Saudi IT managers debate BPM

IT managers from Saudi Arabia's public sector organisations came together for a summit this month to discuss business process management (BPM), amongst other topical issues.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  February 27, 2006

IT managers from Saudi Arabia's public sector organisations came together for a summit this month to discuss business process management (BPM), amongst other topical issues. The third annual Saudi IT Managers Summit, held at King Faisal Hall in Riyadh, was aimed at IT professionals and decision makers from the Kingdom's government ministries and other public bodies. Representatives from organisations such as the Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the Ministry of Communications and IT, and King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital made presentations on how they deal with business processes. "This summit provides the opportunity for IT professionals from Saudi Arabia's public organisations to come together and discuss their critical issues," said Bassam Al-Kharashi, director of management information services at the King Khaled Eye Hospital and a member of the summit's organising committee. "This is the third time we've run this event, and I think this is definitely the best one so far. This is the first time we have focused on 'soft skills' rather than technology, and that has been very useful." The event also saw presentations from various BPM specialists and vendors, including Holool, Oracle, Devoteam, Appian and Cisco. Process expert Dr Ilia Bider, of European firm Ibissoft, talked about some of the latest concepts in BPM, including issues of how information can be organised for optimum efficiency. "This is the first time I have presented some of these concepts outside an academic setting, and I was pleased with their reception," said Dr Bider, speaking after his talk. "I think there's a lot of potential for BPM in the region, as companies and government organisations modernise their processes." The Saudi Computer Society (SCS) organised the three-day event, as part of its mission to drive awareness and understanding of information technology in Saudi organisations. Dr Majed Al-Mashari Al-Saud, chairman of SCS, attended the IT managers summit, and chaired the closing panel discussion. "SCS is in charge of organising this event by royal decree, for the IT managers of government organisations to discuss issues important to them and to share best practices based on international experience," said Dr Al-Mashari. "The aim of the meeting this year is to raise the awareness of BPM, because we believe this is the prerequisite of successful IT management in government organisations and vital as we head towards e-government." Delegates at the event had the opportunity to quiz vendors at the sponsors' expo at King Faisal Hall, as well as the opportunity to network. First-time Saudi visitor Michael Beckley, co-founder and vice president for product strategy at event-sponsor Appian, said he was favourably impressed by the reception he and his local integrators Exhortech had had at the summit. "I didn't know what to expect, to a certain extent, but the level of understanding and willingness to learn is extremely high here, more so than at some events in the West," said Beckley. " "I think there's a bright future for BPM; there's a lot of potential benefits for organisations in Saudi Arabia."

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