Saudi Arabia’s digital pioneers honored at IDC CIO Excellence Awards 2019

From left: Steven Frantzen, IDC's senior vice president for Europe and MENA; Alaa I Asali – Arab National Bank; Majed Al Tahan, Co-founder & CEO of Danube Online, BinDawood Group; Dr. Saleh AlMugrin – Ministry of Defense, and Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC's country manager for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. (Supplied)
Updated 25 September 2019

Saudi Arabia’s digital pioneers honored at IDC CIO Excellence Awards 2019

JEDDAH: With more than 300 of the Kingdom's most influential ICT leaders in attendance, the IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2019 closed last week with a ceremony to mark the second edition of the IDC CIO Excellence Awards. At a time when innovation is becoming the hallmark of competitive success, the International Data Corporation sought to recognize the efforts of those individuals and organizations that have excelled in conceptualizing and delivering game-changing digital transformation initiatives across the Kingdom.

"CIOs are coming under mounting pressure to disrupt their organizations in a meaningful and constructive way, reinventing the experiences of customers, partners, and employees alike with the help of innovation-accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, and the Internet of Things," says Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC's country manager for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. "This pressure will see spending on digital transformation initiatives across the Middle East and Africa top $25 billion this year, so it's only right that the pioneering efforts of the kingdom's most successful and innovative digital leaders are highlighted and publicly acknowledged in this way."

IDC had been accepting nominations across 3 categories since August and received a total of 50 submissions from 31 different organizations. IDC's CIO Advisory Council for Saudi Arabia then reviewed the nominations, with the winners and finalists in each category as follows:

CIO of the Year

Winner: Dr. Saleh AlMugrin – Ministry of Defense

Finalists: Mohammed AlEnazi – Fawaz Alhokair Fashion Retail; Yazeed Abdulallah Alotaibi – Ministry of Health; Eng. Motref AlSahli – Ministry of Communications & Information Technology; Eng. Faisal Ahmed Bakhashwain – Ministry of Civil Service


CISO of the Year

Winner: Ala I. Asali – Arab National Bank

Finalists: Darweesh Nasser Al-Buainain – SATORP; Jad H. Abdulsalam – Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma'aden)


Excellence in Digital Innovation

Winner: BinDawood Group

Finalists: National Water Company; Umm Al-Qura University; National Housing Company

The following members of the IDC CIO Advisory Council for Saudi Arabia were part of the judging process:

  • Ali Al-Asiri, Chief Executive Officer, e-Government Program, Yesser
  • Ibrahim Almoqbil, Chief Support Services Officer, General Entertainment Authority
  • Jason Roos, Chief Information Officer, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology
  • Hisham S. Hammami, Chief Information Officer, Ministry of Hajj & Umrah 

Al-Asiri was also the CIO Summit's keynote speaker. During his speech he urged public sector organizations in the Kingdom to enter the next stage of their digital transformation journeys by moving beyond the provision of e-government services and into the realms of 'Smart Government'.

Faisal Ahmed Bakhashwain, deputy minister of Digital Transformation at the Ministry of Civil Service, also addressed the audience, delivering a fascinating insight into the positive impact that his ministry's successful digital transformation initiative has had on operational excellence across the broader sphere of government.

Alongside e-Government Program, Yesser (Strategic Partner), the Ministry of Civil Service (Government Partner), and Oracle (Summit Partner), IDC's valued partners for the Saudi Arabia Summit 2019 included: Microsoft, Genesys, UiPath, Blue Prism, SAS (in partnership with Intel), Automation Anywhere, Google Cloud, Aruba, and NXN as Platinum Partners; Carbon Black, Attivo Networks, MIS, AEC, Sage, Tenable, Cyberia, Mimecast, Veeam, Gigamon, HP Inc. (in partnership with Intel), Cloud4C, Rimini Street, and ACS as Focus Group Partners; IBM as Breakfast Partner; Lenovo (in partnership with Intel) and Qlik (in partnership with Digination) as Award Partners; OutSystems, DETASAD, T2, Msegate, Hawsabah, Sysprove Consulting, Equinix, ManageEngine, Indorse, and Freshworks as Exhibit Partners.IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, and Istanbul, with a regional center in Dubai. Our coverage couples local insight with an international perspective to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. With a direct presence in Riyadh, IDC is closely aligned with Saudi Arabia's digital transformation initiatives and has supported numerous public and private sector organizations over the past 10 years. To learn more about IDC MEA, please visit



AbbVie spotlights pharma sector at KAU workshop

Updated 20 January 2020

AbbVie spotlights pharma sector at KAU workshop

In partnership with AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) hosted an educational workshop to encourage more of its students to enter pharmaceutical careers after graduation. The workshop offered unique insights into the scientific role of a pharmacist to more than 100 male and female students from the university. 

Dr. Hani Asfour, dean of the College of Pharmacy at KAU, said: “It was a rewarding experience to see our students participate in this workshop for the first time. With the support of AbbVie, our students were able to learn more about the promising careers which await them in the pharmaceutical sector. They are now extremely eager and excited about their future prospects. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for them.” 

Ashraf Daoud, general manager of AbbVie in Saudi Arabia, said: “At AbbVie, we are proud to continue investing in the Saudi national pharmacists of tomorrow. Through our many partnerships with local universities, such as KAU, we are highly dedicated to supporting the Kingdom’s goals, as expressed in Vision 2030, and helping our aspiring Saudi pharmacists in reaching their full potential.” 

The workshop covered topics such as an overview of the pharmaceutical industry landscape, the importance of the medical representative role, key marketing concepts in pharma, as well as tips and advice on how to write a CV and prepare for interviews. Students also had the opportunity to speak to the AbbVie in-field team of pharmacists who answered their career questions and queries.

Khaled Fageha, HR director of AbbVie in Saudi Arabia, said: “As a global pharmaceutical company, there is an ever-growing need to attract the brightest Saudi talent and increase the talent pool of pharmacists. There is so much potential in the Kingdom, which we are always striving to unlock at AbbVie. Through initiatives like this, we are able to equip students across Saudi Arabia with the tools and knowledge to help them thrive in the health care industry, as well as ignite their passion for a career in pharmacy.”

Students said they found the workshop informative. “I’ve always been passionate about a role in pharmacy, but I was a bit unsure about what awaits after graduation. Thanks to this workshop, I was able to hear about the exciting prospects of working at a pharmaceutical company, such as AbbVie. I was able to ask all my questions, and now I am excited to continue working hard so I can begin my journey as a pharmacist,” said Sondos Alkhthlan, a student.

Another student, Nawaf Alharthi said: “This was an engaging workshop which has cemented my interest in becoming a pharmacist after graduating from KAU.”