More than 250 of the region’s most influential technology and business leaders gathered at Abu Dhabi’s Jumeirah Etihad Towers for the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2016.
Hosted under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, the ninth annual instalment of the ICT conference saw discussions continue on the wave of digital transformation that is sweeping across the region and the unrivalled opportunities that exist for driving innovation and value creation in this new digital economy.
“The profound challenge of digital transformation is the ability to infuse innovation into every sinew of the enterprise or community in question,” said Jyoti Lalchandani, Group Vice President and Regional Managing Director, IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “Collaboration is the key here, because inputs are required from all relevant stakeholders in order for digital transformation efforts to be truly successful. This ultimately requires the establishment of cross-functional partnerships, the integration of new technology platforms into stable, scaled, and business services, and the incorporation of new skills, techniques, and cultures into the existing fabric of the broader organisation.”
These challenges remained the focus of attention as Gerry Pennell, CIO of the London Olympic Organising Committee, took to the stage. Drawing on lessons learned from the GBP 500 million technology program he managed for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, he outlined a series of strategies for overcoming the numerous barriers that exist to delivering major IT and digital initiatives at speed.
The delegates also heard from Qusai Al-Shatti, Acting Director General of Kuwait’s Central Agency for Information Technology, who outlined a National ICT Development Partnership that the agency has formed with IDC to gauge ICT adoption rates in the country. He explained that the initiative will draw on 28,000 surveys to detail the latest technology usage trends among government entities, individuals and households, private enterprises, education institutes, ICT vendors, and infrastructure and access providers such as telecom operators and ISPs.
“Our partnership with IDC is not only aimed at raising awareness about the state of Kuwait’s ICT sector, but also at benchmarking the country’s development on both a regional and international scale,” said Al-Shatti. “The data will be shared with reputed global agencies such as ITU and the World Economic Forum for use in their public reports, and we expect the research findings to fuel extensive discussions between relevant policymakers and stakeholders on the establishment of coherent national strategies for improving the maturity of ICT adoption within Kuwait.”
Following a brief pause in proceedings, Dr. Arwa Y. Al-Aama, vice mayor for IT affairs at Jeddah Municipality, chaired a panel discussion on the growing role of women leaders in IT. Featuring Najwa A. Rahim, vice president of ICT at Bahrain Airport Company; Alexandra Tarazi, executive director of health information systems and ICT at Primary Health Care Corporation; and Ameena Abdul Raheem, head of IT at the Engineers Office, the panelists discussed the benefits of actively encouraging more women to seek and retain leadership roles within the region’s IT organisations.
The event’s final session saw IDC’s group vice president and executive advisor, Joseph Pucciarelli, present detailed roadmaps for successfully building digital platforms, creating digital transformation centres of excellence, engendering learning cultures across entire organisations, developing digital transformation alliances within the enterprise ecosystem, and implementing new business models aimed at driving ever-greater levels of innovation. Already a trusted partner to the UAE Government, DarkMatter is staffed by tier-one international cyber experts who develop, manage and deploy the most innovative technologies. Solutions adhere to the company’s Cyber Security Life-Cycle, which incorporates a four-stage approach involving planning, detection, protection and recovery.