Future technology investments made in years past are helping Saudi Telecoms Company better understand its own business and create solutions for its customers, says STC's senior vice president, enterprise businesses, Dr Tarig Mohammed Enaya
We are witnessing unprecedented disruption in the telecommunications industry. Enterprise customers are demanding more value in return for ICT spending and traditional telecom operators are being challenged by other service providers to better meet customer demands and expectations.
The needs and interests of a discerning customer can only be met by understanding the market – being able to accurately predict the next wave of technological demands and then having the ability to come up with products and solutions that address customer pain points.
Companies that fail to realise this will find themselves unable to compete in the emerging business landscape.
However, meeting that end with the introduction of new disruptive technologies, while continuing with business ‘as usual’, is leading to the remodelling of business processes and systems. It’s why Saudi Telecoms Company's (STC) enterprise business boss, Dr Tarig Mohammed Enaya, believes “digital disruption is a catalyst for innovation.”
The impact of such new digital technologies need to be managed by both the disrupter – the technological innovator – and the adopter – the business looking to improve by adopting new processes or creating fundamentally new business models, according to Dr Enaya.
From augmented reality and artificial intelligence to blockchain and big data analytics, companies that invest in these areas now are poised to reap benefits in the future.
A recent PwC survey estimates that companies plan to invest more than $900bn by 2020 in transforming themselves digitally; the benefit they expect in return is a cost savings totaling $421bn and the addition of $500bn in revenues.
“The opportunities in ICT are immense. We have been investing heavily in innovation over the past several years and are now starting to see the results of our efforts,” says Dr Enaya.
Some of the most important developments affecting government and enterprise customers are found in emerging technologies like blockchain.
Blockchain will create $176bn in global business value by 2025, according to Gartner, a value expected to reach $3.1trn by 2030. Meanwhile, closer to home, IDC forecasts blockchain spending will reach $307m in the region by 2021.
STC had earlier identified blockchain as a priority investment area to leverage in its own business, and as a solution for its customers. The promise behind blockchain, a technology that distributes a database and enables a better way of conducting business, is the ability to ensure data is protected, and safe from theft or fraud, thus allowing the ability to build trust among its users, according to Dr Enaya.
“We are excited by the opportunities found in several of the emerging technologies driving innovation, such as blockchain,” he says.
“In Saudi Arabia, we are investing in the local blockchain ecosystem, developing solutions for government and enterprises ranging from how smart cities operate to real estate property development applications. Innovation is driving product development, which helps us deliver sophisticated solutions.”
STC’s investment in blockchain and big data is paving the way for its leadership in cloud and cybersecurity. Developing innovative cloud and cybersecurity products and services are dependent on managing and protecting that data in the cloud and on-premise.
“To ensure full data sovereignty, all of STC’s cloud products and services are fully Saudi-ised and located in the kingdom. This is important for government organisations as well as local companies operating in the country and handling sensitive customer information to proprietary business and financial information. We provide all of them with a wide range of innovative cybersecurity products and services, including a round the clock security operations center, DDOS protection, and advanced email and web security,” he says.
While innovation in blockchain technologies and big data analytics are building a sound foundation for STC’s future growth, according to Dr Enaya, there are other equally important areas that the company is investing in.
“One example is the Internet of Things (IoT) where we augment products with business management solutions in fleet operations, point-of-sale solutions and mobile ATM solutions. This technology is a result of years of investment by STC that helped our business grow and compete, but also that lead to products and services that STC’s enterprise customers are using today to remain competitive,” he says.
At Gitex 2018, STC will be bringing innovation to life, says Dr Enaya. From IoT applications and cloud services to cybersecurity and blockchain, customers will be able to get a close-up look at what STC can do for their business or organization.
STC will also be demonstrating a new service offering from 30,000 feet in the air, complete with a live broadcast available to those at the STC Gitex booth. Customers will see first-hand how STC’s investments are driving innovation, “and they will have no doubts in appreciating that STC’s products and services can help their businesses succeed in an increasingly competitive landscape,” he says.
Demand for big data and big data analytics is also growing, something STC has invested in itself to better understand their customers’ needs. Big data analytics provide insight into customer segmentation, identifying specific products and services for different customer profiles. STC is now using what it has learned to develop solutions for its customers to use in their businesses.
“At Gitex 2018, we will highlight the best examples of how our belief, echoed through our ‘We are all Innovators’ campaign, has resulted in cutting-edge local innovation and content creation,” says Dr Enaya.
“When we talk about innovation, we see it as a positive change in one of four categories: product, process, position, and paradigm. Our investments, over the past few years, are based on moving the needle in these four areas by creating industry solutions that the country and region, as well as our enterprise customers and business partners expect. This is how we plan to meet the demands of all stakeholders and fulfil the ambitions of the 20202 National Transformation Plan and Vision 2030.”