SAP MD discusses strategy behind new HQ
The new headquarters is based in Dubai Internet City and will cover the entirety of the MENA region
During a highly attended inauguration ceremony held on the 14 March, 2017, SAP SE unveiled their new Middle East and North Africa headquarters in the heart of Dubai Internet City, and also announced a five-year $200m investment in the UAE.
Numerous VIPs visited and toured the new building over the course of the day, which included H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group.
Sheikh Hamdan was accompanied by HE Mohamed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director General of the Ruler’s Court; HE Mattar Mohamed Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Dubai RTA; HE Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
Also in attendance was Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai, and Malek Al Malek, CEO of TECOM Business Parks.
During the inauguration ceremony, Ammar Al Malik, executive director, Dubai Internet City (DIC), shared his excitement for the launch of SAP headquarters and the new opportunities it presented.
“Throughout the years, DIC has witnessed SAP’s phenomenal growth in Dubai and the region, and the inauguration of their MENA Headquarters is another significant milestone in our shared history,” commented Al Malik.
“Dubai today is an accelerator of innovation, digitalization, and growth, and DIC is a key catalyst at the heart of the innovation mandate. SAP is one of the most innovative companies in ERP and Cloud solutions, and we look forward to enabling the growth and development of this industry,” he added.
As a smart building, SAP’s headquarters houses a number of different facilities, which include demo rooms, use case study rooms, as well as a Customer Experience Center.
The new building also holds the company’s first Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) in the UAE, the enterprise software providedr’s 15th lab across the globe. COIL will be utilised by SAP’s lab engineers and the company’s customers to devise novel project-based technologies and services ideally suited for the local market.
The lab’s initial efforts will be focused towards the banking and real estate sectors, as well as serving as an enabler and primary access point in region, for the company’s IoT platform, SAP Leonardo.
“In the past, for example, we didn’t have space to offer to our ecosystem partners. Now our partners can come in and work together with us … it is a massive productivity increase,” comments Tayfun Topkoc, managing director, SAP UAE and Iran.
“We now have a space for the Co-Innovation engineers to come up with new ideas, for different customers, partners, and this is creating economic value and additional business.
“These are all digital ideas, revenue generating ideas that gives potential to our customers or partners to run new business in the digital domain.”
The MENA headquarters will also serve as the site for SAP’s Training and Development Institute (TDI), which will be dedicated towards supporting local students and young graduates in developing critical IT skills.
TDI will also reportedly run programs around sponsoring and supporting future entrepreneurs, in both the UAE and across the region.
“We decided to invest more than $200m in the UAE for the next five years with this new office, co-innovation labs, training & development, public and cloud data centre. We are also going to hire hundreds of young talent, because we will be operating those data centres ourselves,” explains Topkoc
“There will be a massive momentum and this will give us scalability in the market, where we can go and conduct more investments in the areas that matters in this country,” he adds.
As part of its $200m investment, SAP also announced that it will be opening its first SAP Cloud Data Centre in the UAE, located at Khazna Data Centre.
Set to go live later in 2017, SAP’s customers in southern Europe, Middle East and Africa, will be able to take advantage of its cloud services and the real-time capabilities of SAP Hana. The SAP data centre is expected to greatly support the UAE’s banking and finance, government, and healthcare sectors.
“UAE is a global leader in innovation and in the digital initiatives … if you look at our business distribution, our platform business and innovation business, is becoming more than the business application business, where we are already leader there but platform business means innovation,” explains Topkoc.
“Innovation is massive here and that isn’t the case anywhere else in the world. We believe in this country and that innovation is a big driver in the economy. That is why we are investing and trying to do start things here first.
“We have the commitment from the government and administration. I believe it will be joint partnership in the next five to ten years, where we will have a significant role in diversifying the economy in this country.”