At a media roundtable, senior executives from SAP AG and subsidiary SAP MENA signed an agreement with His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), to initiate a project that would benefit the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The project will become the UAE’s first IT-specific education and development entity, representatives said.
His Highness marked the occasion alongside Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, DSOA vice chairman and chief executive officer, Dr. Werner Brandt, SAP chief financial officer and executive board member, and Sam Alkharrat, SAP MENA managing director, praising the institute’s potential to boost the region’s burgeoning IT sector and enhance the employment prospects of its graduates.
“The UAE’s Vision 2021 continues to serve as the fundamental framework for all Dubai-based entities,” said His Highness. “Dubai’s strategy is underpinned by technology, which is supported by innovation, research and science as key pillars for the development of a knowledge-based economy. Today, the signing of this agreement further enhances Dubai’s 2021 Vision into moving to an economy that is based on the development and creation of UAE’s local Emirati’s skills.”
The announcement is a key part a four-year additional investment plan by SAP to up-skill local talent and drive sustainable innovation and growth in the MENA region.
“The institute is the direct result of addressing our market, customer and ecosystem needs, and will serve as a powerful engine to yield vital jobs, knowledge, innovation and infrastructure capable of progressively shaping MENA’s business future,” said Brandt.
The training and development institute aims to certify 2,000 new consultants within the next four years, tripling the company’s existing consulting capabilities in the region, as well as accelerating and extending the localisation and Arabisation of SAP solutions to meet fast-growing regional industry needs, the company said.
According to Alkharrat, the premise for the institute is ready and will offer technical trainings on the subject of cloud, mobility, HANA, urban management and Islamic banking among others. The institute will not offer any sales related courses and will offer programmes dedicated to channel enablement and recruitment. Through the range of training and certifications offered, SAP MENA will help its existing channel partners develop the necessary skill sets to diversify their own solution portfolios for sustainable business growth.
Trainers at the institute will be a combination of SAP engineers and resources from its headquarters in addition to qualified local trainers. The company also announced that it is now in the process of recruiting trainers within the region with the kind of skills required to effectively achieve the institute’s objectives.
Furthermore, there will be strong links with the SAP University Alliances program, which currently provides hands-on experience of key SAP technologies at 26 institutions across MENA — a figure set to double in the next four years — and the potential for collaborative participation in a network of global universities and research communities.
“This is a landmark day for SAP and further proof that we are dedicated to developing our business in the MENA region,” said Alkharrat. “By moving forward with a project of this magnitude, we are laying down a highly effective infrastructure that will not only benefit us as a company, but also our customers and the regional economy. We will co-create and co-innovate with customers and partners, and the ripple effect will be felt well beyond the boundaries of the DSO campus.”