse ideas. Entrepreneurs who are tuned to the vibration of these great people need not look anywhere else. However, not every busy entrepreneur get to hobnob with the best minds in businesses. But they can always reach out to platforms where they have left their pearls of business wisdom to share with the business world. The great minds often come together to motivate people through their speeches to universities or meetings. Then there are those talks that are aired on television. Entrepreneurs struggle on a daily basis. They are the ones who need the most motivation to get through their work and business. A motivation however can be found anywhere. One can look at the daily wage labourer who has hope in his heart or one can look at the big minds in the business world,

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whose success has reached such a height that people no longer relate the struggle that he/ she had to face when starting off with him/her. The struggle of these resilient people are all but fables that can be told to the future generations. They do tell their stories to their future generations. The business lectures at Harvard or the simple college addresses that they give hold a great lot of wisdom that all can gain from. Here are some great advice from the great minds that has in some way

shaped the business world.

1. Bill Gates, Harvard University, 2007: Humanity’s greatest advances are not in its discoveries — but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity. Whether through democracy, strong public education, quality healthcare, or broad economic opportunity — reducing inequity is the highest human achievement … I talk to sceptics who claim there is no hope. They say: ‘Inequity has been with us since the beginning, and will be with us till the end - because people

just don’t care. I completely disagree. I believe we have more caring than we know what to do with.”

2. Director Steven Spielberg, Harvard University, 2016: “Your intuition is different from your conscience. They work in tandem, but here’s the distinction: Your conscience shouts, ‘Here’s what you should do,’ while your intuition whispers, ‘Here’s what you could do.’ Listen to that voice that tells you what you could do. Nothing will define your character more than that.”

3. President Barack Obama, Barnard College, 2012: “Whether it’s starting a business, or running for office, or raising a amazing family, remember that making your mark on the world is hard. It takes patience. It takes commitment. It comes with plenty of setbacks, and it comes with plenty of failures. But whenever you feel that


INSPIRATION creeping cynicism, whenever you hear those voices say you can’t make a difference, whenever somebody tells you to set your sights lower - the trajectory of this country should give you hope. Previous generations should give you hope. What young generations have done before should give you hope. Young folks

who marched and mobilized and stood up and sat in, from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall, didn’t just do it for themselves; they did it for other people.”

4. Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005: “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

5. Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments, USC, 2015: “There are so few originals. I believe one of the greatest compliments you can ever receive is ‘I’ve never met anyone like you.’ Being unique starts with forming your own opinions. It helps if you reach for questions and push for answers. If you bring that attitude to your work, you won’t just advance, you will advance mankind.”

6. Stephen Colbert, University of Virginia, 2013:

and we have left you no easy path. Decide now to choose the hard path that leads to the life and the world you want. And don’t worry if we don’t approve of your choices. In our benign self-absorption, I believe we have given you a gift, a particular form of independence, because you do not owe the previous generation anything.”

7. Actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, Grinnell College, 2017: “Nobody is paying attention to your failure. The world is full of people failing. People are failing all around you. Failure is boring. Your failure will not be so spectacular that people will write articles about your failure or even remember your failure.” The wisdom hidden in the words of these people have been derived from experience. Experience that has followed a lot of success. Entrepreneurs who feel that they are having a difficult time must look at the lives of these people and understand that the answers they are seeking are hidden in these entrepreneurial struggles. It is easy to give up when you are facing an entrepreneurial challenge but success never came to those who did not persist. Persistence and hope are what can pave the way to your success. It is important that as a leader and an entrepreneur you always keep your mind open to failures and hopeful towards success. Empower yourself with the wisdom of the people who had made it big and you will surely reach success.

SPI Editorial Thinktank

“You must find your own path,

Intelligent SME | December 2018

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INVESTMENT INSIGHTS

Investment and Business Insights From Warren Buffett

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he great minds in business are what lead the way for the new age entrepreneurs. Warren Buffett is one such entrepreneur who has all the practical wisdom and experience of business. The now 87 year old started on his investing career when he was only 11 years old. The business story that unfolded later is well, history. What better way for an entrepreneur to gain insight on wisdom on investments other than hear him talk with another equally experienced entrepreneur and his business partner namely Charlie Munger. The Berkshire’s shareholders meeting in Omaha is where they were seen to be sharing insights on investments. For those who could catch a glimpse of it of course had the opportunity to hone their business skills with their discussion. Here are the six important lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from Warren Buffett on Investment and his general business preference from the meeting:

1. Cryptocurrency: The word cryptocurrency has everyone in the business world talking but not these two entrepreneurs. It is interesting to note that Warren Buffett and his Partner were very clear about their ideas on cryptocurrency which was nothing but pure disinterest and lack of any positivity towards the concept. Warren Buffett has said that “cryptocurrencies will come to bad endings.” It is

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INVESTMENT INSIGHTS interesting to note that when the business world is enamoured by everything that is remotely connected to Cryptocurrency the great entrepreneurs of the time are confident that it is just a financial bubble that would float only to burst in time. Quoting Munger, on Cryptocurrency, he said that to invest in cryptocurrency is “just dementia. It’s like somebody else is trading turds and you decide you can’t be left out.”

2. Experience Matters more than a Prestigious Degree: Everyone who knows about Warren Buffett’s famous journey knows that he was rejected from Harvard Business School. He has held strong opinions about success and a college degree from his experience. He said in the shareholders meeting that he prefers someone who has experience more than the one who has a degree. He believes that success in investment comes from discipline and experience.

3. Investment Choices: Who better than Warren Buffett to tell you entrepreneurs about what his investment choices are based on? Well, you will be surprised to know that his investment choices are based on friendships. At an age where every entrepreneur is looking at the usual profit and other things that would give an investment potential Warren Buffett says that he bases his investment choices on friendships. He was asked in the meeting why he favoured Apple Stock over Microsoft. He replied that “In the earlier years, it’s very clear, the answer is stupidity.” When he became close friends with Billionaire Bill Gates he

decided to take it off completely. He said that “I try to stay away from a few things just totally because the inference would be drawn that we might have talked, I might have talked to somebody about something.”

4. Warren Buffett on Guns and Business: While in the meeting Warren Buffett said that he was not aware of any Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries about having any holdings in companies that make firearms. He said this while in conversation with New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin. Following this conversation he said that “I do not believe on imposing my political opinions on the activities of our businesses. If you get into which of our companies are pure and which ones aren’t pure, I think it will be very difficult.”

5. Investing in Amazon: Amazon is the e-commerce giant that changed the whole way of commerce. E-commerce became popular because of this brand and people still look up to everything Amazon for everything. Any business man would love an association with this corporate giant but not Warren Buffett. The reason being Warren Buffett’s investment strategy does not accommodate the possibility of investing in something that is too good to be true. Amazon it seems falls in that category. He said that “I’ve watched Amazon from the start, and I think what Jeff Bezos has done is something close to a miracle,” he said. “The problem is that if I think something will be a miracle, I tend not to bet on it.” Warren Buffett is sure to surprise everyone with his thoughts and business sense. While entrepreneurs follow the norm

Warren Buffett seem to follow his own rules and make others wonder how he got that right.

