November 2017 / Volume 6 / Issue 70
A steep curve ahead T
he large visitor turnout on almost all days of GITEX Technology Week and many interesting technologies that was part of the showcase just underscored the fact that the Technology market continues to be dynamic. The demonstration of several futuristic technologies in real life situations shows we are on the cusp of yet another breakthrough era. Use case scenarios for AI applications, automation, blockchain technologies are extensive and from demonstrations witnessed first- hand by visitors at various stands has alerted us to the fact that the world as we know continues to be rapidly impacted by technology changes. This will be across the spectrum of services that we as citizens utilize whether from public sector entities or from the private sector. The technologies available for digital transformation are many and the choices available will put the onus on Businesses to adopt the changeor lose ground to competitors who adopt new technologies faster. The potential shrinkage of employment opportunities for humans will be a reality as AI continues to make inroads and automation as well as digital interfacing of transactions does away with many areas of employment. Reskilling is a requirement for almost all those who are working or not, to familiarize with the new contexts where they can use their skills around the new technologies that would be deployed in some measure at most companies. To achieve a balance of benefitting from new technology deployments and with minimum human displacement should be the ideal set of objectives, whatever be the odds stacked against achieving them. There is no point in complete digitization that leaves a large majority of people unhappy and therefore they need to be taken along on the journey in an inclusive manner. Companies involved in consulting and deployments of these new technologies will also have a learning curve to climb in how they support the organization and its people that goes through a digital makeover.
R. Narayan Managing Editor
Cover Feature - 18
Keeping pace with technology adoption Diverse entities in the SME services sector or those providing services to the SME segment customers are ever more reliant on technologies that enable their operations and services
The extra mile - 12
Fadi Moubarak, Vice President of Channels at Avaya discusses the companyâ€™s focus on harnessing disruptive technologies to go beyond the digital experience
Accelerating digital transformation - 14 Mohannad Abuissa, Head of Sales Engineering - East Region, Cisco Middle East discusses how Cisco is facilitating the digital era
Secured identities - 16
Sebastien Pavie, Regional Director META, Enterprise & Cybersecurity at Gemalto discusses highlights from GITEX showcase
Rising demand for infrastructure - 24
Bassel Alhalabi, Regional Director, MEA, Panduit EMEA discusses how the drive towards digital is driving demand for more robust IT infrastructure
VAT in the GCC - 26
MonzerTohme, regional vice president, Middle East& Africa, Epicor Software discusses that benefits aside, being prepared for VAT compliance can be a daunting prospect.
Effective Security Awareness Training - 28
Morey Haber, vice president of technology at BeyondTrust discusses how security awareness needs a causal relationship of action, threat, and outcome
News Bytes EyeTech Market Stats
Published by: JNS Media International MFZE Founder & CEO: Vivek Sharma Managing Editor: R. Narayan Art Director: Faiz Ahmed Sr. Sales Manager: R. Subramanyan
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Cisco and Google partner on new Hybrid Cloud solution Cisco and Google Cloud announced a partnership to deliver a hybrid cloud solution that helps customers maximize their investments across cloud and on-premises environments. The companies will provide a unique and open hybrid cloud offering that enables applications and services to be deployed, managed and secured across on-premises environments and Google Cloud Platform. The solution delivers cloud speed and scale, with enterpriseclass security. The offering provides enterprises with a way to run, secure and monitor workloads, thus enabling them to optimize their existing investments, plan their cloud migration at their own pace and avoid vendor lock in. Companies can now develop new applications in the cloud or on premises, consistently using the same developer tools, run time, and production environment. “Our partnership with Google gives our customers the very best cloud has to offer— agility and scale, coupled with enterprise-class security and support,” said Chuck Robbins, chief executive officer, Cisco. “We share a common vision of a hybrid cloud world that delivers the speed of innovation in an open and secure environment to bring the right solutions to our customers.”
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Genetec holds 'Access Control' road show in Kuwait and Dubai Genetec successfully hosted a two-city roadshow in the Middle East region, which was held on October 24, 2017 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuwait City and October 25, 2017 at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai. The roadshows were organized in partnership with HID Global. The roadshow series are positioned to serve as a strategic platform to discuss the many shortfalls between video and access control system (ACS) integrations; the continuing emergence of cyber threats that place ACS at risk; the significance of open architecture for today's users and the essential steps towards implementing proper migration from proprietary to open architecture systems. Experts from both Genetec and HID also talked about other timely topics and issues like learning more about mobile credentials, the benefits of unification and how integration falls short-further highlighting the dynamic synergy between the two companies. “We are pleased at the strong response received from our 'Access Control’ roadshow in Dubai and Kuwait--two cities that are spearheading growth and development for the region. These two events helped drive in a better understanding of ACS integrations and the significant role they play in helping keep your operations safe and secure, while also exploring key ways to avoid cyberattacks and threats. We are proud to be working closely with HID Global for these two events, a known industry leader in secure identity solutions,” concluded FirasJadalla, Regional Director - Middle East and Africa, Genetec.
GITEX Technology Week showcases new innovations GITEX Technology Week and GITEX Future Stars, brought together a world-class gathering of industry innovators, government leaders, technology creators, and future-forward thinkers at Dubai World Trade Centre. Visitors experienced the latest in blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of Things at the 37th GITEX Technology Week held between 8th October until 12th October at the DWTC. Building on its unprecedented success last year, GITEX Future Stars saw a 65 percent increase in participating innovators this year. Startups at GITEX Future Stars are on the cutting-edge of the technology development field, with water-powered flying taxis, avatars that can translate speech into sign language, and smart palm trees designed to boost public WiFi access, as only a few of the many innovations on showcase at the event. Emerging technologies were on show throughout the week, from startups that are testing the boundaries of technology, to multinational firms unveiling their latest equipment and technology solutions. Artificial intelligence, AR/VR, robotics and other frontier technologies also took centre stage throughout the week. Throughout the week, GITEX Future Stars provided providing innovators with once-ina-lifetime opportunities to accelerate their products and startups with access to AED 1.2 million in cash and prizes through competitions over the course of the week. GITEX Technology Week 2017 saw participation from over 4,100 exhibitors from over 70 countries, and with businesses from Finland, Georgia, Guatemala and Syria making their debut this year. Spread over 1.4 million sq. ft., this year’s event welcomed over 100,000 visitors, with country delegations including China, Nigeria, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Bahrain, Oman, KSA and UAE.
Huawei drives digital transformation Huawei’s participation at GITEX showcased the power of new ICT, particularly its value to specific sector within the region, and emphasized the need for collaborative partnerships, which took the form of alliances with business and technology leaders, co-created solutions, and the bringing together of thought leaders and subject matter experts to address the opportunities and challenges of digitalization. Throughout the exhibition, Huawei illustrated its goal to become the partner of choice to equip Middle East organizations in their efforts to achieve digital transformation. The theme of Huawei’s presence at this year’s GITEX was ‘Leading New ICT, the Road to Digital Transformation’, with a focus not only on the power of global technology platforms through the latest IOT, cloud, SDN and Big Data innovations, but also on the digital ecosystem of collaboration through path-breaking business and technology alliances, and the latest co-created solutions from OpenLab Dubai. Throughout the week, Huawei launched new products and solutions, and announced new collaborations with industry-leading partners. It unveiled its Boundless Computing server strategy and solutions to drive digital transformation for the Middle East’s businesses.
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Microsoft unveils enterprise-ready blockchain framework At GITEX Technology Week 2017, Microsoft introduced delegates to the company’s open, hyper-compatible Coco Framework for enterprise blockchain networks. Microsoft’s announcement follows its commitment to the Dubai Future Foundation’s Global Blockchain Council. Starting life as a means to build credible and secure audit trails for the digital currency bitcoin, blockchain has become popular among organisations looking to maintain trustworthy transaction records. Blockchain architecture distributes data on asset ownership and critical transactions across trust boundaries, so that no one site holds the information exclusively. Such transparency is vital in protecting trust-centric data flows, such as those of financial institutions. “Investment in blockchain, across the GCC and beyond, is reaching fever pitch, as organisations recognise it as a digitally transformative tool, so we felt that GITEX 2017 was the perfect venue for introducing Coco to the region,” Said Necip Ozyucel, Cloud & Enterprise Business Solutions Lead, Microsoft Gulf. “Microsoft joined the Global Blockchain Council because we believe strongly in the security of the technology’s auditing capabilities. But blockchain can achieve so much more for enterprises of all scales and walks of life. It allows them to share business processes with suppliers, customers and partners, leading to new opportunities for multi-party collaboration and, eventually, exciting new business models.”
