Read our latest issue "Horizons 2013" featuring GBM's latest news, achievements, events and partnerships. Our special bonus "In the Media"sections allows you to view at a glance what our executives had to say on the hottest IT trends.
As I look at 2012 in retrospect, Isee a competitive marketplace,where it had become increasinglychallenging to stand apart, andabove, from the crowd. Despite thechallenges, I am happy to say that wehave strengthened our positioningas technology leaders and providersand have succeeded in becomingthe consultant of choice – anachievement that is by no means aneasy feat – for most of our customersand partners.No longer are we seen as merelybeing systems integrators, bringingtogether best-in-class technologiesbased on our customers’ needs.As the breadth of the projects wehave undertaken in the past yearindicates, our customers havestarted approaching their challengesknowing full well that GBM has theability to identify and then deliver theright solutions.Building Relations, RecognitionThroughout the past year, we alsoworked on building and maintainingrelationships and partnerships withkey stakeholders across the regionand our activities regionally have Cesare Cardone, CEOdemonstrated GBM’s commitmentto our customers in the truest sense.We’ve also invested in the rightpeople, ensuring that we have theright teams in place regionally tohelp our customers succeed in theirIT projects.In addition to a number of businesswins, it was rewarding to beacknowledged as System Integratorof the Year by Reseller Middle Eastmagazine at its Partner ExcellenceAward and by Network World MiddleEast at their 3rd Annual Awards andas Storage Integrator of the Year byVendors and Resellers magazine’sVAR Channel Awards. In 2012, wewere also recognized as Cisco’sCommercial and Services Partnerof the Year and Red Hat EMEA’sVirtualization Partner of the Year.Each of our lines of business hasemerged as a hotbed of innovation,driving GBM forward into areas whichwere previously untapped.Intelligent Network SolutionsIn 2012, we saw the successful launchof the Intelligent Network Solutions(INS) division where we were able toinvolve our customers, partners andindustry players in this successfulmilestone by conducting the firstever INS survey. The survey allowedus to identify the areas which we, assolution providers, need to focus onand it has also helped us envision theupcoming trends which we will needto lead, as we always do.Through 2013, INS will be focusingits efforts on establishing GBM’ssecurity framework, an initiativewhich will eventually span other linesof business to become a company-wide offering. The framework willhelp solidify GBM’s position as a‘one-stop shop’ for our customers’security requirements.Software GroupGBM’s Software Group (SWG)introduced a new buying modelwhich enables strategic customersto acquire software on a basis moreclosely aligned to their businesssuccess. This ‘Large Deal’ modelcan allow for unique buying flexibilityacross the entire IBM softwareportfolio. The model also combinessmootherpaymentsterms,simplifiedenterprise buying and visibility forthe procurement team, while helpingminimize the risk of future decisionson architecture and product choice.Through 2013, SWG will seek toleverage new IBM SW acquisitions,which can deliver cutting-edgesolutions to customers in the region.With IBM acquiring an average of onenew software company per month,SWG will bring the capability of thesenew acquisitions to the Gulf regionwherever significant local value isapparent.Business SolutionsGBM’s newly rebranded BusinessSolutions (BS) group has refocusedits efforts on delivering excellencein a number of key areas includingenterprise solutions such ascontent, development of portalsand integration. Additionally, the BSgroupisalsofocusedonleveragingitsBusiness Analytics and Optimizationexpertise in a number of key sectors.With an enviable track record ofsuccessful projects, BS is primedfor continued success even as it hassuccessfully optimized its solutionsdelivery organization, deliveringquality more efficiently.Looking Forward,Looking BackHardware GroupGBM’s Hardware (HW) group hasbeen at the forefront of the IBMPureSystems revolution in theregion. The group was able to bringits extensive expertise to bear indelivering a number of PureSystemsdeployments to customers acrossthe region, one of which was amongthe first Pureflex deployment in theworld and another was among theworld’s first AIX PureFlex runningon SAP. IBM PureSystems are widelyrecognized as the future of computingand the HW team was not only ableto deliver the hardware but also thetraining required for the technologyto be seamlessly integrated intoour customers’ IT infrastructure.Moving forward, however, the groupwill also focus its efforts on IBM’snew zEnterprise System which willdeliver operational analytics, trustedresiliency and efficiency at scale toour customers.Technology ServicesOn the back of its successes with itsNetwork Operations Centre (NOC),GBM’s Technology Services (TS)is focusing its efforts on managedservices which will allow ourcustomers to focus their efforts onrunning their businesses insteadof their IT infrastructure. While theNOC was a first step in this direction,TS is diversifying its service offeringto include solutions in businesscontinuity and disaster recovery.Technical Support ServicesGBM’s Technical Support Services(TSS) unit has excelled at providingcustomer support in a mannerthat is both, timely and efficient.To illustrate this, more than 70percent of all customer networkingissues were handled directly bythe Network Service Desk teamthrough direct Webex connection tocustomer infrastructure. Of these,over half (55 percent) of the mostsevere issues were managed withinan hour of them being reported. Thisdemonstrates how TSS is addingvalue to our customers by ensuringthat issues have a minimal impact ontheir day-to-day business.As TSS works to further improve itsservice offering, the GBM ServiceDesk will become the single point ofcontact for customers from acrossour spectrum of businesses. In areflection of the innovation whichdrives this company, TSS’ new iPhoneand Android mobility applicationswill ensure that our customers haveall the necessary information at theirfingertips.2013: Brimming with PotentialBusinesses and decision makers arequickly understanding the importanceof having a solid IT infrastructurein place and acknowledging thebenefits of the IT investments. Andour role as industry leaders is tocontinue supporting them with ourexpertise and equip them with what’sbest in the market. GBM has earneda reputation for fully anticipating andunderstanding its customers’ needsand I believe that in 2013 we will havethe chance to build further on thisreputation and be able to truly shinein the Gulf IT market.I look back at 2012 and I am proud ofwhat we have achieved as a companyand with our partners and customersand hope that, together, we continueto move forward. There are manyexciting developments in store for usin 2013.I would like to take the opportunity tothank each and every one at GBM fortheir dedication and efforts in 2012 aswell as our customers and partnersfor trusting our capabilities and theireagerness to continue collaboratingwith us.2013 is brimming with potential andwe are in a good position to make themost of it.
G B M N E W S | 6Gulf Business Machines:Data Security Concerns Holding BackAdoption of Cloud Services in GCCConcerns over data security is thetop factor delaying the widespreadadoption of cloud-based services,according to a new survey ofIT professionals conducted byGulf Business Machines (GBM).According to the survey, whichcoincided with the launch of GBM’sIntelligent Network Solutions (INS)division, concerns over servicereliability and availability,as well as the costof cloud-basedsolutions are oftencited reasons forthe slow adoptionof outsourcedenterprise cloudservices.While two-thirds (62percent) of the regionalIT professionals polledstated that data security was aconcern and 40.5 percent identifiedcost as a barrier, 43 percent citedservice reliability concerns. Incomparison, a lack of supportfrom non-IT decision makers wasmentioned by less than a quarter(22 percent) of the respondents.“These findings should come as aserious concern for the industrysince perceptions, as opposed tofacts, appear to play a significant rolein decisions to defer the adoptionof cloud services in an enterpriseenvironment,” saidHani Nofal, Directorof Intelligent NetworkSolutions (INS) at GBM.“While it is importantto note that the use ofcloud technologies ispart of the IT function’sevolutionary process,it is equally important torealize that change is usuallya gradual process. It is only amatter of time before the benefitsof using the cloud, such ascost effectiveness andscalability, outweighthese unfoundedconcerns.”Nofal added: “AtGBM INS, we aimto partner withour customers tointroduce themto cloud-basedservices at a pacethat is in line with theircomfort levels. We trulybelieve that the region offerssignificant potential for scaling upthe adoption of cloud solutions andwe aim to use our combination ofexperience and access to best-in-class technologies to support thistrend.”Significantly, almost aquarter (24.6 percent) oftherespondentssaidthattheir organizations wereplanning to outsourcebusiness applicationsand services to cloud-based service providersin the next 12 to 18months.The study also revealedthat while one-in-ten ITprofessionals owns fiveor more personal devices- such as smartphonesand tablets - a third of thosepolled owned up to three devices.However, only 6.2 percent admittedto owning one device.GBM INS, previously known asIntegrated Networking & SiteServices(INSS),providescustomersand partners with a portfolio ofsolutions that captures all thevalues of fully human-optimized ITinfrastructure. Designed especiallyfor the market’s current needsand business requirements, INSoffers intelligent, creative solutionsthat adapt to the customers’requirements to provide themwith the benefits of four key areaswhich include secure mobility,video collaboration, social mediaand cloud computing. GBM INS isone of the few networking solutionsproviders that address the needto shift the networking solutionsspace from traditional SystemsIntegration to Human Systemsintegration.“At GBM INS,we aim to partner with ourcustomers to introduce them tocloud-based services at a pacethat is in line with theircomfort levels ”
Anti-Social:Survey Reveals Workplace SocialMedia Restrictions Across the GulfA majority of businesses in theregion restrict employee access tosocial media platforms, according toa new survey of IT professionalsconducted by Gulf BusinessMachines (GBM).The survey, which coincideswith the launch of GBM’sIntelligent Network Solutions(INS) division, found that anoverwhelming majority of theover 900 respondents whoparticipated, were subject tosocialmediaaccessrestrictionsin the workplace, ranging frompartial to blanket.While 32 percent of therespondents reported un-restricted access to social media,just over a third (35 percent) ofthose polled claimed that theirorganizations’ IT policies completelyprohibited access. An additional 33percent said that they experienced“partial” restrictions.“Although these findings do not comeas a surprise, it is a clear indicationof how seriously enterprises takethe potential impact of social mediaon productivity,” said Hani Nofal,Director of Intelligent NetworkSolutions (INS) at GBM. “Thechallenge that businesses face is infinding a middle ground which allowsthem to tap into the power of socialmedia, while ensuring that it doesnot negatively impact productivity.”Nofal added: “One option that is beingconsidered is the adoption of socialmedia-based collaborative tools thathave specifically been developed foran enterprise environment. At INS,we believe that these tools will allowbusinesses to truly ride the socialmedia wave without compromisingon operational efficiencies.”Significantly, the survey also foundthat ‘Bring Your Own Device’(BYOD) policies are widely beingimplemented across the region; 62percent of the IT professionals polledmaintained that their employersallowed them to connect their owndevices to company networks. Thestudy also revealed that while one-in-ten IT professionals owns five ormore personal devices - such assmartphones and tablets - a thirdof those polled owned up to threedevices. However, only 6.2 percentadmitted to owning one device.G B M N E W S | 8Survey of IT professionals reveals widespread adoption of Bring Your Own Device policies.“At INS, we believe thatthese tools will allowbusinesses to truly ridethe social media wavewithout compromising onoperational efficiencies.”
