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Redefining boardroom key goal for Kingdom's businesses in 5 years
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 10 - 2015

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's organizations must "redefine" their boardrooms to provide the digital sector a seat at the table by 2020 to succeed in the Digital Economy, SAP remarked Wednesday in advance of GITEX Technology Week 2015.
Demonstrating the opportunity for digital transformation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, digital initiatives can boost annual growth rates and cost efficiencies of up to 10 percent by 2020, according to McKinsey & Co.
However, business complexity presents a major problem, with 200 of the world's largest companies losing 10 percent of their annual profit due to complexity, according to a report by AIM Research.
"Over the next five years, business leaders in boardrooms across the Middle East will face a tough challenge in the digital economy, requiring them to disrupt themselves or lag behind," said Jonathan Becher, chief digital officer and head of SAP Digital, who will present on the topic of "Digital Disruption" at GITEX Technology Week 2015.
"Chief digital officers must embrace the region's tech-savvy and youthful population to take on leadership roles in enhancing organizational readiness and developing projects that will drive digital business success," added Becher. "The SAP Digital Boardroom solution provides the real-time dashboards and data visualizations that enable those in the boardroom to monitor, simulate and drive rapid change in a digital economy."
Making its Middle East and North Africa debut at GITEX Technology Week 2015, SAP Digital Boardroom contextualizes the boardroom, locations and devices into a real-time enterprise experience. Powered by the SAP HANA platform and experienced through the SAP S/4HANA suite and analytics solutions from SAP, SAP Digital Boardroom understands the past, predicts the future, and drives execution.
Many of the leading organizations across the Middle East have taken the lead in digital transformations, especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Egypt.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's largest ICT market is set to reach $37 billion in 2015, especially with investment in cloud, mobility, analytics and social networking, according to IDC.
"Mobile-first has become the mantra for Saudis engaging with digital content, but organizations have lagged in keeping up with the demand," said Ahmed Al Faifi, managing director, SAP Saudi Arabia. "Organizations in the Kingdom need to continue integrating business, IT and marketing strategies, while simplifying operations, to deliver growth in the mobile and digital eras." Meanwhile, the UAE's total IT spend is set to reach $8.06 billion in 2017, led by the fast-growing public sector, according to IDC.
"Smart infrastructure is a cornerstone of the UAE's diversified economic growth, and to succeed in the digital economy, public and private organizations cannot sit on the side lines of digital transformation," said Tayfun Topkoc, managing director, SAP UAE. "They must harness the power of big data with strategic insights from the board level in order to make an impact."
To drive innovation and digital transformation faster in UAE, SAP has invested in the SAP Startup Focus program with the SAP Training and Development Institute, to build an ecosystem of entrepreneurs making sustainable and successful Smart City initiatives, and create in-country economic value.
With Qatar aiming to become one of the world's best-connected countries by 2020, the country's leading organizations are using SAP solutions to transform their customer experience.
With SAP's technology and world-class processes, and a strong commitment from management, AAB will have the real-time visibility in products and services to meet Qatar's rising demand for motor vehicles. The company aims to ensure that our customers can find shorter queues, better visibility on spare parts, and enhanced invoicing, In Oman, one of the country's largest conglomerates, Al Khalili Group, was the first Middle East organization to deploy SAP S/4HANA.
"With thousands of products and employees to manage daily, we needed greater visibility into supply chain to track our customers' orders and stocking, and to enable our staff to further develop their technology skills in the Digital Economy," said Jumana Al-Hashmi of Al Khalili Group. "Providing real-time visibility is a major component of SAP S4/HANA, helping enable our expansion plans and supporting the region's economic growth."
From ports and logistics to automotive and retail, every vertical in the Gulf is set to embark on a digital transformation over the next several years.
"Gulf organizations are taking the reins on the big-data challenge, seeking out the latest technology to simplify their operations," said Gergi Abboud, managing director, SAP Gulf. "Thanks to our big-data solutions and co-innovation strategy, we're supporting our customers in gaining the strategic insights needed to innovate in the digital economy, and connect with our partners and customers
Demonstrating the regional growth of the digital economy, Egypt's digital Islamic market is currently valued at $6.2 billion, according to a recent report by Thomson Reuters.
"Egyptian organizations need to harness the potential of well-educated, youthful disruptors to support their digital transformations," said Amr Ghoneim, managing director, SAP North Africa and Levant. "The next wave of big-data talent in Egypt will serve as a catalyst for the wider Middle East and Africa markets."

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