YVOLV and Sage partner to offer cloudbased business management solutions YVOLV, a joint venture between Alibaba Cloud and Meraas, joined forces with Sage to provide Sage’s ecosystem of resellers, partners and independent software vendors (ISVs) with scalable and secure services hosted on Alibaba’s cloud platform inside the UAE. They will work together to deliver pay-as-you-go, cloud-based solutions to organizations of all sizes in the Middle East. “We know that industries such as manufacturing, retail, banking and financial services are among the early adopters of mobility and digital transformation. However, ensuring security, data privacy, and regulatory compliance remain the key challenges for SaaS (software-as-a-service) adoption in the region,” said Clinton O’ Leary, CCO at YVOLV. “With Sage digital services and solutions and YVOLV’s locally-based cloud infrastructure, we are not only solving multiple challenges faced by highly regulated verticals, but creating opportunities for Small & Medium Businesses to benefit from scalable solutions and elastic computing features.” “YVOLV became a business partner as we share the ambition of helping organizations in the Middle East to maximize the benefits of the cloud and build their businesses. As a Business Reseller and Cloud Service Provider, YVOLV enables us to provide secure, affordable and scalable in-country cloud services to customers in the region, rather than hosting them elsewhere at great cost and with compromises to performance,” says Aaron White, Regional Director for Sage Middle East.”
Help AG inks partnership with Skybox Security Help AG has signed an agreement with Skybox Security that will allow the company to integrate Skybox’s security management solutions into its Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), adding powerful new security analytics capabilities to Help AG’s Managed Security Services (MSS) offering. As a Skybox Premier Partner, Help AG will also offer the Skybox Security Suite for vulnerability and threat management, firewall change management and compliance monitoring within both IT and OT environments, to enterprises across the Middle East. The Skybox Security Suite is a security management platform with an attack surface visualization layer and a suite of five security management solutions for vulnerability and threat management and firewall and security policy management. “The partnership with Skybox will enable our MSS customers to drive even greater value from their existing cyber security investments with threat management across the entire attack surface,” said Stephan Berner, CEO at Help AG. “As a reseller dedicated to IT security alone, we are keen to bundle our expertise in consultancy, integration and support around the solutions offered by Skybox, thereby creating a truly differentiated offering.” Initially, the companies will look to engage with leading organizations from the Oil & Gas, government, finance and utilities sectors in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
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Infor infuses AI capabilities into HR Applications Infor has announced the incorporation of Infor Coleman, an enterprise-grade, industry-specific AI platform for Infor CloudSuite applications, into the company's Talent Science solutions. Coleman, a pervasive platform that operates below an application's surface, mines data and uses powerful machine learning to improve processes such as inventory management, transportation routing, and predictive maintenance, and now human capital management. Specifically, the application will be deployed within Infor Talent Science in the areas of rolebased profile development. Infor Talent Science is a patented, cloud-based Predictive Talent Analytics solution that helps users put the right people in the right positions to achieve business objectives. "We've proven that the single assessment concept provides a significant strategic advantage for businesses today. It enables HR professionals to look across talent acquisition and talent management through one lens. Now, we are using the latest in AI to maximize the predictability of our performance profiles and drive further benefit into our customers' hands," said Tarik Taman, general manager, IMEA, Infor.
Schneider Electric showcases at WETEX
Schneider Electric showcased its comprehensive portfolio of state-of-the-art technologies at the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) 2017. From 23 to 25 October, Schneider Electric’s Booth 63 in Hall 6 at the Dubai World Trade Centre exhibited the company’s innovative solutions for every level of the value chain – from IoT products and local control to software suites and digital services. The showcase included the IoT-enabled EcoStruxure Water and Wastewater Solutions that boost operational efficiency by up to 25 per cent while enhancing the overall safety and sustainability of water systems. Also on display was the EcoStruxure Grid architecture covering a wide range of digital applications and analytics, edge control, and connected products. As an additional highlight, Schneider Electric unveiled its newly launched EcoStruxure Industrial Software Platform – an integrated, modular software suite that delivers rich functionality to address operational and business imperatives of the industrial and infrastructure markets. The platform can be deployed in a scaled fashion, enabling companies to protect their investments in systems while expanding their technology. Schneider Electric demonstrated its ability to enhance business performance, energy efficiency, connectivity and safety across the utilities sector at WETEX.
EITC gears up towards compliance with the UAE VAT Regime Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) is working towards the introduction of VAT in accordance with the Federal Decree-Law No 8 of 2017 issued. VAT will be applicable across telecommunications products and services at a rate of 5% as mandated by the Federal Tax Authority. “We see the introduction of VAT as a positive step towards developing a sustainable, economically diverse and future proof UAE. Our nation and its leaders have worked tirelessly to provide us with numerous public services and amenities, and this is an opportunity for us to help in taking this success further,” said Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer, EITC. “Ahead of the VAT implementation, we will be taking the necessary measures to educate our customers so that they are fully aware of the government directives regarding VAT and the way that it will impact their telecommunications spend,” Sultan added. EITC is working towards compliance with the UAE-wide VAT regime across all its brands and services. “Our aim is to ensure that we smoothly implementing VAT across our business operations. We look forward to this new step the UAE leadership is taking. It is reflective of our development as a society, as well as our diversification into a knowledge economy."
Allied Telesis partners with Easa Husain Al-Yousifi& Sons Company in Kuwait
Allied Telesis announced the appointment of Easa Husain Al-Yousifi& Sons Company as its value added Accredited Systems Integrator exclusively for Kuwait region. Easa Husain Al-Yousifi& Sons Company is one of the leading ICT companies with more than 60 years of rich history in Kuwait. The company offers solutions including security, network, surveillance, telecom, video conferencing, smart office and education solutions etc. Easa Husain Al-Yousifi& Sons company has a division called ( ESG) Engineering Services Group, providing leading business solutions in the State of Kuwait and represent world’s leading brands in its portfolio such as Panasonic, IBM, Lenovo, Netavis, Dahua, Samsung, Epson, TOA, Televes, PKLNS, York, Nova Light and several others. EHY Company will be distributing the entire range of Allied Telesis products across the country as an exclusive partner. “The company has become one of the most preferred names in the business and is way ahead of its competitors in addressing the market for networking technologies for physical security and other ELV systems,” Sabbahuddin Khan, Regional Manager at Allied Telesis Middle East said, “With this partnership we look forward to enter into newer market segments and verticals, which enable us to further strengthen our position in the market and help us grab more market share in Kuwait.”
Centra Hub partners with NGN International Centra Hub has signed a regional partnership agreement with NGN International, a systems integrator and IT consultant, which was established in 2015 in Bahrain as a part of NGN Group. According to the agreement, Centra and NGN International will collaborate to leverage their technology and process integration strengths across the region. Nisith Naik, CEO of Centra Hub said, "Regional system integrators like NGN International are invaluable for software vendors like Centra Hub for their trusted relationships with end users and their deep understanding of the local challenges faced by their regional markets. We are confident that NGN International will enable their clients with Centra Hub applications and enhance their offerings portfolio, while simultaneously delivering exceptional value to their customers.” NGN creates business solutions for complex information, computing, telecom, and engineering systems with the focus on data centers and cloud solutions, call centers and networking infrastructure, IT infrastructure services, information and network security, advanced analytics and reporting, Big Data, application development, business and ITSM processes, building information modeling and smart cities, transportation and logistics processes, IT outsourcing, virtual reality and 3D solutions, Internet of Things and Blockchain technologies.
