IDC CIO Summit 2022 a testament to post-COVID organizational resilience; GBM CEO

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Amr Refaat Image
Mr. Amr Refaat, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Business Machines (GBM).

With International Data Corporation (IDC) churning our yet another successful iteration Middle East CIO Summit, Mr. Amr Refaat, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Business Machines (GBM), the event’s Strategic Partner revealed exclusive insights into how the IDC ME CIO Summit remains the most sought-after CXO event in the region and how GBM views the evolution of digital transformation (DX) in various domains. 

What’s your impression about the IDC CIO Summit, and Why do you consider it an important platform?

The IDC CIO Summit has proven to be one of the foremost technology events in the region over the years and provides a great platform for CIOs and IT executives to gather together and exchange ideas that contribute to the growth of the regional technology sector. This year’s summit was a testament to the resilience of companies post the pandemic and the panel sessions highlighted the intrinsic role of technology in enabling digital resiliency, which subsequently enables business resiliency.

We also showcased at the summit findings from two key studies we have done at GBM in recent months around cloud and security. These reports highlight how the adoption of secure cloud strategies will help instill a culture of innovation and continuous transformation, allowing organizations to fully capitalize on the surge in digital opportunities.

It also explored why digitally resilient organizations need to embrace digital trust by putting security at the heart of the conversation. The findings of the reports were also discussed by two members of the GBM leadership team in a session at this year’s IDC CIO summit around achieving digital resiliency in a changing world.

GBM-IDC CIO Summit Signing Ceremony
IDC Group VP and Regional MD for Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, Mr. Jyoti Lalchandani with GBM CEO Mr. Amr Refaat at the GBM-IDC CIO Summit Signing Ceremony

What’s GBM’s plan for the region, and How do you see the region’s picking up post-pandemic?

GBM has a legacy of over three decades in the region and has been a key part of the digital transformation of the public and private sectors across the region. Over the last two years, we have worked with regional organizations to enhance their IT infrastructure and accelerate their digital transformation in order to adapt to the hybrid model of work.

One of our key priorities has been to work with our customers to transform their existing legacy environments into an agile, provisioned private cloud using software-defined technologies that also allow them to integrate the public cloud if required.

Implementing a cloud architecture and cloud services within an organization has consistently proven to support operational continuity and overall growth. Regional CIOs and business leaders are using the cloud to provide their organizations with the needed digital capabilities and enable them to become digitally resilient to address disruption in the new normal.

In markets where GBM operates, we are working with organizations from different industries to support the adoption of cloud technologies which will be a key enabler in business growth and scaling of their offerings.

How do we elevate the DX journey in the region?

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have seen an acceleration of digital transformation (DX) among regional organizations with a focus on upgrading legacy infrastructure and introducing emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), and edge computing.

A key facilitator of digital transformation will be the increased adoption of the cloud, and the latest GBM cloud report, which was released at the IDC CIO Summit, shows that more than half of the surveyed organizations are utilizing cloud services to offer their businesses with agile and scalable infrastructure, which is improving their ability to expand and optimize operations based on market requirement. Looking ahead, 87 percent of the organizations believe that they will be able to drive innovation better with the use of cloud services over the next 12-18 months to address their immediate and future business requirements.

In our work with organizations around the region, GBM offers the Journey to Cloud (J2C) framework, which takes into account customers’ individual business models and services to align the transformation and cloud adoption strategies, thus helping them in their digital transformation.

The latest GBM security report which was also showcased at the IDC CIO Summit explored how the pandemic has accelerated the shift to a “digital-first” world with the disruption over the past year adding new consumer habits and creating new segments of “digital-first” consumers. Increased use of technology does, however, create a rich playground for cybercrime. As such, redesigning security for the digital-first world and protecting it from external and internal threats has become a key priority for organizations. From the zero-trust model to meticulously devised cyber recovery strategies, the latest GBM security report reveals ‘digital trust’ has become a basic necessity in today’s hyper-connected era.

Related: UAE’s Injazat, Gulf Business Machines join to extend digital services in GCC


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