Gulf Business Machines (GBM) hasbeen selected by the Abu DhabiQuality and Conformity Council (QCC)to consolidate their IT infrastructureusing the latest solutions from thenew IBM® PureSystems™ family.This project is the first application ofits kind in the United Arab Emiratesand in the government sector.Through the integration of theIBM® PureSystems™, which fallsunder IBM’s new category of “expertintegrated systems,” QCC willenjoy a ‘Scale-In System Design’, anew concept in system design thatintegrates the server, storage, andnetworking into a highly automated,simple-to-manage machine. Thetechnology and industry expertiseembedded through first-of-a-kind software will alsoallow QCC’s systems tohandle basic, time-consuming tasks such asconfiguration, upgrades,andapplication requirementsautomatically.“At QCC, we understand thatunconsolidated IT infrastructuresincrease the complexity of processesand are costly to operate andmaintain,” said Sultan Al Kaabi,Shared Services Director, QCC.“GBM’s track record in the systemintegration arena and the factthat they are the providers for theIBM® PureSystems™ family weremajor incentives for us to select thecompany for this project. We areconfident that this collaboration willGBM Implements the FirstIBM®PureSystems™Project in the UAEfor the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity CouncilThe Abu Dhabi Quality andConformity Council wasestablished in accordance with thelocal law no. (3) for the year 2009.The Abu Dhabi’s Quality andConformity Council (QCC)was established to raise the qualityof Abu Dhabi’s exports andof products traded locally whileprotecting Abu Dhabi’s consumersand supporting its competitiveeconomy.www.qcc.abudhabi.aeallow us to overcome any challengesthat we have been experiencing withour existing IT infrastructure.”Additional benefits which GBM willoffer QCC through the deploymentof the project is cloud-readyintegration. The IBM PureSystemsfamily of products is built for thecloud, thus it will enable QCC toquickly create private, self-servicecloud offerings that can scale upand down automatically. Widelyhailed as the evolution of a new,simpler era of computing, the newIBM® PureSystems™ family willalso help reduce the high costs andcomplexity associated with managinginformation technology.“Weareveryproudtobeimplementingthe first IBM® PureSystems™project in the UAE for QCC,” saidMiguel Khouri, Country GeneralManager, GBM Abu Dhabi. “As acompany, we always try to offer ourcustomers the best solutions thatwill drive their business forwardwhile increasing the cost efficiencyand productivity levels. As a result ofa fully streamlined IT infrastructureusing IBM® PureSystems™, QCCwill be able to focus solely on itsoperations with reduced IT-relatedobstacles or inefficiencies.”GBM,the sole distributor for IBM in theGCC excluding selected productsand services, excluding Saudi Arabia,announced the launch of the firstIBM® PureSystems™ technologydemonstrator in the GCC earlier thismonth.G B M N E W S | 1 0 G B M N E W S | 1 1“We arevery proud to beimplementing the firstIBM®PureSystems™project in the UAEfor QCC ”
Gulf Business Machines (GBM),has been recognized as an APCby Schneider Electric Elite DataCenter Partner. GBM is now uniquelypositioned to provide its customersin the GCC region with the completeline of APC by Schneider Electricproducts.To achieve the Elite Data CenterCertification, the GBM design andconsultingteamhadtofulfillstringentpartner training requirementsset by APC by Schneider Electric.The GBM team has also achievedindividual certifications to becomeAPC Certified Technical Consultants,Integrated Design Consultants andSales Professionals.GBM Achieves APC bySchneider ElectricElite Data Center Partnership for GCCAs a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries,Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, includingleadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation,and data centres/networks, as well as a broad presence in residential applications.Focused on making energy safe, reliable, and efficient, the company’s 110,000 plusemployees achieved sales of 19.6 billion euros in 2010, through an active commitment tohelp individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.www.schneider-electric.comG B M N E W S | 1 2 G B M N E W S | 1 3Gulf Business Machines (GBM),has been selected by Zain Bahrain,a leading telecom provider inBahrain, for Cisco CertifiedNetwork Associate (CCNA) stafftraining.During the training, Zain BahrainNetworkEngineersandBroadbandSpecialists were introduced to thelatest products from the Ciscoportfolio and trained to use thelatest Cisco technologies.The CCNA training program willhaveaspecialfocusonnetworking,fundamental mitigation of securitythreats, performance-basedskills and the use of various ITprotocols.As industry experts, GBM trainerstook the opportunity to shed somelight on current trends in the ITmarket and the overall industry.Zain Bahrain entered the Kingdom’s telecoms market in 2003 as the secondmobile service entrant. Riding on the promise of innovative business practicesand cutting-edge technology, Zain Bahrain has delivered on these promises byputting Bahrain on the global telecommunications map with a string of firsts– the first country with nation-wide 3G, then 3.5G and now, WiMAXcoverage. Today, Zain Bahrain has developed into a successful fixed wirelessservice operator offering full-spectrum corporate telecoms solutions, voice anddata services to customers in the Kingdom.www.bh.zain.comZainBahrainSelects Gulf BusinessMachines for CiscoTraining
Gulf Business Machines:First in GCC to Offer Revolutionary IBM®PureSystems™Technology DemonstratorNew category of “expert integrated systems” will reduce IT costs, complexityGulf Business Machines (GBM),announced in July the launch of thefirstIBM®PureSystems™technologydemonstrator in the Gulf CooperationCouncil (GCC) region. The technologydemonstrator, which is available toGBM customers around the region, isdesigned to showcase the capabilitiesof IBM’s new category of “expertintegrated systems,” widely hailed asthe evolution of a new, simpler era ofcomputing.With the introduction of the newPureSystems™ family, IBM isunveiling major advances thatpoint to a new era of computingtechnology that is designed to allowbusinesses to reduce the high costsand complexity associated withmanaging information technology.The new Systems family offers clientsan alternative to today’s enterprisecomputing model, where multiple anddisparate systems require significantresources to set up and maintain.“PureSystems represents a majorevolution in computing technologythat features decades of inheritedexperience bundled into one,intelligent, cognitive system,” saidLee Allcorn, PureSystems™ SalesManager, IBM, Middle East and Africa.Advances, featured in PureSystems,include ‘Scale-In System Design’,a new concept in system designthat integrates the server, storage,and networking into a highlyautomated, simple-to-managemachine; technology and industryexpertise embedded through first-of-a-kind software that allows thesystems to automatically handlebasic, time-consuming tasks suchas configuration, upgrades, andapplication requirements; and Cloud-ready integration, which ensuresthat PureSystems™ family membersare built for the cloud, enablingcorporations to quickly create private,self-service cloud offerings that canscale up and down automatically.“The Information Technology functionis increasingly expected to driveinnovation and address new businessopportunities and it is apparent thatIBM has developed PureSystems™with this in mind,” said AndreasWeiss, Director of IBM® Systems andTechnology, GBM. “As a company,GBM has always prided itself in itsability to bring its customers thevery latest in solutions and yet again,with this state-of-the-art technologydemonstrator, we continue to buildon our legacy of excellence.”The Emirates E-Government hosteda meeting between the Data ModelDictionary initiative team and expertsfrom Gulf Business Machines (GBM),the region’s leading IT solutionsand service provider, and IBM’srepresentative in the Gulf Region. Themeeting was carried out as part of thee-Government’s efforts to supportthe development of e-servicesavailable to the customers and theimplementation of new initiatives.At the core of these initiatives wasthe development of a common DataModel for governmental bodies inorder to establish a data structurethat can be shared among thedifferent organizations. Additionally,this would include implementingan electronic mechanism to allowthe sharing of data betweengovernmental organizations andgain direct access from its originalsources. The Data Model will helpreduce time and costs, in addition toavoiding duplicates while ensuringquick sharing of data.According to the strategic plan of theG B M N E W S | 1 4 G B M N E W S | 1 5“As a company, GBMhas always prided itselfin its ability to bringits customers the verylatest in solutions”E-Government and Data ModelDictionary officialsmeet GBM and IBM expertsinitiative, coordination has startedwith expert companies, such as GBMand IBM in order to share ideas andtake advantage of the best globalpractices. The aim is to identify thebest methodologies for data modelsand the most effective way to createEnterprise Service Bus (ESB) to meetintegration needs.The Emirates e-Government wasrepresentedbyAbdulWahabMustafa,Hosny Abu al-Yazid and Ashraf Al-Masry; while IBM team includedKhaled Sultan, Sales Manager andMazen Hesn, IT systems executivedesigner,andSethuRaman,engineerand software specialist. GBM expertsincluded Rawad Abdul-Malik, SalesManager and Rawad Abdul Baqi,software specialist. IBM and GBMexperts made a presentation aboutService-Oriented Architecture (SOA)highlighting the two companiesexperience in the integration projectsof e-services provision throughe-government portals in the Gulfregion and the world.
