Jay Srage established himself as one of the most prominent leaders and visionaries in the ICT industry in the Middle East during his highly successful tenure as president of Qualcomm in Eastern Europe and the MEA region.
The US chipmaker, which is one of the world’s most valuable companies, expanded its operations to the Middle East and Africa in 2008. It turned to the dynamic and innovative Srage for leadership in order to oversee its entry into a new and challenging marketplace.
Under Srage’s direction, Qualcomm enjoyed phenomenal success, spearheaded a number of new projects and programs with operators in the region and was at the center of a movement driving advanced LTE products on the road towards 5G.
However, after serving Qualcomm with outstanding distinction for over a decade, the ambitious Srage is launching a new kind of enterprise called Centrigent - with backing from major regional players in the technology, analytics and consultancy sectors.
In an engaging discussion, the charismatic Srage highlighted how emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, cloud, IoT and blockchain are going to fundamentally reshape, revolutionize and impact almost every industry in the entire world.
The former Qualcomm executive explained that he plans to modularize and incorporate these emerging technologies under one architecture so that they can be applied and integrated across multiple industries, bringing a cross-common foundation with a bespoke element specific to each customer. He has identified a clear gap in the market, and Centrigent has been born out of that vision.
Before explaining in detail what Centrigent can offer businesses and customers, Srage provided a bit more context and background as to why he started his new enterprise, in an exclusive interview with Telecom Review.
“If you examine the macro level of telecommunications, it has been focused predominantly on the network technology evolution within the context of broadband speeds from 3G to 4G to 5G - and on the smartphone business ecosystem. The main driver for the telecommunications industry, specifically on the mobile side, has been the smartphone – and there hasn’t been any other mobile device that can remotely match the success of the Smartphone. What has happened in the last few years is that the smartphone business has slowed down globally to single-digit year on year growth. So this development has forced companies in this industry to think about how to get their double-digit growth from adjacent markets.”
According to Srage, the industry has now come to an intersection point, with next generation emerging technologies now possessing the capabilities to connect devices beyond the smartphone.
Srage said, “We’re now at an intersection point of having 5G as a technology that enables devices beyond the smartphone. As we approach that intersection point, other major disruptive technologies are emerging such as AI, IoT, Blockchain and managed cloud services; when combined into a single architecture, has the potential to evolve and transform everything we do and experience across every industry and sector…”
Srage claimed that large corporations and enterprises continue to look at emerging technologies in a blinkered fashion, and are approaching it from a viewpoint of bringing one specific technology to one specific industry. The CEO and founder of Centrigent argues that the strategy adopted by many enterprises is fundamentally restricted, and that they need to approach the global market from the perspective of a dynamic matrix of multiple technologies across multiple industries. However, that represents a significant challenge to most companies that are positioned in a one by one matrix.
“Moving from 1 by 1 matrix to n times n matrix creates an opportunity to build a single multi-technology blueprint that will be foundational to most companies across many industries, and this is how Centrigent started,” added Srage.
The vision of this new enterprise is to develop a cohesive and coherent strategy that enables the integration of emerging technologies such as AI, cloud, internet of things, 5G and Blockchain into existing operations across a diverse range of different sectors.
Srage said, “There are differences between one industry and another of course, but in terms of what the main objectives are, they’re pretty much all the same. Every industry wants to increase its efficiency, reduce its costs and increase its revenues, whilst optimizing its overall product portfolio. That foundation is what Centrigent provides. Then based on every industry we work with, we will start implementing the elements that are specific for that particular industry, and then we will take it to the next level by putting additional elements that are specific to that customer. Whereas, the other approach adopted by large tech companies: “If you build it they will come”.”
The former Qualcomm executive believes that his new company is completely unique and highlighted the difference between his business and traditional management consultant or technology companies. From his perspective, the first step that he wants to take on in the next three months, is to raise awareness of the opportunities that exist by working with Centrigent.
