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Why organisations need to collaborate digitally for shared success

Huawei Enterprise’s Middle East vice president and managing director Alaa Elshimy explores why organisations need a forward-thinking and collaborative approach to make the most of their digital transformation.

Alaa Elshimy - MD and VP for Huawei Middle East's Enterprise Business Group
Alaa Elshimy – MD and VP for Huawei Middle East’s Enterprise Business Group

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for the day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed for a lifetime, goes the old proverb. It’s arguably as poignant today as it ever has been. Right now, every type of business is being disrupted by the onslaught of innovations, expectations, and new entrants. As businesses, governments and nations embark on their digital transformations, skillsets, talent resourcing, and digital strategies must be fit for future purpose.

Every single layer of the value chain is, or should be, adopting this mantra – every business should be both the student and teacher in order for this ecosystem of collaboration and partnership to be effective.

Digital transformation has been on executive agendas for some time, and it’s abundantly clear now that it’s not a trend, but more of a revolution in the way the world operates. With that in mind, consultation and servicing is not an adequate approach to supporting business. A fundamental change in the way we work, live, communicate and innovate is the only true way to extract the very best from the digital era.

That means that companies like Huawei must utilise their skills to empower partners to take control of their own digital transformations. By placing the power in the hands of local partners, we can create a domino effect that leads all the way down to the customer and citizen level. This will allow them to contribute to key industry sectors embarking on digital transformation, helping them realise national visions across the region.

This is critical, because partners and resellers operate in very intense and competitive market spaces. If partners are slow to adapt to digital transformation, the impact on the end-user can be grand – whether that’s a customer, resident, citizen or tourist.

Moreover, unless you’re a particularly large organisation, you need to be focusing on your niche market, and developing your niche skills. Unique value propositions are going to play an increasingly important role in the success of businesses in the digital era, when many manual and slow processes and tasks are taken care of. The level of service, follow-through, innovation, and knowledge you can exert will become the centre of attention for customers and clients. Therefore, being ahead, being focused and being ready to meet rising expectations will be the combination of factors that keeps you afloat.

That’s applicable to both governments, authorities and small businesses. It’s applicable across the board. The common link is the dire need for all levels of the value chain to understand and be prepared for digital transformation.

Failing to plan is planning to fail

In an article published by the Harvard Business Review last year, it was claimed that telecommunications and financial services were two of the industries likely to be most affected by digital transformation. The pace of change is dramatically altering the way they conduct their business, and historically, they’re slow to make moves into new ways of working.

To avoid falling dramatically behind, businesses need to be prepared. Resellers, partners and vendors must be highly skilled, with solid strategies for both educating their customers, and serving them. The same goes for larger enterprises, like Huawei. And even more so, customers themselves – such as government entities that might be trying to roll out smart solutions for their citizens. These entities will be looking towards key industry drivers for expertise, innovations and consultation that can shape their strategies for years to come.

These are the strategies that will be leading customer-driven transformations, spurring economic growth and developing key technologies that are unique to each market. Dubai’s OpenLab is a prime example of how developing the right solutions for the right problems can help fast-track partner and government requirements in the digital age.

The changing face of evolution

What does this shift in operations actually look like, though? The digital transformation looks different for every industry and type of business, but we have seen some commonalities. Firstly, the most digitally prepared organisations have a clearly defined strategy for evolution and growth. That means that they have a clear understanding of what needs to happen in order for them to achieve digital transformation, while simultaneously focusing on the growth needs of the business.

Secondly, they understand the importance of people. Digitally-versed leaders, and a forward-thinking leadership team are far more likely to pull off a successful move into the digital world. These people are not only ready to embrace the cloud, IoT and 5G, but also have ideas on how to draw the very best from them.

Thirdly, I believe the most important thing is that these organisations and entities aren’t stuck in limbo. Rarely does an organisation’s demise happen overnight, it’s a long, drawn out process. It’s a slow decline. You continue trying to serve your customers in traditional, inefficient, and outdated ways, until you become fully submerged in inadequacy. Those that are ready and willing to transform are the same as those making plans for the future. These organisations are having conversations about their customers’ future needs and desires, and they’re building solutions based on the platforms of tomorrow.

Supporting partners

Huawei’s mission is to help partners achieve these steps en route to their digital transformations. In turn, this will help public and private sector organisations drive their national visions in the right direction. We are building business plans and strategies, empowering innovation, and fostering learning and education to ensure these transformations are done right.

The next generation of business isn’t on the horizon; it’s here. And Huawei is globally recognised as the partner of choice for preparing businesses to compete within it.

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