Oman ArabBankselects IBM®technologyfor greaterbusiness agilityInternational Business MachinesCorp. is an information technologycompany, which provides integratedsolutions that leverage informationtechnology and knowledge ofbusiness processes. The companyoperates its business through fivesegments: Global TechnologyServices, Global Business Services,Software, Systems & Technologyand Global Financing.www.marketwatch.comOman Arab Bank (OAB), one ofthe leading banks in the Sultanateof Oman and a key player ine-government services, has chosenIBM technology with theaim of greater e-businessagility and increasedcompetitiveness. Workingclosely with IBM’s regionalpartner, Gulf BusinessMachines (GBM), theimplementation of IBM®technologies has enabled thebank to enhance customer servicethrough an open standards basedand tightly integrated virtualizedcomputing environment. A longterm user of IBM technologies,OAB expects the new system willenable increased responsivenessto its retail banking, corporate,investment, trade business,government and business bankingcustomers.“Highly advanced technology isa critical enabler in the bankingindustry, essential for competitiveIn 1984 Oman Arab Bank acquired the branches of Arab Bank which were operatingin Oman since 1973 with Oman International Development & Investment Company(OMINVEST) owning 51% of the shares of the new bank and Arab Bank owning 49%with management control. This marked the birth of a local bank with an internationalpresence.The bank provides a range of products and services in retail banking, corporate andproject finance, investment banking, and trade finance.OAB has consistently earned one of the highest returns on equity for the last 25 years with anaverage of over 20% per annum, one of the highest in the banking industry.www.oman-arabbank.comG B M N E W S | 1 6 G B M N E W S | 1 7advantage andhelping to drived i f f e re n t i a t i o n ,speed to market, andability to capitalize onnew opportunities,”stated Amr Refaat,IBM General Managerfor Middle East and Pakistan.“IBM and GBM are workingclosely with OAB to help the bankreduce costs, increase returnon investment and optimizebusiness processes.”OAB is a pioneer in the B2Band B2G space using stateof art technology and ServiceOriented Architecture (SOA)standards as an integrationenabler of B2B and B2Gservices allowing it to addvalue to its propositionthrough more efficientlydelivered services tailored tocustomer needs.“Our approach has meant thatwe can provision new computingcapacity on demand using IBMservers,bladecenterandstorage,within minutes as opposed tohours and/or days”, commentedHassan Abdul Ali Mohammed,Deputy General Manager -Information Technology Head,OAB. “Speed to market is crucialto gaining competitive advantageand this, together with the strongintegration capability provided byIBM and GBM, allows us to launchnew applications and associatedcustomer services quickly.”T h e s t r a t e g i cdecision to investfurther in (BCP/DRC)disaster recovery isexpected to minimizebusiness risk. Theintegrated IT system wasimplemented using ®IBM®WebSphere software, and IBMserver and storage virtualizationproducts including IBM PowerSystems™ and IBM System StorageSAN Volume Controller, whichhave been key to creating a robustand reliable platform for runningcritical core banking and peripheralapplications.As the need for fast and reliablebanking becomes a crucial factorin in the highly competitive bankingindustry, OAB remains at theforefront of deploying advancedtechnology aimed at enhancingbusiness continuity and growingcustomer share. OAB is one of thelargest banks in Oman and also hasbranches in Egypt and the UAE.“Throughout our ongoing relationshipwith OAB, we ensured their ITinfrastructure is up-to-date withthe latest IBM technologies. Thesolutions implemented are aimedat providing a stable, reliable andwell-suited platform to cater to thebank’s specific requirements,” saidChristopher Lloyd, Country GeneralManager of GBM Oman.OAB has been using IBM® technologyfor the past decade to upgrade andimprove its underlying infrastructureto its current mature level.“Throughout ourongoing relationship withOAB, we ensured their ITinfrastructure is up-to-datewith the latest IBMtechnologies”
Sanovi Technologiesand Gulf Business MachinesPartner to Deliver IT Disaster RecoveryManagement Software SolutionsSanovi Technologies is an independent software vendor offering a suite of softwareproducts and solutions in the IT Disaster Recovery Management (DRM) space.Privately owned and financially backed by the Betul Group of India, Sanovi hasits corporate headquarters in Bangalore, with sales and service offices across India,Dubai, and South Korea. Sanovi’s flagship DRM product enables service providersand organizations to ensure that their IT applications recover predictably in a disasterscenario to meet the required recovery goals.www.sanovi.comclass of product that delivers real-time DR readiness validation withclear business and operationaladvantages.“In today’s volatile businessenvironment, Disaster RecoveryManagement solutions are imperativefor the smooth functioning ofbusiness. Sanovi solutions helpcustomers reduce business exposureto IT outages, and increase confidencein their DR plans, while lowering totalcost of ownership for DR solutionswith its DR Automation platform,”said Cesare Cardone, CEO, GBM.“We are excited to partner with Sanovito bring this value to organizations inour region.”The key business benefits of SanoviDR Management™ Suite includeincreased availability of IT systems,reduction of IT DR costs and businessrisk mitigation through successfulDR fail-over and recovery.“Demand for DR AutomationSolutions is growing as customers arelooking for ways to reduce productiondowntimes, and perform successfulDR Drills. GBM has significant marketreach in the region and providesSanovi an excellent opportunity tooffer its intelligent DRM automationsolutions and provide measurableROI to customers,” said ChandraPulamarasetti, Co-Founder & CEOat Sanovi Technologies.Sanovi Technologies, aleader in disaster recoverymanagement (DRM)software and Gulf Business Machines(GBM) announced a partnership toresell Sanovi DR Management™Suite to organizations throughoutthe Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC, excepting Saudi Arabia) andPakistan. Sanovi DR Management™Suite is a comprehensive family ofenterprise class Disaster Recoverymanagement software solutionsdesigned for validating, monitoring,G B M N E W S | 1 8 G B M N E W S | 1 9“We are excitedto partner with Sanovito bring this valueto organizationsin our region.”testing and automating recovery.Founded in 1990, GBM is a spin-offfrom IBM and the leading IT solutionsprovider in the region fulfilling theIT requirements of local, regionaland international organizations.This major partnership agreementestablishes a long-term strategicrelationship between both companiesallowing GBM to remarket,distribute, resell and support SanoviTechnologies’ products, includingSanovi DR Management™ Suite.Sanovi Technologies is the leader inthe Disaster Recovery ManagementSolution space and helpsorganizations pro-actively managedisaster recovery (DR) environmentsto ensure that applications canbe recovered in compliance withservice level agreements (SLA).The Company has been positionedby Gartner as sample vendor for“Recovery Exercising” in GartnerHype Cycle for Business ContinuityManagement and Disaster RecoveryManagement in 2011. Designedfor organizations that require acomprehensive Disaster RecoveryManagement Solution, Sanovi DRManagement™ Suite enables DRmonitoring, reporting, testing andwork flow automation of complexIT infrastructure and applications.Sanovi DRM suite offers a unifieddisaster recovery management
Virtual Bridges, Inc. and GulfBusiness Machines (GBM) announceda partnership to deliver VirtualBridges VERDE™ virtual desktopmanagement and provision-ing capabilities to organizationsthroughout the Gulf CooperationCouncil (GCC). Featuring online,offline and branch VDI, VERDE isproven to help organizations reducethe cost and complexity of managingdesktops, while minimizing securityconcerns and business risk.Founded in 1990, Gulf BusinessMachines (GBM), a spin-off fromIBM, is the leading IT solutionsprovider in the region fulfilling theIT requirements of local, regionaland international organizations.This major partnership agreementestablishes a long-term strategicG B M N E W S | 2 0 G B M N E W S | 2 1Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments(SPICE) provides a seamless user experience for bandwidth-intensive applications, such as multimedia and VoIP, offeringa user experience comparable to that of a physical desktop.Zero-admin Cloud Branch delivers LAN-like VDI performancefor branch users with bi-directional sync to provide disasterrecovery and business continuity while ensuring consistent,high quality experiences that improve productivity.EnhancedMicrosoft®ActiveDirectoryintegrationusingIBM®Tivoli® Directory Integrator (TDI) provides synchronization ofuser information between a Microsoft Active Directory serverand Virtual Desktop for Smart Business.Enhanced management console for role and task-basedprovisioning, and enhanced monitoring and reportingcapabilities help the IT administrator manage virtual desktopinfrastructures more effectively.Single sign on for Windows guests enhances user productivity.Full USB 2.0 peripheral support for integrated offline andonline VDI through single user console allows end users invarious industries to use a variety of peripheral devices suchas those used in retail stores, banks and hospitals.Multiple server clustering based scale out specification andsupport allows organizations to offer virtual desktops to moreend users.Network Attached Storage (NAS) specification and support forexternal storage provides a lower cost storage alternative.••••••••relationship by which GBM willremarket, distribute, resell andsupport Virtual Bridges products,including VERDE, the industry’sfirst VDI Gen2 solution.Designed for organizationsthat want to escape theconstraints of physicalcomputing, VERDE simplifiesdesktop management,improves security andincreases business agility. Itprovides end users accessto Windows and Linuxdesktops from any location ordevice - including tablets, netbooks,laptops and thin clients. In addition,IT professionals can managedesktops centrally, reducing thecosts and challenges associated withprovisioning, updating and securinghighly distributed PC environments.“As the leading VDI Gen2 solution,VERDE will help our customersreduce desktop TCO while increasingorganizational agility, productivityand responsiveness,” said CesareCardone, CEO of Gulf BusinessMachines. “We are excited to partnerwith Virtual Bridges to bring this valueto organizations in the GCC region.”Named a “Major Player” in desktopvirtualization by IDC, Virtual Bridgeshelps customers easilyscale their environmentto meet fluctuatingbusiness demandswithout sacrificingsecurity or performance,regardless of whetherthe solution is deployedon a customer’s owninfrastructure or hostedor delivered as aservice. Among its manyadvantages, VDI Gen2 easesWindows7migrations.Insteadofhaving to re-image all desktopsand laptops, VERDE will allowGBM customers to create, testand deploy a virtual desktopwith Windows 7 in minutes.“Demand for VDI Gen2 continuesto grow as organizations seekways to drive greater efficienciesand transform their desktopenvironment to take advantageof cloud computing and mobilecomputing opportunities,” saidJim Curtin, president and CEOof Virtual Bridges. “GBM has anincredible foothold in the marketand we’re thrilled to work withthem to expand our reach anddrive measurable ROI for theircustomers.”Key benefits of Virtual Bridges VERDE include:Virtual Bridges VERDE is an award-winning desktop management andprovisioning solution that leverages virtualization to deliver desktops eitheron-premises or in the cloud. VERDE helps enterprises transform TCOby simplifying desktop management, improving security and compliance,and increasing the organizational agility across Windows and Linuxenvironments. Virtual Bridges is headquartered in Austin, Texas.http://vbridges.com“As the leading VDI Gen2solution, VERDE will helpour customers reduce desktopTCO while increasingorganizational agility, productivityand responsiveness”Virtual Bridges and Gulf Business MachinesPartner to Deliver VDI Gen2 to Organizations Throughout the Middle East
