Times are changing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. After years of relying on hydrocarbon revenues, the country’s leadership has stated its intention to diversify its economy as part of its wider ‘2030 Vision’. Key to that transformation is establishing the country as the region’s leading digital power, with businesses in both the public and private sectors benefitting from huge leaps forward in technology.
In January, it was revealed that the country is investing tens of billions of dollars to connect business, schools, and hospitals with super-fast 5G, which in turn will power a rapid uptake of technologies such as AI, IoT and automation.
BT Al Saudia, a leading services provider and system integrator in Saudi Arabia, is adapting to this transformation enabling local businesses to embrace the next generation disruptive technologies. As a reliable and robust IT partner, BT Al Saudia provides professional and managed services to organisations of all sizes, in all industries, helping them focus on their core business and to be more productive, efficient and innovative.
“Thanks to our partnership with BT, we combine their global strength and our reach with local knowhow and operations to help customers thrive in this changing era of digitisation and contribute to the realisation of the country’s 2030 Vision and NTP,” says Mazen Tfaili, Head of Products and Alliances at BT Al-Saudia, which services a sizeable portfolio of private and public clients.
“BT is one the largest technology investors in R&D and global development centres around the world. This sets us apart from other ICT players in the Saudi market as we bring this global knowledge with our long-standing local experience to implement and support services across leading edge technology that perfectly meets our clients’ needs.
BT Al Saudia has around 200 staff in the Kingdom, which complement its substantial vendor network and alliances. Tfaili says that our knowledgebase and team of talented engineers spread across three regional offices are able to help businesses improve their digital standards in line with the leadership’s 2030 Vision.
“We’ve studied the local market and perceived challenges in cloud adoption. Customers are concerned about vendors’ business capabilities, losing control of their data, cost and complexity of migration and privacy issues. We made sure that we tackle all of these complications when launching our cloud services in Saudi Arabia. We have invested to build our cloud node in a Tier-4 data centre in the Kingdom to comply with local laws and legislations providing a more secure and efficient offering to customers. We are continually investing to be the cloud services integrator of choice for organisations who want to make the most of the cloud to be successful, fast, agile and secure. BT’s ‘Cloud of Clouds’ portfolio strategy is a new generation of cloud services that allow organisations with diversified IT environments to connect easily and securely to applications and data, independently of where they are hosted,” he comments.
In addition to cloud, new disruptive technologies like IoT, blockchain, AI etc. are changing the way people are interacting with businesses. The real value comes from using technology to empower organisations to be resourceful and competitive.
“Our channel partner BT invests heavily in innovation to make these technological advancements possible. BT recently issued a patent to prevent malicious attacks on block chains, and partnered with the leading vendors to develop industrial and enterprise IOT solutions. In the Saudi market, customers are getting acquainted to these concepts but are hesitant to adopt due to inexperienced local ICT players. BT Al Saudia provides reassurance with our proficiency, helping customers understand, utilise and benefit from the inevitable IT evolution guiding them through this journey to achieve business goals,” says Tfaili.
A large part of that effort is part of the country’s wider battle against cyber-crime; Saudi Arabia has found itself in the unenviable position of being a prime target for hackers and cybercriminals, with around 50mn attacks in the past year alone and this is increasing significantly each year.
“We are working hand in hand with both private businesses and the government to help them secure their data and networks,” says Tfaili. “BT is a global leader and trusted brand in security and we understand the customer challenges and pain-points. BT Al Saudia introduced local 24x7 managed security portfolio to the Saudi market, and it has been effective in allowing customers to proactively detect, respond and mitigate imminent attacks. It's very important the customer moves from the passive state to a proactive mode. We have tailored the solutions to match our customers’ needs providing them on-premise and as well as managed security services and were the first to do so in the Kingdom, which makes us a leader in the field.”
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The effort is integral to the country’s goal of establishing truly ‘smart cities’, which the leadership believes will further drive innovation and investment in the Kingdom. To that end, Saudi Arabia has also announced a smart megacity called “NEOM”, which aims to become a hub for innovation and technology transfer.
The $500bn project will operate independently from the existing governmental framework with its own tax and labour laws and an autonomous judicial system, and forms a substantial part of the effort to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors.
“The smart cities initiatives coming from the government, including NEOM, will attract new technologies and experts, enable connectivity and innovation, magnetise new investments and capitals and thus lead to the evolution of the economy and country. That is all in line with the vision to move away from oil being the main income for the Kingdom,” says Tfaili.
“Looking ahead, the largest budgets are being assigned by the government in the security and defence, education and health sectors. We have been serving these industries for the past decades through our strategic alliances to leverage new trends in technology to better serve the end customer with a real desire to make them ‘smarter’, a transition in which BT Al-Saudia is well positioned to be a hugely important part,” Tfaili says.
BT Al Saudia aims to be the trusted services provider exploiting BT’s vast network and services platforms fitting the customers’ requirements seamlessly with sustainable growth and positive contribution to the community.
“We're positioning ourselves as the main integrator and platform hub to connect the different entities within the Kingdom. Our goal is to be the trusted service provider for these new solutions for the public and private sector and to be a key player in contributing to the country’s national transformation programme. That's our main focus for the coming years,” Tfaili concludes.