6. Insight into Berkshire Hathaway without Buffett and Munger: In the Berkshire Hathaway meeting someone asked Buffett what he thinks of a future of the company in someone else’s rein. Buffett and Munger are very much in the company and has no plans to leave in the immediate future. But this is a possibility that might have come across their minds as a businessman. Warren Buffett replied that he was not worried about it. He said that “The reputation belongs to Berkshire now.”. “For somebody that cares about a business we absolutely are the first call and will continue to be the first call.” Reading through the response of Warren Buffett is sure to make any entrepreneur be ever more at awe with this business magnet. He seems to come from a completely different era, but his thoughts penetrate through even the most modern and young minds. It is impossible not to look up at him. The calm and the happiness that he brings around to wherever he goes is quite a motivation to entrepreneurs that you can be busy and completely immersed at work and still be calm and happy. It might seem to be a herculean task at the moment to many entrepreneurs but looking at Buffett sure makes it seem possible. The fact that he is successful makes being happy while at work even more justified. It all boils down to being passionate about what one does and following one’s heart completely. Warren Buffett’s business success seem to be based on these very foundations.

SPI Editorial Thinktank

Intelligent SME | December 2018

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LEADERSHIP

Rewire your Business Thoughts to Fuel Success

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ntrepreneurs are human. The fact that they have to manage a whole lot of things that make them push their limits do not make them anything large. They are just humans who are trying very hard to keep the show running. These are the ones who need to be motivated the most. A show of external strength and calm does not necessarily give away one’s mental state. Their calm and composure is just like the composure of ducks in a lake who look so calm above the water but are pedaling at a great pace underwater. A disturbed mind can never realise the vision that urged one to don the entrepreneurial hat in the first place. Success is always achieved through the power of a calm and composed mind and a mind that is in control. Business mind-sets are an important factor that can work to better or worse a given situation. The world is full of examples of entrepreneurs who have transformed a business

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from a scratch to an empire, entrepreneurs who have seen through a solution when others saw problems and entrepreneurs who made it when others thought the task impossible. All these entrepreneurs have that one thing in common. A mind-set that is tuned to think in terms of success. For them failure might be a stepping stone but never the end. The power is in your thinking process. You should learn to tap its potential. Here are some ways that can help you develop a mind-set that will take you to success.

1. Stay Independent of all Expert Advice: The business world is full of people who want to help an entrepreneur. Things like coaching, training, consulting, etc. are available at the click of a button. This might seem to be very convenient for entrepreneurs but the support is just an illusion. It does help an entrepreneur but if you get addicted to the support at hand very soon you will be in a position where you are not in any state to take your own decision. People who give you an expert opinion need not necessarily understand that it is your business and that the ideas that you might have for it might work better. The fact


LEADERSHIP that you reach out to these experts on a regular basis weakens your cause and also makes you doubt your own capacity. It is wise to take a second opinion. It is wise to have an expert guide your vision. But it is not wise of you to depend on them only for your business.

2. Nothing Works Better than Your Hard Work: The technological advancements in the business world has brought many solutions that promise the people in business about the ways of making money fast. The various apps and tools that come backing these things to automate your work and management seem quite alluring at times. But the truth is nothing in the whole world can replace your direct involvement and hard work. Every large organisation that has proudly stood for decades stand proof. These establishments have flourished at an era when there was nothing technological about business. The fact that they still have a policy that help them thrive in all the changes that has shaped the business world clearly shows that it is hard work and commitment to business that has put them where they are. Technological advancements can help ease one’s work but it cannot alone drive success. This is because the usage of technology needs to be decided on. It needs to be managed. Its role in a business needs to be assessed and monitored from time to time. All these still require involvement and hard work. Including new technology in a business will not bring to you success unless you power that technology with your business policy, hard work and involvement.

3.Tell Yourself a Story that helps you Succeed: There are many ways to look at things. These ways are broadly classified as the solution way and the problem way. Where one person looks at a situation and thinks of the opportunity that it would bring in, the other person might look at the same thing and think of how big a problem might come out of it. Whatever you think is true.

Entrepreneurs do not realize that it is their mind that has in the first place materialized their vision. A thought, the passion with it and action powered by these details has what helped him/her bring their vision into the material dimension. The same holds true for everything throughout the entrepreneurial journey. Your business is dependent on many things but the most important thing that it is dependent on is the power of your thoughts. Make sure that you lead your business the correct way with your thoughts. This might seem like a very over repeated advice. Entrepreneurs do not pay much attention to these things no matter how many times it has been told to them. This results in entrepreneurs who tend to lose their temper, over analyse a problem and maybe look at what is going wrong rather than what is going good. This makes a huge difference to a business’ health. Being an entrepreneur is not an easy job and keeping a mind that is sharp enough to look through the problems is not easy either. The work, the responsibilities and the management all work together to make an entrepreneur burn-out. Their business also go through a burn-out phase with the energy travelling through to every employee and affecting tasks. Entrepreneurs must have the correct mind-set to be able to avoid situations like these. Make a start in your own way. Bring that change in your thoughts that would allow you and your business to be successful. Your vision has the potential to materialize or it has the possibility of staying simply an untapped thought. Fuel your vision. Give your vision the power that is needed to materialize. Success will surely come to you.

SPI Editorial Thinktank

Intelligent SME | December 2018

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

AI Trends That Will Take Over 2019

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he past few years have seen AI change the face of a great many applications. AI’s proliferation into various

sectors is only going to keep growing and show new trends in the coming year. So, what AI trends can we expect to take over 2019? The verdict is out, and the experts have had their say; here’s what we can expect over the coming year:

Improved sensor analytics IoT: The Internet of Things has been sweeping the globe over the last year. The IoT depends on sensor analytics which collects and analyses data from the connected devices.

AI will be bringing in improvements in sensor analytics over the next year. Data analysis will be more fine-tuned, and results interpreted better. AI will be at the heart of machine learning that will be responsible for better customer experiences. Machines analyzing data to make ‘intelligent’ decisions will happen closer to the sensors itself for a more time-efficient response. Improved sensor analytics will revolutionize how the IoT responds in environments that change at regular intervals. More businesses will be developing AI architecture so that data can be analyzed at the source and respond in real-time.

AI for better client interaction and engagement: AI tools can be used to monitor employee-client interactions and analyze everything from the tone of voice to facial expressions. The monitored sessions can later be used in feedback and training sessions to give employees a better insight into how they interact with clients. These AI systems are also capable of producing detailed reports on what the interaction involved on a deeper level. Client satisfaction or dissatisfaction can be rated, and other factors like employee responses, reactions, and body language can also be analyzed. Armed with this information, companies can train their staff how to interact better with customers for better engagement and improved sales.

AI for better virtual agents: AI chatbots are already mainstream but are still limited in their functionality. New developments in AI with allow virtual agents to be more intelligent and understand customers better. A chatbot that can take decisions based on a customer query can save a lot of time and effort. For example, a chatbot that can book a return of an order from an unsatisfied customer can provide 24-hour assistance without needing to have employees present aroundthe-clock. Chatbots will be able to decide what assistance needs to be provided for different queries

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Chatbots will also take on a whole new look and assume the term Virtual Agent. These virtual agents will have faces and human-like voices and will have engaging conversations with customers. Virtual agents will provide assistance, answer questions, and help to bring about more conversions.

AI in medical technologies: AI is at the forefront of breakthroughs in medical technology. With the ability to conduct scrutiny of images obtained from CT scans or MRIs, AI can help isolate and identify problems that could otherwise be missed. AI combined with imaging technology is improving the way surgeries are performed by giving real-time 3D images of internal organs. Augmented Reality used in medicine creates grids giving surgeons accurate positioning of organs in the right scale. AI is also speeding up the analysis of biological samples and helping to diagnose diseases at a faster rate. Using AI in sample analysis allows for multiple tests to be done at the same time for a complete diagnosis. The time saved in diagnosing diseases can be put to good use starting the treatment a lot earlier.

