Features, Insight, Interviews

“Digital Transformation is a journey, not a destination” – President, Midis System Integration

Sami Abi Esber, President, Midis System Integration and Board Member at Midis Group, explains how they have helped their customers overcome the challenges they faced with cloud transformation, the core components of what he defines as digital transformation – and its participation at this year’s GITEX Global 2021.

Many businesses are struggling to adapt to the demands of cloud transformation. In your expert opinion, why do you think enterprises are struggling, and how are Midis Group leveraging their expertise to help companies cope with the challenges they are facing?

The Middle East is witnessing multiple tailwinds for cloud transformation. By one estimate, the MEA cloud computing market size is expected to grow from $14.2 billion to $31.4 billion by 2026. While this is an incredibly healthy growth rate, it comes with its own challenges.

Let me here differentiate between two types of challenges facing such increased adoption, the first type has to do with the decision to adopt cloud as a platform. The second type of challenges is about truly realising the benefit of “cloud transformation”, simply said, not every cloud migration is a cloud transformation.

For the first type, some customers are apprehensive about cybersecurity, while many others are wary of real cost, vendor lock-ins and skill gaps Some also don’t know how to handle the complexities involved in the assessment of cloud migration, the planning and smooth execution. For this type of challenges, we offer customers a suite of comprehensive services in the assessment, planning and migration services to help customers throughout the process.

Such services address their concern about vendor-lock ins, security and smooth migration. The other type of challenges relates to cloud transformation. Once you embark on the cloud journey, you realise that the cloud really shines if you know how to take full advantage of it, by that we mean how you can optimise your cost on the cloud, how you can have an architecture that scales based on microservices and serverless architecture and how can you effectively manage, operate and secure the new environment.

For this type of challenges, and through our unparalleled eco-system of technology partners, we offer customers the expertise and insights on how to achieve true cloud transformation competitively.

Digital transformation is everywhere, and every major industry vertical has been forced to embrace it in some shape or form over the last 18 months. However, what do you believe are the key principles that must be embedded in every digital transformation strategy?

To begin with, there is no cookie-cutter approach to digital transformation. Businesses must have clear vision, outlining expected outcomes and preparedness for future eventualities. Successful digital transformation is purpose-driven, and firmly oriented towards outcomes.

For instance, if the intended outcome is superior customer experience (CX); businesses must obsess about optimising customer journeys. If, it is about creating net new revenue streams by monetising some data, then challenging the assumptions behind the new revenue streams has to be thorough.

It is very easy to fall in love with your own ideas, so you need to validate your assumptions on the expected value creation from digital transformation.

From an internal perspective, leaders have a key role to play in generating consensus across departments and creating a company culture that is receptive to transformation and change. Company cohesiveness guarantees the success of digital transformation strategies. And even if it fails, it will “fail fast” – without draining more resources for a lost cause, and you move on to the next thing.

Finally, we must understand that digital transformation is a journey; not a destination. So, businesses must stay technologically agile; through continuous improvements, timely upskilling, and constant course corrections. Such proactiveness will help benchmark optimal outcomes, set effective KPIs, lead to insight-led decision making, and eliminate guesswork.

GITEX is the region’s flagship IT and Technology event. Can you tell our readers more about your participation at this year’s event – and how important is the conference for Midis in terms of being able to meet and network with your partners and customers in a face-to-face environment?

The Midis’ Group is no stranger to GITEX, as our contribution to this event was acknowledged through an award by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the year 2000.

This year, we are the exclusive sponsor the VIP Majlis Club for the 12th year in a row, including GITEX Technology Week 2021. This association will continue, since we see GITEX as the Middle East’s largest tech event. This year, over 3,000 tech companies will leverage the GITEX platform; to launch innovative products and services in 5G, AI, Cloud & Edge, Cybersecurity, Future Mobility, Fintech, Health-tech, and more.

GITEX serves as the bedrock for breakthroughs and technological innovations in the region. Moreover, it brings stakeholders across the tech value chain under one roof; offering a platform for networking, collaborations, partnerships, and synergies.

The need for such platforms has only amplified following the extended downtime due to the pandemic; in facilitating the return to in-person interactions and building trust in the tech ecosystem.

Midis Group has 50 years of experience and is one of the most trusted names and brands in the Middle East. How have you been able to maintain that success over such a long period of time, and what ultimately differentiates you from other market rivals?

We believe that there are many elements to sustaining a successful operation. At Midis, we adopt certain values and operating principles that help us navigate our journey. Customer centricity is of paramount importance, we take our customers’ success and satisfaction to heart. Another is trust and long-term relationships.

Our relationships with our business partners and customers are that of mutual trust, respect and taking the long-term view. Agility is very important at Midis, and although we are a fairly large organisation, we are very aware of the need to remain agile, empowering our management teams and employees. We encourage innovation at all fronts, whether it is process innovation or technology innovation or any innovation that adds value to our customers.

We also believe in the importance of maintaining a solid balance sheet and financial strength which help us navigate the turbulent times. Our customers remain assured that they are backed by a solid organisation. Accountability and strong corporate governance run deep in the organisation, and it certainly help us maintain the reputation that we enjoy today.

But what truly differentiates us from the crowd is our eco-system, our eco-system of technology partners, expertise, talent, market coverage and business partners, enable us to be customer centric and to put together solutions and teams that address customer needs. We are constantly working on enhancing such eco-system and making sure that it presents unmatched value to our customers.

What are your primary objectives and goals for the remainder of 2021, and looking ahead to 2022?

We have designated a task force to accelerate investments into emerging technologies and breakthroughs in existing ones. Going forward, we will double down on Digital Technology capabilities ; in cloud, Big Data, Analytics, AI, and Cybersecurity.

We are also pretty focused on strengthening our “solutions capabilities” and making it well known to our customers. Many of our customers today may not see the breadth of solutions that can be offered by working with their Midis affiliate, and in 2022 you will see that changing.

I know it may sound as a cliché, but we are truly living in an exciting time when it comes to information and communication technology, and it is up to us to harness the technological advancement we have today to the benefit of our communities, and we are absolutely committed and passionate about that!

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