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TechKnow | Avaya
The extra mile
Fadi Moubarak Channel Vice President Avaya
Fadi Moubarak, Vice President of Channels at Avaya discusses the company’s focus on harnessing disruptive technologies to go beyond the digital experience Elaborate on the focus beyond digital transformation The essence of the Beyond digital transformation is the focus on automating the usage of digital functionalities at the organizational level. Instead of focusing on getting individuals, whether employees of an organization or not to use the technologies, we designed our products in a way that it is easy to integrate with the applications and the applications themselves use those functionalities. So we enable easy integration between the Business applications and the communication technologies. What was the focus at your GITEX showcase? What we have demonstrated
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extensively at our GITEX showcase is how customers using Avaya’s technologies to enhance their Business applications and serve customers better. Avaya has re-engineered its core platforms to make it faster and simpler for organizations to adopt new functionalities as their needs change. For instance, in the sphere of public safety, we have worked with the Dubai police, integrating their drone video feeds into the video conference calls. So in case of any events, people are called together on a video conference call and the drone will send in the video feed, helping with insights to make decisions. For the SME type of organizations, we are
integrating fleet management application, website chat with the SME UC type of applications. So instead of getting them to use our application, we are getting the applications that interest them to use our product functionalities.
with third party applications in the most efficient manner for developers. That has really broadened the horizon for many different kinds of use case scenarios for easy implementations with blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, chatbox etc.
How are you enabling different solutions that enhance customer experience? Avaya has opened its entire unified communications (UC), contact center (CC) and services portfolio to empower partners and customers to have the same capabilities as Avaya’s R&D team has had over the last few decades. This has been helpful for client SDKs and for easy development and integration
How does Blockchain help in enabling such solutions? Blockchain is a simpler way technically to handle data. We have used the blockchain technology to develop the happiness index. So we gathered a lot of customer data that is generated from different fields and databases and threw it in the blockchain ledgers and did the analytics on it. Obviously, you can do the same without blockchain but blockchain makes it
RTA showcases services powered by Avaya solutions simpler and with our platform. That is also because we have a significant access to data with our contact centre solutions. If you can analyze all the customer data, you can learn a lot about the expected behavior and preferences of your customers. This is what our Business customers are focusing on, to have the predictive analytics in place and based on individual customer profile data that shows up when you are there, the agent can offer enhanced services. This saves a lot of time in customer transactions with predictive experience. The happiness index is in line with the country’s strategy to increase happiness. You cannot just rely on surveys and smiley faces to predict happiness. You need the whole experience. When you go to the different entities, the sum total data of you as a customer is co-related to provide you the best experience and the happiness index then reflects reality. Therefore the whole experience with the happiness index is very scientific. What are the pivots that go into making such solutions? We have the sources of the data to understand customer experience and we build our own applications or work with third party developers to build the required applications. There is a large ecosystem of partners who create specialized applications integrated with our platform. We have opened up our portfolio and are encouraging our partners to develop
applications around Avaya’s technologies and have their own IPR. The main objective is to deliver solutions that impact customer experience positively, whether through Avaya exclusively or through our partners or through joint ventures with third party developers. These solutions and the use cases can be easily replicated with necessary customizations for different clients, different verticals etc. The look and feel can be changed but the workflow can be easily replicated which is the key thing. Were there new launches at GITEX? While it was not an official launch, we demonstrated our new solutions at GITEX. Everything that you saw at our stand is the result of efforts over the past year. We are taking a solution oriented approach with our partners and go to market around the globe with all these use cases. How do you see Avaya positioned across different segments of focus including customer engagement? We are still the leader in the customer experience space. We are one of the leaders in the UC space. And I believe, we are also the leaders in the ease of integrating with third party applications to provide solutions that enhance customer experience. All the solutions showcased at the stand are proof of that – from conception to going live at customer sites.
he Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is helping to empower the ‘People of Determination’ by offering customer services tailored for people with disabilities. The video chat and call service, based solutions from Avaya, was demonstrated at GITEX Technology Week. Launched this year by HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the people of determination policy aligns with the country’s commitment to protect and empower people of determination through services and facilities in the areas of education, healthcare, employment and more. With the new video-call and chat interface, a person using sign language can now initiate a video call by accessing the RTA website and clicking on the people of determination icon. The customer can be routed to the contact center, being given priority over standard calls, where the call can be taken by an RTA agent fluent in sign language. Along the way, customers are provided with pre-recorded sign language videos to answer some of the most common queries. Customers are also encouraged to provide feedback on their service experience though an RTA happiness meter—a digital tool used by the RTA to further enhance and improve its services based on customer input. These advanced services are powered by Avaya Live and Web RTC for video conferencing and chat, with Avaya Aura Contact Center responsible for the intelligent routing of the customer to the appropriate RTA contact center agent. “The people of determination need to be supported at all aspects of their life and the RTA is proud to play our part in extending equal levels of services to all customers. Thanks to Avaya we can deliver the service the determined ones deserve, with a solution that is accessible over the Internet without the need to acquire any additional tools or apps,” said Ahmed Mahboub, RTA’s Executive Director, Customers Service. “In designing customer experience solutions for the digital age, leading organizations like the RTA recognize that the conversation has moved on from being just about technology to how it enhances the lives of residents and visitors. By demonstrating these capabilities at GITEX Technology Week, attendees can see how Avaya is able to simplify technology adoption in order to meet consumer expectations at every touchpoint.” NidalAbou-Ltaif, President, Avaya International. This new offering builds on the strong relationship between Avaya and the RTA, which has deployed Avaya customer engagement and Contact Center solutions to develop its 8009090 Contact Center project. The Avaya Contact Center technology aligns with the RTA’s vision of delivering excellence in the customer experience, and is one of the key elements in its transformation to a ‘Smart Service’ organization. The RTA’s latest project was one of the highlights of Avaya’s participation at GITEX this year. November 2017 | 13
TechKnow | Cisco
Mohannad Abuissa, Head of Sales Engineering - East Region, Cisco Middle East discusses how Cisco is facilitating the digital era
Mohannad Abuissa Sales Engineering Head, East Region Cisco Middle East
Accelerating digital transformation How do you see the growth outlook towards digital transformation? Digital transformation presents an incredible social and economic opportunity for the region. We believe about 160 million digital users will be connected by 2025. Video and internet traffic will grow significantly. The IP traffic in the region will grow six-fold by 2020. The connected devices will have highest growth. Further, video streaming traffic may see an eight fold growth by 2020. Together, all these are bringing in the
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digitization requirements and for companies and even governments to digitize. How does Cisco view the strategy towards digital transformation? In Cisco, the way we look at digital transformation is to connect people, data, things and processes together and enable governments and companies to drive better business outcomes. I believe there is no company more ideally placed than Cisco to enable this because we have been here for long, have been
building the infrastructure to connect government and the private sector together. This year, Cisco introduced the network intuitive and we have showcased at GITEX, a first for the region. A network that can keep learning, adapting and protecting would be the kind of key response to this kind of requirement for digital transformation. This is what we are bringing in to the market and we believe with the knowledge and experience in this field, we can address the requirements for all digital transformation and
digital disruption happening in the market with the network intuitive. The network intuitive can learn from what happens, can adopt and also protect itself. IT administrators are usually kept busy managing the network infrastructure whereas they should be focusing on achieving and facilitating better business outcomesand profitability in the private sector or to enhance customer experience if in the government sector. This is what we are looking to enable with the network intuitive. With the network intuitive, we will
"This year, Cisco introduced the network intuitive and we have showcased at GITEX, a first for the region. A network that can keep learning, adapting and protecting would be the kind of key response to this kind of requirement for digital transformation."
bring in automation and analytics for all the data that goes through this network and provide insights that can help in providing better business outcomes. How do you bring legacy networks to catch the wave of digital transformation? We understand this will be a journey and it is fact that in this journey, the customer will not be able to forklift all the existing legacy infrastructure to be part of this transformation. It will be a combination of both; the new business requirement will be addressed with the network intuitive but the existing network infrastructure will be able to integrate seamlessly. At that point we will provide our Digital Network Architecture (DNA) center that can handle legacy and non-legacy networks until we
take the customer through the journey of full digitization. We believe that the companies that are able to fully digitize at the earliest will be able to leverage the advantage and become leaders in their respective segments. Have there been deployments of the new generation networks in the region? The Network Intuitive is new to the region but we already have more than 5 customers in the pipeline and at least two references for our new platform. They are in the public sector but I cannot disclose their names. We intend to take them through the whole journey of digital transformation.
One of our roles is also to bridge the gap in terms of skills required for the new platform which includes analytics, cyber security etc. The protection aspect is quite key for the network to respond and give insights into any anomalies in the network and enforce full protection. What is Cisco Kinetic? Cisco Kineticis Cisco’s IoToperations platform. Cisco Kinetic will be able to collect information from multiple sensors in the network. The data received the edge network will be integrated with the rest of the rest of the network infrastructure and help provide the insights that enable the CIOs to make the right decisions.
