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WATCH: Western Digital on supporting its customers during the coronavirus pandemic

Deputy Editor Giorgia Guantario caught up with Khwaja Saifuddin, Senior Sales Director, Middle East at Western Digital to understand how the storage solutions leader is coping with the coronavirus pandemic and to discuss the importance of IT during this crisis.

In the past few months, the world has been swept by a new reality as the COVID-19 pandemic introduced a whole set of rules individuals and organisations have to abide by in order to mitigate the spreading of the outbreak.

Western Digital, a global leader in data storage solutions, was deemed an “essential business” amid the coronavirus crisis, as it provides some of the most essential IT solutions and products in the industry.

Khwaja Saifuddin, Senior Sales Director, Middle East, Western Digital Corporation, explained the company is still working hard to deliver its products at a time when its customers need it most.

He said, “All of the over 60 thousand employees of Western Digital have been taking all the necessary measures to continue our business. We have been deemed an essential good in today’s challenging times, so our factories are running, and we have taken a lot of incremental steps in terms of taking care of our employees’ safety and security.

“Our priority is ensuring our supply chain is not impacted and that our products are delivered to our customers. From students who need to save their homework on one of our USB drives or external hard drives, to employees who need our access the cloud, we are determined to help when they need it most.”

Discussing the state of the data storage solutions market during the pandemic, Saifuddin explained that although there has obviously been a slowdown due to supply chain issues and the physical stores being shut, data has never been more important than now, and customers are looking for the best solutions to store it.

Saifuddin continued by discussing the challenges organisations are facing during this pandemic – challenges that have been mitigated by the solidarity the world is showing and the strong impact of the IT industry to enable it.

He explained, “One of the basic things that we need to address and accept is that although we might call it social distancing, what we’re experiencing is physical distancing and social solidarity. Even though we’re confined at home, we spend more time interacting with our friends and families through all the different solutions the IT industry as to offer – now more than ever, we’re standing together as one.

“Although the IT industry is going through challenging times, it has proved to be one of the central industries in today’s situation, alongside F&B and healthcare. IT has enabled us to continue our children’s education and businesses’ process and day-to-day functioning; but most importantly, it’s helped us interact with one another when we physically can’t.”

As more and more businesses face economic challenges and make cuts to their budgets, Saifuddin was also keen on emphasising the need for IT for any business hoping to stay afloat during these times.

“Keeping that IT connectivity and people IT enabled is critical in today’s world. Everyone’s facing challenging, but IT should be the last to be considered for a cut from a business perspective. Organisations need to look at other ways to cut down their overheads – this could be going remote and saving on rent expenditures, or cutting whatever it’s not fundamental to the business. IT is the backbone of today’s society and should be protected, and enhanced at all costs,” Saifuddin explained.

Similarly, Saifuddin also expressed his concerns over businesses choosing to lay off staff during the pandemic. According to the Senior Sales Director, laying off staff is not an adequate solution to reduce overheads costs and organisations should find sustainable ways to keep their workforce in place until the end of these challenging times.

He explained, “Organisations shouldn’t let go off their teams during these difficult times – there will be good times again and having a strong team will make the difference between successful and unsuccessful businesses. It’s time to stand in solidarity and face the situation together.”

Saifuddin concluded by discussing the burgeoning gaming industry, which sees an estimated value of $4.8 billion and year-on-year growth of 11 percent in the MEA region.

At the beginning of March, Western Digital introduced a new portfolio of external storage solutions in the Middle East purpose-built for PC and console gamers and built on the top-tier performance of the WD_Black SN750 NVMe SSD.

Saifuddin explained the WD_Black solutions have been one of the company’s best sellers in the past few months, and have proved fundamental for gamers during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Our portable WD_Black P10 Game Drive and the WD_Black D10 Game Drive have been very well received by our gaming customers who are looking for the best storage solutions for their needs. It’s all about having an edge, and storage is where the speed is and what makes a difference between winning and losing. I think these new solutions have definitely reduced the tension gamers might feel during these times and it’s made their overall experience much better,” he concluded.

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