More Than 300 Influential ICT Leaders Gather in Dubai for IDC’s Middle East CIO Summit 2018

Press release
Published February 21st, 2018 - 09:08 GMT
Wesam Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government Establishment
Wesam Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government Establishment

International Data Corporation (IDC) today launched the eleventh edition of its annual Middle East CIO Summit, with more than 300 of the region's most influential ICT leaders in attendance. Hosted at Dubai's JW Marriott Marquis hotel, the event is showcasing innovative insights from respected industry experts and visionaries, and concludes tomorrow when the winners of the IDC CIO Excellence Awards 2018 will be announced during a dedicated ceremony.

His Excellency Wesam Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government Establishment and founding member of IDC's new CIO Advisory Council for the Gulf region, opened the day's proceedings by delivering the Summit's honorary keynote address, having been warmly welcomed by Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC's group vice president and regional managing director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.

"As the digital revolution continues, the ICT industry is entering the 2nd chapter of the 3rd Platform era, built on technologies and business models that will dramatically accelerate – and scale – digital innovation," said Lalchandani as he spoke at the event. "The emergence and widespread adoption of technologies like cloud and big data analytics, as well as highly disruptive innovation accelerators such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence/cognitive systems, robotics, augmented/virtual reality, 3D printing, and Blockchain will transform the ICT landscape as we know it. As such, IDC expects the next two to three years in the Middle East to be dynamic, disruptive, and laced with previously unimaginable levels of innovation."

Serge Findling, IDC's global vice president of research for digital transformation enablement, continued with this theme as he outlined a series of compelling strategies aimed at helping the modern CIO to break through the digital deadlock. He was followed by Steven Frantzen, IDC's senior vice president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, who engaged in a fascinating discussion with Mohammad Riaz, IBM's managing partner for the Gulf, Levant, and Pakistan, on preparing for the future with digital re-invention.

Lalchandani then returned to chair a session titled 'Building Cities of the Future Through Collaborative Innovation', which featured authoritative perspectives from highly influential public-sector ICT leaders like Yahya Abdulrahman, executive director for IT & communications at Saudi Electricity Company, and Ahmed Aly Shaban, senior consultant at the UAE's Prime Minister's Office.

The remainder of the day saw a series of senior global and regional IDC analysts host 22 individually themed focus groups that enabled attendees to tailor the Summit experience to meet their own unique needs. These roundtable sessions offered advice on a broad range of technology issues such as accelerating digital transformation with private cloud, developing a cyber-resilience strategy, ensuring availability for the always-on enterprise, implementing hyperconverged infrastructure, and leveraging the intelligent capabilities of cognitive systems.

IDC's Middle East CIO Summit 2018 continues tomorrow (February 22), with delegates set to hear from Pepper, the first social humanoid robot capable of understanding and reacting to human emotions, who will be exploring the role of robots in digital innovation. Meanwhile, IDC's Serge Findling will be chairing a timely discussion on the impending Blockchain revolution with Mira Sultan Obaid, director of smart services enablement at Smart Dubai Government Establishment; Mubaraka M. Ali Ibrahim, director of health information systems at the UAE's Ministry of Health; and Ahmed Al Emadi, chief information security officer at Dubai Municipality. Nitin Bhargava, chief technology officer at Mashreq Bank, will follow this up by outlining strategies for harnessing the power of a digital workforce, with a particular focus on emerging use cases for robotics and artificial intelligence.

There will also be a series of dedicated country-focused sessions exploring the latest ICT developments in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman, with exclusive insights provided by respected end-user ICT visionaries such as Fuad Al Ansari, vice president of IT at ADNOC Refining; Mario Foster, group CIO at Al Naboodah; C. Krishna Kumar, COO at Commercial Bank of Dubai; Ahmed Al Mulla, executive vice president of corporate services at Emirates Global Aluminum; Eng. Ahmad Al Hedaithy, CIO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health; Hakem S. Al Sagri, executive director of IT at Saudi Arabia's National Cyber Security Center; Basem Al Jedaie, director of digital enablement at Saudi Arabia's National Digitization Unit; Dr. Salim Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of Oman's Information Technology Authority; Ahmed AlBalooshi, senior vice president and head of IT at Al Baraka Bank; Ashraf Qunaibi, Director of ICT architecture and business intelligence at Ooredoo Kuwait; and Chandra Shekhar Jajware, CIO at Khimji Ramdas Group.

The event will draw to a close with the IDC CIO Excellence Awards 2018, which have been designed to honor those IT leaders that have excelled in conceptualizing and delivering game-changing digital transformation initiatives for their organizations. IDC's CIO Advisory Council will be on hand to distribute the awards, with winners being announced in the following categories: Best Customer Experience Transformation; Best Business Operations Transformation; Best Information Transformation; Best IT Service Transformation; and CIO of the Year.

IDC's valued partners for the Middle East CIO Summit 2018 include Kuwait's Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT), Oman's IT Authority; and eOman as Strategic Partners; IBM as Summit Partner; NXN as Platinum Partner; Commvault, Fortinet, FireEye, Tenable, Western Digital, Mimecast, Fujitsu, HP Enterprise, Alpha Data, NetApp, Attivo Networks, Veeam, Check Point, Alibaba Cloud, Sage, SmarTek21, S&V MENA, SOTI, Kodak Alaris / RSTN, Hitachi, Canon, and Citrix as Focus Group Partners; Tata Communications, Mindtree, and Injazat Data Systems as UAE Focus Partners ; Malwarebytes, Zimperium, Freshworks, Syncsort Vision Solutions, Nexthink, Gigamon, MDS ap, and Bitdefender as Exhibit Partners; YAS Digital Media and Vive as Innovation Partners; and Eye of Riyadh as the event's official Media Partner.

Background Information

International Data Corporation (IDC)

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. More than 1000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 47 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to help them achieve their key business objectives.

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