AI for better speech and image recognition: AI-powered machines are getting better at not just listening but also seeing. These machines are more tuned to conversational speech like the already widely used virtual assistants, but machines are also learning to see. Computers can now collect visual data and analyze

it to make conclusions. For example, a computer will be able to collect an image of the user’s face, analyze it and gauge if the user is happy, sad, in pain, and so on. The applications also extend to photo identification and observing which part of the screen gets the most attention.

AI for more efficient logistics: One area where AI is revolutionizing logistics is in the supply chain. AI is now keeping facilities running 24X7 by making smart decisions about what is needed when, what kind of shipping option to choose, calculating prices, and organizing the shipment of packages. The increased use of AI and robots in supply chains have cut down on costs, sped up processes, and reduced human error considerably.

AI for more effective recruiting: With the use of AI in the recruiting industry, Human Resources departments have their work cut out for them. More and more companies are opting for online application processes which feed the data directly into an analyzing system. The most relevant results are pulled up and presented to HR teams first saving the time and effort of manually going through each application.

next round of the process if they meet certain criteria. AI is also performing background checks and verification of candidates which saves an organization a lot of time and resources.

New jobs created by AI: 'Data scientist' was a job that did not exist over a decade ago. But with the increased use of AI in almost every industry, new job openings have been created. Organizations are now hiring teams or individuals that are dedicated to keeping track of all the data analysis produced by AI. Similarly, in every sector that uses AI, jobs are being created that help retain the human element in all processes. 2019 will see a rise in such jobs and will set a new trend not just in hiring but also in educational courses. Artificial Intelligence has a wide number of applications which has allowed it to be integrated with every industry including retail, logistics, customer service, medicine, HR and more. In all these areas, there will be new AI trends emerging throughout the next year.

SPI Editorial Thinktank

Intelligent chatbots will also start interviewing candidates and only select them for the Intelligent SME | December 2018

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FUTURE BUSINESS

UAE's AI Opportunity

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FUTURE BUSINESS

A

rtificial Intelligence, otherwise referred to as just A.I., has quickly evolved to become the most important technological development of this century. Andrew Ng, one of the most influential minds in A.I., has stated that “A.I. is the new electricity� due to the unprecedented potential that it has to dramatically change the way in which people live and work. Fundamentally, A.I. is the provision of computer-based systems with human-like ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. Practically speaking, A.I. is often associated today with deep learning, which is a class of machine learning techniques that utilize huge amounts of data to train multilayered neural networks to do things like identify faces and recognize spoken words. Although a number of experts argue that deep learning and other state-of-the-art analytical techniques may themselves never produce truly humanlike cognitive abilities, such methods have nonetheless already begun to demonstrate the incredible potential for A.I. to provide economic value in the public and the private sectors. In the race to capitalize on this potential, multiple countries have already published A.I. strategies and more than USD 15.2 billion was invested in AI startups globally in 2017.

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FUTURE BUSINESS The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country that has committed to capitalizing on the economic potential of A.I. Not only has the UAE developed an A.I. strategy, it is the first country globally to establish a Ministry focused exclusively on A.I. According to Accenture, A.I. could contribute as much as USD 182 billion to the UAE’s Gross Value Add (GVA) by 2035 through a combination of automation, augmentation of human capabilities and stimulation of the country’s fundamental innovation potential. Likewise, PwC has stated that A.I. could add as much as USD 96 billion to the UAE’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030, which would be equivalent to about 14% of the country’s GDP in the same year. In support of such projections, 50% of the UAEbased companies surveyed by Accenture have indicated that they plan to invest in A.I. during 2018. These investments are stimulated by the UAE government’s multi-faceted A.I. strategy, which aims to attract and train A.I. talent, support an environment of data access and sharing and provide governance and regulation for the safe and ethical use of A.I. Stakeholders across the UAE’s innovation spectrum are critical to the implementation of the country’s A.I. strategy. At the Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KU), our research and development strategy is highly aligned with the UAE’s A.I. efforts. In early 2018, we launched two flagship research centers that will lead our growing set of A.I. capabilities. The KU Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems (KUCARS) addresses some of the key technology challenges in the application of A.I. for robotics, including robust autonomy in dynamic and unstructured environments, sensing and artificial perception, sense and avoid capability,

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GPS denied navigation, vision based control and 3D tracking, and human-robot interactions. The center’s specific focuses areas are robotics for extreme environments, robotics for industrial applications and robotics for infrastructure surveillance and inspection. These focus areas collectively support a number of UAE strategies that are underpinned by A.I., including

The UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which explicitly refers to ‘’developing national industries in the field of robotics and autonomous vehicle technologies’’,

The Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy, which aims to transform 25% of the total transportation in Dubai to autonomous mode by 2030 and

The Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, which includes a target of having 25% of Dubai’s buildings constructed via 3D printing technology by 2030.

Complementing KUCARS, the KU Center for Cyber-Physical Systems (C2PS) plays a key role in the utilization of A.I. to gain insights from the massive amounts of information being generated by internet-connected devices. According to IBM, more than 90% of the world’s data has been created since 2015 and the world’s internet traffic has already surpassed 1 zettabyte annually, which is equivalent in size to about 250 billion high-definition movies. The technological backbone for such massive and increasing data flows is a highbandwidth global information network that provides connectivity

for billions of devices. Given this context, C2PS has significant research efforts underway on next-generation networks as well as the cybersecurity methodologies necessary to establish trust between networkconnected devices, users and applications. The A.I. research conducted by C2PS advances the state-of-the-art in machine learning to gain businessrelevant insights from the data generated by connected devices. Consistent with emerging trends in A.I. research, the center is investigating A.I. analytics performed on server-based hardware and software as well as hardware and software explicitly optimized for A.I. at or near the point of data collection. The A.I. research, development and innovation that we are undertaking at KU aims to have a significant impact on the UAE’s ambitious A.I. agenda. We therefore are not only developing A.I. knowledge and technologies, but also developing a workforce trained in the use of essential A.I. tools and techniques. Moving forward, we will focus on translating these academic and research outputs to the UAE’s public and private sectors to support the country in realizing its A.I. potential.

Dr. Steven Griffiths

Khalifa University of Science & Technology


CONTENTS

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3D PRINTING

Will 3D Printing Be Commercially Viable in the Near Future? 28

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3D PRINTING

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D printing is the process of building physical objects using a computer. The model for the object is programmed into the computer and using the 3D printer, the computer builds the object. Objects are built by adding layer upon layer of a molten polymer resin that hardens into the desired structure. 3D printing is very useful when creating detailed objects that have internal parts, hollow walls, intricate geometric shapes and so on. 3D printing is used to create prototypes of parts, or small-scale manufacturing of various products including jewelry, car parts, household objects, propeller parts and more. When compared to more traditional methods of manufacturing these items, 3D printing is a lot more detailed.

The advantages of 3D printing The main advantages of using 3D printing include: - Much lower start-up cost. - No need for separate manufacturing tools like cutters and molds. - Less waste material as there is no cutting and trimming involved. - Ideal for customized one-off parts. - Objects are highly detailed and intricate. - Objects with several internal parts can be created. However, there are a few disadvantages of 3D printing as well: - Only small amounts of an item can be created at a time. - The process takes longer than more traditional methods. - There are limitations on the types of materials that can be used in the processes. - Materials used are not very strong which limits the types of items the tech can be used to create.