Cisco Kinetic makes it easy to extract, normalize and securely deliver data, across all the participants of an ecosystem, based on rules defined by the data owner(s) How do you see the go to market strategy for the channel? We are doing business through the channel. We believe the channel needs to adopt a new approach by integrating with multiple vendors like the ISPs for instance. We have the Accelerating Cisco Ecosystem Sales (ACES) program so that they can tap into the ecosystems and provide multi-vendor solutions and provide turnkey solutions to customers. Cisco is also providing advisory services for partners in security analytics where skills aren’t so available in the market so that partnerscan offer a full lifecycle of services to customers.
Cisco showcases Network of the Future, Kinetic IoT Platform and AI Innovations
isco leveraged its participation at GITEX Technology Week to showcase some of its latest innovations and solutions for the digital era. Aligned with the theme of ‘ReImagining Realities,’ Cisco’s participation at this year’s GITEX invited customers, partners and organizations to experience how Cisco solutions are helping businesses and society to securely connect and seize tomorrow’s digital opportunity today. A large number of government and public sector officials and businesses leaders visited Cisco’s showcase at the regional event to witness practical demonstrations of digital scenarios across multiple industries. With many GCC governments, and
especially the UAE, announcing their national digital transformation visions and Smart City initiatives, Cisco took the opportunity to showcase ‘The Network. Intuitive.,’ its new generation of intentbased networking systems, for the first time in the UAE. The company conducted simulations of its advanced technologies including machine learning, artificial intelligence and analytics to illustrate how they are helping address challenges, enhance competitiveness and deliver tangible benefits to businesses. Cisco invited Middle East organizations to re-imagine their businesses by highlighting real-life, industry relevant scenarios that demonstrate how its solutions can help accelerate their digital
transformation journey. Cisco also hosted an interactive Digital Network Architecture (DNA) center to present its enterprise networking and security solutions, offering visitors hands-on experience of how Cisco’s software driven approach delivers services that turn network traffic data into actionable insights. In addition, Cisco demonstrated by how Cisco Kinetic is helping organizations extract, compute and move data from connected things to applications, enabling them to unlock the power of IoT data for smart cities to drive better business outcomes.
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TechKnow | Gemalto
data in motion. We also extend support in terms of securing through encryption and authentication for digitization initiatives from typically onpremises deployed solutions into the cloud flavored versions as well.
Sebastien Pavie Regional Director META Gemalto
Secured identities Sebastien Pavie, Regional Director META, Enterprise & Cybersecurity at Gemalto discusses highlights from GITEX showcase of Gemalto as well as some of the key products and regional focus
With the growing buzz around digitization, how does Gemalto relate to the trend as a strategy and focus? Digitization is very much a focus for us at Gemalto as we go more and more paperless, to secure the data as it flows. We have a wide range of solutions to ensure that. Typically, digital signatures and digital certificates are
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prominent when it comes to digitization but that is more in context of the data flow. In terms of actual data storage, we also have a wide range of solutions to encrypt the data to make sure that only the right users, properly authenticated, can access the data, securely and seamlessly. So our solutions range from encryption solutions for the data at rest to authentication solutions for
What have been the new launches at GITEX? We are launching two products this year at GITEX. One of them is on the Identity Access and Protection side which is called the SafeNet Trusted Access which includes identity protection and multi-factor authentication solutions and is complemented well with smart single sign on solutions for cloud applications typically and legacy applications to some extent with access control policies in place. SafeNet Data Protection On Demand for data security and encryption itself is also the cloud version where you can get it as a service. This is typically good for SMEs who appreciate cost efficiencies and flexibility which they typically appreciate and take the first step towards data protection and digitization. This is also for larger enterprises who typically would go in for on premise deployments would like to consider this for certain deployments including those in the cloud. Apart from the two products launches, discuss other highlights from your GITEX showcase? We showcased several products that relate to identity and data protection. These included Gemalto’s key management
SafeNetKeySecure, with which organizations can centrally, efficiently, and securely manage cryptographic keys and policies across the key management lifecycle and throughout the enterprise, in the cloud or on-premises. We demonstrated SafeNet Authentication Service (SAS) that delivers fully-automated, highly secure authenticationas-a service with flexible token options that are tailored to the unique needs of your organization, substantially reducing the total cost of operation.MobilePASS that combines the security of strong two-factor authentication with the convenience, simplicity and ease of use of One-Time Passcodes, was also part of the showcase. How do you deliver the cloud services for the SME customers? We can deliver that from our own cloud and data centre but we can also provide it through a service provider. As an example, the SafeNet authentication services which has been there for quite many years now, can be deployed on premise from a server or from the cloud as a service. We have our own cloud infrastructure in the UK and Canada. We also have partnerships with a number of service provider and telecom operators to deliver the cloud services that can bring it closer to the customer because sometime it is also a regulatory requirement to have a service provider within the region if not within the borders of the country for them to consider it.
Discuss the Middle East focus in terms of channel strategies and operations? The Dubai office overlooks the META region. We follow a two tier model including distributors that sell to resellers and system integrators. So the local support is always available. That is the model that we have across globally. Is there an ecosystem of technology partners you work with? We have a huge ecosystem of technology partners. When it comes to authenticating users of applications, there is a huge ecosystem of application vendors including VPN vendors that leverage our authentication technologies. It is the same with encryption of data and also with key management. How is Gemalto placed in the Gartner Magic quadrant in domains of focus? When it comes to user authentication, we
have been the leaders for several years now in the past few years. Gemalto got into the cybersecurity space in a bigger way with the SafeNet acquisition a couple of years ago. So the combination is more strongly placed in the user authentication space. Discuss the security outlook in the IoT space? It’s clear that both consumers and businesses in the Middle East have serious concerns around IoT security and little confidence that IoT service providers and device manufacturers will be able to protect IoT devices and more importantly the integrity of the data created, stored and transmitted by these devices. With legislation like NESA showing that governments are beginning to recognize the threats and long-lasting damage cyber-attacks can have on everyday lives, they now need to step up when it comes
to IoT security. Until there is confidence in IoT amongst businesses and consumers, it won’t see mainstream adoption. The lack of knowledge among both the business and consumer worlds is quite worrying and it’s leading to gaps in the IoT ecosystem that hackers will exploit. Within this ecosystem, there are four groups involved – consumers, manufacturers, cloud service providers and third parties – all of which have a responsibility to protect the data. ‘Security by design’ is the most effective approach to mitigate against a breach. Furthermore, IoT devices are a portal to the wider network and failing to protect them is like leaving your door wide open for hackers to walk in. Until both sides increase their knowledge of how to protect themselves and adopt industry standard approaches, IoT will continue to be a treasure trove of opportunity for hackers.
A holistic approach
Security concerns around IoT 81% of Middle East consumers view security as a key consideration while using Internet of Things (IoT) devices, according to Gemalto. This comes as the majority of consumers and organizations in the region support government regulations in setting IoT security. Consumers’ main fear (cited by 67% of respondents) is the concern than their data will be leaked and 65% are concerned that hackers could control their IoT devices. Almost half (49%) of Middle East consumers are concerned that a hacker could access their personal information through IoT devices. Despite more than three quarters (78%) of consumers in the region owning an IoT device, just 21% believe that they are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the security of these devices, showing education is needed among both
consumers and businesses. In terms of the level of investment in security, the survey found that IoT device manufacturers and service providers spend just 12% of their total IoT budget on securing their IoT devices. The study found that these companies do recognize the importance of protecting devices and the data they generate or transfer with 48% of Middle East companies adopting a security by design approach. Over half (55%) of Middle East organizations encrypt all data it captures or stores via IoT devices with 47% encrypting the data as soon as it reaches their IoT device, while 44% as it leaves the device. All Middle East (100%) companies reported that they also see an increase in sales or product usage after implementing IoT security measures. According to the survey, businesses
are in favor of regulations to make it clear who is responsible for securing IoT devices and data at each stage of its journey (74%) and the implications of non- compliance (52%). In fact, all organizations in the Middle East (100%) and most consumers (93%) believe there is a need for IoT security regulations – and want government involvement. Encouragingly, businesses are realizing that they need support in understanding IoT technology and are turning to partners to help, with IoT service providers (66%) and cloud service providers (44%) as the favored options. When asked why, the top reason was wanting to receive an end-to-end solution (50%), followed by needing help in facilitating and speeding up their IoT deployment (48%) and filling their expertise and skills gaps (44%). November 2017 | 17
Cover Feature | SME
KEEPING PACE WITH TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION
Diverse entities in the SME services sector or those providing services to the SME segment customers are ever more reliant on technologies that enable their operations and services
18â€‚ |â€‚ November 2017
he UAE boasts of a vibrant SME sector and within the SME segment, there is a large number of companies that are into providing services to other SMEs and enterprises. It is true that many of these companies are as much dependent on the people they have in their teams as they are also on the technologies they use. The specific applications they use related to their domains in addition to the general IT infrastructure they have in place is key to their go to market arsenal. And with the digital transformation wave gaining ground, SMEs need to buckle up and keep pace with the latest technologies that can enable them in enhancing their services. It is fair to say that the awareness of IT as a Business enabler is quite high among most businesses in the region and their adoption rates are among the best in the region and globally as we find out from some examples across diverse segments.