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader innetworkingthattransformshowpeopleconnect,communicateand collaborate. Cisco’s vision for the consumer is totransform the home network into a solutions and servicesplatform that delivers great customer experiences..www.cisco.comThe partnership will allow CiscoBorderless Network ArchitectureLearning Specialization to assessthe ability of a Learning Partner todeliver quality classes around selling,designing, installing, and supportingCisco products, technologies andsolutions that are under Cisco’sBorderless Network Architecture.With this partnership, GBM is entitledto design and create Cisco DerivateWorks.GBM shares a longstanding relation-ship with Cisco and has been a CiscoLearning Partner (CLP) since 2008with strong presence in the UAE,Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar andPakistan. In addition, in June 2011,GBM and Cisco jointly launchedOman’s first and only Cisco trainingcenter as part of GBM’s LearningServices Platform. The full-fledgedtraining center was designed to offerCisco training services to job seekersand IT professionals and deliverCisco authorized and approvedcontent, including technology,product-specific and certification-preparation courses.This designation recognizes GBMas having fulfilled the trainingrequirements and program pre-requisites to design, resell, installand maintain the Cisco® ASR 5000Series multimedia core platform.To qualify for the Cisco MobileInternet Technology ATP Program,GBM had to meet a number ofrequirements: having staff who fulfillspecific job responsibilities, takingcomprehensive courses, and passingrigorous exams to validate technologyproficiency. Those requirements aredesigned to help a partner maintainhigh levels of customer satisfaction.From Left to Right: H.H Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Deputy PrimeMinister, Chairman of the Supreme Committee for ICT, Kingdom of Bahrain presenting theDiamond Sponsorship Award to GBM Chairman Mr. Jalal Mohammed JalalGBM Earns theCisco BorderlessNetworkArchitectureSpecialized LearningPartner Status in the GCCGBM recognizedby Ciscoas Mobile InternetTechnology AuthorizedTechnology Providerin GCCGulf Business MachinesReceives DiamondSponsorship Awardat the Bahrain Internationale-Government ForumG B M N E W S | 2 3G B M N E W S | 2 2
Gulf Business Machines (GBM),revealed that a combination ofeconomic and operational factorswere the driving force behind asignificant uptake in demand forvirtualization solutions.As it marked the completion of its160thvirtualization project in theGulf region, earlier this year, thecompany said that a combination ofa growing focus on reducing capitalexpenditures, optimizing operatingexpenses, improving business con-tinuity and boosting business agility,is driving businesses in the region toinvest in virtualization.GBM, which had announced a 35percent year-on-year growth in itsvirtualization business, says thatits customers benefit from TotalCost of Ownership (TCO) savingsranging from 48 to 70 percent as aresult of deploying virtualizationsolutions. Virtualization is thetechnique of consolidating thevolume of IT resources required,GBM: Economic, Operational PressuresDriving Demand for Virtualization in GulfBusinesses seeking to benefit from cost savings and improved efficienciesThis designation recognizes GulfBusiness Machines (GBM) as havingfulfilled the training requirementsand program prerequisites tosell, deploy and support CiscoTelePresence Video products andsolutions at the Advanced level.The Cisco TelePresence VideoAdvanced ATP Program is focusedon providing a new way of workingin which everyone, everywhere canbe more productive through face-to-face collaboration with TelePresenceVideo solutions.GBM Recognized as CiscoTelePresence®VideoAdvanced Authorized TechnologyPartner in the Gulf regionG B M N E W S | 2 5G B M N E W S | 2 4by creating virtual assets, such asservers and customers experience arange of benefits including reducedpower and cooling costs, a declinein systems downtime, increasedIT administration productivity andimproved business agility.“In many ways, the volumeof Virtualization projectswe are seeing in theregion is a clearsign of the timeswe live in. Wecurrently operatein an environmentwhere the focus onboosting efficienciesis greater than everbefore and it is onlynatural that businesses, bigand small, are seeking to reduce theamount of underutilized IT resourcesand, in the process, operatingcosts,” said Cesare Cardone,chief executive officer, GBM. “Theuniversality of this trend is reflectedin the diversity of our customerbase, which spans industries suchas banking, retail, government,hospitality and transportation.”GBM counts all the major serverconsolidation and Virtualizationvendors as technology partnersin the region. This includes IBM,VMware, Citrix and Red Hat.Pappu R. Rao, director, TechnologyServices, GBM, said: “Our trackrecord in virtualization is certainly nota coincidence and is the result of ourlong and varied experience in serverconsolidation and our abilityto address all aspectsincluding design,i m p l e m e n t a t i o nand support forv i r t u a l i z a t i o nprojects. We alsoh a v e a l a r g etechnical resourcepool of certifiedspecialists that re-presents all the keycompetencies required tosuccessfully deliver virtualizationprojects anywhere in the region.”GBM also offers its customersa seamless roadmap from vir-tualization to cloud computing.GBM’s Cloud Service offerings arebeing evolved and now includeCloud Infrastructure Managementcomprising of PowerVM, VM Controland Systems Director. GBM is alsoable to integrate IBM and non-IBMcloud solutions from partners usingan IBM cloud integration framework.“Our track recordin virtualization is certainlynot a coincidence and is theresult of our long and variedexperience in serverconsolidation”
Arab Financial Services (AFS), theleading electronic payment serviceprovider in MENA, has selected GulfBusiness Machines (GBM), to installthe latest IBM’s Mainframe z114.The deployment of the IBMzEnterprise System Mainframe willbe managed by GBM’s division inBahrain, Bahrain Business Machines(BBM). The deal also marks the firstdeployment of IBM Mainframe modelz114 in Bahrain and across the GCC.United Computer and ManagementConsultancy Company (UCMC),the leading IT solutions providerin the UAE and Gulf BusinessMachine’s (GBM) operation inDubai, announced that it has beenawarded an appreciation certificatefrom the Department of EconomicDevelopment (DED) for integratingtheir IT environment and puttingin place the Department’s first ITmonitoring system. The managedservice is the first governmententerprise managed remotely byUCMC, and it provides DED with theability to monitor and locate rootcauses of incidents and mitigatethem more efficiently than previouslypossible.As part of the project, UCMCimplementedaRemoteInfrastructureManaged Service in an OPEX model,providing DED flexibility, bettercontrol and availability of businessservices to their end users. UCMC’ssolution includes a comprehensiveITIL based Service Desk for incidentalert logging, tracking and resolution,all of which is provided on a 24/7basis from its NOC in Dubai subjectto Service Level Agreements (SLA’s).Through the newly deployed service,DED now has better visibility intotheir IT infrastructure, including theNetwork, and are able to proactively,securely manage it.Arab FinancialServicesdeploy IBMMainframe SolutionGBM’s UCMC Awarded Appreciation Certificatefrom Dubai’s Department of Economic DevelopmentFirst-of-its-kind deployment by UCMC successfully provides DED with its first integrated monitoring serviceDubai, the second largest Emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is one of thefastest growing economies in the world. Driving this growth forward is the Department ofEconomic Development (DED).Led by the vision to set and drive the economic agenda of Dubai, our mission is to createan environment for sustainable economic development to enhance the welfare and prosperityof Dubai and the UAE. We plan to achieve this by developing economic policy andregulations, identifying strategic growth sectors and providing efficient services to local andinternational investors.DED is responsible for business registration and licensing in Dubai as well as commercialcompliance and consumer protection. Together with our four agencies - the ForeignInvestment Office, the Export Development Corporation, the Dubai Shopping FestivalOffice and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders - wesupport and strengthen all economic drivers of Dubai, and work together to ensure that thegoals of the Dubai Strategic Plan are achieved.SpecialtiesTo create an environment for sustainable economic development to enhance the welfare andprosperity of Dubai and the UAE.http://www.dubaided.gov.aeG B M N E W S | 2 6 G B M N E W S | 2 7Founded in 1984, AFS isthe region’s leading provider ofelectronic-payments and consumer-finance outsourcing services. Createdby the financial industry to serviceand support financial institutionsin the region and beyond, AFSis owned by 40 of the region’sleading banks and currently providesoutsourcing services to over 60 banksand financial institutions.www.afs.com.bh/company
