Last Word: Exciting Times

Saad Khan, regional managing director, Ciena Middle East tells Network Middle East what makes him tick and what he thinks of the networking industry

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Last Word: Exciting Times
By  Georgina Enzer Published  May 26, 2012

Saad Khan, regional managing director, Ciena Middle East tells Network Middle East what makes him tick and what he thinks of the networking industry.

Can you tell us how you began working in the IT industry in the UAE?
Prior to moving to the Middle East, I started my career in the IT/Telecom industry in the US (MCI Worldcom) and later moved with Ericsson to Canada. With the explosive growth in the Middle East region, I was asked in 2000 to move to the UAE, to lead the services business for Ericsson ME. UAE is a true embodiment of a business hub and I believe its best days are yet to come.

What is the best and worst thing about the networking industry in the UAE?
The best thing is that there is just so much happening here in the UAE - it is an extremely exciting market, full of excellent and dynamic professionals. People here are focused on being at the forefront of technology trends and striving for the UAE to become a true centre of high-tech. It is hard to say what the worst is; I would say one challenging thing is the highly competitive environment of the market. On the other hand, it is also that competition that helps us stay agile and innovative in creating value for our customers.

What do you do in your usual working day?
As part of my role as regional managing director of Ciena, I carry a diverse mix of responsibilities. I typically start my day with business briefings on what is happening in the industry, followed by meetings with our customers.An essential part of my day includes briefings and one-to-one meetings with my team members.

What achievement in your career are you most proud of?
There are quite a few achievements in my career that I can think of, and I must say that it is all down to being part of a winning team. I am extremely proud of every deal that we have won, whether it is at Ciena or with previous employers. In the past ten years, my team and I have won pivotal deals in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Oman and Egypt, to name a few.

What green product or innovation should the IT industry watch out for this year?
Over the past few years, we have found that approximately 80% of the networks we have studied have room for improvement in this area. We are focused on enhancing the efficiency of our products and evolving our services to provide our customers with power optimisation solutions. Ciena is also at the leading edge in boosting transmission and core network speeds to 100G/400G, resulting in a substantial increase in bits/MWh as we evolve our product line. We also provide power optimisation services with a multivendor focus.

What IT company do you most admire and why?
There are many admirable companies; however, the few that are fuelling current trends are Google, Apple and Facebook. These companies are shaping the way we live, interact and evolve. The applications running on computing all play a part in defining how these devices enrich our lives today and in the future. Ciena plays a large part in enabling this connected global society by providing high speed networks required to shuttle terabytes of data that bandwidth intensive applications need to work in the cloud.

Who do you look up to in your career?
My career has been a constant evolution and learning experience and I can say it has been led by the best professionals out there, both at Ciena and at previous employers. I take relish in learning from my managers and superiors – and there are so many I can think of.

What do you do for fun?
I enjoy travelling, meeting new people and exploring new cultures. I have had the chance to see some of the most amazing places in the world. I have also recently taken up photography - exploring the creative side to my character I never knew I had.

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