A bright outlook for Auditing Ethics Plus Public Accountants is one of the leading firms in the region providing accounting, auditing and advisory services to a wide variety of businesses in the U.A.E. The company was a finalist in the Gulf Capital SME Awards (2017) in the category ‘Micro business of the year’. Some of the key services that we provide include statutory audits, internal audit / risk advisory, accounts outsourcing and CFO services, company incorporation, preparation of business plans, business valuation and due diligence
services, among others. A.R. Ramachandran, Managing Partner, Ethics Plus Public Accountants says, “While our clients do include MNCs, many of our services are also geared towards SMEs as well as start-ups. Being a firm that has been established and grown in the U.A.E., we understand the market and pulse of our clients very well. Our services are tailor-made to suit the unique requirements of our clientele, and we treat every client relationship as a new partnership.” “Our accounts and payroll outsourcing services are geared mainly towards SMEs and start-ups. We are proud to have one of the most efficient and reputed accounts outsourcing teams in Dubai. We completely review and take charge of bookkeeping tasks for our clients and that allows business owners to focus on their core business. Our clients find that this not only saves them money, but also saves them the time of managing the finance/ accounting team on their own. Since VAT is planned to be implemented in U.A.E. at a rate of 5% beginning January 01, 2018, accounts outsourcing makes sense for a wide segment of SMEs. It is also relevant to note that as per the new VAT related laws, it is mandatory for every business to maintain their accounting records and books for a period of 5 years,” he adds. Elaborating on the key role Technology plays in business, Ramachandran comments, “Companies that value fast communications, data processing and market
A. R. Ramachandran Managing Partner Ethics Plus Public Accountants
intelligence heavily rely on IT. IT has a key role across all industries in contributing towards helping them improve their business processes, achieve cost efficiency and accelerate their topline growth, all of which help the companies maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace and we are no exception and have implemented systems that help us in enhancing our operations and business.” The company has been working with multiple solution providers, looking at best options to deliver service in turn to their own customers. He adds, “We work with a number of solution providers who help us with the right technology. We do constant meetings with various technology providers, not only
to understand specific solutions for our clients, but also to keep ourselves up-to-date with the latest in technology. Quite obviously, the company has several IT systems deployed that handle various aspects of day to day functioning in addition to enabling the services they provide. Ramachandran elaborates, “As a firm we place a lot of emphasis on improving our own processes and improve our efficiency through the right technology. We have done this by implementing an integrated back-office software which helps us with our document management, attendance, internal reporting, etc.” He elaborates that the opportunity for professional auditors is looking up in the UAE as the government November 2017 | 19
Cover Feature | SME
"The key focus in terms of digital transformation will be to give better experience to investors of AL Masaha, Customers of Logistics and F&B division and to bring innovations in Educational platform by engaging the latest technology trends in Curriculum."
is increasingly focused on improving the regulatory environment in U.A.E. and those who haven’t employed professional auditor services will be now certainly have to.Further with the deadline for VAT implementation approaching, the demand for VAT compliant software is likely to grow in the SME segment. He elaborates, “As per the new UAE Commercial Companies Law, Federal Law No. 2 of 2015, every company should be getting their books audited by a registered auditor. We find that with the introduction of VAT and other Government initiatives, more companies would require their
Alex Nezeritis SME Insurance Head AIG MENA
20 | November 2017
books to be professionally audited.There is also sufficient scope in the U.A.E. market for VAT related consultancy and assistance with filing of VAT returns and other compliance requirements. For the SME segment, there is an opportunity for VAT compliant accounting software, which is easy-to-use, user-friendly and cost effective. Software as a service (SaaS) is increasingly becoming popular as well.”
AMG: Insurance services for SME sector AIG, one of the world’s leading insurance organizations with more than 90 million customers worldwide has operated in the MENA region for over 60 years. AIG is also one of the leading SME insurers in the Region, mostly focusing in the UAE, Qatar, Oman, and India. And needless to say, Technology is key for the company as an enabler of reaching out its services to its focus segments. Alex Nezeritis, Head of SME
Insurance for AIG MENA says “We have well diversified products and distribution channels – both in commercial and consumer insurance, and we operate on a geographic footprint stretching from North Africa to India. Over the decades, AIG has become one of the strongest providers of insurance products and services in the Middle East & North Africa Region, awarded numerous times by the Region’s reputable publications.” The company launched a dedicated department exclusively for the insurance needs for SMEs in 2010. “At AIG, we define SMEs as businesses with annual sales or insurable assets at a single location of less than AED36m. We want insurance to be simple, straightforward and accessible, which is why our SME product range is designed to be a one-stopshop for all SME business insurance needs. This takes out the guess work, and allows business owners to focus on their core business operations, while knowing they are protected by AIG. We understand that each and every business is unique, which is why we have designed 8 segmented products for our SME insureds, and our wide breadth of SME products aims to protect our clients for the risks that are specific to their business through our segmentation.”
AIG has created customized solutions for Offices, Retailers, Food & Beverage, Personal Care businesses, Clinicare for health sector, Educare for the Educational sector, Property Owners, as well as standalone workmen’s compensation protection for all segments, with customized extensions and certificates of insurance that are compliant with requirements of the various authorities and free-zones. AIG also offers tailor-made insurance solutions to SMEs that do fit necessarily fit in one of the above categories. AIG relies on a sturdy online platform to the needs of the SME sector. He opines that the technologies they use have been instrumental in enabling best efficiencies and keeping customers satisfied. Alex says, “AIG was the first insurance company in the UAE to provide in 2012 an online platform for a streamlined and a user-friendly approach to SME solutions for general lines. Aiming for flexibility to allow clients cater their insurance solutions to their needs, we also ensure that the documentation generated is compliant with requirements of the various authorities and free-zones. Our innovative technology solutions provide our brokers and clients quick turn-around times, increased efficiencies and added value, through strong reporting capabilities. The company has an eye for emerging technologies that it could leverage and continuously updates and
EXTEND YOUR POE BARRIERS BEYOND THE 100M LIMIT
Cover Feature | SME
improves itsSME platform to ensure it meets and even exceeds the needs of its brokers and clients.