International Information SystemSecurity Certification Consortium(ISC)² hosted earlier this month theinauguration of the (ISC)² KuwaitChapter, the first approved (ISC)²Chapter in the Gulf region. Thechapter was established by a teamof security professionals from theInformation Security Office at theNational Bank of Kuwait (NBK).The (ISC)² Kuwait Chapter aimsto provide information securitymanagers and professionals inKuwait with quality insights to helpthem enhance their understandingof serious current and future ITchallenges and how to respond toCyber Security crimes.The event, attended by over 50security professionals was sponsoredin part by Gulf Business Machines(GBM), who collaborated with itspartners IBM and Cisco to present aholistic view on the cyber securitylandscape in the region. Presentationtopics included insight into thelatest IT concerns facing the industry,as well as findings on current ITand Network Security challenges,namely in Data, Applications, Identity,People and Security ArchitectureInfrastructure.The findings were based on a recentsurvey, conducted by GBM, pollingmore than 900 IT professionals inthe region.GBM Talks Cyber Securityat Middle East’s First (ISC)2Chapter Inauguration in KuwaitGulf Business Machines chosen to presentkey IT industry insights and predictions for2013 at inaugural eventAbout International Information System Security Certification Consortium Chapter(ISC)2Headquartered in the United States and with offices in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo,the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc., (ISC)²®, isthe global, not-for-profit leader in educating and certifying information security professionalsthroughout their careers. They are recognized for Gold Standard certifications and worldclass education programs.They provide vendor-neutral education products, career services, and Gold Standardcredentials to professionals in more than 135 countries. (ISC)² take pride in theirreputation built on trust, integrity, and professionalism.(ISC)2MissionTo make society safer by improving productivity, efficiency and resilience of information-dependent economies through information security education and certification.G B M N E W S | 2 8 G B M N E W S | 2 9GBM and BPMWave Partneringfor Customer SuccessWith a focus on Business ProcessOptimization and ContinuousImprovement, BPM Wave AGoffers best-of-breed applications andprofessional services to optimize andcontinuously improve the performanceof client operations. BPM Wave’sexpertise in the areas of EnterpriseArchitecture (EA), Business ProcessManagement (BPM), EnterpriseApplication Integration (EAI) andEnterprise Governance has beenrecognized by both private and publicsector customers and strategic partners,such as Metastorm and IBM, in bothcases, winning international awards forapplication excellence.The company’s Business PerformanceSolutions Group develops and sells adeep portfolio of market tested andready process applications for bothhorizontal business use and VerticalMarket operations such as Oil & Gas,Manufacturing, Retail & Distribution,Legal and Pharmaceutical, to namesome. The company is headquarteredin Switzerland with developmentoperations in Bucharest.www.BPMWave.chCustomers want business outcomes,not just IT infrastructure. In 2012,GBM selected specific internationalpartners who have been leaders forsolutions in their markets, but havenot been active in the Gulf Region.One example is BPMWave, which hasnow formally partnered with GBMto bring investment management(MCP™) and approval management(Plenary™) to the GBM territory.BPMWave is a Swiss Headquarteredcompany with an operational centerin Bucharest. The company hasregional partnerships in the US,Middle East, Europe and Australia.Launching MCP™ and Plenary™ inthe Gulf region has opened manyopportunities for GBM and BPMWave,including providing investment andapproval management solutions forprivate and public organizations inindustries like Oil & Gas, Energy,Government, and Telco.This partnership will strengthen theGBM capabilities around industrydomains and business processoptimization.“The immediate response fromcustomers, particularly in Kuwait andAbu Dhabi, has been outstanding. Bigproject spend means big financialrisk. We now have a partner whocan talk the language of large scaleinvestment and complement GBMknowledge of customers’ currentIT environment,” said John Banks,Director of Software Group at GBM.“For us, the openness of the Gulfmarket and the need for BPM,integration and analytics haveproven that while specific inculture and practices, companiesface similar problems worldwideand need specialized providers tooffer turnkey solutions to thesechallenges. Investment and approvalmanagement are areas whereBPMWave can serve the marketwith globally proven solutions andseamless expertise for fast and highROI implementations,” says AdelaCornescu, BPMWave CEO.“This partnership willstrengthen the GBM capabilitiesaround industry domains andbusiness process optimization.”
OUREXECUTIVESAndreas WeissDirector of Systems and Technology GroupHaneef AkhtarChief Financial OfficerJohn BanksDirector of Software GroupSeyed GolkarDirector of Business SolutionsShawki HussainDirector of Human Resources and LearningServicesCesare CardoneChief Executive OfficerChristopher LloydCountry General Manager, GBM OmanPiero CorsiniCountry General Manager, Khorafi BusinessMachines (KBM)Soubhi ChebibCountry General Manager, GBM QatarHani NofalDirector of Intelligent Network SolutionsMiguel KhouriCountry General Manager, GBM Abu DhabiMEET OUR EXECUTIVES | 30Abdulla IshaqCountry General Manager, Bahrain BusinessMachines (BBM)Akram AyyadGeneral Manager, Personal Systems DivisionAshok BholaCountry General Manager, United Computerand Management Consultancy Company (UCMC)Pappu RaoDirector of Technology Servicesand Technical Support Services
G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 3 2 G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 3 3GBM: IT Security Solutions for LawEnforcement or Corporate EntitiesInterview Soubhi Chebib, Country General Manager, GBM QatarCould you describe Gulf business Machines’activity and its main offers in SecuritySolutions?...............................................Founded in 1990, Gulf BusinessMachines (GBM) is the leading ITSolutions provider in the regionfulfilling the IT requirements oflocal, regional and internationalorganizations in the GCC through1,000 professionals and over 20 solidstrategic partnerships forged withinternationally-recognised IT solutionproviders. GBM is the sole distributorfor IBM-excluding selected IBMproducts and services – throughoutthe GCC, except for Saudi Arabia.GBM’s momentum was furtherenhanced in 1999, when the teamsecured the Cisco portfolio. TodayGBM holds the highest level orrecognition in the region from Cisco,Gold Partner status.You are displaying the IBM Law EnforcementAnalytics & Crime Prevention Solution, asolution used by different police departmentin the USA where it served to decrease seriouscrime by up to 31%. Can you tell us moreabout this predictive tool and how it mightbe used in the Middle-East?.............................................The goal of intelligence activities isto uncover security threats with pre-emptive approach and to enable lawenforcement agents to take actionbefore a threat occurs. To meet thischallenge predictive analytics isrequired.IBM predictive analytics softwarecompiles volumes of crime recordsin seconds, including incoming datasources from patrols pertainingto type of criminal offence, time ofday, day of week and various victim/offender characteristics. With thisinformation, police departmentscan better guide daily decisions thataddress criminal activity and placeofficers in a better strategic positionto respond to an unfolding crime.Predictive analytics solutions applysophisticated, statistical dataexploration and machine-learningtechniques to historical informationin order to help agencies uncoverhidden patterns and trends – evenin large, complex datasets. Not onlyin huge tables of structured databut also in vast amounts of textualdata – including e-mail and chatroom interactions – that agenciesmust evaluate. By using predictiveanalytics, you can anticipate whattypes of intervention will be neededand where. With the wide variety ofdata dimensions, types and sourceson an ongoing basis, combined withthe Middle East being one of the mostsignificant global hubs for travel,banking, tourism and commerce, lawenforcement agencies can leveragethis capability to enhance the fightagainst people smuggling, organizedcriminal activities, hacking attacks,serious fraud and other threats tonational security.Also offer some security solutions in terms ofdata recovery or cyber-crime.How sensitive are your clients to these risksthey might sometimes underestimate?.............................................Organizations are placing increasedemphasis on improving their datarecovery capabilities. They arelooking for complete data backupand recovery system and strategyto ensure that the critical data beavailable and accessible when youneed it. GBM, through IBM softwareproducts and services providessolutions to address this challenge.IBM provides unique solutions forcontinuous real-time protection ofcritical data on laptops and file servers.Threats have increased exponentiallyto disrupt services of organizations.Hacktivism, Cyber-crime, cyber-espionage and cyber-war-fare haveincreased to make the job of CIO/CSOextremely complex for organizations.In such situations Being Proactiveis very critical for organizationsto understand the risks within.“GBM: IT security solutionsfor law enforcementor corporate entities”published in MilipolQatar Daily, October 2012
G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 3 4A TechGovernmentHani Nofal, director of Intelligent Network Solutions at GBM discusses therelevance of technology in modern-day governance and explains how politicalbodies should use it for better efficiency in policy implementation.What is the relevance of IT to the moderngovernment?................................................Several governments in our regionhave recently begun to be vocalabout the main values and driversbehind their national agendas. Forexample, Bahrain Vision 2030 talksabout fairness and openness,Qatar Strategy 2030 includes socialdevelopment and personal freedoms,Dubai Strategy 2015 addressesthe quality of social services, andAbu Dhabi Vision 2030 stresses onbuilding knowledge-based industriesin the future.On the macro-level, a commonpriority across all these strategies isdeveloping a sufficient and resilientinfrastructure capable of supportingthe anticipated economic growth.Policy makers surely realise thecritical role that a modern IT platformplays to allow them to achieve that.The immediate benefits of such aplatform will be gain operationalefficiencies and employee pro-ductivity. They can also use it toimprove the quality and relevanceof policymaking and governmentservices in a way that makes a realdifference to the general population.A modern IT platform not onlyenables governments to offernew suites of electronic servicesto citizens and businesses, butcould also be used to improve thecommunication and interactionsbetween Government and the publicand increase transparency.The latest Web 2.0 or social mediatools change the way we collaborateand communicate and represent afundamental shift in the nature ofthe Internet and our relationshipwith it and with each other. No longerjust a way to distribute and accessinformation and services, the webis now allowing people to cometogether and do things in new ways.How conducive are government organisa-tions to using the latest in technology in theMiddle East?................................................The