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Etisalat COO heralds in the ‘Year of IT’

United Arab Emirates: Monday, March 17 - 2008 @ 11:14

“In 2008, we enter a new phase – a phase I call the Year of IT. This is where the CIO comes forward and takes control of the next stage of corporate transformation – creating services that maximize the investment made in technology and delivering against the consumer’s ever expanding list of needs,” said Ahmed Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Operating Officer, Etisalat.

In his keynote speech, Mr Julfar highlighted the rapid strides made by the region’s ICT industry, and especially in the UAE IT Services market, which is set to grow by 57% between 2006 and 2010 to a value of $796m according to IDC.

“The CIO is now the person best placed to ensure the success of their business. Now it is the consumer who chooses how he or she wishes to interact with the company, and the decision of whether to invest in e-business, CRM or mobility should have already been made. Now the CIO must utilize this investment and resources available to them to ensure the ongoing success of their business.”

Etisalat used the CIO Summit to launch a new White Paper written by IDC. This paper highlighting the impact of IT infrastructure becoming more complex, and the expertise needed to manage it not readily available, organizations in the Gulf are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit, train and retain qualified staff.

The worsening skills shortage in the region, the complexity inherent in LANS and WANS, the growth of the Internet in terms of reach and usage, and the reduced lifecycle of products are all contributing to the growth of outsourced services, the report concluded.

Julfar remarked on this saying, “Outsourcing is inevitable, and it’s a gradual trend with firms resorting to outsourcing to free up resources, reduce costs and increase internal performance and customer satisfaction. Collaboration and partnership with key players is also important for fast transformation and overall success.”

Mr Julfar also referred to a report from analysts Forrester which have described a new career for IT Professionals in ‘Mobile Operations’ – a subset of IT operations that marries mobile devices, carrier services, voice, and access technologies. “In essence, the network manager or IT manager may form a new function – a mobile applications manager or an IT Mobility Manager,” Julfar continued.

Etisalat’s COO then described the many benefits that organizations can realize from outsourcing entire IT projects to solutions companies highlighting the great success and strides made by the UAE Federal Government in climbing 28 positions in global e-Readiness tables since 2004 and the UAE Ministry of Economy significantly cutting the time required to access many of its services.

“Over the last thirty years we have continuously worked, refreshing the market with the latest technologies and solutions. Today, with broadband practically everywhere, thanks to 3.5G and WiFI access, the region has achieved a new level of sophistication. The UAE and Gulf markets have reached a new level of maturity – so much so, CIOs everywhere should proactively take a lead in the success of your company in 2008 and beyond,” Mr Julfar concluded.

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Monday, March 17- 2008 @ 11:14 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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