Riverbed, an American IT company that develops products to improve application performance across wide area networks (WANs), recently commissioned a study surveying 1,000 IT decision makers globally to explore the impact legacy and next-generation networks have on cloud adoption and digital transformation. Telecom Review discussed the findings with Charbel Khniesser, Riverbed's Regional Presales Director for Middle East, Turkey and North Africa.

Read more: Riverbed: SD-WAN essential for building next-generation networks

UAE telecom provider “du” (EITC) has over ten years’ experience dealing with multiple partners from various industries. Bundling everything together that those partners bring to the table means du can give its customers the best value for money and significantly improve processes, said du’s chief commercial officer, Fahad Al Hassawi, speaking to Telecom Review.

Read more: Partnerships benefit customers, says du CCO

Saudi Arabia is going through rapid transformation, according to Deemah AlYahya, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s National Digitization Unit (NDU), a government arm mandated to accelerate efforts to achieve Saudi Vision 2030 objectives, an initiative to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil dependence. This transformation, Ms. AlYahya said, will require collaboration, open data sharing and injecting innovation into citizens.

Read more: Saudi NDU CEO: 'We want to inject innovation into citizens'

Exclusive Interviews
Typography

Dubai-based neXgen consulting group recently rebranded as NXN to highlight its transition into a smart city and digital transformation service provider. The company provides consulting services, but now also strives to be an organization's "Trusted Digital Service Provider" by significantly reducing time-to-market and time-to-service, utilizing its smart city as a service platform, CEO Ghazi Atallah explains to Telecom Review.

NXN's digital transformation services allow its customers to achieve their business goals faster than they normally could, says Ghazi. The company did "a lot of the leg-work" on behalf of its customers by developing a flexible platform that enables effective data orchestrating and to help their desired business objectives. NXN's services are "tied right into those business objectives" whereby NXN "takes away a lot of the heavy lifting" and allows for faster time-to-market or time-to-service.

The essence of organizations partnering with a digital service provider to see through their goals is not something that has fully taken hold in the business world yet, says Ghazi, but it's the most reliable way for an organization to achieve its business goals effectively.

Many organizations are still thinking "in-house" from an IT perspective, but that mindset needs to evolve Ghazi believes. Business leaders are discovering that their digital future depends not just on what their own companies can do, but on the capabilities, functions, channels and insights they can tap into by choosing the right digital partner.

NXN can have a digital service up and running in a matter of months compared to a lengthy process if an organization were to do it alone, he said. As both a smart city consultant and a digital service provider, the company advises its customers and outlines the initiatives that need to be implemented in order for their goals to be met, and then also works with them to put those initiatives into practice.

The rebranding of NXN was a way for the company to highlight its evolution to become a trusted digital partner in terms of service delivery as well as consulting. So far NXN's platform has been launched in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and will soon be launched in other countries in the region. The platform, which includes services such as smart districts, smart energy, smart security, logistics and more, will soon be augmented to include healthcare and education as well.

NXN's technology platform is built in cooperation with well-known companies like Dell EMC, SAP, McAfee and others. The pieces of technology have been architecturally orchestrated and integrated together in an innovative way, allowing NXN to provide cities and governments with digital services, dashboards and data analytics that add value and are much needed in the decision-making process.

NXN defines its offering as an ability to orchestrate the digital transformation of cities or organizations into smart, connected environments through its unique combination of technology, expertise and approach. Services go beyond digital transformation consulting into the building and management of smart city services in various sectors, like smart energy, smart security, smart utilities and other sectors.

"We want to be that trusted digital service provider. The way we do that is by being able to take away complexity and reduce time-to-market time-to-service," said Ghazi. If an organization attempts to orchestrate its transformation on its own, he explained, the completion of a project - such as reducing energy usage - commonly takes about 12 to 18 months to complete.

The reason why it takes so long for an organization to complete a project like this without a partnership is because it takes time for them to acquire the necessary elements. For example, capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating expenditure (OPEX) need to be considered, the knowledge for the project needs to be acquired, and the technology needs to be available, and after all of that comes the implementation. An organization needs to be able to meet its desired goals without losing momentum along the way.

"With our digital smart service provider capabilities, we can be up and running delivering the business outcome within two to three months and often even quicker," said Ghazi. "This is possible because the capability is already pre-built and we are going to our customers with digital transformation as a service. We can offer our clients the confidence that their project will be completed quickly and we charge them on a monthly basis that's significantly lower than the cost of taking on the project alone."

There's a significant difference in terms of savings, Ghazi added, when comparing the two models: attempting a digital project with a service provider or without one. Not only does NXN save time for its clients in terms of time-to-market and time-to-service, but also from a cost perspective in terms of OPEX and CAPEX. The most important aspect for any organization is that their service is up and running quickly, says Ghazi, to obtain business outcomes in a short period of time.

Matching business goals to digital capabilities
Whether an organization aspires to improve efficiency, optimize the cost of its operations, increase customer reach or improve overall customer experience, going digital is providing more and more options to make it possible, says Ghazi. Adopting digital transformation, he says, allows any organization - regardless of its sector - to be ambitious to achieve its business goals.

Digital has transformed the way business is conducted, Ghazi added, discussing its benefits for businesses today, particularly the way digitization has shortened the amount of time for businesses to succeed in attaining their objectives.

For example, before the digital era, if a business wanted to operate a delivery service, it would take them a long time to reach a certain level of geography and production capacity. But with digital, organizations can significantly increase their customer reach in a much shorter amount of time.

The biggest mistake organizations make when it comes to digital transformation is that they don't always match digital capabilities to their own business objectives. The first question Ghazi asks a business leader looking to transform their organization digitally is what their business goals are so that NXN can then match those goals to the type of digital transformation they need.

Organizations can be much more ambitious today than they were before, particularly if they want to reach a certain number of customers or reach a particular geography, Ghazi emphasized. Digital transformation "allows organizations to be more ambitious, but you certainly need to make sure that you have your business objectives identified," he said, to tie your digital transformation strategy directly to your business objectives.

"I think a lot of organizations are going into digital and technology for the sake of it, but that takes them down the wrong route," Ghazi added. "Helping them to attain their business objectives has to be the main goal of digital transformation services today."