public, especially the young“millennial” generation, is increas-ingly using the latest IT and socialmedia tools to fulfill the most of theirdesires: belong to a community of agroup, share experiences, seek outnew information and opportunitiesand engage in conversations anddebates.In a young region like ours,governments have started to realisethat they need to go where theirconstituents are in order to engagethem proactively. The biggest proofpoint is that a number of regionalleaders have created Facebook,Twitter or Youtube channel accounts.This is in addition to almost everymajor public figure, or governmentorganisation.With increasing public participation,regional governments might havethe chance to further engagemore skilled users in improvinge-services through access to co-production tools, and to expand theuse of government services and datathrough user-friendly applicationinterfaces.What countries in the region are moreadvanced in their technology usage in theregion? Why?................................................It is important to realise that publicaccess to the network will decidethe extent to which the region canbuild extensive, representative andenabled communities. Hence thereadiness and affordability of both thebroadband and mobile infrastructureplays a major role in the adoption andsuccess of any government services.According to the United Nationse-Government Survey 2012, theUAE, Qatar and Bahrain whereamong the few countries from ourregion that come close to having apure one-stop-shop e-governmentportal with information, services andparticipation services integrated onone site, whilst most countries followthe approach of having separateportals for their e-services.According to the same survey, the UAEjumped in the world e-Governmentdevelopment index from rank 49 in2010 to 28 in 2012 becoming one ofthe most advanced in the westernAsia region. This is probably not asurprise for a country that enjoys abroadband infrastructure with thehighest quality, and more than 69%internet users penetration and almost66% Facebook users penetration(ref: www.socialbakers.com andwww.internetworldstats.com).Qatar jumped from position 62 in2010 to 48 in 2012 whilst Bahraincame in position 36. Kuwait andOman followed in positions 63 and 64respectively.What are the challenges faced by governmentsin implementing and using technology?What are the most common mistakesgovernments make when implementing andusing technology?How should governmental IT teamsfunction differently from their peers in theprivate enterprise sector?................................................Governments in general face en-ormous pressures and obstacles. Inaddition to high public expectationsfor improved services and betteroutcomes, along with severefinancial pressure, governments areconfronting large challenges thatcross boundaries and are influencedby factors far beyond the abilityof any one government to control.Unfortunately, for the most part, gov-ernments seek to address these 21stcentury challenges using 19thcenturystructures, processes, and tools.G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 3 5
As a result, much work is being doneglobally to harness the concepts,technologies, and applications ofIT to explore and develop effectivenew models of government andgovernance, for today and the future.Successful governments have thepotential to lead the innovationand development that can positionthe public sector as a driver ofdemand for ICT infrastructureand applications in the broadereconomy. Governments can learnfrom the private enterprise model inbuilding their collaborative servicesacross departments and agenciesand drive towards personalisationand multichannel service delivery.In addition, build the structuresto support the government-to-government (G2G) and citizen-to-government/government-to-citizen(C2G) services.However, the public sector in generalcould be slower in adopting some ofthe complex services such as Cloud-based services. Although suchservices will equip governments withgreater efficiency by helping themscale up their e-services and storagecapacity as it evolves.Obviouslyamongthemainchallengesfrom large scale adoption of cloudbased services in governments isdata security, privacy and regulatoryenvironment.This topic is understood and respectedwhen it comes to the sensitivedata that some of the governmentagencies might deal with.Without a doubt, governments cannotavoid adopting cloud, mobility orsocial media based services. Hencethe continued reform in governancesystems will be critical to accelerategrowth and ensure success. A topicthat might seem less relevant tosome private enterprises that bydefault will be faster to the decisionand more open to take risk.How important is the government segmentfor GBM? What are GBM’s strategicinitiatives for the next 12 months in order toremain relevant for government organisationsin the region?................................................The public sector and governmentsector represent a substantialbusiness for GBM in the region.We have been serving this sector formore than two decades which allowedus to understand the challengesof this business and gave us theopportunity to grow our solutionsand services to better serve it.We realise that governments in theregion want to fully harness thepower of ICT to evolve their internaland external services. Public sectoragencies are looking for regionalsolutions providers, such as GBM, thatcan evolve to support them to achievethat. GBM is uniquely positioned toachieve that with its exclusive andcomprehensive solutions portfolio,strong partnerships, rich servicesofferings including professionalservices, support and learningservices.GBM understands the need to movefrom being a traditional systemsintegrator to become a humansystems integrator which will enablegovernments to unleash the power oftheir internal users and extend theire-services to their citizens anywhere,anytime and on any mobile device.We, at GBM have built over theyears a rich intellectual capital andexperiences in key public sectorverticals such as public safety andsecurity, education, healthcareamong others. Moreover, GBMis taking this experience andportfolio to the next level byallowing governments to build newconsumption cloud-based modelsfor these services whilst supportingthe latest collaboration and video,social media, security and mobilityservices.“A tech government” published inIndustry Focus (CNME), July 2012G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 3 6
G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 3 8A DifferentBeatRegional system integrator GulfBusiness Machines is transformingits networking business with a focuson four emerging technologies.GBM’s networking business, whichwas known as Integrated Networkingand Site Services, will now berebranded as INS (Intelligent NetworkSolution), reflecting the shift in thecompany’s strategy to transform itsnetworking business. “The idea is notto drop an S and we believe there isan inflection point in the networkingsystems integration business.We have been very successful indelivering traditional networkingsolutions but now we are movinginto advanced and innovative areasof technology, and the idea is to beready for the next three to five years,”says Hani Nofal, Director of INS.According to Nofal, the traditionalrole of SI was focused on buildingmultiple systems in silos and finding“A different beat”published in Computer NewsMiddle East, August 2012a common language to get thesesystems to work together:“WE are moving to build onthat experience and ratherthan just integrating systemstogether we are moving to theconcept of human systemsintegration. We believe thisis the key to success in ourindustry where you have tonot only integrate systemsbut also drive that experienceto connect with humans around thesystems,” he says.GBM’s network strategy is based onfour key components and the firsttrend that SI aims to cash in on isthe increased demand for securemobility. “Users are demanding tobe always connected and have biggerpipes. This year, the number ofmobile devices globally has equaledthe population of the earth, and by2016, the total number of connecteddevices will reach around 10 billion.This puts increased demand onnetworks, whether it’s mobilenetworks or Wi-Fi, and we should beready for this demand for bigger andreliable pipes,” says Nofal.The third pillar of GBM’sgrowth blueprint isaround social mediaand Nofal cites someof the stats to backup why it is importantto his company.“Facebook has 900million users and is stillcounting. In 2010 YouTubehad two billion views a day andas of May 2012, it has four billionviews. More and more businessesare looking to integrate socialmedia as a way to reach out tocustomers and employees. Thisphenomenon is going to testour readiness and ability as Sisto provide solutions to enterprisesthat will allow them to benefit fromsocial media.”He adds SIs will no longer have tojust lay the foundation of networkand leave it to customers, but buildnetworks that will support socialmedia and video. “We are spendinga lot of time building our owncapabilities in this area. You have tobuild intelligent networks and load itwith applications and solutions thatwill allow enterprises to harness thebenefits of social media.”GBM is also trying to benefit from thisintersection of social media video andmobility and drive solutions aroundsome nice areas such as mobilecommerce and mobile banking.“Banks that were conservative arenow forced to offer online bankingon mobile devices and we needto be ready to capitalize onthese trends.Another evolving areawhere we have a keeninterest is mobilewallets, and we aretrying to developsolutions that can sup-port both retailers andconsumers,” says Nofal.GBM reckons one cannot besuccessful in any of these new areasof technology if they don’t reallyunderstand how to deliver solutionsand services in a new manner;underpinned by virtualization andcloud, which is the fourth componentof company’s growth blueprint. “Youneed to really build much biggerreliable and highly virtualized datacentres to be able to store your dataand deliver in a cloud fashion,” saysNofal.Though GBM will continue to offerbasic network foundation layerservices, it is planning to raise thebar and differentiate from othersby the strength of its vast regionalexperience and intellectual assets.“You haveto build intelligentnetworks and load itwith applications andsolutions that will allowenterprises to harnessthe benefits of socialmedia ”“It is very easy foryou to be in thefoundation layer, andbuild connectivity, datacentres, etc. But to beable to offer your servicesaround these emergingtechnologies you need to be ableto spend a lot of time in the kitchenand upgrade your skills. Though thisis primarily a networking strategy,we will have to collaborate internallyacross our multiple lines of businessto be successful,” says Nofal.Can GBM pull off this ambitiousplan? The SI, which boasts of around22 years of regional experience andsome of the leading vendors underits belt, has the right credential butit requires completely new way ofthinking in order to reach where itwants to be in the next three years.
