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Injazat CTO on how innovation enables Digital Transformation initiatives

Injazat CTO on how innovation enables Digital Transformation initiatives

CloudData CentresDigital TransformationMiddle EastTop Stories

Injazat Data Systems, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, is a well-respected organisation in the UAE, having worked with government organisations to initiate technology projects that have delivered real-world benefits for citizens. It now hopes to replicate these successes on a broader scale. Mohamed Al Qubaisi, Chief Technology Officer, tells us how Injazat has bold plans to position itself as one of the world’s most innovative companies and expand its international reach.

Can you tell us about your activities at GITEX 2019 and your own role within the company?

GITEX has always been important to us – we always contribute to showcase what we’re working on, what the future holds and what we’re currently doing with our clients.

We spoke about our partnerships with the government – Hassantuk and Malaffi – which we call our digital ventures.

Those are the interesting ventures we want to create more of. We’re all about creating that buzz and saying ‘come to us – we are the guys that can make money for you and generate new revenue streams’.

So GITEX this year was very special and a shifting point. My role within the organisation is to set the technology strategy to support that, so all our horizontal capabilities need to lead to us being able to generate new digital businesses.

How innovative is Injazat?

We want to be on the list of top innovative companies, so we’ve invested a lot in emerging technology. Of course, we have cloud and we have cyberdefence, but we have also invested heavily in emerging technology because we believe that we need to contribute to, and directly impact, the lives of citizens.

Malaffi is a project that saves lives. Hassantuk is an immediate fire detection system that that can also save lives, so we are very proud that we’re now no longer a support services company, we’re actually with the business, creating a huge impact and we want to do more of those types of projects.

What kind of challenges are your customers looking to overcome before they come to you?

There’s a buzzword called ‘Digital Transformation’ and that means something to everyone. For us it’s about structuring what it means for the client and then outlining which part is optimisation and which part is new business.

It’s very complex – you look at the existing structure and imagine a new digital business.  

Sometimes the ideas come from the outside so it’s us creating that ecosystem of capabilities that can be joined in. And then the problem – whether a business problem, social problem or an environment problem – can be solved by putting these capabilities together.

We’re talking about SMEs, vertical experts, business consultants. We have a process that says we innovate, we incubate and then we commercialise. So that’s one of the approaches that we have and we have partners that help us do that.

We are in a very innovative part of the world – how are organisations responding to the Digital Transformation challenges they’re facing?

There’s still a struggle – I think it’s going to take time before people really grasp what Digital Transformation means to them. And it’s all about having the courage to take that step. What Injazat does is eliminate that fear by investing on its own.

So, Malaffi was an investment from us. The revenue share comes later for the government, so they don’t take a lot of risk. This approach helped us a lot. We’re going to do more of that.

How important are your partnerships and channel strategy?

It is crucial. I think there’s a study that’s been done by Gartner which states that 90% of businesses that are not part of an ecosystem will ultimately fail. Especially in the digital world, you can’t work alone.

Are you able to talk a little bit more about the Malaffi project?

It’s a health information exchange. These kinds of programmes usually have a high failure rate but we’ve been successful because we put the right people in place and we got the best consultants in the world to really get a proper programme set up, ensuring the best service to the end user.

Malaffi is something we’re very proud of and we want to repeat – a lot. It’s going to impact the lives of citizens directly.

If you think about it, if you need to be taken to the emergency room and you’re not conscious, you can’t tell the doctor if you’re allergic to something or not.

Malaffi consolidates all the health records into one, giving it to the patient themselves and to the doctor so that the best medical treatment can be given. So this is Digital Transformation in action.

What is the market demand for cloud in this region?

We’ve launched our cloud recently. Our cloud strategy is a hybrid multi-cloud approach. So clients still have on prem workloads and then we have our cloud, which is full of features – our disaster recovery service and backup, etc.

We want to take care of the infrastructure part to keep it away in terms of distracting us from the business, so we want something solid that runs. We have Azure, we have AWS – we have all these capabilities that we can innovate on.

Everybody’s going towards that, because you can’t go with one architecture, you have got to have a mixture of all those capabilities. At the end of the day, we are a technology hub – we are vendor agnostic – so we’re not pushing any of these cloud solutions.

They’re an enabler for innovation and Digital Transformation. And there is a lot of demand, because of data sovereignty. We are positioned best to provide those cloud services.

When you are contacted by CIOs and potential customers, what kind of best practice approach do you offer when it comes to these strategies?

The biggest problem today is the operating model. So how do we engage with a client and an operating model that’s optimal. And that usually needs the client to have trust in us, managing SLAs, so we manage the technology.

What I find is that the mixed and hybrid approach sometimes doesn’t work and causes conflict. So really, the conversations usually are about the model and moving away from the day to day operations on the commodity level and really talking business and helping IT managers or CIOs to give value to their top management.

Are you able to offer insight into the data centre market or any change in approach in this region?

We’re seeing high demand for high density and High Performance Computing requirements. Something is being done on that insight and data analytics level that generates that demand.

We see international companies demanding space here in the UAE, for different reasons. We see demand for the data centre, but it’s not the same, there are new features requested. And that’s what we’re working on with our partners.

We have our own tier four data centre that’s been running for a very long time now successfully with 100% availability. That is in Abu Dhabi but we have a secondary data centre in Dubai. And we are going to have more, to make our cloud highly available.

How do you expect the data centre to look in the next couple of years?

There’s a lot of talk about containers and I’m sure as technology continues to change it will lead to changes in the data centre.

We’re also seeing different approaches being taken in terms of cooling. It’s going to be very interesting.

My background though is really around programming and data. I think that’s where Injazat will be really focusing. As a CTO, it’s about introducing new products and innovative concepts.

You mentioned some of your work with government and healthcare organisations – are you able to talk about a couple of other use cases for your technology?

Our ambition is to grow beyond government and to really launch Injazat as an international company. And why not?

We have a very good anchor client in the form of the government and we also serve a couple of commercial centres, but we’d like to do much more in that area.

The key is being competitive and having a value proposition that appeals to the commercial sector. We’re really interested in attacking that market very soon.

Why should commercial organisations look to you for these services?

First of all, we would gain the trust locally – we have a track record. We’re investing heavily in automation so that should really make our price point competitive. And we really value supporting the local economy. I’m hopeful that we have a very solid value proposition.

We know the commercial competitors, we know their offerings and I think we have something very special that is very localised and really customer centric and citizen centric as well, because that’s the final destination.

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