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SAUDI ARABIA - Telecoms & IT

Ahmed Al Anqari

CEO, Salam

Bio

Ahmad Al Anqari brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Saudi technology and telecommunications sector. He spent his early years in the power sector as a computer engineer for the Saudi Electric Company (SEC) and as a network expert with the Saudi Telecom Company (STC). In 2006, he was appointed vice president of engineering at Integrated Telecom (ITC), joining a leadership team that transformed ITC from a telco start-up to a leading Saudi telecoms company. In 2020, he was appointed Chief Technology Officer of ITC. The following year, ITC rebranded to Salam and launched the Kingdom’s newest mobile carrier service. The same year, Al Anqari was appointed CEO of Salam, capping a distinguished 16-year career with the group.

"The telecoms and IT sector in Saudi Arabia is extremely dynamic."
TBY talks to Ahmed Al Anqari, CEO of Salam, about digital transformation in Saudi Arabia, customer satisfaction, and strategic priorities for the company.
How is Salam working to create a digital society in line with Vision 2030’s digital transformation plans?

The telecoms and IT sector in Saudi Arabia is extremely dynamic. As a telco provider and ICT company, Salam is working on its internal transformation to become more of an ICT company and digitalizing its operations to provide a leading solution and services to its clients. Salam has updated its infrastructure and systems, while also expanding its mobility services to the B2C segment. Our B2B segment is growing, and we are opening up new business lines and focusing on innovative solutions for B2B like cloud computing and managed services. We have also started giving more focus to emerging solutions in data and AI. Given the competition in the sector and demand, we should always react quickly to opportunities in the market. Salam is also shifting its internal culture to become more customer-centric because of the heavy competition and numerous service providers in the market, mainly for B2C. We must become more specialized in customer services and customer excellence and have launched various initiatives within the organization to focus more on this.

What strategies and practices does the company employ to ensure that customers receive the best possible experience?

To achieve our target, objectives, and goals, we must provide niche services and compare them to others. One of our main drivers is customer satisfaction and customer needs. We are always thinking about the customer—what do they need, and how do we make our customers happy so that they will remain with our brand and services. One can grow rapidly but can easily lose customers tomorrow. In Saudi Arabia, users can easily switch from one brand to another. At the end of the day, if you do not have something new or different to offer, they will move to other providers.

Can you elaborate on the specific niche services Salam is extending to help businesses be smarter, more digital, and more integrated?

In our B2B business, at the end of the day, we are not selling a product but more of a service. We have to be close to the customer and understand their needs. We strive to do it differently by studying our key accounts’ needs and developing projects together with them. Now in B2C, we started the fiber to the home (FTTH) business four years ago and are working on becoming smarter with smart homes, smart solutions for smart Wi-Fi, and IoT solutions for consumers. Our main focus currently is B2B and FTTH. We are planning to overhaul our board portfolio and branding, review our board volume, refresh and add more services, and target more industrial applications and private networks for B2B. Private network industrial applications are vital for our growth. IoT for B2B is another new segment for Salam—one of the subsidiaries of our group, Advanced Technology Solutions (ATSS), works and specializes in IoT. AI and digitalization have become the main focus areas for the government, semi-government companies, and private businesses. It has been challenging because as a service provider we have far too much data from different sources. This is one of our main focuses in terms of building our new board portfolio and new revenue generation verticals. By 2024, we will have more revenue generation and more ideas on how to better utilize all this data.

The company has recently announced a strategic collaboration with Oracle. How will this enable Salam’s business efficiency while empowering new growth opportunities?

We have signed a cooperation deal with Oracle to provide our entire backend system, the PSS system, and other components of our core which is IT. This engagement with Oracle is vital and will be a key milestones in Salam’s transformation into an ICT company. Oracle will develop all our IT systems, billing, CRM, and OS. Oracle has been engaged with Salam for a long time, having provided our CRM for the first few years. We started the first phase of the transformation project with Oracle three years ago and are now expanding this to cover all services and verticals across Salam. I am personally overseeing this project because of its importance to the future of Salam. We are building a strong and robust digital layer to provide services through the digital channel. It is an extremely complicated project but is vital to our growth.

What are your current goals and strategic priorities for Salam?

We are preparing the company to be listed—this is one of our main objectives for 2024. We have been working on this for two years, and it will change many things inside the company. The next important priority is to launch new services. We are mainly focused on cybersecurity and cloud services for B2B while at the same time expanding our B2C business here.

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