Is 3D printing commercially viable for more mainstream use? Right now, this is how the technology works: A 3D image of the object to be made is programmed into the computer. The computer uses the model Intelligent SME | December 2018

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3D PRINTING to build the object using a 3D printer. 3D printers work by adding one layer of material at a time to build up the 3D structure. The advantage of this type of method is that the walls of the object can be built partially, internal parts can be incorporated into the structure, and then the rest of the walls can be built to encase the internal parts. This can all happen simultaneously. The layers of the building material have to be in molten form to be able to be structured as required. Gradually, the material hardens to form a solid structure. Because the materials need to be molten, some amount of heating is required during the 3D printing process. Polymer resins need a much lower temperature to melt which is why they are preferred over metals. However, polymer resins are not the most durable of materials, so are not ideal for objects that need to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Also, because of the layer by layer process of building items, 3D printing takes a bit longer than injection mold or other methods of manufacturing objects. The time involved limits the application of 3D printing for wide-scale manufacturing. 3D metal printing is already in existence and is used in many industries. However, melting metals to get them at the right consistency for 3D printing uses very high temperatures. The need for high temperature makes 3D metal printing impractical to be used in several industries and environments.

So, where does that leave us? Is 3D printing viable for commercial use? The answer is both yes and no. There are a few industries that greatly 30

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benefit from 3D printing which makes it worth using the method. But, there are also those industries that simply do not see a good return on investment if they use 3D printing in their processes. Here are some industries where 3D printing is commercially viable:

Architecture: 3D printing is very useful in architecture when creating scaled models of buildings. 3D models of individual buildings can be built to show the architect’s vision when making a pitch or when showing the construction crew what to do.

Dentistry: Dentistry is another area where 3D printing has wide-scale applications and has been in use for a while now. Crowns, dentures, and other types of dental prosthetics are all customcreated using digital models of the patients' mouths and 3D printing.

Prosthetic medicine: 3D printing is also extremely useful in making limb prosthetics. Arms and legs that have to be custom-made to suit each patient can easily be made using 3D printing.

Customized car parts: Under normal circumstances, if a car requires a single part, the manufacturers have to be informed, and it takes time for the part to reach. Using 3D printing, car mechanics can build the parts in their workshops and use it for car repairs as and when necessary.

Customized manufacturing: All types of small-scale manufacturing industries can use

3D printing in a commercially viable manner. Where there is a need for intricate details in design but no need for mass production, 3D printing becomes an excellent tool. And here are some industries that will need to wait a little longer for the technology:

Large-scale manufacturing of plastic items: 3D printing is not yet at the level where it can be used for largescale production of plastic items. The time required makes it a commercially non-viable option in this sector.

Large-scale manufacturing of metal objects: As mentioned earlier, 3D metal printing is not the most practical method of manufacturing metal objects. While the method can be used in the small-scale manufacture of metal items, it is not a good idea for mass production. 3D printing can be very convenient, offer an increased level of detail, and generate a lot less waste. For certain industries, using 3D printing is not just practical but also very cost-effective. However, 3D printing still has its limitations in some industries, and it is not yet commercially viable for their use. In the future, there is a good chance that new technologies will help to eliminate the limitation of 3D printing. The technology is developing at a fast rate, and it is possible that in the next two or three years, more industries will be enjoying the benefits of 3D printing.

SPI Editorial Thinktank


MEGA TREND

Three Industries that are Ripe for Disruption

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disruption is described as an interruption in the flow or working of a process. A disruption in an industry works in the same way by ending the status quo and bringing about a change. Whether the change is for the better or worse, only time will tell, but change itself is inevitable. Every industry reaches a point where it starts to stagnate, and if action is not taken, something new and better will replace it. Some industries adapt to the changing times, and other industries have the change forced on them through disruption. The on-demand market is one of the best examples of disruption. While it spans several industries like food delivery, transport, ticket bookings and so on, it is the use of apps and technology that have disrupted these industries. Technology has made on-demand services possible which has caused disruption in a variety of markets. If you are also looking for a way to leverage new developments to cause a disruption, then you might be interested in

knowing which industries are your best options. The three industries described here are ripe for disruption, and with the right approach, your business could be the one causing the disruption.

The three industries that are ripe for disruption There are several signs that show that an industry is ripe for disruption. Industries using outdated methods in their operations, industries that have seen a lot of technological advancements, and industries that are limited because of legal regulations or high fees all find themselves in danger of being disrupted. Disruption, however, is not a bad thing. For instance, Uber disrupted the taxi industry; however, the consumers benefited a great deal. Disruption in an industry can have both positive and negative consequences, but when approached correctly can do a lot more good than bad. Let’s take a closer look at some industries that are facing disruption.

Full-service marketing: Full-service marketing or traditional marketing is slowly

becoming a thing of the past. With digital marketing taking over this niche, the full-service marketing industry is ripe for disruption. More and more companies are using their own in-house branding teams to create marketing campaigns with the help of AI, data analysis, and online resources. Agencies that can offer data analysis services and digital marketing solutions will also find favor over traditional marketing agencies. Digital marketing is also cheaper than print or television marketing, which means that companies can save money by either creating campaigns in-house or outsourcing to a digital marketing firm. While traditional marketing has always been a one-way street, digital marketing has opened the way for interactive marketing campaigns. Consumers can now like or dislike an ad, comment, share or even report an ad if they see fit. Interactive marketing which takes into account customer engagement helps to customize marketing campaigns to better suit target audiences. The disruption of full-service marketing has already begun and is only set to continue over the next few years. The only hope for the industry is to evolve to keep up with the changing times and expand

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MEGA TREND

services in the digital marketing arena to stay relevant.

Healthcare: The healthcare industry is fraught with its fair share of problems. From long wait periods to see a medical practitioner to deciphering hospital bills and even filling out a prescription, customer experience is sorely overlooked. On the one hand, we now have access to some of the most advanced medical technologies and life-saving procedures, while on the other hand, we never want to have to wait in the ER. 32

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Because of all the additional hassle involved in the healthcare industry, this sector is ripe for disruption. From mobile apps that let you schedule appointments to video calls with your doctor, technology is changing the way health care is delivered. Apps that let you fill your prescriptions online and have your medicines delivered to you have made life much easier. There are now websites that let you live chat with a doctor who can put you on a course of action based on your symptoms. AI is also disrupting other areas of the healthcare industry by

helping to analyze biological samples faster, diagnose diseases faster, and aid in surgical procedures. The speed at which a lot of previously timeconsuming processes are now done is helping to improve the overall customer experience of healthcare services. To add to the disruption is the entry of many non-traditional healthcare companies into the industry. Most notable among outside companies entering healthcare are Amazon, Samsung, Alibaba, and Apple. Although the healthcare industry took a lot longer than most other


MEGA TREND

industries to reach this stage, the point of no return is finally here.

an industry that most people depend on as a safety net in emergency situations.