G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 4 0Banking on MobilityThe influence of mobility, driven bythe proliferation of smartphones andtablets, has spread rapidly throughdemographics and verticals. In noindustry has this been more the casethan banking, which is both blessedand blighted with one of the highestlevels of consumer expectations.Customers want the high level ofuser experience they get on theirsmartphones to be matched whencarrying out services at their bank.Why should someone have to go toa bank or even computer to get astatement or make a transactionwhen they’ve got a device in theirpocket perfectly capable of doing thesame thing?However, banks must be careful tobalance this question with the vitalissue of maintaining security. It’s allwell and good being able to carry outthese services on your smartphone,but that of course opens up a plethoraof new protection concerns. It is thisconvergence of all online, offlineand mobile technology into a “post-G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 4 1channel world’ that is the top trendin the Middle East banking industryright now, according to Seyed Golkar,Director, Business Solutions, GBM.“Smartphones and tablets areubiquitous and banks will have tolaunch next generation technologyinitiatives not only to stay competitiveand increase their market share, butto also counter security concernsrelatedtothesometimescarefreeuseof mobile devices by their customersand staff,” Golkar says.“The competitive edge will bewith those banks who master thismobile evolution best while gainingmeaningful insights into customerbehaviour and profitability from thevast amount of data gathered alongthe way,” he adds.Riding the waveAccording to Golkar, banking is oneof the most progressive industriesin the Middle East, which excels asa region where banks look to applystate of the art technologies in orderGBM’s Director of Business Solutions, Seyed Golkar, gives his take on the MiddleEast banking industry, emphasising the importance in embracing the significant shifttowards mobility, and protecting customers accordingly.to enhance their market position.This is particularly the case whenit comes to operational efficienciesand customer services. He refersto the “next wave” of technologyadvancement being experienced inthe Middle East.“Banks in the region have eithercompleted their data consolidationand application integration, or areactually going through this step aswe speak. The next, and crucial,task for Middle East banks will beto utilise the technology available tothem in such a way that noticeablyimproves the customer experience,”Golkar says.Looking forward, the next technologytrendthatwillcapturetheMiddleEastbanking industry is the application ofanalytics. “For example, banks canlook into the wealth of warehouseddata and social media information inorder to get a better understandingof customer services, and thus offerservices that are much more tailoredto individual customer needs.“This will eventually take the ‘knowyour customer’ (KYC) concept to‘know your customer behaviour’(KYCB).Fromanin-houseproductivityand efficiency perspective, bankswill largely depend on theirimplementation of business processmanagement solutions with modelsand concepts customised to thesocial, economic and regulatoryrequirements of the region.”Golkar refers to the cultural anddemographic diversity of bankingcustomers in most GCC countriesas necessitating a “reasonablysophisticated” banking industry inthe region. This, in turn, demandsapplication of advanced technologiesin this market sector. “We doencounter some early adopters ofnew trends in technology, such ascloud computing. The majority ofbanks, however, seem to prefer amore conservative approach,” Golkarsays.A sensitive subjectThe banking industry, with thepossible exception of government,is the vertical which holds the mostsensitive customer data.With this in mind, there are existingtools and technologies that, ifdeployed correctly by banks, willallow a much higher data protectionand help eliminate vulnerabilitiesthat have recently been experiencedby some organisations. “Thesetechnologies have successfullybeen used by some cloud serviceproviders and are available toany organisation,” Golkar says.“Regardingdataprotection,weseeanincreasing trend in the region to planahead and create the behaviouralchanges that are needed, insteadof reacting to the next ‘big event’.”He adds that security in general,and data protection in particular,is not a regional issue, but one thatconcerns organisations worldwide.“Customer trust will naturally leantowards those organisations thattake timely actions and correctlydeploy the necessary preventativemeasures. The key to gaining andretaining customer trust, however,can not only be based on protectingand safeguarding data - which is notonly invisible to the customer but alsoexpected from a bank - but also onfinding the right balance of security/risk protection and service quality inthe business processes. This avoidsthe situation where every customerinteraction with the bank becomestime consuming and cumbersomejust for ‘security reasons’.” Withregards to implementing the rightsolutions to ensure protection ofcustomer data, Golkar believes thebest approach is to employ an overallsecurity framework that addressespeople, applications, channelsand processes. He adds that theseexisting sophisticated technologiesthat address vulnerability must bedeployed as a matter of urgency.Looking forward, business processmanagementandchannelintegrationare key requisites for any bank toprovide their customers with thebanking experience of the future,while at the same time increasingefficiency and ensuring regulatorycompliance, according to Golkar.“Many banks in the region stillstruggle with how best to streamlinetheir processes, especially acrossmultiple channels, and the technicalchallenges of collecting data,analysing it and producing actionableinsight,” he says.“With the technology available today,the driving forces within the bankwill no longer be IT and operations,but the risk managers, customerrelationshipmanagersandmarketingmanagers. Data consolidation andintegration, together with analytics,analytics and analytics will epitomisethe banking industry in 2013.”“Banking on Mobility” published in CNME,Banking Supplement, December 2012“With the technology availabletoday, the driving forces withinthe bank will no longer be IT andoperations, but the risk managers,customer relationship managersand marketing managers”
G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 4 2A Giant in ServicesG B M I N T H E M E D I A | 4 3“GBM Business Solutions comesto the forefront by offering true-blueconsultancy on IT in business.”What are the various services GBMprovides?................................................GBM offers a broad expertise acrossservers, storage, software andtechnical support and is specializedin delivering innovative products andsolutions that help meet customerbusiness goals in ways not previouslythought possible. From applicationsand skills to technology resources,GBM delivers flexibility througha choice of platforms, a broadportfolio and integrated virtualizationcapabilities—all built on openindustry standards to help meet anyenterprise’s needs, which includeIBM Power Systems, IBM System xand BladeCenter, IBM System z andIBM System Storage.Discuss your various divisions?................................................The company offers key services inseveral areas. Among these, GBMTechnical Support Services hasFounded in 1990, Gulf Business Machines (GBM) is a leading IT solutionsprovider in the region. A spin-off from IBM, GBM is the sole distributorfor IBM – excluding selected IBM products and services – throughout theGCC, except for Saudi Arabia. Cesare Cardone, CEO, GBM speaks to TheIntegrator about the company’s domains of focuscultivated an offer comprising of top-notch project management expertsthat are able to determine the mosteffective means of achieving theIT objectives and demands of anorganisation. GBM’s TechnologyServices (TS) encompasses a widerange of services from infrastructuredesign and implementation toIT operations. TS has two majorportfolios of service offerings -Platform Software Services andManaged Services.GBM Networking Services includesa cluster of world-class consultants,architects and project managers tooffer relevant consulting, integration,deployment and network support,region wide. The company is able todeliverlarge,complex,missioncriticalEmerging Network Technologies andIT infrastructure solutions.GBM Business Solutions comes tothe forefront by offering true-blueconsultancy on IT in business. Thisis achieved by providing counsel onmethods for the effective, efficientimplementation of IT solutions andservices through a team of highlyskilled consultants.GBM Learning Services is the region’sleading IT training provider. Withover 1,000 comprehensive trainingprograms on offer across the MiddleEast and North Africa (MENA) region,GBM Learning Services trains over3,000 IT professionals annually.It is an exclusive training providerfor selected IBM technologies anda Cisco Borderless NetworkArchitecture Specialized LearningPartner for the MENA region.Please elaborate in detail about servicesrendered by your Technical Support Services,Technology Services and Networking Services:................................................GBM’s TSS specialists aim to providean all-encompassing holistic ITsupport from deploying resourcesto end-product functionality, to areliable, integrated, secure system, inaddition to support and maintenance.Undoubtedly, TSS offers the industry’smost complete menu of IT servicesin the region.The services menu includes GBMmaintenance services that protectthe IT investment and ensurethe availability of the productionenvironment after deployment andGBM support line services whichprovide on-call IT answers to all‘how-to’questionsrelatedtosoftwareinstallation and usage. PlatformSoftware Services and ManagedServices are part of GBM’s TechnologyServices (TS) Platform SoftwareServices cover Server Platform.Platform Software Services teamcomprises of consultants, technicalarchitects, specialists and projectmanagers offering consultation,technical design, implementationand solutions. The team has deployednumerous small, medium to largescale projects, successfully, innearly all industries across the GCC.
Typically, is the percentage of workorders more from recurring customerupgrades?................................................Going by 2011 data, around 80% of thebusiness is from existing customerbase. This is not something new. Overthe years, if we analyze the data, wewill find a similar trend.Do you see the Pareto principle applywell to your business?................................................Yes, it does apply well. In fact,sometimes the percentage goesabove 80%.How do you handle larger customeraccounts separately within the companystructure in terms of dedicated Accountteams etc?................................................We do have dedicated Accountrepresentative for each customer.Apart from this, there is also theinvolvement of various functions andspecialists at various levels. Thisinvolves relation building, Solutionoffering, proposal preparation, projectdelivery and so on. This is theusual approach we take to handlingcustomeraccounts.Wemanagelargeaccounts with dedicated sales teamfocused on specific industries suchas Financial Services, Government,Energy, and so forth.“A giant in services”published in The Integrator, July 2012highest level of recognition in theregion from Cisco. Today, GBM isone of the largest IT solutionsproviders in the GCC, with morethan 1000 employees and over 20solid strategic partnerships forgedwith internationally recognised ITsolution providers. This means thatGBM can offer an extensive rangeof IT infrastructure, IT solutions andservices ranging from consulting,resource deployment and integrationto after-sales support.In comparison to other SI partners ofIBM in the region, do you believe GBMis more privileged by virtue of its closerassociation with IBM?................................................Given GBM’s unique and closerelationship with IBM, GBM has beenboth,privilegedandmorespecialized.GBM has maintained its status as notonly the largest SI partner for IBMtechnologies, but also the leadingSI player in the region. GBM is inthis position today on account of itsstrong affinity with IBM from a people,process and technology standpoint.Firstly, the majority of the people inGBM across all lines of businesses atall levels are in fact ex IBM employeesfrom all over the world. They bringalong a rich set of skills, certificationsand experiences that are muchappreciated by our customers.Secondly, GBM’s business processesincluding sales, marketing, trainingWe have tie-ups with major serverconsolidation and virtualizationvendors including IBM, VMware,Citrix and Red Hat and have deliverednumerous successful virtualizationprojects in heterogeneous serverand storage environments.We offer Managed Operations toprovide on-site and remotely throughState Data Center (SDC) network,infrastructure and applicationoperations. Our Managed Workplaceservices for the desktop and smartdevicesincluderemotemanagement,software distribution, asset trackingand service desk services.As for GBM Networking Services, thecompany’s special legacy relationshipwith IBM and decade old partnershipwith Cisco adds considerable value byensuring professional expertise withthe highest level of Cisco Certification.This includes Cisco’s CCIE and CCNP/CCDP professional status, and CiscoAdvanced Technology Provider (ATP)status in TelePresence (TP- ATP),Outdoor Wireless Mesh (OWM- ATP)and Video Surveillance (VS- ATP).How has GBM benefitted from closeassociation with both IBM and Cisco?................................................GBM is the sole distributor for IBM–excluding selected IBM productsand services – throughout the GCC,except for Saudi Arabia. In 1999,GBM’s momentum was furtherenhanced when the team secured“GBM has maintainedits status as not only thelargest SI partner forIBM technologies, butalso the leading SI playerin the region.”G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 4 4A Giant in Servicesand education, project servicesimplementation, post implementationsupport and most importantly our HRprocesses are substantially basedon IBM policies, methodologies andstandards.Finally, working with customersacross complex projects for anumber of years in conjunction withIBM, GBM has been able to build anenormous knowledge base of bestpractices,frameworks,architectures,SOPs and so forth that are constantlyenhanced.The above factors have ensured thatsatisfied customers place their trustand confidence in GBM’s capabilitiesas their partner of choice therebydifferentiating us from anyone else.In summary, GBM is IBM for ourcustomers, being also the exclusivedistributor for a vast number of IBMproducts in the region.