Srage said, “The whole concept of Centrigent is to examine the landscape from the five emerging key technologies that are currently disrupting market and industry norms and build an end to end platform that integrates into legacy operations. We separate the myth from reality and implement solutions that are based on existing but leading technology products that will gradually and in steps drive the evolution of those operations. Making large disruptive moves will create significant risk; however, an agile gradual integration will create an evolution across organizations, products and operations. There are three elements to the DNA make-up of Centrigent: client business growth achieved through end-to-end product entry services into new markets, consultancy and training services, and upgrading existing operations with new digital platforms.”
Srage has expressed his desire to work with the world’s leading ‘big five’ consultancy firms which are KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and Accenture, and explained how he can provide them with cutting-edge complementary services in order to enhance their own portfolio on digital transformation.
The first element is to bring in innovative products and choice to consumers. There are great companies in emerging markets with amazing products; however, lack the funding and the market knowledge to create a full setup for international expansion. That’s where Centrigent comes in.
Srage said, “To create demand for these new technologies, you need product and choice for the consumer. But, today there is little product variety when it comes to smart devices including smartphones. So this creates an opportunity. Whether it’s IoT or a new type of smartphone that can be positioned against the commodity smartphone business, many products are coming from OEMs and vendors that are not currently present in the region. There are brilliant products coming from Turkey, China and South East Asia, but they don’t have either the capabilities or the budget to expand internationally.”
“Centrigent business model is to provide the full end-to-end service to those companies. So basically, we become an extension to their company in the region providing engineering, product positioning, market analysis, channel setup, distribution, marketing planning and execution working with existing partners that have proven success in that space over the last decade,” Srage explained.
According to Centrigent’s CEO, this approach has resonated with a lot of potential customers because it’s a win-win situation for them. They enter a new market in full without the cost of the setup.
Srage noted, “There’s no risk. If they sell, they win. And then if the business ramps up within two to three years, they have the option to establish their own regional presence or continue working with us as a strategic partner. Either way, we both win.”
The second element of Centrigent’s core business is more focused towards CEO and management level consultancy services.
Srage explains, “CEOs at many organizations across different industries want digital transformation. The problem they encounter at the beginning is when they go to recruit staff, they still don’t know what the requirements are to achieve digital transformation, and ultimately end up hiring the wrong organization. It is critical to have a partner like us that will be there for the first six months or one year that truly understands the industry and can help them execute your digital transformation goals. Once a strategy is established at a management level, Centrigent provides the necessary training across the organization to get that strategy to propagate across the company and build the necessary skillsets for that transformation.
“This approach enables executives of these organizations to increase their understanding and knowledge of digital transformation through the hands-on interface we can provide. It’s consulting on the strategy and organizational efficiency in order to build up those capabilities and skillsets.”
The third and what would be the most exciting and disruptive element is building the product platform that will change the consumer experience and company operations. When building the platform architecture, Centrigent has the ability to bring in a full implementation of products that map and correlate directly to its technology services we provide. As an example, our clients hear about AI and its impact on the industry and its capability to increase efficiency, and we bring real product solutions that integrate into their existing legacy systems to achieve their business growth objectives.
Under the direction and dynamic leadership of Srage, this new enterprise Centrigent is destined to make a major impact in the ICT industry. To deliver on its promises, Centrigent with major regional backing has signed a partnership MoU with Mindsets, the leading strategy consultancy firm in the Middle East, to bring those products to its customers. The two companies are looking to combine innovative products, analytics and strategy consultancy to take the clients, the industry sectors and the regional economy as a whole to the next level of diversity, efficiency, productivity and returns.
Srage gave a sneak peek on the kind of game changing platforms Centrigent is building. The company is developing a one of a kind human resources development platform that will completely revolutionize employee performance across any organization, business or government entity. It has the potential to become a national platform of human knowledge development. The full details of this incredible HR platform will remain under embargo until a later date by year end, but from the details Srage provided, it truly does possess the potential to change work behaviors and we can categorically and emphatically state without any misconceptions that this platform will be a game-changer.