Insurance:

New insurance companies or even well-established ones that will rope in new technology to simplify processes will gain an advantage over their competitors. Streamlined online processes and apps that allow customers to deal directly with the company without the need for an agent will also be appreciated. Using technological tools to speed up processes and clear claims sooner and reduce costs all add to the appeal of an insurance company. Technology

The insurance industry is a big one and has a vast number of products to offer. Complex procedures, tons of regulations, and a constant stream of dissatisfied customers have created the need for positive change in the insurance industry. Agents that take commissions and paperwork that is riddled with fine print can make dealing with insurance companies very stressful. And yet, it is

is definitely making inroads into the industry and causing a disruption. Disruption is not limited to the three industries mentioned here but spans across sectors. These are the three big industries that we picked out because their time has come. Over the next couple of years, the change in these areas will be even more apparent, and those that initiated the change will see the rewards. If Amazon could show interest in the healthcare industry, then that is reason enough for the rest of us to sit up and take notice.

SPI Editorial Thinktank Intelligent SME | December 2018

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INNOVATION

Thinking Innovation in Business: Every Entrepreneur's Responsibility

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nnovation is a word that has always got the ears of ambitious entrepreneurs perked up, but somehow it has always been shoved away as something that has something to do with the technology people broadly speaking. The business world that we have known it as has dramatically changed with the technology and innovation shaping everything business. Given this scenario it is very important that entrepreneurs who want to lead their company towards a successful future in a technologically buzzing business landscape must look at innovation as something that they need to get involved into completely and get their hands dirty. There are many questions that arise when entrepreneurs attempt at getting involved

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into that part of business that seem to look good only with the experts in it. It is important that organisations understand that every entrepreneur and every employee now needs to understand innovation in an organisation. Maybe the more technical part can always be taken over by the technology team in the house, but it is imperative that everyone who makes up the corporation must look at innovation as an important part of the job role. Here are the three reasons why you as an entrepreneur must include innovation as part of your job role.

1. If your company has scope of improvement you must have a team and a leader in your organisation that thinks the innovation way: Every company has a scope for improvement. There is always a better way of doing and managing things. The very

fact that people now look up at Alexa and Siri and think of better ways of giving out tasks to robots to make use of the human resources for more useful tasks is proof to it. Alexa and Siri has not only been implemented by the struggling companies but by the big guys of the business world. If the big guys who seem to have nothing to improvise on can innovate and look for things to better, it is natural that other businesses would also likely have some things to be improvised on. Everything boils down to whether you want to do something or not. Many entrepreneurs are cautious and are against making new changes. This is because when something is running smooth, why affect the flow. But the question is maybe there is scope to run things even smoother. Read – Alexa in workspaces. An aversion towards trying something innovative would naturally make a company lag far behind in the


INNOVATION 3. Do you want to push your comfort zone? If yes, you should go the innovation way: Growth has always been found on the other side of the comfort zone. If you are an entrepreneur who want to run things the way that it had been without any change to routine then you are at a risk of being extinct. The business world is changing every business minute and entrepreneurs who refuse to accept this will never be able to keep pace with the changes that are needed for surviving in the first place.

market with their peers working on improvising everything with the help of technology. Moreover, once something innovative works well in a company, others do not wait any longer to implement the same. So, it is very important that entrepreneurs take an active role in keeping his/her thoughts on innovation and not depend entirely on the in-house tech team. One can also create an environment of innovation culture where ideas from employees and entrepreneurs alike are discussed to make sure that the company is in sync with the advancements in the market place.

2. Do you want you robot proof your business? If yes, you should think the innovation way: It is old news that there is a threat to repetitive and mechanical work by robots. Robots are mostly threatening to take over the administrative and repetitive rule-based jobs.

Robots have still not been able to tackle creative jobs that needs a lot of human intervention. Being an entrepreneur it is important that you think of protecting your company from being completely robotised. Enhancing your creative problem solving way in the organisation will help you do so. A company that has a unique way of solving creative problems can stay robot proof. How can one make his/her company robot proof? Well, by simply flexing their innovative muscles a little harder. If you are against innovation and want to stick to the old way of doing things, very soon, your organisation will run out of the need to hire humans. There will be companies on the other hand who would emphasise on staying ahead of the game while you stick to the old way of life. This will leave you far behind in the business game. Innovation is not only important for your company’s progress but it is also needed for your company’s future existence.

Given the scenario where maybe every company would have something like Alexa or Siri for their tasks it is important that you too go their way. If possible find something better. Anything that is outdated would be naturally termed as inconvenient to people who are used to enjoying the conveniences of the bots. Organisations that do not evolve would lose out on customers, business and naturally money. What is the point in existing as a business then? Thinking about innovation and developing innovation as a company culture is something that is very important. It is no longer the domain of the technology department only but everyone who makes a company. An entrepreneur has all the more responsibility to think the innovation way. The business world has experienced innovation and is completely in love with how it shapes it. There is no looking back now. Innovative businesses and people are recognised and looked up to in this technology crazy world. If you want your business to thrive in the future of business, it is important that you develop a culture that attracts innovation. Give your company the freshness of innovation and let it reach success.

SPI Editorial Thinktank Intelligent SME | December 2018

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START UP CORNER

Creating and Growing Blog Power of business blogs

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usiness blogging is a powerful marketing tool and a steadily growing trend. The top priorities for business owners and marketing professionals are to:

Convert leads to customers

Generate organic, highquality leads

Grow website traffic

Boost revenue from current customers

Prove the marketing return on investment (ROI)

Blogs, as part of a clever content strategy, are the ideal way to achieve these marketing objectives. There has been a dramatic increase in paid promotion and distribution of blog content in the past few years.

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Ever since American influencer John Barger coined the word “blog” in 1997 to denote “logging the web,” blogs have steadily continued their mainstream journey. Blogging now rivals mainstream media in popularity, with businesses looking to share expertise and knowledge, gain professional credibility, engage current consumers while attracting new ones. Blogs rank fifth in the list of most accurate and trusted source of online information. They add the allimportant personal touch besides being a great value-add. Interesting content that is relevant is one of the top reasons why people follow brands on popular social media platforms. Your business blog provides a great opportunity to showcase your unique brand personality and extend your reach. Being the first to provide relevant insights and industry news to your readers will help strengthen your reputation. Given that 81 percent of consumers in the U.S. trust the information and advice given

out in blogs and 61 percent of them make a purchase based on the same, the power of blogs is evident. Here are some of the statistics that show how blogs are beneficial to businesses:

Small businesses who feature blogs experience 126 percent more leads.

Blogs are read by 77 percent of internet users.

Websites that include a blog have 434 percent more indexed pages.

Businesses that incorporate blogs enjoy more leads as compared to those that do not.

A B2B blog carries enormous SEO benefits attracting high-quality leads.

A business blog delivers sustained ROI as compared to traditional marketing. Businesses that prioritize blogs are thirteen times more likely to experience positive ROI.


START UP CORNER 66 percent of marketing professionals used blogs in social media in 2017.

Know your customer: Having a detailed, clear picture of your target customers is the first step to developing a successful content strategy. Your blogs should be tailored for your target audience to achieve an optimal conversion rate. You can use consumer research tools that are available on several social media platforms or invest in market research to get a detailed description of your target audience.

Optimize keywords: Keywords are what search engines focus on to understand what the blog content is all about. With evolving algorithms of search engines, it is important to write authentic, fresh content without stuffing keywords into them. Make a list of between five to ten keyword groups and longtail keywords that are associated with them to ensure your search engine ranking.

Focus on the length: The length of the blog is one of the top considerations. With word count numbers increasing in the last few years, longer blogs tend to perform better. Your blog posts should be long enough to fit in the information that has to be conveyed to the readers. Besides, it should also include keywords without stuffing all of them in a short write up. Detailed, accurate, and highquality content ranks high on search engines. A study showed that on an average, the top ten blogs on search engines had content with more than 2000 words.

