IT managers of the year

ACN's annual roundup of ten of the best IT decision makers in the Middle East.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  January 10, 2008

Living and working in the Middle East sometimes seems like being in the centre of a gigantic race - but with no clear end and no single prize. Hundreds - thousands - of companies and governments and individuals locked in heated battle for customers, or making determined land grabs for fresh new markets.

But while charismatic leaders and entrepreneurs monopolise the limelight of publicity, vast teams of dedicated professionals are working behind the scenes to transform their organisations' visions into reality - and IT is at the vanguard of these backroom workers.

It barely needs to be noted that everything a modern enterprise does rests in some way on IT - but what is becoming clear is that not any IT will do, and by extension not any IT manager, when it comes to realising more ambitious regional projects.

To cope with explosive growth, dramatic new directions, and challenging economic, political - and even physical - environments takes a special calibre of professionals - and it is these people, working in the IT sector, that ACN aims to identify with this annual exercise.

This year's list contains an interesting mix of individuals: two are from the region's mega-projects, three from the financial sector, two more from retail and hospitality, one from the healthcare sector - and two are not in fact IT professionals, but general business executives.

That senior business executives should make themselves so involved in IT decisions very neatly demonstrates the critical nature of IT - but in fact these two business leaders simply share the same quality with their eight fellow list members - that of business acumen.

In a region with the current high levels of growth, making the wrong IT decision is more than likely to be disastrous, costing money, opportunities, customers - and reputation. For an organisation to succeed, IT needs to get it right first time, all the time.

Needless to say, these ten IT decision makers tend to get it right - but sadly they continue to represent a relatively small group of IT professionals of whom this can be said. There are of course many more IT managers who make good decisions - including many who could sit on this list - but they are outnumbered by organisations which are still making poor IT decisions.

This is, however, changing - and hopefully the approach of the ten IT decision makers on this list will filter down throughout the region's business community.

Selection procedures

The ten executives in this list were chosen by the ACN editorial team, based on criteria including overall career experience, industry knowledge, and - most importantly - an ability to tie IT development to business needs. The key requirement for eligibility was to be one - if not the sole - of an organisation's IT decision makers; general executives whose role includes IT decision-making thus became eligible.

The ten IT decision makers are listed in alphabetical order.

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