CNME Editor Mark Forker spoke to Walid Gomaa, CEO of Omnix International to learn more about its solution offering designed to deliver a total experience, its new Metaverse frameworks, its ambition to conquer the Saudi Arabian marketplace – and what differentiates the company from its rivals.
Walid Gomaa needs no introduction to the IT industry in the Middle East.
In a career that began in 1987, he has enjoyed an incredible professional career, one that has seen him work with IT and technology behemoths such as IBM, Oracle, Dell EMC, HPE, and Huawei.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Gomaa was entering the twilight of his career, but that couldn’t be further from the truth – as he is now the CEO of Omnix International, and IT solutions provider that has been in operation for over 30 years.
He was appointed CEO in January 2022, and his energy, enthusiasm and drive to help Omnix International grow was palpable throughout our conversation.
Gomaa kickstarted the discussion by giving CNME an overview of Omnix International, and he outlined how the company has recently been structured into two divisions.
“Omnix International has been in business for over 30 years – and we primarily operate across the Gulf region. The company is currently structured into two divisions, which are known as Omnix Engineering and Omnix Digital. In terms of the engineering division , we are primarily focused on providing solutions for `the Architecture Engineering & Construction (AEC), Product Design & Manufacturing and the Media & Entertainment industries. We also provide solutions and services around Building Information Modelling (BIM), OpenBIM, Common Data Environment (CDE), Virtual Design &Construction (VDC), Geographic Information System (GIS), Autodesk training and also outsourcing & managed services operations for BIM projects. Notably, we are the value added distributor of Autodesk in the Lower Gulf region.” said Gomaa.
Gomaa disclosed that the company has now complemented its offerings through additional capabilities and services.
“It became quite evident to our team that when we implemented Building Information Modelling (BIM), Virtual Design &Construction (VDC), Common Data Environment (CDE) solutions that customers were always facing challenges when it came to performance. What we decided in order to overcome this, was to design our own branded hardware after extensive R&D. We call it Hardware Optimization Technology (HOT). It has been a huge commercial success for us. Also Omnix Engineering offers solutions & services in the areas of Augmented/Virtual/Mixed reality, Multimedia and Lidar scanning & Surveying.” said Gomaa.
To help our customers to bridge their skill gap in areas like cybersecurity and network management Omnix launched Center of Excellence (XOC). Omnix XOC includes a unique combination of Security Operations Center (SOC), Network Operations Center (NOC) and Operations Control Center (OCC).
In addition, we help our customers to meet their sustainability goals by guiding them on how they can best utilize current infrastructure using observability solutions. This can help customers in reaching net zero emission goals in countries like UAE and Saudi Arabia.
There have been huge digital transformation demands over the last number of years and Omnix International has been leading the way to cater for the ever-evolving customers needs.
“Our second division is called Omnix Digital, and that is primarily focused on looking after solutions that our customers are looking for in the new digital economy. We provide solutions that range from application modernisation & integration, data & analytics, process automation, conversationalAI, cybersecurity and smart infrastructure. When we talk about smart infrastructure, we are referencing the audio-visual experience, smart spaces, physical security and ICT technologies. We are wrapping all of this with our outsourcing and managed services offerings to help our customers transform,” said Gomaa.
It has been well-documented that we are now living in the ‘experience economy’ – and Gomaa highlighted how Omnix is fully focused on delivering what he described as a ‘total experience’ for his customers when asked how the company had evolved.
“In terms of our evolution as a company over the last 12 months, what we have tried to do is bring our two divisions together to be able to provide a total experience for our customers. When we speak with our customers about the solutions and services they need, we – as a trusted services provider- demonstrate that we can cater for their needs from edge devices to backend applications & infrastructure and anything in between to deliver total experience,” said Gomaa.
In terms of the way they approach the innovation and design of their products and services, Gomaa conceded that they took a very customer-centric approach, declaring that they
wanted to give their customers autonomy, control and choice in a bid to be their preferred solution provider.
He added that it was critical that they are always ‘relevant to their customers.
“A message that I am constantly reinforcing to all my team is the need for us to be relevant to our customers. This relevancy works two ways, and one of them is the fact that we listen to the pain points of our customers and then come up with solutions that help them address these challenges. We always thrive to be the solution provider of choice to our customers,” said Gomaa.
Interestingly, he also disclosed how the company was moving more towards being a service provider than a generic systems integrator.
“We are focused and concentrated on being much more centric around services and solutions. The way we approach it is to listen to our customers and understand their requirements. Now, you might think well that’s a given, that’s quite basic, but many companies don’t do the basics. They don’t listen to their customers, and instead focus on trying to sell products that potentially do not meet customers objectives,” said Gomaa.
A recurring problem that Gomaa encounters with many of its customers is the fact that they want to build something to address their challenges but they just don’t know how to do it or where to start.
To solve this issue, Omnix takes a two-fold approach.
“A lot of customers are in need to build something that will be transformative for their business, but they don’t know how to implement it. That can be due to lack of knowledge or skills on the subject. What we do in this case is bring a different perspective to the table. For example, we provide them with comprehensive consultation for the types of challenges they are facing, and we show them the solutions to help them overcoming the challenges. Alternatively, we listen to our customers challenges, that are unique to them, and we then proceed to work together with them to build the right solution that they need,” said Gomaa.
The Metaverse is all the rage within the IT ecosystem globally – and the visionary leadership of Gomaa has seen Omnix International move quickly to develop a framework designed to foster an environment that will drive use-cases for the concept that is being tipped to be the future of our society.
“I think it’s fair to say that many of our customers know what the Metaverse is, but they don’t know how to make use of it in their businesses. Our team has been building a framework around the Metaverse and have been developing a stack of solutions.
Since we are in early stages of the metaverse adoption, not many customers can come up with the use-cases. Here comes Omnix expert team role. Essentially, what we are doing is start with sharing Omnix Industrial Metaverse framework, we explain to them how the Metaverse framework will work for them, and we tell them what they need to do in order to identify the use-cases they need to go after and target for the Metaverse,” said Gomaa.
Gomaa briefly added that the process function initially begin with consulting, and then moves across to building the solution and infrastructure, which ultimately serves as a platform to build the use-cases that are going to allow customers to capitalise on the opportunities emerging in the Metaverse space.
The UAE has traditionally been the biggest market for Omnix International in terms of revenue generation, but like other IT leaders they see the burgeoning opportunities in the GCC region and in particular Saudi Arabia.
“Historically our largest market is in the UAE, and that remains the case. However, we decided to put special focus on Saudi Arabia market. The market in Saudi Arabia is growing rapidly and they are on a mission to accelerate the technology adoption to cater for the digital transformation needs in a very fast pace,” said Gomaa.
Gomaa said the biggest problem Omnix International has encountered with some of their customers is managing their expectations when it comes to execution speed.
“They want to accelerate the adoption and be ahead of the game. To do that, they want to implement projects in the shortest time possible and our job is to help them. One of our biggest strengths in expanding our business in Saudi is our track records in delivering successful projects across the region. We share our know-how in implementing similar projects which gives them confidence in terms of what we can do,” said Gomaa.
The dynamic CEO of Omnix International concluded a wonderful interview by outlining what he believed differentiated the company from its market rivals.
“I believe that one of the areas that differentiates us is the depth of the portfolio solutions and skills that we have. If you look at our engineering team they have their own competitors, and our digital team has competition, but if you bring these two together and infuse all of their capabilities into one powerful force, you will not find many organization that can match our capabilities. It is my goal to continue driving the integration between the two divisions which serve as our unique value proposition to our customers,” concluded Gomaa.