Title: Titles are as important as the content itself to catch the

potential reader’s, as well as the search engine’s attention. Most traffic has been reported for titles featuring between six to thirteen words.

businesses that publish 401 blog posts as compared to those who post between 300 to 400 posts.

Visual content:

The best way to grow your blog is to include social share buttons. Social sharing can boost click-through rates by as much as 55 percent.

Consumers are able to retain 65% of the information in an article when it is paired with visuals. Adding charts, graphs or infographics can lead to extra time spent on your blog, while boosting recall rates. Images in blog articles attract 94% more views which is why 71 percent of marketing professionals prefer to use visual assets in their content strategy.

Ensure same domain for Blog & Website: The top benefit of blogs is to add SEO value to the website. If you place your blog in a different domain from your website, the SEO value of both your site and blog can drop, impacting their performance. Ensure your blog is on the same domain as the website (domain.com/blog or blog.domain.com).

Keep it consistent: It is important to keep a consistent schedule for blog posting which helps keep your content fresh and relevant. The frequency of blogging is a key element to sustaining and boosting web traffic. As per some studies, four times a week or sixteen times in a month of blog posting is optimal. Businesses that featured sixteen or more blogs in a month experienced up to 3.5 times more traffic as compared to businesses that published four blogs in a month. Frequent blogging generates more leads apart from boosting organic leads. As more and more blog posts are published, indexed page numbers also increase. Web traffic nearly doubles for

Add social sharing:

Have a clear CTA: The “call to action” button is the most critical aspect of the blog. Your readers have to clearly know what action they should take after reading the post. Use a call to action that's relevant and urgent in every post. Smart CTAs enable you to display customized buttons to different readers using data or information about their country, preferred language, and referral source or device type.

Promote your content: To get maximum people to read your content, it is important to target influencers and micro-influencers in the relevant industry. Identifying, cultivating, and engaging influencers takes time, effort, and relevant market insights. Your key influencers are those perceived as trustworthy and credible apart from being authorities in their chosen field. Nurturing them through sharing their blog posts and signing up for their email list is crucial to building a strong relationship with these influencers. Blogging is highly effective in boosting online visibility and building long-lasting relationships with the influencers and target consumers. By consistently ensuring high-quality content, you can succeed in adding more value for your customers, leading to improved conversions, better sales, and customer retention.

SPI Editorial Thinktank

Intelligent SME | December 2018

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DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY

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DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Is blockchain technology relevant for SMEs M ost people associate blockchain with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It is the technology that many are built on. However, blockchain is now being billed as a technology that will improve visibility, productivity and security for business. In fact, some have gone as far as to say that its system for record-keeping, transparency and verification could replace the role of trust in our society. So why is it important for businesses in the UAE? A global realisation has emerged that blockchains can bring new efficiencies to commerce and profoundly change how the world conducts business and interacts with Governments. In fact, the UAE is already ahead of the curve with the government’s April 2018 announcement of the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021. Major IT providers like IBM, Microsoft, and Infosys are collaborating with banks and other financial institutions in Intelligent SME | December 2018

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DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY a race to develop commercial blockchain platforms. The advent of blockchain is fueling a large number of startup companies focused on specific industries and consumer applications and Governments are considering how blockchain can make tax reporting easier while reducing fraud.

Is your business blockchain-ready? Despite being in the news for several years as the technology driving Bitcoin, blockchain for commercial use is still very new. Much of the commercial uptake is still in the proof of concept (or startup) stage. There are four key areas to consider when deciding if your business is ready for blockchain:

Are the standards good enough for your industry? Blockchain works as an application programming interface (API), which means standards need to be developed before there is widespread adoption. There are multiple groups working on standards, including Hyperledger and the Etherium Alliance Framework. However, Gartner expects the industry to stabilize in 2018 with 75 commercial blockchain platforms before consolidating to about five platforms in 2019 (source: “The Evolving Landscape of Blockchain Technology Platforms.”)

Is the technology robust enough yet? While blockchain is conceptually simple, the underlying technology encompasses some difficult technology challenges. This is especially true for the distributed capabilities of blockchain which allow each party to have their own writeable copy of the same historical record. An entry written

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to one replica will eventually arrive at the other replicas, which then have to collaborate and decide if the new entry is valid. This can be harder than it sounds to facilitate.

Is blockchain secure enough? Whilst in general, blockchain is considered a step forward for securing transactions, like most things in computing, security is not inherent. Blockchain uses public key encryption, hashing, and digital signatures, and other mechanisms which are well known, but not always administered correctly. Missteps in securing a blockchain, or simple bugs in the platforms, can cause serious disruption. For example, on November 6th, 2017, $280M in assets were accidentally (and temporarily) frozen in a blockchain managed by Parity Technologies due to a bug in the underlying platform.

Will I be compliant? As is often the case for new technologies, there are policy issues to be worked out. For example, if a blockchain is immutable, how can the “right to be forgotten”, a mandatory requirement in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), be applied? There are also concerns that individuals making property transfers or declaring wills on a permissionless blockchain conflicts with how existing institutions manage public records. These anomalies still need to be ironed out. For many businesses in the UAE, the answer will be ‘not yet’. Ultimately, there is no doubt that blockchain is a disruptive technology which has the potential to transform industries across the region. However, despite recent momentum, it is a technology that isn’t (yet) particularly easy to use for many

businesses. The platforms are still maturing and, like many other software platforms, they are subject to bugs and operational errors. The potential risks of being a blockchain pioneer are higher than other technology adoption waves because blockchains typically apply to monetary transactions as well as transactions carrying fiduciary responsibilities. However, blockchain technology is likely to be intrinsically embedded within business processes in years to come. Those businesses that have technology with flexible deployment options, and those with modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions in place, will be in a better position to take advantage of blockchain technology and adapt faster. So, is blockchain right for your business? Assuming you agree that it is a technology that can improve visibility, productivity and security for businesses, then maybe the answer is yes. Any technology that provides components needed to achieve business growth is worth paying attention to, in my view. Is it right for your business in 2018? I’d have to say that the chances are unlikely. So blockchain, in some form appears to be in everyone’s future, even if it’s not just yet.

Erik Johnsson Epicor Software


DIGITAL WORKSPACE

Beyond Productivity: The Human Side of the Digital Workplace Quantified Global study reveals benefits transcend productivity, but organizations must prepare for data security risks

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mployees who work in digital workplaces are not only more productive but also more motivated, have higher job satisfaction, and report an overall better sense of well-being, according to a new global study from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. The study, The Right Technologies Unlock the Potential of the Digital Workplace, reveals both the business and human benefits of more digitally-driven workplaces, and how companies that are less technologically advanced

are at risk of falling behind the competition and not attracting top talent. It also notes that companies must be vigilant as more digital-savvy employees are taking greater risks with data and information security.

