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3-4 February 2021
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What does digital transformation really mean in the UAE?

Posted On October 6, 2019

What does digital transformation really mean in the UAE?

How AI, blockchain and hybrid cloud services are transforming customer journeys

HIGHLIGHTS

  • What is Government 2.0?
  • Data management, cybersecurity, government solutions and government services are the main pillars
  • Every sector has its core customer journeys. What are yours?
  • Why the aviation industry needs to balance legacy systems with modern solutions
  • How cloud technology can improve patient outcomes in the healthcare sector

Going digital. It’s a term most mid-level employees and managers are familiar with, and one that’s been bandied about for years now. At last week’s IBM Think Summit, the people responsible for driving this change at some of the UAE’s most influential companies came together to explain how and where the transformation will take place in their industries — and what it means for customers.

Government services

“We want to build a global model for Government 2.0,” says Zeina Al Kaissi, Chief Digital Director at Smart Dubai. She’s referring to services for UAE residents being offered on a one-stop shop paperless digital platform. “It’s about time. The 2019 user of today gets their food options in one place (UberEats), flight bookings in one place (Expedia) and hotels in one place (Booking.com). How many apps do they have for government services? More than 120.”

Smart Dubai’s Dubai Now app is already playing a role in the organisation’s ambition for Government 2.0, which Al Kaissi believes should be “invisible and seamless” to UAE residents. The iOS and Android app lets you sign rental agreements, issue your Ejari, activate electricity and water services, digitally sign a sales agreement for a vehicle, get car insurance and more.

    "The 2019 user of today gets their food options in one place (UberEats), flight bookings in one place (Expedia) and hotels in one place (Booking.com). How many apps do they have for government services? More than 120."
  - Zeina Al Kaissi, Chief Digital Director, Smart Dubai

Blockchain plays a role in Dubai Now, with the technology powering the instant reconciliation of payments made through the app — something Al Kaissi says used to take 40 days when done manually. Meanwhile, the AI-driven Rashid City Concierge service, based on IBM Watson, uses natural language processing and cognitive computing to provide information to Expo 2020 visitors.



In the capital, the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) has a transformation strategy supported by four main pillars: data management, cybersecurity, government solutions and government services, the last of which is led by Saeed Al Mulla, Executive Director — Government Affairs and Partnership Management at ADDA.

“We are trying to solve customer pain points, understanding their journey and the steps they need to go through to deliver them a seamless service.” For Al Mulla, technology is a means, not an end — “It’s the customer that matters”.

“We don’t want to make customer journeys [someone’s entire, end-to-end experience with a company or brand] for the sake of it. It’s our role and mandate to make the public’s life easier.”

    "We are trying to solve customer pain points, understanding their journey and the steps they need to go through to deliver them a seamless service."
- Saeed Al Mulla, Executive Director — Government Affairs and Partnership Management, ADDA

Retail

One of the most heavily disrupted sectors over the past decade, in the UAE and worldwide, is retail. That’s what makes digital transformation a little more urgent for shopping mall operators. At the Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Group, which owns and operates 25 malls across the region, there are three core customer journeys: the asset (the physical mall), customer (the shops, or tenants, renting space there) and the consumer (shopper visiting the mall). “All things intertwine between these three,” explains Andre Melo, Director, IT — Shopping Malls at MAF. Melo likens a shopping mall to a grandparent. “Grandparents love their children, love their grandkids and know what they’re doing. However, the final product is controlled by the parents. Similarly, a shopping mall needs to cater amazing experiences for shoppers, but their final product is delivered by the retailer.”

Real-time data allowed Mall of the Emirates (MoE), a MAF property, to dramatically reduce entry and exit times for mall visitors — adding up to significant amount when you consider five million cars enter and exit the mall every year.

 "A shopping mall needs to cater amazing experiences for shoppers, but their final product is delivered by the retailer."
- Andre Melo, Director, IT — Shopping Malls, Majid Al Futtaim group

Melo is also aware that the increased flow of data available to retailers has meant a reworking of KPIs — “Now, we are able to expose [problems], improve and optimise with a new set of KPIs we run every day.”
Aviation

From the moment you Google flight tickets to checking in online and arranging hotel accommodation, the aviation industry has been impacted by technological change at a faster pace than most industries. “We wanted to ensure the digital journey matches the experience you have when you step into one of our planes anywhere in the world,” says Takhliq Hanif, Chief Architect and Head of Group Enterprise Architecture at Etihad Aviation Group — Technology and Digital Innovation.

One of the ways Etihad is striving to transform its flyers’ digital journey is hyper-personalisation. “Can we tell the difference when you’re flying with your family, visiting to play golf or to watch the F1? I think data plays a big role in understanding who your customer is, in a positive way.”

 "We wanted to ensure the digital journey matches the experience you have when you step into one of our planes anywhere in the world."
- Takhliq Hanif, Chief Architect and Head of Group Enterprise Architecture at Etihad Aviation Group — Technology and Digital Innovation

One of the reasons digital transformation may be a trickier proposition in aviation is because airlines have both legacy systems, such as GDS, working alongside modern ones. Hanif feels that a hybrid cloud solution may help for building a consolidated data platform that plays well with both types of system.
Healthcare

A number of underlying technologies are also changing the customer journey for medical patients. “Cloud and AI are key enablers transforming the way the massive volumes of patient data through medical research and electronic medical records are captured, stored and analysed, thereby making new forms of medical research possible and improving patient outcomes,” explains Yasser Zeineldin, CEO of eHosting DataFort. He adds that the cloud has simplified the sharing of patient data between doctors and other staff from any of their branches.

“Also, data from large files such as those from X-rays and MRIs can be saved easily on the cloud. With patients taking active interest in their healthcare data, they can also access their electronic medical records stored in the cloud, which helps streamline the information between the doctors and their patients.”

"Cloud and AI are key enablers transforming the way the massive volumes of patient data through medical research and electronic medical records are captured, stored and analysed, thereby making new forms of medical research possible and improving patient outcomes."
- Yasser Zeineldin, CEO, eHosting DataFort

 

 

Source: Gulf News Business

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3-4 February 2021

Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa
Dubai, UAE

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