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SAUDI ARABIA - Telecoms & IT

Mohammed AlShaibi

CEO, Tamkeen Technologies

Bio

A highly experienced senior executive and a respected leader in the Saudi Arabian Information Technology community, Mohammed AlShaibi is the CEO of Tamkeen Technologies. He is recognized for his ability to build and transform organizations by leading diverse groups of professionals to achieve high levels of success in a variety of different fields. He has an impressive track record in both the government and private sector with strong technical qualifications and executive management skills in the areas of delivering corporate results, strategic planning, and building large nationwide IT systems and programs. He has been a passionate angel investor since 2021 with investments in the health, fintech and service industries.

"We value our strong partnerships with Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP, as a company we are focused on building platforms and providing locally developed products and services, so we prefer to develop products leveraging open-source technologies."
TBY talks to Mohammed AlShaibi
, CEO of Tamkeen Technologies, about the firm’s manifesto, highlights from the past year, and competition in the market.
Can you comment on Tamkeen Technologies’ manifesto: “The company was built and developed by Saudi minds who are passionate about empowering future technologies”?

Tamkeen Technologies is a technology company specializing in open-source technologies. Although we value our strong partnerships with Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP, as a company we are focused on building platforms and providing locally developed products and services, so we prefer to develop products leveraging open-source technologies. This enables us to have greater creative and technical control over our solutions and helps us to avoid passing the expensive costs of licensed software to our customers. Over 85% of our employees are Saudis, and we always strive to attract and retain the best Saudi men and women. Currently, we have a team of 200-plus developers with more than 50 men and women of them working from our regional office in Qassim. In fact our Qassim office was established as part of a large capability and capacity building project initiated by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). As part of the scope of this project, we opened a regional development hub in Qassim and a call center in Jazan. We are proud to say that we were recognized as one of the top companies to participate in this project and were visited at our development center in Qassim by His Excellency, the Minister of MCIT. The success of the project was attributed to our ability to build professional competency in our new employees. Although we faced some initial challenges, once we completed the project, we found the experience to be highly rewarding and have plans to further expand in Qassim and potentially other locations in the Kingdom, which will allow us to create centers of technology excellence and benefit from the exceptional talent and lower cost of living in these regional locations.

What were some of the highlights of 2022 for Tamkeen Technologies?

Tamkeen Technologies had many highlights throughout 2022. The most significant highlight that comes to mind was the success we had in establishing a regional development center in Qassim and a call center in Jazan. Additionally, we are proud that we have a Class C certified data center allowing us to host classified government data and to provide cloud hosting solutions to our clients. We are also proud of our cloud application and infrastructure managed services where we manage the products, applications, and infrastructure of our clients either in our data center or in the data center of their choice. We have also found that may public sector and enterprise organizations face significant challenges when migrating their legacy workloads to the cloud. Without careful planning, strong engineering talent, and great exposure to migration challenges, it is almost impossible to ensure a smooth transition while maintaining the integrity, security, and functionality of an organization’s existing systems. Since multinational companies like Oracle and others typically do not directly handle the migration process to their cloud environments, and even when they do, they can be quite expensive, so our clients trust us to take ownership of this process and ensure their smooth transition to the cloud. Recognizing our expertise and local presence, Oracle has approached us to partner with them to assist their cloud customers in transitioning from legacy data centers to the Oracle Cloud. Through our agreements with Oracle and other cloud providers, customers seeking to migrate their legacy workloads to any local cloud can rely on us as their trusted partner to smoothly migrate from their existing infrastructure to the cloud provider of their choice.

How is Tamkeen Technologies competing and differentiating itself in a rapidly evolving sector?

Tamkeen Technologies is known for our expertise as technology enthusiasts which has remained as a consistent competitive advantage. We excel in developing and operating various applications and systems and understand the importance of focusing on our core strengths and delivering exceptional results in those areas. Since we have a high Saudization rate, and many Saudi developers, our prices can be higher compared to others that outsource development to countries such as Jordan, Egypt, or Eastern Europe. However, we believe this slight price variance is justified since it gives our clients the confidence that we will be able to build, operate and support them in the long run because unlike providers that outsource significant amounts of work, we have extensive experience and knowledge in integrating with other government systems, and as such, our pace of delivery is accelerated and more precise. This has given us a solid customer base and a steady YoY growth rate, which aligns with industry standards. However, we have decided to explore areas outside our current areas of IT expertise. As such we are considering ways to assist the family of other funds that fall under the National Development Fund NDF, such as the Agricultural Fund, Industrial Fund, and Tourism Fund to benefit from our expertise we have gained working with the Human Resources Fund HRDF in identifying suitable technologies that align with their specific needs. Our knowledge of emerging technologies can help them exploit these technologies in the initiatives and industries that they support. and we have significant interest to leverage our expertise so they can acquire, deploy and operate these new technologies. Since we are owned by the government and are a local technology company, we can provide these technologies with the basic IT infrastructure that is needed such as hosting, installation, integration, and operational services. Since one of the goals of Vision 2030 is the technology transfer of cutting-edge technology to the Kingdom, we believe we are the partner that can do this for these funds. Taking responsibility for the operation, maintenance, and support of these technologies once implemented, ensuring stability for those whom adopt them.

What upcoming trends and technologies is the company particularly excited about exploring next?

We plan to focus in the coming years on expansion and exploration of new opportunities beyond our current traditional IT focus. Although specific initiatives have not been defined yet, we are actively looking and hope to define them early in 2024.

What are your main targets for the end of 2023?

We are currently focusing on expanding our services and products especially in the area of building self-sustainable programs in new sectors. We also plan to extend our managed services portfolio which is currently Infrastructure operation, software development and customer care to cybersecurity as a managed service. This will provide 24/7 basic Security Operations Center SOC support to our clients.

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