The Business Year

Hamad Alkhalaf

SAUDI ARABIA - Telecoms & IT

Hamad Alkhalaf

Chief Enterprise Services & Solutions Officer, SITE

Bio

Hamad Alkhalaf has been a Chief Enterprise Services & Solutions Officer at Saudi Information Technology Company (SITE) since 2019. Leading and managing the Enterprise Services and Solutions divisions, besides building and operating its strategies. His role includes overseeing enterprise programs, projects and products, and focuses on building the enterprise capacity and capabilities based on the designated strategic objectives. Prior to his experience with SITE, Alkhalaf was the Chief Executive Officer at Saudi Aviation Information Technology Company (SAVIT) for three years. He also spent 10 years with Ministry of Education as General Manager of Applications Department, as he led and managed all platforms, applications, and systems, and maintained its operations. Alkhalaf earned his Bachelor degree in Computer Science from King Saud University, and a Leadership Certificate from Harvard Business School.

“Vision 2030 is ambitious, indeed, and since its announcement our whole nation has set itself to go big and bold with every and each aspect that ties to it.“

How has the digital ecosystem developed in Saudi Arabia in recent years and how it relates to Saudi’s Vision 2030?

Vision 2030 is ambitious, indeed, and since its announcement our whole nation has set itself to go big and bold with every and each aspect that ties to it. So that, digital transformation and establishing a secure digital ecosystem in Saudi Arabia has been an essential part of Vision 2030. Recently, new digital themes have emerged across different sectors, including e-government, health sector, and fintech aiming to accelerate digital transformation and enhance the quality of life for all the population in the country. In pursuit of this aim, many entities have been established, such as the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA), and other entities related to the digitalization of the Kingdom. Furthermore, several e-government platforms, such as Absher and Tawakkalna, have been developed to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030. However, digitalization on such a high scale comes with risks, and those risks are growing increasingly in the cyberspace, facing any beneficiary of government, businesses, corporates and/or individuals. Therefore, cybersecurity has been the backbone for digital transformation in Saudi Arabia, since we are going for a SECURE digital transformation. In that context, The Global Cybersecurity Index (ITU) ranks Saudi Arabia second according to their latest announcement despite the early stage we are currently at to reach Vision 2030. Long story short, the key drivers to the achievements that have been attained in this regard are the agility and proactivity embedded in the foundation of our ecosystem towards digitalization, as well as, the flexible and welcoming behavior of people in Saudi Arabia in terms of adopting digitization with ease as a new lifestyle, which has acted as an enabler ground for digital transformation to be implemented and accelerated successfully.

How are you aligning with Vision 2030 on human capital development?

SITE has equipped more than 5,000 engineers of our clients at national entities across Saudi Arabia, with training courses and development programs to meet the growing needs of the market. Thus 200 engineers of that total, so far, have become part of our human capital at SITE. Our training programs are focused on critical areas, such as Cybersecurity, Secure Coding, and Cloud Computing. In fact, our development programs are not limited to employees only, we also target fresh graduates and young talents to develop their digital skills and discover their potential. Accordingly, we are aligned with Vision 2030 on its broad goal of upskilling national capabilities and unlock their ability by providing learning and training opportunities, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship culture, and elevating Saudi Arabia’s competitiveness in the digital world.

Can you give us a sense of the journey from design to delivery, and how do you differentiate yourself from others in the market?

We provide a SECURE digital transformation journey that covers our clients’ needs from A to Z; starting by advisory and ending by delivery. We develop a comprehensive understanding of our client’s needs, pain points and objectives, then, we identify their digital, cyber, and human capital gaps to bridge their way towards their desired goals securely and effectively. SITE cloud, on the other hand, is a native cloud that is secure by design, and we have operation centers (NOC and SOC) to monitor the cloud 24/7. We utilize different methodologies, such as DevSecOps, to develop platforms within our internal software house, and our solutions are also secured by design. We have local connectivity, local hosting and local monitoring all developed by our talented Saudi engineers at SITE, which is what we proudly identify as our distinguishing factor in all the great accomplishments and success stories we have contributed to achieve up to this date.

How do your strategic partnerships shape the impact that you have on the Kingdom national cybersecurity priorities?

SITE is the technical arm of the National Cybersecurity Authority. Through this partnership, we are both acting as the key pillars of establishing the cybersecurity industry in Saudi Arabia. In terms of centralized services, we provide NCA with all needed services and solutions, including cybersecurity assessments, incidents response and human capital development. Along with providing governmental entities with a wide range of services and solutions that are tailored to their needs. In addition to that, we have our own clients whom we work with directly to provide them with what they need from our services in cybersecurity, enterprise, cloud and human capital development.

What are your priorities and goals for 2022?

At SITE, we are excited to embrace the potential that 2022 is bringing, since the Saudi economy has recovered rapidly after the pandemic. We have an ambitious future roadmap of new products and services that will be launched in 2022, as we will continue our growth and progress in the digital services and solutions that we provide to our clients, which goes side by side with building our national talents and capabilities. Of course, we have our own financial and operational KPIs that are evolving rapidly year by year due to our growth phase, and we are constantly challenging ourselves to provide secure by design services and products and enhance our market share. Last but not least, we have achieved many successes and overcome many challenges; in fact, the greater the challenge is, the greater we gain from it, as this is the mindset we have at SITE in terms of challenges and opportunities. It has become our DNA now, since it runs in our company from head to bottom to continue our ambitious journey as a national leading provider for services and solutions in the digital and cybersecurity market.

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