Al Masah Capital : Leveraging ICT as an enabler Al Masah Capital Management provides fund raising and advisory services and access the opportunities provided primarily in Alternative Investments in the Middle East and North Africa region. Among its clients is Al Najah Education Limited (Al Najah), a specialized education and investment company that has evolved into a synergistic platform of 26 educational institutions across the MENA and SE Asia regions. Others include AVIVO Group, a regional healthcare operator, Diamond Lifestyle limited (DLL), a specialized food and beverage investment company as well as Gulf Pinnacle Logistics Limited (GPL), a logistics and transportation company. With such a diverse portfolio, the company has also focused on enabling latest ICT solutions with most of the entities that are part of the extended family and most notably with the educational institutions. Ashith Piriyattiath, Group Head of IT with Al Masah Capital Management says, “Some of the recent ICT initiatives include moving the corporate office DC and DR infrastructure to the cloud and moving from legacy email systems to Office 365. Among other many initiatives, we have been exploring the digital Marketing and online reputation Management to enhance the business,
22 | November 2017
deployed data leak prevention solutions across the group that helped achieve a remarkable 99% protection from data leakage as well as deployed anti-ransomware solutions.“ The schools that are part of its portfolio have seen significant ICT deployments. It has migrated decoupled infrastructure of the individual schools in the group to centralized infrastructure from corporate office and migrated to the cloud. It has explored the benefits of i-Pads in Education by transforming Sabari Indian School to Apple Branded Indian Curriculum School.Latest WiFi Access Points have been deployed across all the schools and established centralized control. He adds, “The schools have been exposed to the benefits of Microsoft Education platform and there is a unified School Management system for all the entities under our education division which will be hosted on to the cloud in a centralized manner. We have explored the latest streaming options of Laser technology and short throw projectors across schools, have introduced centralized Helpdesk system for the schools and hosted the Fleet Management (School Transportation System) to the cloud.” For Johnny Rockets Burgers, that is also part of its portfolio, Al Masah has explored the benefits of Online Ordering with Mobile Apps, explored the benefits of Digital Marketing, implemented a CLOUD based POS system and initiated drive-through systems for Johnny Rockets Burgers. While the group has
Ashith Piriyattiath IT Group Head Al Masah Capital Management
in-house IT team to cater the demands and to enhance the business in terms of technology, it works closely with multiple system Integrators. Ashith says, “We work with a couple of solution providers and system integrators on a regular basis and we work with preferred partners based on their area of expertise. We work with multiple SPs and Sis. Among some of the vendors, we having corporate agreements with include IBM related to its Cloud Services for our Datacenters and DR sites, HP- Aruba for mobility/ Infrastructure/Networking projects, Microsoft for our email solutions, 3CX & AVAYA in terms of communications, EPSON for Display/Projector and mirroring solutions and again HP for printing solutions.” With such a huge focus around ICT deployments from leading vendors, it is small wonder that the group is well placed to leverage the latest digital transformation tools.
He adds, “We are in the path of digital transformation and projects are in pipeline in terms of digital transformation and security. The key focus in terms of digital transformation will be to give better experience to investors of AL Masaha, Customers of Logistics and F&B division and to bring innovations in Educational platform by engaging the latest technology trends in Curriculum. The intent is to make our educational division as the pioneers in terms of utilization of technology. As the case studies illustrate, Technology is quite central to Businesses in the region focusing across a varied spectrum of services. While some have gone the further mile ahead with deployments of state of the art technologies that put them straight on the fast track for digital transformation, the others too are keeping pace with constant updates to their core solutions and backend infrastructure.
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Point2Point | Panduit
With E-commerce witnessing strong growth, do you see that as a key driver for more IT infrastructure build-up in Middle East? E-commerce is very dominant at present and offers significant opportunities for resellers and integrators, with Amazon, Alibaba and a host of on line and off line retailers investing heavily across the region. IT infrastructure is becoming a crucial link between consumer, carrier, data centre and e-retailer. Requirements for high reliability, high speed infrastructure is driving up the quality of installations and support. We are witnessing a strong growth in colocation data centre development, where robust and flexible infrastructure architecture is a definite requirement.
Bassel Alhalabi Regional Director Middle East Africa, Panduit EMEA
Rising demand for infrastructure Bassel Alhalabi, Regional Director, Middle East Africa, Panduit EMEA discusses how some of the key trends including the drive towards digital is driving demand for more robust IT infrastructure
24 | November 2017
Do you see similar demand being driven by the strong adoption of Social Media tools, especially in the lesser developed parts of the region? What infrastructure is needed to drive this forward? We are seeing the large social media players becoming more involved as the region embraces social media apps and communities. The increase in colocation data centre development is helping to raise the delivery capabilities to all areas in the region. For Integrators, it is essential that they raise their capabilities to provide the level of infrastructure expertise, so that they demonstrate their understanding of the customer and market needs. The digital market is still in its infancy in the region and the growth in social media is a route to a growing customer market. As the latest data speeds and bandwidth capabilities are implemented – such as 5G – we will witness up to a 1000fold increase in capabilities and these speeds will radically change the market over the next three-years. Data centre developers and operators need local and regional knowledge from the support partners, and this is a clear opportunity for Integrators to show their expertise and win projects.
"The region, like many others has seen a consumerisation of IT, with many resellers and Integrators building links to the manufacturers to provide a range of ‘As a Service’ product models to maintain and build relationships and subscriptions with customers."
What impact will VoIP take-up have on data centre and enterprise resource? The increase in VoIP is a further demonstration of increased integration between telecoms and IT. The massive increase in voice packet traffic along with the general increase in data flow illustrates the requirement for increased reliability of the enterprise and data centre infrastructure. The physical layer represents around five percent (5%) of data centre project spend and accounts for fifty-nine percent (59%) of down time once operational. Our region is driven by our aspiration for quality of service, therefore more regulation and regional standards, are helping to ensure a higher level of consistency across the industry. This is another area where Integrators need to demonstrate their capabilities and understanding of the technologies and architectures that will offer the most robust infrastructures for these solutions. Major carriers and smaller providers are investing to provide the backbone capabilities, whilst the recent mergers of Integrators and resellers has created operations that have the range of knowledge and experience to operate in this evolving market space.
With a future that is increasingly online, gender bias will decrease sharply as e-retail and e-commerce become increasingly automated. Ensuring the customer has a robust, high quality service, is becoming the common mantra, we believe women will increase their importance and their involvement in the market both within the supply chain and as the customer. Do you believe that the Financial Centre development will positively impact the growth of the region’s data centres? The capability to move massive amounts information around the globe instantaneously, has been a major impetus to the data centre market. However, for financial institutions many countries are regulating the type of data that must keep in-country. In many respects this will ensure that financial markets and other secured data industries are maintained around the region. Has the internet changed the regional channel business model? Today, customers are more
knowledgeable and demanding. The channel is constantly adapting and improving their capabilities in technical competency and customer services, to a more customer centric offer. In the data centre market, customers now accept the colocation model, which is a very different business to an owned data centre. The consolidation of channel businesses into fewer larger organisations, with more comprehensive capabilities, illustrates our region’s maturity and its ability to adapt its business model to maintain competitiveness. In summary, how do you perceive the changes in the region’s IT Market? The region, like many others has seen a consumerisation of IT, with many resellers and Integrators building links to the manufacturers to provide a range of ‘As a Service’ product models to maintain and build relationships and subscriptions with customers. Panduit has a global perspective in respect of the change and has aligned our business model to this trend. The evolution of the IT acquisition and support process provides a closer and more intimate relationship between channel and customer.
Do you believe that the gender bias is changing in terms of more women now using IT at workplace and also in terms of becoming more comfortable with online shopping? I believe that this perceived bias is already changing and many organisation have taken steps to ensure women are involved in the work place as well as online customers. Across the region women are gaining positions and a stronger voice in many areas of the economy and this is reflected in the growing internet use among women. As an organisation, Panduit has observed increases in the number of women within software, support and management.
November 2017 | 25
Insight | Epicor Software
VAT in the GCC Monzer Tohme, regional vice president, Middle East& Africa, Epicor Software discusses that benefits aside, being prepared for VAT compliance can be a daunting prospect.
Monzer Tohme Regional Vice President, MEA Epicor Software
The clock is ticking. In January 2018, the UAE and Saudi Arabia will adopt a Value Added Tax (VAT) at a standard rate of 5%, with the rest of the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) to follow soon after. The UAE’s Ministry of Finance has explained in clear terms what is required of businesses—that they “will be responsible for carefully documenting their business income and costs, and associated VAT charges”. For those familiar with VAT compliance in other countries, there are no surprises here. And PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and many others have already published whitepapers cataloguing the nuanced challenges of VAT in the Arab Gulf region.
26 | November 2017
The benefits of VAT are well established. For business, compliance is relatively straightforward and the tax is neutral to economic hiccups and changes in trading and distribution patterns. Governments benefit from VAT being a proven inflationneutral system, and Gulf governments in particular can be assured of steady funding for public spending, to cover any possible shortfall in non-oil GDP in the midst of a dip in petrochemical prices.
Operational readiness But benefits aside, being prepared for VAT compliance can be a daunting prospect. If you manufacture, distribute
or sell goods you need to understand its impact, and have a working knowledge of input and output tax. You need to understand the difference between Standard, Zero and Exempt rates. How will you manage VAT as it pertains to your cash flow? What deferred-payment schemes are available and how can you optimise the timing of recovery of VAT on costs? If your business crosses national boundaries, you need to consider the requirements of customs authorities—VAT will add an additional layer to import-export regulations, and full compliance will demand deft handling. In addition to all of these considerations, it is expected that there may be many exemptions and exceptions when it comes to intra-GCC transactions.And there will remain the significant grey area of government suppliers, where a public agency may have its exempt status suspended for the purposes of maintaining a competitive market. Different industries
will need to address these complexities in different ways, in addition to keeping on top of their own sector specific issues.