G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 4 6 G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 4 7Companies across the GCC havegrown enormously over the years.Each company has to go throughthe process of fixing the inevitableinefficiencies built up during theirtime of growth and focus on buildingan efficient corporation. It is imp-ortant to maintain this focus, andalways be on the lookout for areas acompany can enhance. We are facingdifferent market conditions today andit is vital to make sure we becomemore efficient in order to make itwork,” says Cesare Cardone, CEO atGulf Business Machines (GBM).He continues, “When GBM wasfirst formed, it functionedin a very different en-vironment to what weexperience today. Thedifferences do notbegin or end withthe sophistication oftechnology at the time.We now work in anindustry, which catersto increasingly granularneeds, be it technology orskills. We also contend witha fast evolving environmentwhere companies like oursneed to adapt quickly.“Whether the challenge waseconomic, technological or justplain simple business, Cardonesays the company overcame themall by following a customer centricapproach. “We focused on deliveringthe right products and services at theright time. That, in essence, is thebottom line. On the other hand, thevalue of a systems integrator isto become the right mediumbetween business needsand the use of IT. Skillsare very different nowas customer needshave changed and it’simportant to keepourselves constantlyupdated in order toface today’s challenges,”Cardone adds.Cardone who prior to joiningGBM, spent close to 25years at IBM acrossv a r i o u s r o l e sincluding VP of HRfor South Europe,IBM VP of EMEAoperations and IBMGM for the MEAregion, believes that therole of a group executivechanges as the culture of thecompany changes. In addition,the responsibilities evolve inaccordance with changes inthe market and customerenvironment. “The economicrecession has reminded usthat as company leaders, wemust keep our feet on the groundand maintain our growth strategiesin line with how we predict theeconomic landscape to be,” he says.Cardone believes that withoutpassion one cannot be successful.Even after 37 years in the business,he says he enjoys every minute ofwhat he does. He adds that the abilityto look ahead and make decisionsbased on long term strategies isequally important. These strategies,he feels must work with a company’sstrengths while addressing its’ weak-nesses. The tricky part is balancingyour focus on with the need to remainflexible in order to adapt marketdynamics, he adds.Cardone adds that the ability tounderstand the market, the industryand its various components andstakeholders is fundamental tosuccess.“The IT industry moves very fast andwe are always trying to foresee thechallenges and opportunities that thenext six months to a year will bring.The complexities of the market canbe overcome by being prepared forfuture requirements as the marketchanges. A huge part of success liesin increasing the skills of individualsyou employ and then the numberof people you can afford to employ.Finally, I believe a little bit of luckgoes a long way,” Cardone says.“Making the right decisions is notalways difficult,” he says. There is agreat chance of risk involved, whichaccording to him is both, the mostchallenging and the most enjoyablepart of being a CEO Perhaps themost challenging part is when youneed to make crucial decisions. “Itis very dangerous to build prejudiceor have sympathy based on affinityor any other personal emotions. It isalways important to remind yourselfthat your customer’s benefit as apriority,” he says.“The Titans”published in Reseller Middle East, June 2012“The ITindustry moves veryfast and we are alwaystrying to foresee the chal-lenges and opportunitiesthat the next six monthsto a year will bring ”
G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 4 8Q&A FutureFocusedG B M I N T H E M E D I A | 4 9“The years between2005 and 2008 sawformidable growth forthe IT industry.”What does your company do?................................................Gulf Business Machines (GBM) isa leading IT solutions provider inthe region fulfilling IT requirementsof organisations in the GCC. Thecompany was founded in 1990 andhas offices in the UAE in Abu Dhabi,Dubai and Sharjah, as well as Kuwait,Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain.A spin-off from IBM, GBM is thesole distributor for IBM – excludingselected IBM products and services –Network Middle East talks to Cesare Cardone, CEO of GulfBusiness Machines about the IT solutions market in 2012throughout the GCC, except for SaudiArabia. In 1999, GBM’s momentumwas further enhanced when the teamsecured the Cisco portfolio.Today GBM holds the highest level ofrecognition in the region from Cisco,Gold Partner status, in additionto the Cisco Borderless NetworkArchitecture Specialised LearningPartner status.GBM offers a wide range of ITinfrastructure, solutions andservices from consulting, resourcedeployment and integration to after-sales support.What is the biggest challenge for CIOs in2012?................................................For some, the biggest challengeCIOs will face in 2012 is that oflimited access to capital expenditure,while simultaneously dealing withpressures to curtail operationalexpenditure.We expect that our customers willnot invest in large projects but in afew, focused initiatives. In 2012, weanticipate that our customers willfocus on projects where short-termreturn on investment is well definedand will focus on virtualisation,consolidation, outsourcing / out-tasking expenses.Summarising 2011 from GBM’s perspective................................................2011 was a challenging year for theIT industry and we, at GBM, were notimmune to its effects. The first half of2011 saw us achieve growth that washigher than expected. However, wedid start to see a significant coolingin demand during the third quarter,though this was partially offset bya very good recovery in the fourthquarter of 2011.Predictions for 2012................................................I believe that 2012 will see anextension of the challengingeconomic climate we witnessed inI’ve said this before and I willunhesitatingly say it again: theyears between 2005 and 2008 sawformidable growth for the IT industry.Post-2008 however, the markethas returned to a more stable,less surprising environment with agrowth rate that can be described asrobust growth compared with US andWestern Europe.Yes, the market has not fullyrecovered and there is still a strongelement of caution but the fact ofthe matter is that this scenario ismoving toward a stabilisation. Forus, this creates a new challenge andan opportunity. It has been necessaryto change the mindset that evolvedduring the 2005-2008 period that sawthe industry catering to demand.The challenge we now face is that wehave to create demand. How do wedo that? We do it through innovationand developing solutions that ourclients need.“Q&AFutureFocused”published inNetwork Middle East, April 20122011. I believe that 2012 will be ayear of caution as businesses willtry their best to safeguard their cashflow and contain capital expenditureand expenses. We do not expectmuch investment in large, long-termprojects as our customers retaintheir focus on immediate prioritiesand on solutions that deliver much-needed short-term benefits.From a GBM perspective caution willcertainly not translate into stalledgrowth. We will continue to act withprudence and will invest in areas ofour business that we see demandfor. One area we see as havingsignificant potential is our NetworkOperations Centre (NOC). It helpsreduce costs, boosts operationalefficiencies and has an immediateimpact on improving a company’s ITexpenditure.Is the market fully recovered? Or are therestill challenges of the previous economiccrisis?................................................
“Globally, the reason why companiesare virtualising is for lower TCO,in terms of reducing the amountof spend on maintenance andenergy costs,” says Pappu Rao,director of technology servicesat Gulf Business Machines,which has completed over 160virtualization projects in the region.Rao does observe however, thatcompanies with more business onthe web often have a greater affinityfor virtualization. “They probablysee greater benefits. Also, I thinkorganizations that have strategyaligned to their business objectivessee more benefit,” he adds.Despite all these benefits, vendorsadmit projects often don’t runsmoothly with some organizations.“We see varying degrees ofmaturity from customers in termsof skill levels and experiences invirtualizations. Certain organizationsare already ahead, but other are abit late in catching up,” says Rao.“Challenges come with how alignedthe organization’s virtualizationstrategy is with their particularbusiness strategy. There is a lot ofhand holding that we have to dowith these customers. Then from aproject management point of view,when you are trying to convert tovirtual servers, you need down time.People don’t really plan down timein ever structured way,” he adds.“I am very bullish on the fact thatall of the projects we have donehave been successful. In terms ofsuccess, whatever objectives theseorganizations set forward to achievethey achieved that and far beyond that.There are challenges in between interms of not having detailed amountof planning, but overall these projectshave by far achieved their objectives.When it comes to cost saving,better manageability andease of administration,all objectives havealways been met,”Rao says.Rao speaks of threedistinct patterns that are emerging.The first being virtualizationemerging very strong within smalland medium sized enterprises thatare looking at it as a stool morefor business agility and businesscontinuity. The second being thegrowth of desktop virtualization. “Thethird that we see is enterprises nowlooking at virtualization as a nationaljourney into private cloud computingthey are looking at setting up privateclouds and experimenting withprivate clouds. We are working withorganizations that have private cloudsand they are trying to put less criticalworkloads and staging environmentson the private cloud. Virtualization iss prerequisite of the cloud,” he says.He adds that GBM has observedthe UAE as “pretty much inthe forefront” in termsof adoptability of vir-tualization and cloudcomputer willbecome a universalpractice,” he says.G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 5 0 G B M I N T H E M E D I A | 5 1“Beyond the Hype” publishedin CNME, April 2012Beyond the Hype“I am very bullish on thefact that all of the projectswe have done have beensuccessful”