Knowledge sharing to overcome regional issues

Last month saw the return of ACN’s Enterprise Computing Summit. Held at the start of June, the Summit brought together CIOs from across the most important verticals in the region to discuss pressing topics for the sector.

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Knowledge sharing to overcome regional issues (ITP Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  July 10, 2014

But for me, the event raised some interesting points on how some countries and sectors in the Middle East have readily embraced new technologies that are described as ‘the Third Platform’ there are still stumbling blocks facing these implementations. Some of these challenges are common to the industry worldwide, while others are specific to this region.

In cloud computing, for example, the Summit heard from Alok Srivastava of Masdar on how the organisation has moved many of its HR functions to the cloud. ACN has covered other organisations that have also taken small steps to the cloud, but it still seems to be early days. In a separate discussion with a major SaaS player, this cloud provider insisted that organisations in the region no longer care where their data is hosted. ‘They would say that’ of course, but it’s certainly not my experience.

Organisations here very much care where their data is and how it’s protected. The lack of local data centres is one of the major challenges to more widespread adoption of cloud. Forums such as the ACN Summit provide a vital platform to discuss these issues and to hear from peers as to how they have overcome these challenges, so I would like to thank the event sponsors, moderators, presenters and panellists of the ACN Summit for helping to make this event a lively discussion forum with some interesting observations on key issues.

Also in June, we have opened nominations for the 2014 ACN Arab Technology Awards. Now in their tenth year, we have changed the awards this year to put more focus on the end user organisations and the projects that are driving change for businesses across the region.

We also have two new categories for 2014, the Young IT Professional of the Year, and the Harnessing Innovation Award. The young IT Professional of the Year is open to IT pros of age 35 years and under, and aims to recognise the achievements of a young person working in the Middle East IT sector. IT personnel are welcome to nominate themselves, but we also encourage CIOs, IT managers and other heads of departments to put forward their young high achievers for the award as well.

Our second new category, the Harnessing Innovation Award, is intended to recogise a project or initiative within an end user organisation which is taking a cutting-edge technology, and using for real business benefit. With so many exciting technologies coming together in the market at present, this award aims to single out an implementation that is at the bleeding edge of technology. Nominations for this award will be taken from the existing project awards for vertical categories, so you must put in a nomination for one of these to be considered for the Harnessing Innovation Award. You might not feel that your organisation can compete with some of the majors in your vertical sector, but this award aims to find projects that show innovation and top rate technical expertise, regardless of the scale of the end user organisation.

The deadline of nominations for the awards is Monday 18th August, so don’t delay, start working on your nominations now, and help us to make this year’s awards the best ever. Full details of the nominations process can be found at www.itp.net/acnawards.

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