Financial services The finance sector traditionally enjoys many exemptions when it comes to VAT. In the case of GCC VAT, it is expected that these exemptions will extend to Shariah-compliant banking and insurance (takaful), but industry players will have to wrestle with a certain amount of complexity to make proper use of these benefits. Organisations need to ensure that services are identified correctly as exempt or taxable,and that VAT on reverse-charges is properly managed. Banks and other financial institutions may need to reassess the design of products to comply, not only with VAT, but with fundamental changes in consumer needs.
Manufacturing Organisations within the manufacturing supply-chain
will feel acutely exposed to the impact of VAT. Smooth implementation is crucial, to ensure sustained cash flow and optimal operating efficiency. Manufacturers must keep price fluctuations firmly in mind, just as their customers will, and pay due attention to new invoicing requirements. Those that are involved in trade with other countries inside and outside the GCC, should be prepared to comply with the strict auditing requirements of customs officials.
Hospitality and tourism Airlines, hotels, travel agents, and other industry specialists will have very different VAT stories to tell. The reason for this complexity lies not only in the vast operational differences between, say, an air carrier and a hotel, but
also in the differentiation between a principal and an agent. In a recent report on GCC VAT by Deloitte, the consultancy firm pointed out that “many tourism businesses describe themselves as an ‘agent’”, but for the purposes of VAT compliance they must “consider if they are acting as a principal in reality, while referring to themselves an ‘agent’”. Other complexities will arise for the sector in its dealing with inbound and outbound business. Depending on an end-customer’s itinerary, multiple different rates of VAT may apply, depending on which country is deemed to be the origin of the business transaction—the so-called “place of supply”.
Technology to the rescue Whether you run a fully-
fledged, integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or a standalone finance package, you will likely have access to basic VAT functionality. But compliance with new country-specific regulations within the GCC may require anything from mild configuration to extensive procurement. Whatever your scenario, aim for extensible functionality and flexible options that minimise the likelihood of financial penalties. With a series of interlocking global engines, you can easily configure the rules that determine how transactions are posted, where they are posted, how tax is calculated, how currency is handled, and how data is stored. Demand flexibility, so you can add the functionality that makes sense for your
business. The best solutions are designed around core functions that worldwide tax systems have in common, with national variations as configuration options. In particular, ensure your chosen ERP system is capable of producing the required level of documentation. A comprehensive set of electronic-compliance features is advisable, as is a structured reporting framework that can produce VAT submissions in a wide variety of formats. Remember that noncompliance can have a detrimental effect not only on the corporate purse, but on brand credibility. Managing the intricacies of VAT regulations is made a lot easier with the right technology platform for commerce.
Study claims 264% ROI for Epicor customers
picor announced the availability of a new Total Economic Impact (TEI) study that examines the potential return on investment (ROI) companies can achieve with the Epicor enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. The August 2017 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Epicor is titled, “The Total Economic Impact of Epicor ERP: Driving Efficiency, Customer Responsiveness, And Cost Savings Through Epicor ERP.” The study is based on detailed interviews conducted with a number of Epicor customers. Their combined attributes and experiences form a composite organization from which Forrester developed a framework to measure the potential financial impact and investment return of Epicor ERP to
an organization. Based on the analysis, Epicor ERP enabled the composite organization to achieve risk-adjusted inventory savings of $4.4 million, with a risk-adjusted ROI of 264% and a payback period of 13 months, in addition to over $3.4 million in enterprise efficiency savings bringing the total economic benefit to more than $9 million. Furthermore, with Epicor ERP the composite organization achieved significant business benefits and productivity improvements across its supply chain, production management, planning and scheduling, sales, finance and IT functions such as: • Increased versatility with deployment options such as the Epicor Cloud ERP offering
• Productivity gains and cost savings from improved manufacturing processes and increased visibility • Increased sales from improved customer collaboration and customer relationship management • IT cost savings from consolidation and replacement of legacy systems • Faster access to data and improved real-time visibility that enables better decision making • Increased competitiveness with quicker turnaround of customer quotes and improved pricing accuracy enabled by cost transparency • Access to deep expertise in manufacturing best practices • Increased agility for growth with multicompany operational efficiency with multibook capabilities November 2017 | 27
Insight | Beyond Trust
Morey Haber Vice President Beyond Trust
Effective Security Awareness Training Morey Haber, vice president of technology at Beyond Trust discusses how security awareness needs a causal relationship of action, threat, and outcome
28 | November 2017
ne of my favorite spam emails are the ones from cyber security companies soliciting security awareness training for your employees. Think about it. You are receiving spam email, potentially a phishing attack, from a company offering services on how not to fall for a fraudulent email scam! Security awareness is much more than training, knowledge, and attentiveness. It needs to be part of the culture in your business, a part of your everyday lives, and is much more than identifying the latest phishing email. Security awareness is not a paranoia, but can be looked at in the extremes if misunderstood. This was certainly the case when Yahoo labeled their security professionals the “Paranoids”. Security awareness does require education, but it also requires intelligence, when to respond and when to correctly ignore a situation. If every event, alarm, and situation becomes a problem, security awareness is no different than extreme paranoia. This can take on many forms from cyber security, to physical access. It can be overly dramatized by requiring all visitors to register their laptops upon security check in to a building as a visitor but then denying them even guest access to the Internet or corporate network in any form. Security awareness needs a causal relationship of action, threat, and outcome not just a blanket statement of denial, or a ‘do not do’. This is how we take basic education and training past guidelines to intelligence and attentiveness—
knowing why it is a problem verses just following the mandate. Therefore, when we consider security awareness education, we need to consider the following factors in our corporate training: • All businesses have crown jewels. Whether it is sensitive data, physical assets, personally identifiable information (PII), classified government material or just private information in general. Team members should be trained on what this information looks like, how to handle sensitive information, and what could happen to them, and the business, if the information is stolen; physically or electronically. • Security awareness also has a legal component. All employees, contractors, and applicable third parties handling sensitive information should be trained, and when appropriate, sign a nondisclosure agreement. • The labeling and handling of sensitive information is key in any form used to communicate the contents. This could include labeling emails as confidential, appropriate levels of encryption for storage and transmission, and even include the destruction of material from shredders to wiping disks securely. • The concepts of authorization and authentication are key to security awareness. This includes everything from biometrics, to passwords and multi-factor authentication. Context aware access from geolocation to concurrent login information is a major part of this and ensures proper
methods for protecting access to sensitive information and applications as appropriate. • Traditional security awareness training covers cyber security threats and modern attack vectors like malware, phishing (in all forms), and social engineering. This is more than just “do not click on a link”. It needs to cover why you should not click on a link to raise the bar of attentiveness and ultimately intelligence. • Physical access is just as much a part of security awareness training as cyber. This includes building access, door access, security badges, and reporting of incidents. If a stranger is present, how would you notify the appropriate people? This also includes
possessions that should never be permitted in the workplace, even personal computers. • And finally, for all the grandeur of security awareness, all team members should be aware of the consequences in the event of a violation. This could be personnel discipline but also should establish ground rules for what can happen to their employment or company if a violation occurs. If people understand the risk, and why, they are more likely to show attentiveness to the problem than if it is “just policy”. In the end, security awareness means you comprehend that there is the risk for individuals to deliberately or accidentally steal, damage, or misuse the
information or assets prized by an organization. Raising awareness can come in many forms from education to cultural changes but in the end, it must be a part of daily business in order to be effective. Just by stating “we have done our annual security awareness training” is simply not enough but unfortunately this seems to be the case in several businesses in the Middle East. According to a 2016 PwC report, only 37% of businesses surveyed have a comprehensive security and training awareness program, against a global average of 53%. Furthermore, only 32% of Middle East organizations require their employees to complete training on
privacy policies and practices (compared with 55% globally). Any good executive understands the importance of measuring the business. I would encourage all teams to measure the effectiveness of security awareness training, policies, and procedures via penetration tests and role playing. This could even include basics like online based situational tests that are required for all users to participate to confirm basic knowledge transfer. Therefore, security awareness should be viewed as a key enabler, not just a policy and rules restricting the business. If anything, it could end up saving your business.
