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Dubai hosts regional CIO summit

Over 100 CIOs gather in Dubai to discuss the challenges of migrating to e-business environment. Delegates told that flexible IT infrastructure and change management are critical for success.

Over a 100 of the region’s CIOs from companies around the Gulf have gather in Dubai to hear presentations from vendors and their peers in the end user community. The Middle East CIO Summit touched on a number of critical topics such as the challenges presented by the Internet, the changing role of the IT department and the need to manage change within the organisation.

During the opening keynote address to the conference, senior Forrester analyst, Andrew Parker, said, many businesses in the region are currently “preparing for the networked world,” a phase he went on to describe as ‘deconstruction.’ However, going forward organisations need to reinvent and transform themselves in preparation for the Internet economy.

Part of the reinvent phase would include integrating business critical applications with e-business initiatives, growth of the number of transactional web pages and begin to draw revenue from Internet intermediaries.

Finally, during the ‘breakaway,’ phase organisations would then capitalise on the e-business transformation, maximising e-business networks, Internet partnerships and further integrating business applications with the e-business initiatives.

In concluding his keynote address, Parker warned of the challenges that e-business was bringing, to the internal business organisation, and the new customer relationships. “Remember — change management is key,” Parker added.

Mohammed Shah, vice president of Royah Company, which was effectively the IT division of Saudi-based food giant, the SAVOLA Group, prior to its successful spin off, emphasised the importance of a flexible, scaleable infrastructure and the need to manage change within the organisation.

“For every project we take on for the group we must have a business sponsor. That way we can encourage ownership within the business for that project… if you don’t encourage ownership the business users can and say they don’t want it,” explained Shah.

Another speaker at the conference also urged delegates to take a strategic approach to IT projects. According to Evan Powell, group general manager for IT with Dubai-based Al Tayer, too many IT managers think tactically, planning just a few months ahead, rather adopting a strategic approach to a company’s business strategy.

“We must be agents of change within an organisation,” said Powell. “We must be at the forefront of change within the organisation and drive that change,” he added.

The event was organised by Mega Group, with sponsorship from the likes of Microsoft, Acer and Computer Associates.

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