A vibrant and innovative IT sector will be vital for business development, sustainable job creation and economic diversification in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the Dubai Aluminium Company (DUBAL) and German IT giant SAP.
The observation was made by DUBAL CIO Ahmad M. Almulla and SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott today during high-profile keynote speeches delivered to leading figures from the UAE business community.
“Without constructive economic diversification, the UAE cannot flourish and realise its true potential,” said Almulla, who was speaking as a part of the Middle East and Africa (MENA) leg of the SAP World Tour 2011.
“As our stature and influence as a nation grows on the world stage, so too must our ability to innovate and set the agenda. Best practice, corporate social responsibility, sustainable job creation – none of this is possible in the 21 century without IT. Information may equate to power, but without being honed by precise and intelligent processing it remains formless. The importance of analysing massive volumes of data in real time will enable companies to move faster and have more choices than ever before.”
IT has been at the heart of DUBAL’s journey to owning and operating one of the world’s largest aluminium smelters. Built on a 480-hectare site in Jebel Ali, the complex’s major facilities comprise a one million metric tonne per annum primary aluminium smelter, a 2,350 megawatt power station (at 30°C), a large carbon plant, casting operations with a capability of more than 1,161,000 metric tonnes per annum, a 30 million gallon per day seawater desalination plant, laboratories, port and storage facilities.
SAP, which is the world’s largest business software provider, has worked with DUBAL since 2006and is one of most vocal proponents of IT-driven business innovation in the UAE.
Recent SAP projects of note in the UAE include contracts to improve the operational efficiency of entities like Federal Foods, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and the Federal Electricity and Water Authority.
Bill McDermott, SAP Co-CEO and Executive Board member, said, “IT investments have already helped the UAE fuel impressive growth across this great country. Game-changing innovations like in-memory computing, mobility and cloud technology have the power to not only transform business and government, but also improve people’s lives. Technology is the driving force behind the UAE’s more sustainable and profitable future.”
“This is a region where one can truly say that the demand for IT outstrips the capacity and therefore I am convinced now more than ever that SAP needs to double its resources in the region to cater to this flourishing demand for best of breed software and solutions to enhance business processes and efficiency,” he said.
“The ability to focus on the customer’s unique requirements to efficiently digitise their business while ensuring that these investments guarantee sustainable growth is our core strength. Where SAP focuses on innovation, our competitors focus on consolidating the past. That is what makes us different,” he added.
With keynotes already delivered in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the SAP World Tour 2011 is a nuanced, multileveled initiative designed to enable dialogue with influencers, customers and members of the ecosystem interested in partnering with SAP.Through interactive formats, including industry- and product-specific breakout sessions, participants will learn how the SAP solution portfolio can deliver customer value, consistently executing on strategy and growing profitably and sustainability.
The MENA-leg of the tour comes at a time of notable success for SAP in the region.
In addition to consistently robust growth, SAP MENA has hired 100 new employees since August 2010 and recently opened new offices in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Qatar. In November 2010, SAP MENA announced it would double its resourceswithin the next two years, with the majority of headcount focused on solution delivery. Today, the region hosts more than 2100 qualified consultants and 75+ partners.
McDermott’s visit to the UAE coincided with an award ceremony for the annual SAP MENA Quality Awards, which celebrate customers that use SAP Quality Principles to effectively manage software implementations marked by multifaceted technical and business process requirements, excel in execution and deliver significant benefits, and achieve fast, low-cost implementations to accommodate today’s demands for rapid realisation of return on investment.