Interview: Ghada Philip El Rassi

How are ICT firms working to bolster digitalisation in Qatar and beyond?

GHADA PHILIP EL RASSI: Technology today is no longer seen as an assistant to daily business practices. It has now become a necessity and is the centre of every business strategy. Organisations that adopt digital technologies enable decision-makers to have access to all necessary information at all times, from anywhere and from the device of their choosing. We are working to harness the power of cognitive computing, hyper-automation, cloud analytics and emerging technologies to help our clients adapt to the digital world successfully. Cloud computing has redefined the way applications are designed and utilised. Enterprises are seeking solutions that are flexible, scaleable, responsive and not confined to any boundaries. By offering flexible and cost-effective solutions, ICT firms are able to fuel the digital transformation of businesses.

In which ways can companies utilise digital services in order to help Qatar reach its goal of becoming a knowledge-based economy?

EL RASSI: In the modern world companies cannot progress without utilising digital services. One cannot even fathom establishing a company without being connected to the internet and other major relevant services. In the coming years, if Qatar moves at the same pace it has been on projects such as Lusail City, Msheireb Downtown Doha, e-commerce, e-banking and e-government, the country will move further towards digitalisation. As use becomes ubiquitous, the economies of scale will balance the cost of technology, making it cheaper to utilise – notwithstanding the cost of securing the data stored. Technology defines the experience and the relationship consumers have with an organisation; customers want instant and personalised services. In line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s purpose to connect people and things, all businesses should digitalise their processes, thus enabling employees to work better and open up multiple digital channels for customers to communicate with businesses.

What opportunities exist for greater implementation of ICT solutions, and how important are business solutions to future growth?

EL RASSI: To honour its commitment to the Qatar National Vision 2030, the country has continued to take major steps and show dedication towards achieving its goal of being a knowledge-based economy. This essentially entails that part of the country’s objective is to diversify its economic development to provide better opportunities and drive progress. There are several major projects currently taking place that support the country’s drive towards diversification, such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar Rail, the Hamad Port expansion and the Qatar Science and Technology Park. All of these provide opportunities for greater implementation of IT solutions in Qatar’s business spheres. Another aspect is the Qatar e-Government 2020 Strategy, which will also present opportunities. The digital government will use technology to deliver real benefits for people accessing services while creating efficiency.

Qatar also has two main telecoms operators that are working on launching 5G services throughout the country. The introduction of 5G technology will not only allow for faster connectivity but also unleash a massive internet-of-things (IoT) ecosystem. Under these conditions artificial intelligence (AI) is set to follow closely. Indeed, AI support for IoT is beginning to become part of the ICT lexicon, as the possibilities for AI adding value are only limited by imagination. This convergence naturally leads to envisaging networks and systems that will in turn become more capable of solving a wider range of problems through a larger number of industries.