Abou Moustafa, Vice President - Enterprise Fixed, datamena a

Powering Your Partner Ecosystem in a COVID world

11 September 2020 | Sponsored Q&A

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Abou Moustafa, Vice President - Enterprise Fixed, datamena and Broadcast

Q. How has COVID-19 changed how organisations in the Middle East think about digital transformation?

I think there’s a new sense of urgency for transformation for organisations across the entire value chain. Projects that have been part of a development roadmap for 12 to 18 months are now a top priority.

According to IDC, spending on digital transformation (DX) will continue at a solid pace despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. Global spending on DX technologies and services is forecast to grow 10.4% in 2020 to $1.3 trillion.

A lot of organisations have woken up to the fact that they need to transform their processes, evolve how they operate and adopt digital platforms, and it needs to happen now.

This isn’t just in the Middle East. It is across our entire global footprint.

Q. What advice would you give to organisations that are accelerating their digital transformation plans?

Digital transformation depends on partners. Your partner ecosystem will determine how fast you can move. According to McKinsey, COVID caused a 5 year leap in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around 8 weeks.

If you have likeminded partners that have a shared vision, you’ll be able to accelerate your transformation. It’s about who you are working with, how you collaborate, and the shared outcomes.

They have to go digital so they should be prepared to rollout in local markets, but then scale up around the world. It is a matter of not only solving challenges today, but choosing partners that can help them to make the right moves two steps ahead.  

Q. What will make their transformation a success? What causes transformation to fail?

No organisation has ever been successful in digital transformation when they go at it alone. They may have brilliant internal engineers or really innovative thinkers, but when it comes to execution, you need help.

If you’re able to lean on your partners, such as cloud providers, security companies or a Network as a Service (NaaS) providers, they can play a critical role in digital transformation and provide long-term support. I like to see partners that have gone through ups and downs, grown together and created some lasting success.   

Q. What role can datamena play in supporting this global transformation?

We offer immediate access to a global ecosystem of partners and provide a single platform for global transformation. When a partner joins our ecosystem in Marseille, Dubai or Mumbai, they can connect to new partners and expand their partner ecosystem overnight.

A gaming company may have had success rolling out an online game in Europe and now they want to launch for consumers in the Middle East. A Dubai-based company may have a digital platform they want to deploy in Europe and India. They have access to partners and interconnects that make this possible. 

The strength is in our ecosystem of over 205 partners. They’re carriers, hyperscalers, gaming companies, media and broadcast businesses and enterprises. We’re continually expanding our ecosystem and capabilities to simplify and accelerate global transformation.

Q. Why is having a partner ecosystem so important in 2020?

datamena has always been flexible and fluid in how it approaches the market, and that’s what we’re able to offer our partners. They benefit from infrastructure, capabilities, and a partner ecosystem that enables them to pivot rapidly.

For example, when the UAE went into lockdown earlier in the year, we were able to help Microsoft to scale-up Teams to serve businesses as well as schools. Microsoft announced a 70% leap in daily active Teams users due to increased remote working from COVID-19, from 44 million to 75 million between March and the end of April, 2020.

datamena had the capabilities ready to be rolled out to support that kind of growth. COVID-19 was definitely an unforeseen event but we had the flexibility to help our partners adapt quickly to a new world.

Q. What do you think the market will look like in 2021?

2020 has been defined by disruption. We have seen the business environment completely change almost overnight. According to McKinsey, the levels of remote working in the Information/TMT services industry have rocketed from 9% to 84% due to COVID, and this is likely to continue post-COVID.

In 2021, digital transformation is going to continue to accelerate but with less focus on one-off cloud projects and bigger emphasis on global digital platforms. The companies that have been able to pivot quickly in 2020 are digitally enabled and have rich partner ecosystems. That’s a key learning that is going to cascade across a lot of organisations.