Key Themes and Findings The study of 7,000 employees across 15 countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), revealed a clear chasm in employee performance and sentiment between more advanced digital workplaces and those that employ digital technology to a lesser degree. A number of key themes emerged: Beyond productivity, digital tools unlock human benefits: “Digital Revolutionaries” - employees identified as those who work

in fully-enabled digital workplaces where new workplace technologies are in widespread use - were 51% more likely to have strong job satisfaction, and 43% more likely to be positive about their work-life balance than “Digital Laggards” - those who have less access to workplace technology. The Revolutionary employees were also 60% more likely to say they are motivated at work, and 91% more likely to praise their company’s vision. Digital working also supports professional development: 65% of Revolutionaries reported they had seen professional development and growth through the use of digital technology, compared to just 31% of Laggards. With a digital workplace, 72% of Revolutionaries reported a higher ability to adopt new work skills as compared to 58% of Laggards. Intelligent SME | December 2018

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DIGITAL WORKSPACE Productivity gains from digital technology quantified: 73% of Digital Revolutionaries reported a positive impact to their productivity and 70% cited improved collaboration thanks to digital technologies, vs. 55% of laggards. Continued advancements in digital technology and automation pave the way for better workplace experiences: While automation can be perceived as a threat to job security, our research found that there was widespread enthusiasm for it. 71% of respondents said they would welcome a fully automated workplace in the future, allowing organizations to build smarter, more effective working environments.

Emerging risks The study also found that employees are enthusiastic about new technology and have a desire for their employers to provide more. Almost all respondents (93%) thought their workplace would be improved through greater use of technology, while 64% said their company will fall behind the competition if new technology isn’t implemented. The same portion (64%) believe the traditional office will become obsolete due to advances in technology. - Globally, 69% of respondents said their companies have invested in digital workplace tools in the past year, and interest is growing in a new generation of technologies including smart building tools that automate temperature controls and lighting (24%), voice-activated and wireless AV technology (23%), and custom corporate mobile apps (23%). - Most respondents thought digital technology would result in a more efficient (56%), more collaborative (52%) and more appealing (47%) work environment. While the benefits of digital workplaces are wideranging, the study also revealed that cybersecurity is a challenge for employers. - Although employees reported higher levels of cybersecurity awareness (52% think about security often or daily), they also admitted to taking more risks with company data and devices, with 70% admitting to risky behaviors such as sharing passwords and devices. - A quarter (25%) of employees have connected to potentially unsafe open Wi-Fi in the past twelve months, 20% said they use the same password across multiple applications and accounts, and 17% admitted to writing down passwords in order to remember them. Gamal Emara, Country Manager, UAE at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company says, “Our research shows that digital workplace trends in UAE

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DIGITAL WORKSPACE are in line with global trends. Organizations in the country and the larger Middle East region need to understand that more digitally-driven workplaces not only foster productivity, but employee wellbeing, motivation and job satisfaction. The organizations that capitalize on implementing a digitally-enabled workplace will gain a competitive edge, by helping employees fnish tasks quicker as well as making the process more collaborative and enjoyable.” “Simultaneously, companies need to be aware of the growing information security threats that are now a routine problem for increasingly connected organizations. Our fndings suggest that the problem is as much about human failures as it is digital workplace design.”

The Road Forward These findings indicate that companies must adapt to leverage the benefits of new digital workplace technology while simultaneously minimizing security risks. Aruba recommends that organizations take the following actions: Adopt a digital workplace strategy: IT departments need to work with business managers, end-users and other stakeholders to define a roadmap for their digital workplace evolution. This includes moving beyond established technologies to deploying new tools such as smart sensors and customized mobile apps that will create increasingly personalized workplace experiences. Build collaborative digital workspaces: Companies need to think about how the digital workplace extends beyond their head office to support remote workers, partners, and customers. IT leaders need to

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plan for, and invest in, a working environment without borders. Incorporate security from the ground up: Companies must architect the digital workplace with security as an integral part of the design, taking into account the role of human error as well as bad actors. To achieve optimum security that can adapt to change and unknowns, IT must look to emerging technologies in networking, cloud computing, AI and machine-learning. “The consumerization of the workplace is a very real movement. Employees are consumers and we bring consumer expectations with us to work,” said Janice Le, Chief Marketer for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. "The workplace is getting smarter and therefore, employees are working smarter.” A new paradigm has started to emerge where smart building technologies are intersecting with the digital workplace to form the Smart Digital Workplace. This is where human-centered design meets IoT and building automation. The Smart Digital Workplace can enable personalized experiences such as connected furniture and smart lighting that adapts to the user. Buildings can go greener by dynamically optimizing energy utilization based on employee patterns. These new use cases not only foster employee productivity but also improve efficiency while putting people at the center. Le concluded, “This global study indicates that choice, personalization, ease and automation are improving the top line and the bottom line for organizations who are defining the future of work. Our own place of work is a living lab for the Smart Digital Workplace

and we are seeing results such as faster hiring and higher offer acceptances. The benefits are tangible and go beyond productivity.” To Read the Full report, visit www.arubanetworks.com

Research methodology A total of 7,000 employees were interviewed in April and May 2018. The respondents were from organizations of all sizes, across both public and private sectors, with a focus on the industrial, government, retail, healthcare, education, finance, and IT/technology/ telecommunications sectors. Interviews were conducted both online and via telephone using a rigorous multi-level screening process to ensure that only suitable candidates were given the opportunity to participate. Respondents were interviewed in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, United Arab Emirates, the United States, Singapore, Japan, Australia, India, Brazil, Mexico, China and South Korea.

Erik Johnsson Epicor Software


START UP CORNER

Investment Pitch That Work

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hen you have put in all the hard work and passion into creating a unique product or a service, the next big step is to pitch your idea to the investors to obtain funding. Given that 99 percent of startups fail because of budgetary reasons, getting the right financial backing is extremely crucial for your business venture. Making a great investment pitch may not be easy, but with these tips, you can work towards nailing your presentation and eventually, your business success.

Tips to make a great investment pitch Get the basics right: Before getting to the actual pitching, it is important to understand what would qualify as a compelling pitch. While facts or figures are crucial, they should not be the only focus. In less than 90 seconds, making a persuasive, confident, and authoritative presentation is key to grabbing your investor’s attention. When your pitch succeeds in exciting the investors, you have won half the battle. So, what goes into making a great pitch? - It should strike the right balance between emotional and business needs. Whether

pitching to a potential partner, investor, a company or a group, a good pitch is one that resonates with their emotional and business needs. - A successful pitch is also succinct. With less than 90 minutes to grab the target audience’s attention, getting your point across without missing out on important details is critical. - A great pitch is also an engaging story! Story-telling skills are important to keep your audience engaged in the narrative. - Focusing on benefits and value creation is key to onboarding your investors. Instead of focusing on features or cost, center your pitch on value creation.

Know your audience: Research your audience to know more about their interests, motivations, and needs. If you understand what motivates your investor, you will be able to tailor your pitch that is aligned with their emotional needs. While you understand them on a deeper level, also think about what challenges they face and what solutions they are looking for. If you can authentically empathize with your audience’s problems, your credibility can go up by several notches apart from making you likable. People always act on emotion first and then justify their actions with reason, and being likable is important to appeal to their emotions.

Equip yourself with the resources and tools: Preparation is key to nailing your pitch. To make a great pitch, equip yourself with the right tools and resources. These can include:

Stunning presentation: Non-verbal, visual cues constitute 65 percent of communication. This is why focusing on great visuals while making your presentation is critical. While PowerPoint presentation is the traditional pitch-deck, you can use modern tools to create a professional, stunning presentation with curated templates. Use a combination of charts, images, icons, gifs or videos to make your presentation truly memorable.

