Interview: Omer Alnomany

In what ways can the local ICT sector accelerate Saudi Arabia’s post-pandemic recovery?

OMER ALNOMANY: Every crisis offers an opportunity, and the Covid-19 pandemic was no different. We are emerging stronger from it, thanks to positive developments in the ICT market, including in terms of digital solutions. IT spending has increased across the economy as the importance of digitalisation has become apparent.

The pandemic had a significant global impact, but we are emerging stronger. As digitalisation minimises physical interaction, technological solutions became a key enabler for business continuity during the pandemic. New digital business models are continuing to gain traction in the post-pandemic area, such as e-commerce, remote or hybrid work, digital supply chain management, remote learning and telemedicine. ICT is has become an enabler of all other sectors, with connectivity and technology being central to the performance and competitiveness of all industries, helping them to evolve and succeed in the future.

How are private players working to enhance local human capital in the ICT sector?

ALNOMANY: A highly qualified workforce is a key requirement for success in the ICT sector anywhere in the world, and Saudi Arabia is no exception.

With advancements in technology and the adoption of digital platforms in the education and vocational training segments, the enhancement of human resources has been enabled via remote learning models, connectivity to local and global learning institutes, and the ease of access to international learning resources.

The private sector has a vital role to play in enhancing local human capital in every industry, but especially in ICT, through education and training. As a major recruiter of ICT talent in the Kingdom, we believe in developing human capital by prioritising skills development, training and capabilities enhancement, in addition to increasing the participation of women across the sector.

Where are there opportunities for Saudi Arabia to become a regional leader in cloud services?

ALNOMANY: Saudi Arabia has a lot of potential to become a regional leader in cloud computing. The Kingdom has adopted a cloud-first policy that aims to accelerate the adoption of cloud computing services, which was defined in line with the pillars of Vision 2030.

Cloud services are vital to business operations and, with the increasing need for low latency and higher-quality services, the location of cloud infrastructure is increasingly important. As Saudi Arabia is the largest ICT market in the region, it is best suited to be a regional centre for hosting and delivering cloud services.

There are several high-opportunity areas in cloud services, starting with the enhancement and expansion of existing infrastructure to meet global standards. There is a need to encourage the adoption of cloud computing by providing enterprises with cloud advisory, migration, implementation and management services.

What are the local business community’s most pressing needs in terms of addressing cybersecurity risk and increasing data protection?

ALNOMANY: The increased level of daily data generation translates into greater cybersecurity risks. Cyberattacks have become more frequent in recent years globally, a trend that is likely to continue. Data breaches can be costly to public and private sector entities and organisations. These concerns are why organisations take measures to boost their cybersecurity commitments and protect themselves against data breaches.

The most pressing need for local businesses is to incorporate security measures across all technologies, applications and endpoints, while constantly updating them to align with the evolving threat landscape. In addition, it is important to provide all stakeholders, including employees, suppliers and customers, with awareness of the threats and the most effective ways to mitigate them at the personal and corporate levels.