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The region’s top enterprise champions were honoured at a gala ceremony at Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Hotel, in the third edition of the celebrated Arab Technology Awards.

Tags: AwardsEMC CorporationHewlett-Packard CompanySAP Middle East and North AfricaUnited Arab Emirates
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By  Imthishan Giado Published  November 22, 2009 Arabian Computer News Logo

The region’s top enterprise champions were honoured at a gala ceremony at Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Hotel, in the third edition of the celebrated Arab Technology Awards.

Last month, the biggest names in regional IT gathered in Dubai’s exclusive Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. The reason? They were there to applaud the winners of the 2009 Arab Technology Awards, created to honour the region’s top vendors, integrators and end-users.

The Awards were established to recognise the companies, deployments and individuals that lead the Middle East market this year in terms of innovation and professional excellence. This year, the Awards covered 16 categories, including eight vertical categories, three individual trophies and five vendor awards.

As one might expect then, the award categories have been heavily revised and updated to better reflect the evolving state of the enterprise in this region. With more choice, the region’s end-users responded extremely strongly, sending in over a 100 nominations for the event and virtually matching the record number of entries last year. This response sends a clear message to the naysayers who widely proclaimed that the GCC IT market would fail to match the heady heights of last year.

Highlights from the event included the closely-fought battle between software heavyweights EMC and SAP for the coveted prize of Enterprise Software Vendor of the Year, with the former just nudging out the German database specialist in the end. On the hardware side, stalwart HP proved too tough an opponent for its vendor rivals such as Sun, finally snagging the trophy for Enterprise Hardware Vendor of the Year.

On the vertical category side, there were a few surprises in store in this year’s iteration of the event. After several years of putting in strong entries for the Hospitality and Tourism category, Saudi Airlines finally triumphed over its rivals with an impressive contact centre implementation that managed to cut operating costs by 30%. Zamil Industrial, too, stole a march on its competitors in its first year of entry with a new system for real-time analysis of its production lines and overall plant performance.

In the telecoms sector, however, there were no surprises as Mobily triumphed for the second year running. Last year it pursued an innovating advertising campaign targeted at online gamers; this year, it was a case of back-to-basics as the Etisalat subsidiary has embarked on the largest fibre network in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The highest number of entries received in any category this year went to the Government implementation of the year, which was claimed in a unanimous decision by the UAE Roads and Transport Authority, for its brilliantly-executed MParking project. The elegant system allows road users across Dubai to pay for parking through their mobile telephones, providing both convenience and efficiency to the citizens of Dubai.

Finally, in the individual categories, the prestigious award for the CIO of the Year went deservedly to Marwan Al Ali of the Jumeirah Group, our first winner from the hospitality vertical. Special mention must also be given to GV Rao from the United Development Company Qatar, who was rewarded for his patient efforts in IT over the last two decades with our very first Editor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement. The kudos for the IT Department of the Year went to the team from local conglomerate Al Futtaim Technologies, with the award accepted by IT boss Santosh Shetty.

With another successful year under its belt, the Arab Technology Awards continues to prove that this region is a true emerging force for IT excellence. While other markets struggle to balance growth and innovation, our CIOs have clearly demonstrated that a global downturn is no deterrent to success.

You can see the list of all winners here.

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