The Business Year

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As the Kingdom supercharges its cloud computing capabilities as part of its broader effort to become a knowledge-based economy, these firms are leading the efforts to develop a fully digital economy.

Salman Abdulghani Faqeeh

Managing Director, Cisco Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is witnessing a progressive change, and we are honored to be contributing to its digital transformation. Cisco, through its long history of partnership with the Saudi government, is helping enable a digital transformation throughout KSA, combining global technological knowledge with local talent and insight, and helping deliver the principal objectives of Vision 2030, including shifting the country from an oil-based to a knowledge-based economy. One of the key pillars of a digital economy is a digital-ready infrastructure. Our intent-based networking solutions, which we recently presented at Cisco Connect in Jeddah, represent one of the most significant breakthroughs in enterprise networking. This is the culmination of Cisco’s vision to create an intuitive system that anticipates actions, stops security threats in their tracks, and continues to evolve and learn. This new network is the result of years of research and development by Cisco to reinvent networking for the digital age. Today, network engineers manage hundreds of devices, but by 2020, every hour a million new devices will be connected to networks.

Mohammed Al Jasser

Managing Director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Saudi Arabia

HPE is the result of a restructuring that has taken place from the old Hewlett Packard. It is one of the entities that became independent, with a greater focus on B2B. We have full coverage of this segment from SMEs, large enterprises, and the government. Our strategy has focused on three pillars: making hybrid IT simple, powering the intelligent edge, and having the comprehensive services and expertise to make technologies work smoothly together. We are able to execute our strategy well because it is focused and simple in nature. In many of the focus segments, we have become a market leader. For example, we are a cloud leader and a leader of servers, storage, and the intelligent edge. Due to the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), intelligent edge is an important pillar of our strategy. One needs to have more data processing power and computing at the edge of the network in order to handle big data and avoid sending everything to the data center.

Ahmed Jaber Al-Faifi


Opening the first public cloud data center in the Kingdom has been part of our commitment to Vision 2030, and the digital hub was an initiative to enable this digital transformation across the public and private sectors. There are four components to the digital hub, and the data center is the core of it. Already, we have connected a government entity, which will help speed up and expedite transformation across different government entities. One of the most important elements of the government’s transformation is continuous change, and the government continues to develop its regulation to make the business transformation work. With our support for the digital transformation, the regulatory changes will be implemented more smoothly. For us, it is extremely important to have a solid infrastructure for digital transformation on the ground that is tailored to support that transformation. As for the government’s privatization schemes, such policy changes are just upgrades to a live system, with the government as main issuer. For SAP, it is a major investment, and we need tailor-made solutions for our clients.

Thamer Alharbi

President, Microsoft Arabia

Microsoft estimates the size of the Kingdom’s cloud computing market to be more than USD29 billion, a number only expected to increase. Governmental agencies in Saudi Arabia drive this trend by utilizing cloud technology to meet their digital transformation targets and contribute to the success of Vision 2030. We currently provide our services and solutions to more than 2,000 private and public organizations in the Kingdom, and by having new cloud technologies like Azure Stack, we enable our customers to use the hybrid cloud quickly and efficiently in the most secure way. We are confident that with the Microsoft cloud, organizations in Saudi Arabia can enhance their businesses considerably and achieve their strategic goals. On the other hand, the recent regulatory framework for cloud computing will contribute to the knowledge economy and lead to more investment in cloud technologies. We predict cloud computing in the Kingdom to grow faster than the global average and reach 25% annual growth by 2020, which will foster a clear and transparent regulatory environment, the need for updates, and utilize more sophisticated technologies.

Essam Alshiha

CEO, Saudi Business Machines (SBM)

As a local private sector entity, we understand that a key component of any development or transformation boils down to the development and participation of the individual. At SBM, we provide extensive training programs and see it as our obligation to Vision 2030 and the digital transformation to deliver on this human capital development. SBM is not just a hardware or software company—it transcends that. The market for IT and communication services has changed, and both companies and professionals need to be prepared for that. At SBM, we need to follow trends and train our people accordingly. Two of these trends are cyber security and big data analysis. The country is looking forward to implementing the latest technology in this field, and we should deliver on that. In the past, we worked with the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), where we took graduates with non-IT backgrounds for a one-year program to prepare them for the job market in this industry. This was even before the digital transformation was announced, and HRDF financially supported this program.



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