Wearing the crown in the kingdom

The Saudi market is a difficult place for IT players to steal a march on competitors.

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By  Julian Pletts Published  June 20, 2008

As one of the most attractive environments for burgeoning IT players, the Saudi market is a difficult place to steal a march on competitors.

But with decades of experience as a KSA-based systems integrator, the National Technology Group (NTG) has the skills and breadth to hold the whip hand. Now the IT behemoth is looking to consolidate its position.

It's hard to think of the National Technology Group (NTG) in the context of just Saudi Arabia as it is one of the largest corporate IT bodies in the Middle East and has a significant global footprint with offices in Egypt, India, Morocco and even the US.

NTG is certainly the largest in Saudi Arabia and one of the most firmly established, having started in 1984 as Arabic Computer Systems Ltd, interestingly with no computer system to speak of at the time.

Since then it has undergone a series of mergers and metamorphoses to become the large umbrella group it is today, with over 20 businesses in the IT sector and 21 service centres across the Kingdom.

"In the early 90s we underwent a joint venture with Olivetti Services, which was then acquired by Wang Global, which was then acquired by Getronics," explained managing director, Ibrahim Al-Zeer.

From there we started getting bigger and so we decided to re-structure our corporate makeup and create a supporting company called National Technology Group.

NTG was then sub-divided into two business directions, financial and ICT, with each including individual companies targeting different sectors.

One of the most significant sectors for NTG under its ICT wing is enterprise, which is served by a few notable subsidiaries of the group such as Systems Integrations Co., Arab Computer Systems Ltd and through a joint venture with Getronics.

In addition to enterprise ICT, NTG has business interests in distribution, media IT, software solutions, telecommunications and internet provisions.

As the stems and reach of this business giant have swelled, so has its staff base and it currently employs over 3,000 people across its subsidiaries.

Being one of the most significant IT players in Saudi, it comes as no surprise that the list of vendor partners throwing their hats into NTG's ring is endless and includes most of the top names from Dell to Cisco and Microsoft to Symantec.

Al-Zeer claims that NTG has the reach to cover most, if not all, of the most significant verticals on offer in the Saudi enterprise market.

If you talk to our employees on the enterprise side and ask them what are your verticals, they will tell you six plus one. This is telco, financial, utilities, oil and gas, petrochemical and government.

The plus one is named accounts such as ALJ or other Saudi enterprise companies."

In these markets the range of services that NTG and its subsidiaries can offer are many. "We offer consultancy services, working in ERP, knowledge management, convergence of legacy systems, customer care and business engineering to name a few.

Also, we maintain datacentres, provide first-level and second-level support, both central and remote. We also implement security and work related to strategic planning," said Al-Zeer.

The distribution and retail arms of the group, are dealt with by subsidiaries Aim and CompuMe respectively.

Mohammed Rashid Al-Ballaa, chairman of NTG, insists experience is one of the most significant elements that NTG can offer customers. "Over the last five years we've been recognised as the fastest growing ICT group in the region, and have advanced our rank on the official list of top 100 Saudi Companies to become first for ICT.

With our strong team conviction, support of our international partners and strategic business alliances we hope to continue our growth to become the leading ICT group in the Middle East," he concluded.

NTG

Address:

King Abdulaziz Street, Rashid Al-Ballaa Building, KSA

PO Box 220625

Contact:

Tel: +966 1 476 3777

Fax: +966 1 476 3196

Headcount: 3,000

Vendor partners: Dell, Cisco, Microsoft, Symantec

Market focus:

With subsidiary companies numbering in the double figures it is impossible to funnel NTG's market focus. Among its vertical targets are government, financial systems, enterprise, communications, and managed services. Over its 20-plus years, NTG has cultivated partnerships with almost all major vendors.

Website: www.ntg.com.sa

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