Systems integrators

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By  Published  November 17, 2006
Raya #1

Egypt-based IT services firm Raya had a bumper year in 2006, bagging the award for fastest growing partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region from network computing solutions vendor Sun Microsystems and being named a platinum partner of storage and security software giant Symantec.

Raya also expanded its contact centre operation in June with a new 800-seat centre at the 6th of October City, Egypt.

The 53,800 square metre centre, designed to meet the increasing demand for contact centre services in the MENA region, is equipped with the latest telecommunications technologies, including strict security controls, to offer a wide array of 24/7 services to the system integrator’s global clients.

Raya saw good growth in Saudi Arabia and Qatar this year. In Saudi, Raya completed the first phase of a new Oracle E-Business Suite implementation at the Saudi Factory For Fire Equipment Company (SFFECO), and also oversaw another Oracle implementation at Banque Saudi Fransi, where it deployed the software giant’s enterprise resource planning (ERP), human resource (HR) and payroll modules.

In Qatar, Raya implemented a workflow automation system in January at the Social Development Centre, which is expected to improve the delivery of welfare services to the country’s most needy citizens.

MDS #2

Mideast Data Systems (MDS) Holdings was able to expand its business successfully this year, increasing its market share and adding new services and solutions to its portfolio.

Overall MDS expects to make around US$920million in 2006, an increase of around 22% on last year, US$750million of which is coming from business in the Middle East. The firm is one of the largest IT groups in the region, consisting of 85 subsidiaries and employing about 1,350 staff in the region.

Most of its revenues — about 80% — comes from the Middle East, where it has about 50 entities in all of the major cities in the region.

It has been consistently named by analysts as one of the leading integrators in the region, with market research firm IDC ranking MDS the number one IT service company in the UAE in 2004. Some of its subsidiaries have also significantly grown in their own right, including MDS Saudi Arabia and MDS Integration Solutions.

Overall, the company serves around 500 companies in the SMB and corporate segments and has been making considerable investments in the region to improve its service.

MDS is partnered with IT firms such as HP, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, IBM, BEA and MRO Software.

Injazat Data #3

Abu Dhabi-based services firm Injazat Data Systems had an incredible year in 2006 considering the company was only set up in February last year. The firm announced deals with numerous government organisations in the UAE capital and also unveiled plans to build what it claims will be the region’s biggest data centre.

Injazat now counts Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipalities and Agriculture, Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Committee (ADSIC), and Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) among its 15-plus clients.

While a newcomer to the market the firm does have a strong pedigree, being a joint venture between Mubadala Development Company and global services giant EDS.

Injazat currently has over 300 staff and it will have 500 by the end of this year. By the end of 2007 it expects to be pushing 1,000 employees.

The data centre Injazat is planning to build will cost “tens of millions of dollars” and is set for completion in the next 12 to 18 months, consisting of 2,000 square metres of usable space.

Another area of business for Injazat next year will be a focus on business process outsourcing (BPO) space in areas such as finance and administration and office HR. Injazat said it had already started discussions with potential clients and was planning in 2007 to announce its first contracts.

Jeraisy #4

Saudi systems integrator Jeraisy Computer and Communication Services (JCCS), one of the largest integrators and service providers in the Kingdom, has a solutions portfolio that spans mainframes to PCs, high-end peripherals through to desktop systems and data centre infrastructure.

Part of the wider Jeraisy Group, the company represents leading vendors including Sun, Apple, Hitachi Data Systems and CTI Datacom, Rittal enclosures, BASF storage media, MGE, Cabletron, Novell, Stratacom and Fore Systems, Lucent, Paradyne and Itwatsu.

Prospective and existing JCCS customers include Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense and Aviation (MODA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of The Interior (MOI), and Saudi Aramco.

JCCS’ area of expertise covers systems, telecoms and infrastructure support, networking, site preparation and training.

Emirates #5

Regional systems integrator and distributor Emirates Computers signed a number of agreements with solution providers during 2006, including big names in the industry like EMC and IBM’s recent acquisition FileNet.

Emirates can add these names to an impressive list of global partners that includes Cisco, CA, Citrix, Dell, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle Tandberg and Sun.

The UAE-based integrator has been experiencing steady growth of 40% year-on-year for some time now thanks to help from its distribution and retail businesses. Emirates Computers signed up EMC as the storage giant looks to crack the lucrative midmarket in the Middle East in April.

In May the UAE-based firm also signed an agreement with Greek manufacturing software firm Infocad. The two companies organised conferences to showcase solutions.

Rounding off a hat trick of deals, content management solutions provider FileNet signed up Emirates Computers as a strategic partner in the Middle East in September.

This year Emirates Computers also completed a project to allow the Abu Dhabi-based Zakum Development Company (ZADCO) to more effectively analyse oil and gas reservoirs.

Alpha Data #6

One of the UAE’s leading IT companies, Alpha Data lived up to its reputation this year with a procession of implementations in a wide range of verticals.

Abu Dhabi University (ADU) signed a contract with Alpha Data in September to deploy the latest in audiovisual technologies on the new ADU campus, which included projectors, sound systems and video conferencing solutions, as well as TV signage.

During the same month in the healthcare sector, Canadian Specialist Hospital Dubai, one of the city’s latest multi-speciality private health care facilities also selected Alpha Data to provide the latest in technology to support its advance service offerings, including rolling out PDAs to doctors.

Other deals Alpha Data won during the year included one with retail conglomerate Emke Group and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

The firm currently has over a thousand large corporate clients and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and boasted regional turnover of more than US$65million in 2005 — growth of about 40% compared to the previous year.

Alpha Data also has a large presence in the hospitality sector where it provides around 85% of the five-star hotels in the UAE with audiovisual solutions.

Itqan #9

UAE-based systems integrator Itqan had an impressive year in 2006, winning a number of important contract and awards recognising the quality of the company’s work.

In October Canadian software developer Open Text appointed Itqan as a prime partner in the UAE, in a bid to provide improved support to corporate clients using its enterprise content management (ECM) software. The integrator also picked up a coveted award at the 2006 Microsoft worldwide partner conference held in Boston during July.

A month earlier Itqan became the first IT firm to win the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award. The integrator — whose name means perfection in Arabic — said the award was recognition of its many customer success stories over the past few years, which include Dubai Police, the Higher Colleges of Technology, and the Emirates Environment Group.

Seven Seas #10

Systems integrator Seven Seas Computers teamed up with a number of different companies in 2006 from ICT consultant to software applications developer in an effort to expand further its growing operation.

In July the UAE-based firm entered into a joint venture with Peet Smith, a specialist in IT consulting and training, who warned Middle East firms implementing ITIL practices that they should be looking at how becoming ITIL compliant benefits the business rather than getting people ITIL certified just for the sake of it.

Seven Seas also teamed up with Malaysian firm Global Soft, a software applications developer, in July to help the developer push its Global e-Ticketing and Global Soft Facilities Management solutions in the Middle East.

In the same month Seven Seas made a pact with another Malaysian firm iOffice Gateway to expand its business in the West Asia market.

South African based management consulting company Affirmative Technology Services also signed an agreement with Seven Seas in 2006.

The deal strengthened the relationship with Affirmative Technology by enabling the provisioning of its business management solutions in the UAE and the GCC region.

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