November 2017 | 29
Enterprise Class VMS Software
Overview: WatchNET INC, CANADA had released enhanced Enterprise Class VMS Software with more exciting features. These include HD Video, Multi-level Redundancy, Mass Storage, excellent Load Balance, Advanced Alarms & Video Wall as part of a single management platform. It's scalable & resilient, Client-Server Architecture and is ONVIF Compatible. It supports both distributed & centralized deployments with built-in IVS features (Tripwire, Intrusion, Abandoned/Missing Object, Face Recognition & People Counting). eVMS-PRO integrates multiple surveillance systems. With eVMS-PRO, end users receive a perpetual license that includes a wide range of unmatched enterprise features. It has the facility to locate cameras quickly with a facility map on thick web and mobile clients. It simplifies complex network configurations and setup by identifying cameras on the network. Key features: • Powerful & Resilient Embedded Linux Platform • Client-Server software architecture • Highly Flexible and Scalable • Distributed Network • Unlimited accounts (8000 online users and 500 roles) • Client Application supports Windows OS www.watchnetinc.com
30 | November 2017
Huawei NE9000 Router for 400G DCI Solution Overview: At GITEX 2017, Huawei launched the 400G DCI solution and industry’s largest Petabit Router NE9000, which enables the rapid migration of massive amounts of data between data centers and eliminates bandwidth-related bottlenecks, greatly improving bandwidth utilization between data centers while reducing power consumption in equipment rooms. This will greatly facilitate Middle East enterprises as they strive to smoothly evolve their data center networks over the next 10 years. Enterprises are moving services to the cloud at an increasing pace as digitalization accelerates in the region, and tens of thousands of servers are required to expand a current generation large-scale cloud data center. With east-west traffic between data centers growing exponentially and total server data exceeding 1000 PB per data center, interconnection networks are now needed that can offer low latency and no congestion. Key features: • Huawei's 400G DCI solution features high-speed 400G interconnection technology in NE9000, along with intelligent global control based on the company's Agile Controller. •
The solution enables the efficient operation of enterprise cloud services and supports the evolution of network bandwidth; it also brings services online quickly while monitoring and adjusting network traffic in real time.
Customers that select Huawei's solution can enjoy globally adjustable and controllable networks, a 50% improvement in bandwidth utilization, and a reduction in operating costs.
• The NE9000 is focused on high device density and energy efficiency, the defining characteristics of data centers.
Sophos XG Firewall Overview: Sophos announced the latest version of its nextgeneration Sophos XG Firewall that delivers a breakthrough in network traffic visibility. Using Synchronized Security to obtain information from the endpoint, XG Firewall can identify, classify and allow the control of all previously unknown applications active on the network, such as those which don’t have signatures or are using generic HTTP or HTTPS connections. Synchronized App Control on XG Firewall is an industry first and can reduce the security risks associated with unidentified traffic by allowing administrators to see exactly what is on their network. Synchronized App Control will automatically associate discovered applications with appropriate categories where possible and adminsistrators can assign unknown apps to categories that will block or prioritize them as desired. Interactive application reporting provides deep insight into daily traffic activity. Key features: • Sophos XG Firewall is available for on-premise • • •
and cloud deployment, on all the major virtualization platforms as well as through the Microsoft Azure marketplace. Both Sophos Endpoint Protection and the next- generation anti-ransomware solution Intercept X will provide the XG Firewall with the Synchronized Security data required for this new level of traffic identification. In addition, Sophos has introduced new XG Series hardware appliances that provide a modular system for connectivity with a wide variety of integrated connectivity and FleXi Port modules. The addition of two fail-safe bypass port pairs on- board every 1U appliance and an optional bypass FleXi Port module for all 1U and 2U XG Series models.
Dell EMC S4200-ON switch
Overview: The new Dell EMC S4200-ON switch using merchant silicon is a state-of-the-art deep-buffer, deep-table 10/100GbE data center switching platform purpose-built for deployment at the top-ofrack (ToR) and Data Center Interconnect applications. The Dell EMC Networking S4200-ON switch is Dell EMC’s latestdisaggregated hardware and software data center networking solution,providing a broad range of functionality to meet the growing demands oftoday’s data center environment. The S4200 is a performance-optimizedopen networking switch that provides deep buffering capability andenhanced hardware table capacities for internet routing or high densityflow tables for software defined networking applications. The S4200-ON delivers non-blockingperformance for High Performance Computing (HPC), big dataand other workloads sensitive to packet loss. It also provide soptimum bandwidth for demanding environments with support for10/40/100GE ports for top of rack deployment in data centers. Key features: • Based on configuration options, the S4200-ON can be a full functioned data center switch, low-cost WAN switch for internet routing, or scalable 10GbE SDN switch for access and aggregation layers of a SDN data center fabric. • The Dell EMC S4200-ON supports the open source Open Network • 500X larger buffers than standard Dell EMC 10/100GbE switching platforms, boosting East-West traffic and distributed application performance making it ideal for virtualized environments • 15X larger tables than standard Dell EMC 10/100GbE switching platforms for use in Data Center Interconnect and full routing applications • Up to 10X performance increase for Big Data environments compared to standard Dell EMC ToR plaforms
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Stats & Trends
80 Percent of Enterprises Investing in AI
whopping 80 percent of enterprises are investing today in AI, but one in three business leaders believe their company will need to invest more over the next 36 months to keep pace with competitors. At the same time, enterprises are anticipating significant barriers to adoption and are looking to strategize against those issues by creating a new C-suite position, the Chief AI Officer (CAIO) to streamline and coordinate AI adoption. These results come from survey of 260 large organizations that operate globally, conducted by research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of Teradata, a leading data and analytics company.
Companies are doubling down on AI investments The survey results found that companies are bullish and expect their AI investments to be worth the upfront cost. The industries where respondents expect to see the most impact from AI are IT, technology and telecoms (59 percent), business and professional services (43 percent), and customer services and financial services were tied for third (32 percent). The top three challenges where businesses expect AI to drive revenue are product innovation/research and development (50 percent), customer service (46 percent), and supply chain and operations (42 percent). This mirrored some of the top
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areas of AI investment, which include customer experience (62 percent), product innovation (59 percent) and operational excellence (55 percent). While adoption rates are high and companies expect AI to prove its worth, there is a lot of opportunity for future implementation: 80 percent of respondents report that some form of AI is already in production in their organization, although 42 percent say that there is lots of room for further implementation. 30 percent still believe that their organization isn’t investing enough and will need to invest more in AI technologies over the next 36 months to keep up with competitors in their industry. On average, the companies surveyed are currently investing $6.47 million in AI technology — that number rises to $8.25 million average spend for companies in APAC.
Challenges lie ahead Almost all respondents are anticipating barriers to adoption and ROI — as is the case with nearly every emerging technology. Business are ready to continue to invest in AI, likely because of the gains executives and IT decision-makers anticipate in cost and time savings, but lack of IT infrastructure and lack of access to talent are cited as the leading barriers. Surprisingly, business leaders are not as concerned about
the impact AI and automation will have on employee morale — only 20 percent see this as a barrier — and even less, 19 percent, are worried about making a business case for AI. 91 percent expect to see barriers to AI realization, with lack of IT infrastructure (40 percent) and lack of access to talent (34 percent) leading the challenges, followed by lack of budget for implementation (30 percent), complications around policies, regulations and rights (28 percent) and impact on customer expectations (23 percent). Businesses anticipate about a half-and-half split between revenue increases (53 percent) and cost/ efficiency savings (47 percent) from their AI investments. Only 28 percent of respondents say that their organization has enough trained people internally to buy, build and deploy AI.
Strategizing to extract ROI from AI While executives currently rely
on existing technology leaders like CIOs and CTOs to steer AI adoption and strategy, they believe the future of AI will be so relevant for creating a strategy across business practices that they will need a CAIO (Chief AI Officer) to coordinate and mandate implementation throughout the enterprise. The CIO (47 percent) and CTO (43 percent) are leading the effort today, with 62 percent of respondents say they are planning to hire a dedicated role — a CAIO — to lead the effort in the future. Companies expect a $1.99 ROI in the next five years for every dollar invested today and $2.87 in ROI over the next 10 years. The industries that most anticipate positive impacts are: IT, technology and telecoms (59 percent); business and professional services (43 percent); consumer services (32 percent); financial services (32 percent); and manufacturing and production (31 percent).
Published on Nov 29, 2017