Mock-up, samples or demos: According to behavioral psychology, giving the audience an “ownership experience” is the most powerful way to win them over. You can use design prototypes using online tools to showcase your products or hold an actual demonstration if possible. If the physical product is not yet available, you can consult a professional designer to render a 3-dimensional visual representation of your product. Showcase great testimonials: If you already have customers or have tried out your service or product on some customers, obtain their testimonials through an online survey or a personal phone call. Intelligent SME | December 2018

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START UP CORNER

Ask them to provide details on: •

Name and title

Website/Product/Service

What problem your product or service solved for them

The favorite features of your service or product

Whether they are willing to recommend your product or service to others

Having real customers talk about their experience of using your product or service helps provide critical social proof to your investors that your idea or concept has a tangible market. Explainer or demo videos are also a great option if you cannot 46

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bring a physical product. An entertaining, visually stunning, and informative video can work wonders. Statistics show videos have the greatest recall and retention rates as compared to text. Live action production or a simple screen recording can be effective in showing how your product or service can solve the challenges faced in the real world.

Create a winning pitchdeck: Many factors need to be considered before putting up your pitch-deck, including the number of slides, order, font size, color, and format. While it is important to tailor your pitch-

deck to your target audience, here are some crucial elements of a presentation: •

Executive summary

Statement of the problem

Value proposition or solution

Market validation

Description of product or service

Business model

Competition

Competitive advantage

About the founders/ founding team

Goals or milestones

Testimonials

Funding or financials


START UP CORNER

While all of these are critical, beginning with a great intro is the key to holding your audience’s interest. Your storytelling begins with the statement of the problem where you establish the existence of a real problem with the use of relevant evidence, facts or figures. Use four to five bullet points or a simple chart to get directly to the point; then move onto the solution your product or service provides by listing three to four key features or benefits. Describe the market and what share of the market you hope to capture by quoting relevant statistics.

Highlight your USPs: Your investors need to know what makes your service or

product different from the rest in the market and why they should invest in you. Channel all your passion and confidence to explain why your product or service is the ideal solution by addressing these points:

Competitors: Acknowledge your competitors; describe what they do and what strategies or unique features make your offerings better than theirs.

Proprietary technology: Explain briefly if you have proprietary technology, IP, innovations or other unique advantages that truly differentiate your product or service.

Marketing plan: Outline the marketing strategies and long-term plans to acquire customers.

Ask for what you need: Clearly and briefly, highlight what it is that you need from your audience, whether it is investment or partnership. This is the most crucial part because it is the very reason why you are making the presentation in the first place. While many people lose momentum by leaving this section out, asking for what you are looking for will help your investors make informed decisions.

SPI Thinktank

Intelligent SME | December 2018

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SPI EDITORIAL THINKTANK Mishal Kanoo, Deputy Chairman, The Kanoo Group

Mishal Kanoo serves as the Deputy Chairman of The Kanoo Group, one of the largest, independent and longest running family-owned group of companies in the Gulf region. He is also one of the most iconic business figures in the Middle East, featured on various magazines and listed in the ‘Top 100 Powerful Arabs 2013’, and ‘The 15 Wealthiest Arab Businessmen in the World 2012’, among others. Subsequently, he worked at Arthur Andersen in Dubai as an auditor before taking up his current position in 1997. Mishal Kanoo adheres to family values and ideals in pursuit for quality and excellence which has greatly influenced his corporate policies and goals for ‘The Kanoo Group’ as a reputable company.

Rizwan Sajan, Founder & Chairman, Danube Group

The Danube Group was founded and established by Mr. Rizwan Sajan in 1993. Over the last 22 years, the group has come a long way since its humble beginnings of a small trading shop in Deira to being the region’s leader in construction, building materials, home interiors and shop fitting industries. The head office & logistics facilities are present at the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA). Danube has coursed a path that transformed only one shop with three employees to over 40 locations in nine countries worldwide including UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Africa and India, in addition to procurement offices in China with employee strength of over 2,200 people. Being a top ranking business icon, Mr. Rizwan Sajan has been a source of inspiration for driving Danube’s business by leaps and bounds. source of inspiration for driving Danube’s business by leaps and bounds.

Akram Miknas, Chairman & Founder, PROMOSEVEN HOLDINGS B.S.C.C. (P7H) Akram Miknas is known to be one of the pillars of modern marketing communications in the Middle East. His involvement in real estate development, especially after the successful completion of the Pearl Towers (Abraj Al Lulu), anchored him as a leading accomplished developer in the Gulf. In early 2000, he branched into the hospitality business and successfully managed and built several hotels and outlets in Bahrain. His success in this business was crowned by becoming the franchisee of McDonald’s in Lebanon; where he built the business from seven to 26 restaurants in just five years.

Dr. Uzman Zafar, Board Advisor & Smart City Expert, Skillz ME

Dr. Uzman Zafar is an accomplished UAE based Business Management and Technology Executive who has a successful track record in building and transforming result oriented professional organizations by implementing complex programs & business change initiatives with full P&L responsibility. His extensive experience and remarkable accomplishments in both private and public sector have recently gained a lot of exposure in the region. Dr. Zafar is a trusted advisor to both the government as well as privately owned enterprises and he has been collaborating with various organizations in the UK, Europe, Canada and the US, implementing channel management strategies to increase the organizations’ profitability and enhance business operations in order to achieve their fullest potential. 48

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SPI EDITORIAL THINKTANK Deepak J Babani, CEO, Eros Group

Deepak Babani has been with Eros Group for over 30 years. Mr. Babani has spearheaded the growth of Eros Group from a turnover of Dhs six million in 1981 to over Dhs four Billion in 2010. Under his leadership, Eros Group has established itself as the leading distributor for Consumer Electronics, Home Appliances, Telecom, IT and Air-conditioning products in the UAE, GCC and East African regions. Mr. Babani joined Eros as Marketing Manager and was promoted to General Manager in 1988 and subsequently to CEO in 2002. and subsequently to CEO in 2002.

K. Rajaram, CEO, Al Nabooda Automobiles

K. Rajaram has more than three decades of experience in the automotive industry, starting his career in Oman in 1983. He moved to the UAE in 1996 to lead Al Nabooda Automobiles, the exclusive dealer of Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Under his leadership, Al Nabooda Automobiles has changed the face of the UAE automotive market by setting the highest benchmarks in customer service and pioneering the automobile ownership experience.

Alexandar Williams, Director, Business Development, Department of Economic Development (DED) Alexandar Mathew Williams is presently the Director, Business Development, Department of Economic Development (DED), Government of Dubai. He has more than 20 years of experience in SME development and business creation. He is interested in the life cycle dynamics of firm growth and mentoring entrepreneurs. In his current job, Alexander is responsible for developing new initiatives for DED to take it to the next level as a knowledge-driven economic development agency.

Reg Athwal, Founding Partner & MD, RTS Global Partners

Reg Athwal is the Chairman of RAW Group and the Founding Partner & MD of RTS Global Partners, the leading family business advisory firm in Africa, Middle East and Asia. The company has been supporting hundreds of clients in over 150 disciplines spread across 57 countries with offices in Dubai, UAE and Nairobi, Kenya. Reg’s vision is to grow into a major company of 1000 members in 22 countries by the year 2022 with the primary aim of transforming 22,000+ family businesses and impacting millions on the way.

Ajay Bindroo, CEO & Managing Partner, Clasico Brands

Within a span of 18 months, Ajay has established a global venture that caters to consumer goods ranging from beauty and personal care, grooming products to oral care, bath and hygiene, hair care and homecare products. Under the flagship of “CLÁSICO BRANDS”, over a dozen brands have been created and are in the process of being launched worldwide. Ajay is a true visionary and makes sure that the company's concept and strategies are right on track.

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